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INTERVIEW: Joey Curtin

How would you classify your music?

Instrumental fusion of classical, jazz and ambient sounds.

The Tigris and Euphrates album, in particular, I refer to as “Ancient Futuristic.”

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)

Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays (Pat Metheny Group)

Aaron Copland

Vince Guaraldi

Chick Corea

What do you want fans to take from your music?

I want to spark their imaginations to see pictures and movies in their minds.

I’ve traveled to many different countries around the world and I hope that my music reflects the beautiful places and precious people from those journeys.

 How’s the music scene in your locale?

I moved to the Pacific Northwest one year ago, and the opportunities are great!  I’ve met local musicians who have become good friends and we do performances together in the Seattle area. There’s a real appreciation for the arts, so the House Concert venue is very popular and one of my favorite kind of gigs to play. I also have the opportunity to play in The La Conner Seaside Gallery where my husband is one of three artists who share the gallery. The art inspires me to create new music!

What is the best concert you have been to?

Pat Metheny Group at the Verizon Theater in Houston, TX  2002.

What do you like most about playing live? 

I love to share the stories and inspiration behind my original compositions.

I also love the freedom to play what I feel at that moment, improvising and giving a one-of-a-kind performance.

It’s great to meet your audience in person and get to know them.

Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?    

“Incense.”

This song is about a type of beauty that is borne out of deep suffering.

I started composing it while playing at a Peace and Reconciliation meeting in Northern Ireland after a bombing that killed 31 people.

I spent years on this song. Musically, it’s challenging on the piano.  I became obsessed creating dissonant chords for synthesized string and horn tracks. ( I played French horn and trumpet throughout high school and into college where I took arranging and composition.) The deep emotion that inspired this song also gave me the chance to incorporate a lifetime of study, practice,and passion for the mysterious way that music affects our hearts and minds.

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

Moving half way across the country forces you to take risks!

I’ve had the opportunity to meet lots of new people and explore new places to play.

I was invited to play in Boise for the Idaho Contemporary Instrumental Music series last December. This was a great honor and the audience was wonderful!

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be? 

I would love to have dinner with Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays and hear the early stories of how they met and began collaborating.

What’s next for you?

Lots of recording. Solo piano, piano with orchestration, and some fun electronic projects.

I also play a bit of mandolin and am composing a folk melody for violin, guitar and mandolin. This has become a new inspiration for me because it’s totally different than the piano. My husband, Patrick, is a guitarist and our son, David Curtin, is also a professional musician in Chicago. They both played on the Tigris and Euphrates album and I am composing more music incorporating their beautiful sounds!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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