Ian Carey Quintet+1 at Chez Hanny, SF, 4/24 + Bonus Audio

Hello folks! If you missed our CD release show last week, you have another chance to see this band and hear music from our new CD on Kabocha Records, Interview Music. (The title is sort of an inside joke about the jazz scene. More on that here.)

This Sunday (4/24) at 4pm we are thrilled to be returning to Chez Hanny in San Francisco’s Portola District, an intimate “jazz salon” that has been presenting unique concerts for over a decade.

The band will feature my longtime partners in crime Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone, Sheldon Brown on bass clarinet and tenor saxophone, Jon Arkin on drums, Fred Randolph on bass, Adam Shulman on piano, and myself on trumpet. We will be playing all the music from the new album (including my four-part title suite) plus new expanded arrangements of music from our previous albums Sink/Swim, Contextualizin’, and Roads & Codes (“★★★★½” —DownBeat).

Chez Hanny (click link for more info) is located at 1300 Silver Avenue, San Francisco. $20 donation is requested. Email reservations are strongly recommended (see previous link) as seating is first come, first served (doors open at 3:30pm). I hope to see you there!

BUT: If you can’t make it and still want to hear Interview Music, the album is now available on CDBaby , Amazon, and iTunes . And you can hear a full track from the suite here:

ALSO: A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be invited to do an interview with Alisa Clancy on our great local jazz station KCSM to talk about the album. You can listen to the interview below.

ALSO ALSO: I’m going to be playing this Saturday afternoon with the great drummer and composer Bryan Bowman and his quintet at a new house concert venue in the East Bay. The show is at 4pm at 1034 Talbot Ave. in Albany, $10 donation requested. Thanks!

CD Release Show for “Interview Music” Saturday, April 9 in Oakland!

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Hello Folks! It’s been a loooooong road (including planning, composing, rehearsal, more composing, tweaking, more rehearsal, premiering, more tweaking, more performing, more rehearsing, recording, listening, mixing, more listening, more mixing, mastering, designing, running a crowdfunding campaign, unpacking, promoting, mailing, and more rehearsing), but the destination is finally in sight.

I am of course talking about the CD release show for Interview Music, the fourth album from the Ian Carey Quintet+1, happening Saturday, April 9 at 8pm, at one of our favorite venues, The Sound Room, in the bustling downtown Oakland arts district.

The show will feature all the music from the album (though not necessarily in order), plus new expanded arrangements of music from our previous albums Sink/Swim (2006), Contextualizin’ (2010), and 2013’s Roads & Codes (“★★★★½” —Downbeat), performed by my longtime partners in crime Adam Shulman (piano), Kasey Knudsen (alto saxophone), Sheldon Brown (bass clarinet & tenor saxophone), Fred Randolph (bass) and Jon Arkin (drums).

Tickets will be $15 advance (available here) or $20 at the door, but will include a free copy of the CD with admission! And rest assured that the great majority of your dough goes directly to this hard-working band (as The Sound Room is one of the most musician-friendly venues around).

Also: on Thursday April 7 at 9am, I will be joining Alisa Clancy at our local treasure KCSM Jazz 91 FM to talk about the album (and play some selections), so please tune in if you’re up!

Finally, here’s some more about the album:

Hope to see you at the show!

IJKL at Studio Grand 3/14; “Interview Music” CD Release April 9

ijkl3

Hi folks, I wanted to let you know about an exciting show happening this Monday, and encourage you to “save the date” for our CD release show next month.

First: This Monday March 13 my new band IJKL will be playing at Studio Grand (just down the block from the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland). I formed IJKL (Ian Carey on trumpet, Jon Arkin on drums, Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone, and Lisa Mezzacappa on bass) in order to explore the freer side of improvisation, and have written a new book of music inspired by some of my favorite musicians in that genre (including Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Giuffre, John Carter, and Cecil Taylor). It’s some of the most adventurous playing I’ve done in a while and I’m really looking forward to playing it with this great cast of characters.

