Jun 30, 2022
Cornetist Kirk Knuffke has made some 20 albums as a leader or co-leader over the past two decades, while also being a key member of groups led by Matt Wilson, Alison Miller (Boom Tic Boom) and Mary Halvorson (Sifter). His latest release, an intimate, double album. Gravity Without Airs, features him with pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist Michael Bisio. On the album they perform Knuffke compositions as well in a number of free improvisations, making for a a constantly changing and engaging release.
Gravity Without Airs (digitally and on 2CD & 2LP by TAO Forms imprint) was recorded in a lengthy session, often with little or no prompting from any of the musicians as to where the music should go. Kirk shares his thoughts on this demanding practice, and why he finds working with musicians like Shipp and Bisio so rewarding.
Originally from Colorado, Knuffke was self-taught on the trumpet and cornet, later benefiting from the private tutelage of Ornette Coleman, Art Lande and Ron Miles. Knuffke began playing with Butch Morris after moving to New York City in 2005. This friendship resulted in four recordings and several European tours. In 2009, he joined the Matt Wilson Quartet, and began collaborations with such sage musicians like Roswell Rudd, Marshall Allen, Tootie Heath, Frank Kimbrough, William Parker, Myra Melford, Steve Swell and Billy Hart. He is or was a member of projects led by Wilson, Halvorson, Charlie Hunter, Ben Allison, Ray Anderson, Mark Helias, Bill Goodwin, Karl Berger, Ted Brown and Bisio.
Podcast 916 is Part One of my conversation with Kirk Knuffke, as he shares insight into the Gravity Without Airs recording and writing, as well as plans for performing live with the trio. Musical selections from the album include the wholly improvised “Stars Go Up,” and his composition “Today for Today,” which closes the album.
Part Two of my conversation, Podcast 917, with appear in the first few days of July.