Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

From Outside magazine #1

Marco Eneidi & The Big Band Concept
Date of Interview/Article:9/15/1999
Marco Eneidi & The Big Band Concept
(from OUTSIDE Magazine #1 August 1998)


In his early twenties Marco left Livermore and the
Bay Area where he grew up playing reeds in school
and local bands. He arrived in New York, meeting
Cecil Taylor and Bill Dixon who have been the major
musical influences in his career. Dixon is a
composer/leader/trumpet player who, in the early
60’s was involved in the A & 7th (7th St. and Ave.
‘A’ in the East Village) University of the Streets,
not withstanding his deep involvement with the music
of Austrian composer Anton Webern whose 12-tone,
concise, yet mystic sound-structures pointed to new
musical horizons. Marco studied and worked with
Dixon while he was Artist in Residence at Bennington
College, Vermont in 1984. During this period Marco
played in the orchestra Dixon put together at
Bennington and absorbed new elements of sound
and space which were the deep preoccupations of
his teacher’s approach to orchestral music.
Marco’s assocation with Cecil Taylor also began
at this time. And here the concise, structural
approach coming from the jazz cannon (blues, swing,
and bop) had moved far beyond the traditional limits,
but as Marco says, “It all comes from the blues.”
Since then he has been with groups that Cecil has
lead in Europe and the U.S. (1992), at the festival
in Salfelden, Austria, and at the Inauguration of
the Miro Foundation in Palma de Majorca. In 1994
he rehearsed 5-6 hours a day for weeks
with Cecil’s orchestra which began with 40
pieces and went into performance with 15.
He also played in Cecil’s 40 piece orchestra
which performed at the San Francisco Jazz Festival
in the Fall of 1995. So, for over 15 years
Marco has been active in new music orchestras.


In 1995 Marco returned to the Bay Area and, in
collaboration with his long-time friend Glenn Spearman
(1947-1998) (tenor sax/composition), began to reheArse a
20-plus piece orchestra. The band rehearsed for over
6 months and gave performances at the Berkeley Store Gallery. From the proceeds of these concerts they were able to record and issue Creative Music Orchestra on the Music & Arts label, Berkeley in 1996. A truly fine, beautiful CD.


After his collaboration with Glenn, Marco went on his
own with The American Jungle Orchestra. The name
harkens back to early Ellington but, according to
Marco, comes directly from Sonny Simmons, one of
the ‘1st generation’ (after Bird) alto players who
influenced Marco’s playing. Sonny called his group
the American Jungle Quartet. Marco considers himself
a ‘2nd generation’ player with Jimmy Lyons being one
of the major influences on his alto. Marco has two
powerful quintet records out (check Amoeba):
The Marco Eneidi Coalition (w/Raphe Malik - tp,
Glenn Spearman - ts, Wm Parker - b, Jackson Krall - dm)
& Final Disconnect Notice(W. Morris - 2nd b & Karen
Borca - bassoon) on Botticelli Records.


The American Jungle Orchestra has seen various
incarnations over its 18 plus months of existence.
However, most of the creative musicians in the area
have sat in rehersals and shows during that time.
This past June and July has seen the formation of
a solid group of 20 players. Marco chose two
pieces for the current shows: a lengthy, intricate
score by Jimmy Lyons called “Something is the Matter,”
who wrote it for the orchestra Bill Dixon was
conducting at Bennington in 1975, and one of his
own pieces called “Hallelujah;” a jump or riff tune.
By the time the orchestra played Yoshi’s on July 20th
it had already had done two warmup shows at the
Luggage Store in San Francisco and both pieces were
well-received by an enthusiastic audience of over
a hundred people.


Marco’s approach is to use the band as an instrument,
to play it like an instrument, to give the players
the direction, respect, and individual freedom needed
to let the music flow through the musician and the
instrument and out without hangups . . . sound
“. . . and then it’s gone . . . in the air,”
as Eric Dolphy said.