Interviews with Interesting People: Matt Turner discusses his latest album of solo cello improvisations, Virion Impasto

Listen to Matt Turner 

(master improvisational cellist and pianist,
professor of jazz and improv at Lawrence University's Conservatory of Music)

discuss the methods, titles, and techniques of his newest release

Virion Impasto

acoustic solo cello as never heard before


experimental anti-music avant-garde outsider fringe improvisations)

the knotty pine
photo: Daria Van De Loo


Report from Crystal Lake

listen to sounds from the shores of crystal lake, wisconsin

This morning as soon as I woke, I put on my swimsuit, still damp from yesterday, and went to the beach, Andrew following me to get the canoe.  The water was cold and I was the only one in the lake, another far off on the beach.

Sarah appeared, sitting in meditation.

Twice I scared up a flock of seagulls.

In the mornings, under the long shadow of trees, the water is cloudier than in the afternoons when the sun rays split into flavors of turquoise, crisp divisions between the layers, the surface, a mirror of sky and water, the bottom sands crackling with tortoise shelled light.

We had breakfast and I washed the dishes and played a word game with Eleanora.  The little girls went canoeing with the dads and I lay in the hammock and read Virginia Woolf's A Writer's Diary.   Now, she is wondering if the masterpiece she has just written is mere self indulgent nonsense.

What if Leonard hadn't fallen in love with her, encouraged her, cared for her, published her books? Would there have been another to take his place or would some other writer have received the attention instead, Virginia Woolf meaning nothing more than a state and a wild dog?


Houdini: Exhibit A

matt turner, electric cello
tad neuhaus, guitar
joanna dane, vocals

Most watched his hands
but I watched his eyes
so many secrets he hoards

So much fame
we all the thousands roar
we surge closer


We pay you to renew our belief
that there is indeed a way
always a way out

No matter how dire
no matter how bound we are

We cheer to see you
free your bonds


Your eyes shining


we cheer
escape we all desire

still struggling

not knowing

the way


Houdini - How Will You Escape Death?

matt turner, electric cello
tad neuhaus, turntables
joanna dane, vocals

The world will never know
what I have lost
I lay awake dreaming of his escape

And how much I am still bound by his love
Oh, Houdini!

How my heart is still bound
No more chains nor locks to escape from
Oh my dear

just death
just death

the final locks are closed

a grip so tight it's permanent
that my last hope is all but gone

how will you escape Houdini,
how will you escape?

how will you escape death Houdini?
how will you escape death?


Report from an Honor Flight and Secrets to a Long Happy Life

I had the privilege recently of sitting down with my Great Uncle Bennett at his 90th birthday celebration to hear about the Honor Flight he took to Washington D.C.  We hadn't seen each other for many years and though my parents reported how well he is doing, I was amazed by his infectious vitality.  As my 14 year old son said, "He's livelier than most of my friends."

Listen to Bennett Fishbain 
tell the story of his Honor Flight
and his secrets to living a long, happy, healthy life:

featuring Bennett's great great nephew Isadore Dane playing taps and Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll"

My Great Uncle Bennett at his 90th Birthday Celebration


Coffee Notes

The coffee,
even though it is left over from this morning,
tastes good.

kid's ink drawing found in basement