News Pop Music Critic
Whether she’s playing with jazz legends like Brother Jack McDuff, Kenny Garrett and Lenny White, playing with the “Saturday Night Live” house band, or leading her own groups through music that incorporates jazz and metal tropes into progressive rock frameworks, Jane Getter has been pushing the envelope as guitarist, composer and performer since emerging on the New York City scene of mid -1980s.
Her latest project, as documented on the stellar just-released prog-rock opus “On,” is the Jane Getter Premonition. The supergroup, which plays Nietzsche’s on Dec. 10, features Getter’s husband, keyboardist Adam Holtzman (Miles Davis, Steven Wilson Band), drummer Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa, Alan Holdsworth), bassist Bryan Beller (The Aristocrats), and guests Alex Skolnick, (Testament, Alex Skolnick Trio) and Corey Glover (Living Color).
Question: “On” very much has a “live band in the room” vibe, and it adds a visceral feel to the performances and enhances the dramatic effect of the dynamics. Was it important to you that the record be recorded live, and avoid the “pieced together on a computer” vibe of so many modern recordings?
Answer: Yes, it absolutely was, and I’m glad that you can hear this in the recording. When I play in a band, I want to feel like we are playing together, that there is real interaction. There is a vibe there, when the musicians are in the room together, that can’t be attained any other way. Recordings that are pieced together tend to be cold and clinical sounding. That’s not always the case, but I have found that, with my music, that live-in-the-room feel is absolutely the way to go.
Q: Part of what makes you interesting as a composer and player is your obvious jazz training. Did coming to progressive rock music from a schooled jazz background color your approach?
A: I’d say that it did, absolutely. In terms of the chord voicings and the harmonic possibilities that are available – understanding jazz is really the only way to get there. There’s not really shortcut. (laughs) Jazz is always there, in whatever I do. I come to music from a jazz player’s approach, in terms of improvisation – what’s used melodically, and in terms of scales and so forth – and in terms of the interplay between musicians, and the writing itself.
Q: Musicians are generally encouraged to fit themselves into stylistic pigeonholes in order to be easily marketed. When did it occur to you that you wanted to make music that stretched stylistic limitations and pushed the envelope?
A: Without ever being conscious of doing so, I’ve just never tried to fit myself into anything specific, in terms of style, or marketing, or whatever. I really and truly have simply followed my heart, and made music that appealed to me as a listener. I have eclectic tastes, so I make eclectic music, and if that means that a segment of the listening population – or a segment of the music business – doesn’t care for it, well, I’m OK with that.
Q: It’s interesting, in light of recent events, to listen to the lyrics of “Surprised.” You mention “dark new trends” in the song. Can you elaborate?
A: That song is really a reaction to the toxic political arena we find ourselves in right now. Things are unbelievably bad. And the hypocritical and self-serving impulses of so many in the political arena are only making things worse. The song is really me wondering, “If you spend your life spreading hate and fostering ignorance for your own self-serving ends, how the hell do you sleep at night”?
Q; Is it easy to work so closely with Adam, or does the fact that you’re married make things more complex?
A: That’s a great question. (laughs) We’ve worked together for a very long time. We’ve always been in bands together. We work well together. We have similar, though not identical, likes and dislikes. I respect and trust his opinion, even when I don’t agree with it. And we’re best friends, which helps an awful lot. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he is absolutely the most perfect player for this music.
Who: Jane Getter
When: 9 p.m. Dec. 10
Where: Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St.