We’re sharing the bill with Gold Age (featuring local creative music heavyweights Aram Shelton, Mark Clifford, Safa Shokrai, and Birtt Ciampa). The show starts at 9:45p (I know, it’s a late one) and we’ll play second (Probably around 10:45). Tickets are $5-15 sliding scale. Hope you
can make it!

Second: I wanted to give you a heads-up about the long-awaited CD release show for Interview Music, the new album from my Quintet+1, at The Sound Room in Oakland on Saturday April 9. It’s a project that has been in the works for several years and I’m thrilled to have a finished album ready to send out into the world. Stay tuned for more info as the date approaches!

Vibing, Part II: Vibable Offenses

michelle_stink_eyeWhile I’m in my “not here to make friends” mode (see my previous post, The Case for Vibing), I thought it would be helpful to elaborate by sharing a few examples of behaviors I (and many of my fellow musicians) consider to be deserving of a serious vibe-down. Context (open jam session vs. regular gig with guests vs. sideman gig, etc.) is important, and not all are equally vibe-worthy, but if you engage in any of these actions there’s a really good chance you’ll find yourself on the midnight train to Vibeville. Let’s begin!

  • Losing the form on a blues (bad as a soloist, worse as an accompanist)
  • Losing the form of a tune while reading the chord changes off your phone
  • Texting/sexting on the bandstand
  • Acting like a bandleader while sitting in (e.g. trying to dictate solo order, trading, or other similar micromanagement–this is worse when sitting in on someone else’s gig than on a more chaotic jam session)
  • Not knowing what key you sing a song in
  • Fumbling through the melody of a tune before the tune has started (Either you know it or you don’t. Don’t give it away. Especially don’t do this before the band has agreed on the tune)
  • Noodling behind someone else’s solo (I’m not talking about purposeful accompaniment, although you probably shouldn’t do that either unless you know the person soloing well and know they don’t mind that). Everyone can hear you, especially the soloist, and they will drop a vibe bomb on you when they’re done like you wouldn’t believe
  • Calling any of the following tunes: My Funny Valentine, Summertime, The Girl from Ipanema, My Way, Chameleon, Take Five, Freddie Freeloader (unless it’s your gig, in which case knock yourself out but be sure to get some tips)
  • Calling a tune which the band finished playing less than 30 minutes ago
  • Asking someone in the band “What tune is this?” while they’re playing and you are not (goes double for when you are playing)
  • Calling a tune with a very notey bebop head but then not playing the melody yourself  (piano players, looking at you)
  • Calling an obscure tune (not a problem in itself) but having no backup choice if the band doesn’t know it
  • Cutting off someone’s solo on someone else’s gig
  • Requesting something be played as a funk tune (unless it’s a band which regularly plays funk)
  • Calling the same one or two tunes every time you sit in on every gig (and making the same mistakes every time)
  • Playing many choruses on a tune you obviously don’t know either the changes or the form to, hoping you’ll eventually get it (which usually results in ending your final chorus in the wrong place).  As your high school band director said, practice at home!

But just for fun and in the interest of running the Vibe-o-rail in both directions, here are some poorly-executed vibing behaviors which may result in a serious counter-vibe:

  • Vibing the house band on a gig you’re being invited to sit in on (for pretty much any reason!)
  • Vibing the bandleader on a gig he/she hired you for (sometimes this is indeed necessary, but you better be prepared to never get called again)
  • Vibing someone in the band for not knowing that difficult tune (26-2, Slings and Arrows, Countdown, something by Kurt Rosenwinkel) that you really want to show off on–come on, you can show off on something everybody knows (unless your licks are all for that particular tune! Vibe alert!)
  • Vibing someone for not wanting to play in 7/4 or a weird key at a jam session (unless those are a normal expectation of said session)
  • Vibing someone who’s got a good attitude and is looking for pointers (save your vibes for the truly deserving!)
  • Vibing someone for playing the Miles version of “Well You Needn’t” instead of the Monk version, or vice-versa
  • Vibing your fellow-sufferers on an already awful gig
  • Vibing the band by introducing yourself and saying, “I usually play more modern stuff than you guys” (true story!)
  • Vibing the entire band for not being on your level (maybe that is not the right band for you to be playing with?)
  • Vibing someone for vibing you over your excessive vibing

Got more? Throw ’em in the comments!

