In May of 2017, we had the pleasure of hosting a month-long residency by bassist/composer Chris Dammann’s group Restroy, which features some of the most creative players in the Chicago jazz scene: James Davis (trumpet), Paul Giallorenzo (piano), Mabel Kwan (piano), Kevin Davis (cello), and Avreeayl Ra (drums). Over the course of the residency, the band developed and fine-tuned the music that would go on to become Restroy’s 2018 self-titled release on 1980 Records. You can listen to the first single “Close” here.
In an interview with C-Ville, Dammann describes his approach:
Dammann likes to give Restroy musicians something challenging to play, just enough information to know what’s going on, but not so much that they can get away with not listening. “Listening is the most important part of it for me,” says Dammann. “I think of a musician as just a highly skilled, highly attuned listener.”
If you let music pour into your ears and seep into your brain, your heart, your blood, you can absorb it to the point where it becomes a part of you and you’ll feel ownership over the sound. Even if you didn’t write it, you might feel like you did—that’s how involved Dammann wants you to get with this music.
“Sometimes, when you go see music, it’s like you the listener are making it happen in some magical way, and I’m always looking for that. When you’re the performer, you can engage directly with that, and if it’s subtle enough, it brings everyone into the process. …Listening is a sacred thing.”