378 words — 2 minutes read

Walking Distance

I was travelling home from Basel last Friday afternoon, when two gentleman sat down across me on the train. One of them mentioned, that he just had stowed his cymbals, and that he was in a band that was an on a small european tour. We started talking and found out that we shared views not only on music but also on a lot of other topics, more or less related to music.

The gentlemans name was Shawn Baltazor and he was touring with his 3 band mates in a band called Walking Distance, and heading to play first in Kasheme and the next day at Mehrspur as part of their NYC concerts.

Luckily we didn’t have any plans for Saturday night, so I had a chance to see the band (supported by Travis Reuter on guitar). They were playing songs from their Freebird album. On Freebird, they worked with Charlie Parker songs and applied various principles to transform them and investigate new music that is generated by applying specific principles.

An example is the “alphatbetical sorting of note pitches”. Based on the Of Oz the Wizard, a collage of the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, that is sorted completely alphabetically (go and watch it, it is funny and makes sense on some weird level), they re-arranged “Ornothology” by Charlie Parker and came up with Simple Ghilnooorty.

Shawn told me about that process on the train, and I found it delightful on an intellectual level, but I couldn’t quite imagine how that would sound like as music. Turns out, it does, and it turned into a deeply hypnotizing piece of new music. It’s fascinating, that each of the pieces the played is a complete transformation from the original tune by Bird, but couldn’t exist without the tune in the first place (and the ingenuity of the members of “Walking Distance”).

Caleb, Adam, Kenny, Travis


It was an inspiring evening, with wonderful music from five great musicians and we ended up talking for quite a while afterwards. I’m sure, our paths will cross again - there was a definitive sense of Synchronicity to this random chance meeting.

If you are into modern Jazz, composed with a technical background but played with soul, go and check out their albums.

Jens-Christian Fischer

Maker. Musician