This is a blog response to the “Fantasy Football” blog by Ethan Iverson. It is on his 'The Bad Plus' web site.
There are a lot of musicians that I really love that are in the same circle as each other but don’t play together. I sometimes wish my favourite players would play in different combinations (in addition to the ones they do). My fantasy band is: Jim Black on drums, Marc Hannaford on piano, Tim Berne on Alto, Scott Tinkler on Trumpet and Hilmar Jensson on Guitar. I’ve heard these players in various different band with various other artists. I guess I know this band will never happen because of the America/Australia divide. But I did get to see Tim Berne with Hannaford and Tinkler when he was in Australia last year and it was incredible. I guess I would like to hear this band because I know they are all capable players (especially conceptually speaking) and they all have a personal sound that I can identify with and like.
A kind of joke that I like to have with my friends is to make up fantasy band that would obviously be a nightmare, like: Clayton Thomas, Mark Isaacs, Evan Manell and Chet Baker. Now I like all those players and really think they are incredible musicians, I just think that together it wouldn’t work. I usually find that musicians that really gel together are the players that have done time with each other, and work things out together: like the Matt Keegan Trio. In theory we could get the best alto player, the best drummer, the best bassist and the best trumpeter and put them in a band and we would have the best band in the world. But certain players go well with other certain players. I think this is why the album “Live at Massey Hall with Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock and Roy Hargrove” doesn’t really do anything for me, even though I really like all the players on that album.
The players I really like to play with are my friends. They are the people that understand me the best and I am the most comfortable with. Sure, they aren’t as good as some other players that I probably could play with but the chemistry is more important that just being ‘good’. Combination of musicians is an interesting thing.