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Citizen Caine

Uri Caine: mind of a maestro, heart of a sideman

Uri Caine, John Hébert, Ben Perowsky in Toronto, 2011. Photo by Jan Caine
John Hébert, Uri Caine and Ben Perowsky
John Hébert, Uri Caine and Ben Perowsky
Uri Caine, Tim Lefebvre, Zach Danziger: aka Bedrock, 2008
Uri Caine and friends in Philadelphia, 1978. Photo courtesy Bootsie Barnes
Uri Caine Ensemble, China, 2007

Good luck catching pianist Uri Caine at his home in New York. It’s early November, and while sitting down to brunch not far from his Upper West Side neighborhood, Caine speaks of his recent itinerary: solo piano arrangements of Mahler in Beijing, duo gigs in France and Italy with trumpeter Paolo Fresu, treatments of Brahms in Berlin with the Konzerthausorchester. Soon he’d be heading to Helsinki to revisit his Goldberg Variations project, collaborating with the new music group Avanti; then to Madrid to perform his biblically inspired “Lamentations of Jeremiah”; then to Wroclaw, Poland, to unveil a string quartet with piano and drums (featuring his trio mate Ben Perowsky). In Rome he was slated to undertake “Nasdaq Match 0.2” by Fabio Cifariello Ciardi.

“[Fabio] takes the stock market and programs different stocks into different instrumental groups,” Caine marvels, “and as the soloist I have to try to influence the market to go up or down. The guy’s crazy. I keep asking him, ‘Give me some stock tips!'”

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