The Case for Vibing

Today the jazz musician and blogger Camden Hughes has a post (“Why Vibing is Bad for Jazz“) arguing that “vibing”–the longstanding practice favored by jazz musicians of giving another musician the stinkeye or worse if he or she isn’t making it in one way or another–is never good.

I disagree.

First: I do agree that generally, yes, it’s not good to be an nasty person, and there is definitely a kind of defensive vibing that is unrelated to anyone’s performance and springs from a musician’s own insecurities. This kind of vibing is bad. Being respectful and having a sense of humility about your place in the musical continuum is always a good goal regardless of the situation.

Eye-2But the fact is that some judiciously applied instructional vibing can fulfill the very important purpose of teaching people that this music is challenging and demanding and deserves a level of competence. To elaborate:

Often young players, hobbyists, or even professional musicians from other genres will come into a jazz sit-in or gig situation thinking they are fairly hot stuff due to previous adoring crowds in schools or karaoke bars or their success in non-jazz settings. It is in the best interest of both these musicians and the music in general to disabuse them of this notion (if in fact they are making rookie mistakes) as soon as possible. Why? So they can either a) realize they really need to improve, and do the work necessary to get there, or b) realize they don’t have the  interest or time to improve and would be better off spending their energy elsewhere.

Because you know what’s more bad for jazz than vibing? Bad jazz. I’ve said this before, but the music is ill-served by putting out a poor example to represent the product–when people hear a bad rock band they think, “this band is lousy,” whereas when they hear a bad jazz band they think, “I don’t like jazz.”

So by reinforcing the seriousness required of this music to these players, the overall quality of the product improves and fewer fans are turned off by lousy performances. It can be unpleasant, I get it! I was definitely one of those youngsters with a too-high opinion of myself and have been on the receiving end of vibing many times, much of it well-deserved. But it also served two purposes that made me a better musician: it inspired me to get my ass in gear and get to work; and it helped me get used to the idea that this is just a thing that happens in life and not to lose sleep over it. (This is especially true of the defensive vibing I mentioned earlier–you’re going to run into that. Better to learn to get over it and on with your own work.) It’s also been my experience that a musician coming from the humble/respectful place I mentioned before who screws up will get a kinder variety of vibe than one coming from a place of arrogance.

Now, to preemptively address some objections: “What about when they smashed Ornette Coleman’s horn? Was that good for the music?” Of course not, violence is bad and no, they shouldn’t have smashed his horn. But imagine how Ornette must’ve sounded to those early bands he sat in with–what he was doing was in another world stylistically, so of course it wouldn’t have fit, so it makes sense in the context of the music of that time that he would be treated like someone who couldn’t play. So how did he respond? He found a group of players who could appreciate his vision and started a revolution.

And obviously vibing is not appropriate in all circumstances. In an educational setting, for example, the teacher could accomplish the same goal by just telling the student what he/she needs to work on. But in an age when jazz clubs fill up half their calendar with middle and high school bands, it is worth emphasizing that we as representatives of the hundred-plus year tradition of this music have (in my opinion anyway) a duty to put forth serious, well-executed music (in whatever style we happen to be playing at the moment). Half-assing it should be inexusable for the pro as well as the student.

One more thought: to the idea of “we’re all in this together,” I would say, yes we are, but that doesn’t mean we get to phone it in. It’s nice to say “Anyone can play jazz” but it needs the caveat “if you work your ass off at it.”

