Taylor Ho Bynum

*Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Bike Tour

Day 4 – 8/31, 2:30pm, Blaine WA

I just crossed the border from Canada to the US, eating a fish taco at a Mexican restaurant with a view of the harbor and the Peace Arch (shout out to the great Paul Robeson). At first, a Mexican restaurant felt incongruous, but once I thought about it, I realized it was the perfect meal for this first real day on the road. Especially since this song was running through my head all morning as I biked out of Vancouver.

And a great trio gig last night. With just a 30 minute rehearsal, Lisa and Skye really dealt with the materials in a beautifully creative way. I too often bemoan that I can only function as a composer with a large ensemble of intimate collaborators. This whole bike tour in general, and this gig in specific, was partly a reminder to myself of the improvisational flexibilities of duo and trio formations, and the musical pleasures of first or second encounters. (I’m so spoiled by the general awesomeness of my core collaborators I have to throw myself down the coast on a bicycle to challenge myself out of that comfort zone.) It’s also fun to hear what new musicians will bring to compositions I’ve previously explored with working ensembles, and Lisa and Skye certainly brought something fresh and personal. (And killed it on the free stuff too).

They also presented me with two conceptual developments for this project. I was explaining that I’m more of a sound and word person than a visual one, so am shy to do much photo and video documentation. (Though I’m going to try at least a little bit, and have a secret weapon halfway through the tour). Lisa’s thought was to do some drawings – even if not particularly artistic, it will at least be personal. I love the idea, so if any crudely drawn stick figures pop up on this diary, it’s Lisa’s fault.

Her second idea was, to balance out the opening sunset invocation in Vancouver and the closing sunrise one in Tijuana, I’ve got to do a noon-time show at the halfway point. Skye countered that actually it should be at midnight, the true midpoint between the sun’s rise and set, the whole experience becoming some kind of dream. I love that too, so if I wake anyone up at some campground 900 miles from here in Northern California with a moonlit cornet solo, you can blame Skye.

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