Fireside Chat

Peter Zummo

60 minsFirst aired 15 Mar 2018
Kristopher Johnson

The celebrated American avant-garde trombonist and composer discusses minimalism, the labor of performance, Arthur Russell and more.

Peter Zummo is an American trombonist, producer and composer whose work in the downtown scene of New York City’s mid-20th century interdisciplinary avant-garde has been deeply influential. His celebrated trombone style is one of the beloved features of Arthur Russell’s work, as well as of artists such as Peter Gordon and his Love of Life orchestra, Downtown Ensemble, the Flying Hearts, the Lounge Lizards, Tom Skinner and Oliver Coates, among myriad others. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Zummo studied music at Wesleyan University, adapting his love for Western classical, jazz and world music into an improvisational style of trombone playing with a focus on live, ensemble performance — a style he wryly calls “minimalism and a whole lot more.” Much of his recorded output is archival, with albums such as Zummo With An X and Dress Code (Don’t Look At My Car), released by Optimo Music, and Lateral Pass and Frame Loop, released by Foom Music.


Interview by Lauren Martin
Written, produced and engineered by Marc Übel

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