"Play It Like It's Music" by Trevor Exter
Play It Like It's Music
"The thing that I enjoy the most"

"The thing that I enjoy the most"

Sitting at a see-thru grand piano

080: Chris White

Good morning! This is the final (for now) episode of Play It Like It’s Music. I’m Trevor, thanks for listening.

We’ve got a great guest today to wrap up this phase of the show.

Photo by Marcy Little

On Wednesday, March 24th of 2021 as always, music is not content. It’s connection.

I’m thrilled that we made it this far, and this is definitely not goodbye. Just a transition as I lean hard into some of the music projects I’ve got going on over here.

Moving forward I’ll still be sending out updates on the email list (in a yet-to-be-determined frequency and format) so make sure you sign up at playitlikeitsmusic.com if you’re not already receiving those.

The podcast feed will go to sleep for a bit but if you know me, you know I can’t stop releasing audio. You’ll find new stuff going up on Soundcloud, Bandcamp and my socials, so hit that follow button over on Twitter and Instagram. I still spend as little time as possible over on Facebook, but it can’t hurt to throw a follow over there as well.

Meanwhile, today we’re going to meet the man who pretty much started me down this road. The guy who taught me where a 7th chord could be found on a cello and how to walk a bass line on it as well.

Based in Ithaca New York, Chris White has been exploring new directions for the cello since the late 1970’s. Whether playing in an intimate duo with piano or guitar, a jazz string quartet or with his groups the Cayuga Jazz Ensemble or the Cloud Chamber Orchestra, Chris’ playing has the vibrancy and the urgency of someone who is excited about what he is communicating.

Photo by Marcy Little

White’s development as a jazz and improvisational cellist has been strongly affected by his guitar studies of folk, rock and jazz during his formative years. These studies were largely self taught, and focused on learning by ear, improvising, experimenting, and studying chords – things which cellists are usually not encouraged to do in traditional study. As he began applying these skills to the cello, he found it to be a wonderfully versatile instrument for playing all kinds of improvised music because he could play melodies, chords, and bass lines.

He’s a major figure in our world, as the founder and director of the New Directions Cello Festival for 25 years. He recently passed the baton to the very energetic and talented Jeremy Harman and some other great musicians who are going to keep the thing going, starting this June 26th and 27th.

I couldn’t be more honored to put Chris on today’s episode as I wrap up this phase of doing my music podcast. It’s been an incredible run, and one could argue that Chris was the man holding the pistol at the starting line. It’s a great honor to call him a friend and a colleague after all these years doing this crazy thing we do.

So let’s say hi.

Press PLAY above to hear my conversation with Chris White.

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Photo by Marcy Little

Thanks so much for listening to Play It Like It’s Music. Thanks so much to Chris White for spending some very generous time with us. You can find him on the gram @chrisjazzcello. Go say hi.

I can’t believe we did 80 shows! I’m gonna wrap it up here for a bit as I drill down on finishing my next couple of albums and then we’ll see. Who knows what’s going to happen now with the scene, the world, the universe. All I know is that I’m super happy to have shared this time with you for the last couple of years, blessed that you cared to listen and given us your ears.

All of these episodes will remain available indefinitely, so if you believe the show deserves a wider audience or you want it to come back in the future, help people find out about it by telling a friend:

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We're all contending with a mutating professional landscape, jacked revenue streams, a catastrophic global pandemic and plenty of other noise out here.

But you gotta keep playing.

We don't draw any lines here between scenes or styles.

As always, thank you for listening and remember to play it like its music.

You can check out my NEW instrumental records on bandcamp, and I hope you will. Volume 3 is coming out April 1st.

Sign the mailing list on substack to get my music sent right to you the very moment it comes out.

Music is a beautiful thing and it makes the world go round.

Big love to your ears.


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"Play It Like It's Music" by Trevor Exter
Play It Like It's Music
Purists may whine that the best days of music are behind us, that capital “M” music has seen its peak and is no longer relevant. But here at Play It Like It's Music we believe the opposite: not only is the act of musicmaking an essential life skill with a lineage stretching back to the beginnings of human history, but the vocation of the professional musician is more vital today than it ever has been. Once a month, join musician, songwriter and producer Trevor Exter as he drops in on working musicians from every genre.