Art Works Blog

NEA Arts: Days Full of Music

While conducting interviews for the new issue of NEA Arts, we asked artists to tell us where they look for inspiration. Some cited nature or poetry; others look to cultural history or the visual arts. For contemporary bluegrass musician Chris Thile, collaboration has become a major means of expanding his creative horizons. Last April, Thile played a series of duo dates with musician Brad Mehldau, whom Thile described as "one of those musicians that helped me to see beyond thinking in terms of what a great jazz song this is, or what a great pop song this is." In the unused interview excerpt below, Thile goes on to describe how Mehldau further helped him rethink his notions of musical genre.

"One of the things that I love the most about Brad was something that I love about Glenn Gould, which is the rhythmic inevitability of their presentation—the music that Brad makes is somehow a lot like Glenn Gould playing Bach. And I realized that [Brad’s] music has a lot more in common with Bach than it does with bad jazz music."

Read our full interview with Chris Thile, or check out our Art Talk with Brad Mehldau.

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