Everybody Loves the Jail Cell

David Johnston

Why do they love it so? (Photo credit: Shawn Choi.)


A terrific lecture/demonstration with Jeff Fairbanks at Flushing Town Hall on a cold and blustery Sunday night last weekend.  Jeff talked about his residency, and his projects with the piri, a Korean reed instrument made from bamboo.  He talked about his background as a jazz trombonist, and a composer on the piano, and his determination to break out of his old composing and performing habits, forcing himself to learn on a new instrument, with a completely different non-Western notation.

But here’s what it comes down to. The jail cell. The composers-in-residence at Flushing Town Hall love the jail cell.  See, FTH was an actual town hall when Flushing was its own city.  It had a courtroom. And it had a pokey.  A lockup.  A hoosegow. OK, it’s just a room with a big metal door, but it gets a lot of sun and light. And Jeff talked about watching the sleet one day, and that leading to one of his piri compositions.

But I just have to ask – what is it with the jail cell at Flushing Town Hall?


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