In other words: it’s nothing personal, man! You just need to practice! And then come back and try it again.

Don’t miss Vibing, Part II: Vibable Offenses!

‘Interview Music’ Coming April 2016!

Hi folks, I’m very excited to announce the release of the new album by my Quintet+1, Interview Music, this April. The centerpiece of the record is the 55-minute, four-movement title suite. The video below will tell you more about the album, the piece, and the outstanding band:

The album was made possible by the support of the generous donors to our crowdfunding campaign, to whom I am extremely grateful! Thanks also to San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and the California Jazz Conservatory for their early support for the composition and premiere of this piece. (You can read an extended article about the album here. )

We’ll be doing two performances in the Bay Area to celebrate the album’s release–the official CD release show at Oakland’s great downtown venue The Sound Room on April 9th, and an intimate afternoon performance at Chez Hanny in San Francisco on April 24th. I hope you’re able to make it to one or both!

Help Release Our New Album, “Interview Music”

Friends, Family, Fans & Supporters:

It’s been a while since my last update! A lot has gone on, including a very busy musical time (including performances with my new band IJKL, Sam Bevan and his quintet, and Arun Luthra’s Konnakol Jazz project), followed by a not-very-busy musical time (while I recuperate from handing off a kidney to my dad, which is surprisingly not something they like you to play trumpet right after doing).

But today I wanted to​ tell you about my new album Interview Music: A Suite for Quintet+1, which I’m hoping to release April 2016, with your help. It’s been in the works for over two years, and we’re in the home stretch of the process, which I’m really excited about. The centerpiece of the album is a four-part, hourlong suite which is a culmination of over a decade of growth with an amazing group of musicians–Adam Shulman, Fred Randolph, Jon Arkin, Kasey Knudsen, and Sheldon Brown.

And now we’re asking for your help to make it possible for us to make it down the last mile and to a finished CD we can release to the world. We’ve come a long way–through composing, rehearsing, premiering, recording, and mixing–but we still have some very important expenses remaining, so we’re launching a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo (one of the most trusted crowdfunding sites on the planet) to help raise funds to make it through this last mile of the production process.  (These are of course expenses which in the good old days would’ve been fronted by a record label, but that is some spilt milk that’s definitely not worth crying over.) (Just kidding, I cry over it all the time.)

Of course we’re not just asking for a handout–we offer perks for contributors at many levels, ranging from digital downloads for $10, to CDs for $15, up to posters, signed copies of the original score, concert tickets, and even producer credit. Any amount you’re able to contribute, even if it’s just preordering the CD, would be very helpful and appreciated.

So please visit our campaign page at http://igg.me/at/interview-music to learn more about the campaign, the band, and the music. And please feel tell anyone you think might be interested in the project, or share on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks very much for your support!

 

IJKL at The Monday Make Out, Sept. 7

Hello Folks,

I wanted to let you know about a show coming up this Monday night which I’m excited about–I’m going to be debuting a brand new project at the Monday Make Out music series at the Make Out Room in the Mission, which has been a great showcase for creative and experimental music for years.

ijklBased on a shared love of free jazz and group improvisation, IJKL brings together my long-time collaborators alto saxophonist Kasey Knudsen and drummer Jon Arkin, along with acclaimed bassist and composer Lisa Mezzacappa (“one of the most imaginative figures on the Bay Area creative jazz scene” —San Jose Mercury News) in this adventurous new quartet.

The group is dedicated to performing a new book of compositions by me, inspired by classic and current legends of free improvisation including Ornette Coleman, Anthony Braxton, John Carter, Jimmy Giuffre and others.

We’re going to be playing the third and final set of the night (probably starting around 10pm) and will be preceded by Sound Etiquette (Aaron Levin, Nick Obando and Eli Wallace) and Past-Present-Future (Myles Boisen, John Hanes and Lisa Mezzacappa).

