THE OXTET DOES HINDEMITH from Josh Oxford is a bold reimagining of classical music in a jazz fusion context. In this album, Oxford revisits some of Paul Hindemith’s greatest works. Hindemith, a late Romantic German composer, lived during the first half of the 20th century and was among the most significant composers of his time.
Today, Josh is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner-workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about his love for progressive rock legends like Frank Zappa, and his dream to collaborate with modern jazz phenomenon Laufey…
Take us on a walk through your musical library. What record gets the most plays? Are there any “deep cuts” that you particularly enjoy?
I enjoy hearing brand new music! Ithaca has a vibrant local music scene that yields a lot of interesting aural pleasures! I don’t listen to a lot of recorded music.
As far as “deep cuts,” my father had me check out The Ethyl Merman Disco Album when we first got a USB turntable, and that influences a lot of the introductions in my “tape” music. Another favorite that doesn’t get enough attention, from my father’s tapes, is Herbie Hancock’s album Sunlight.
How have your influences changed as you grow as a musician?
My initial influences in progressive rock (Genesis, King Crimson, ELP) led to further rhythmic development with Frank Zappa and harmonic development with Stevie Wonder.
What were your first musical experiences?
Listening to music on my father’s 5-disc CD changer on a Macintosh stereo system with Dahlquist speakers and giving air drum concerts on our stools with CD booklets and albums laid out with the lyrics.
What’s the greatest performance you’ve ever seen, and what made it special?
The videos I’ve seen of Frank Zappa in Stockholm in 1973 and NYC 1981. Both bands were insanely tight and the 1973 show had some amazing electroacoustic instruments (Ian Underwood’s specifically).
What musical mentor had the greatest impact on your artistic journey? Is there any wisdom they’ve imparted onto you that still resonates today?
I’d say electronic music innovator David Borden has been the most significant. We used to play synthesizers together regularly for a few years, but after I began composing more after my car accident, he gave me some really important compositional advice — the end of the piece has to reflect the journey on which the music’s been.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Definitely Laufey — she has such a unique and refreshing style with respect to her singing and songwriting.