What piece of art changed your life? How did it affect you?
I was 16 when I first heard John Coltrane's recording of A Love Supreme. At the time, I was taking piano lessons privately, and it made me want to play improvised music. There was something about the vibe of the group that initially inspired me. I felt that everyone was totally in sync and that there was a very strong statement being made. I especially was taken by how [pianist] McCoy Tyner played in this setting and, of course, the interaction by all the musicians. In the groups that I lead now, I place a high value on band interaction, and I suppose this stems from the impression Coltrane's band made on me at an early stage in my musical development.
Pianist Mark Soskin played with Sonny Rollins for 14 years, but he's really hit his stride as a solo artist. He's put out three stellar discs on the Kind of Blue label: Man Behind the Curtain (featuring Ravi Coltrane on sax), One Hopeful Day (with guitarist John Abercrombie, saxophonist Chris Potter, and bassist John Patitucci), and the just-released Nino Rota, a startling solo piano tribute to the Italian composer known for scoring The Godfather and Fellini's 81/2. Soskin plays An die Musik this Saturday at 8 pm and 9:30 pm.