And there’s no cover! Hope to see you there.

WHAT: The Monday Make Out, with IJKL (Kasey Knudsen, alto saxophone; Jon Arkin, drums; Lisa Mezzacappa, bass; and Ian Carey, trumpet), plus Sound Etiquette and Past-Present-Future
WHEN: Monday, September 7, 8:30p
WHERE: The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd St, San Francisco
HOW MUCH: Free!

IC Quintet+1 at the Presidio, Duocracy Workshop, Fred Randolph Quintet

Hi folks,

I wanted to let you know about some exciting events coming up:

First, next Friday July 31, I am very happy to be bringing my Quintet+1 to the Presidio Sessions series, which is presented by San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music at the Presidio Officers’ Club. The room is beautiful, parking is easy, and best of all, it’s FREE! (However, seating is limited and these shows have been popular, so they suggest you reserve a spot through Eventbrite.) As a bonus, I’m very excited to have as a special guest, from New York, the amazing flutist and saxophonist (and alumnus of the Quintet+1) Evan Francis. We’ll be playing music from our albums Roads & Codes (“4-1/2 stars” –Downbeat) and my new suite Interview Music (coming to a CD near you in 2016). The series encourages a casual atmosphere and interaction with the musicians (but no stage diving!).

WHAT: The Ian Carey Quintet+1 featuring Evan Francis
WHO: Jon Arkin, drums; Sheldon Brown, bass clarinet & saxophone; Ian Carey, trumpet; Fred Randolph, bass; Adam Shulman, piano; and Evan Francis, flute & saxophone
WHEN: Friday, July 31, 6:00pm-7:30pm
WHERE: The Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave, San Francisco
HOW MUCH: Free! (Reserve a seat here)

The following Sunday (8/2), my partner-in-crime Ben Stolorow and I will be presenting a two-hour workshop for musicians at the California Jazz Conservatory on the Art of the Duo. Drawing from the techniques presented on our 2014 album Duocracy, we will demonstrate the range of possibilities of the duo, outlining the traditional roles of each instrument as well as showing the potential for creating more abstract contrapuntal textures. Special emphasis placed on the importance of rhythmic feel in performing in this fun yet challenging format. Open to all instrumentalists and improvising vocalists.

WHAT: The Art of the Duo: a Workshop
WHO: Ian Carey, trumpet; Ben Stolorow, piano
WHEN: Sunday, August 2, 2pm-4pm
WHERE: California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison St, Berkeley
HOW MUCH: $30 advance, $45 day of workshop

Finally, after the duo workshop, I will be heading to Portola Vineyards for an evening performance with the great bassist Fred Randoph and his Quintet as part of their summer jazz series. We’ll be playing music from Fred’s great new album Song Without Singing.

WHAT: Portola Vineyards Summer Jazz Presents the Fred Randolph Quintet
WHO: Fred Randolph, bass; Greg Wyser-Pratt, drums; Matt Clark, piano; Rob Roth, tenor saxophone; Ian Carey, trumpet
WHEN: Sunday, August 2, 5:30pm-7pm
WHERE: Portola Vineyards, 850 Los Trancos Rd, Portola Valley, CA
HOW MUCH: $15 adult, $4 child

Thanks, and hope to see you at one or more of these events!

Upcoming Shows: Cafe Stritch, Make Out Room, Circus Bella

Hi folks, this is just a quick update to tell you about a few upcoming shows I’m excited about.

This Thursday (7/2) I’ll be joining local legendary pianist, composer, author and poet Don Alberts and his Renaissance Band for my first appearance at Cafe Stritch, San Jose’s very happening Rahsaan Roland Kirk-inspired jazz spot. We’ll be playing Don’s swinging original tunes.

What: Don Alberts Renaissance Band
Who: Don Alberts, piano; Stu Pilorz, trombone; Ron Marabuto, drums; Ian Carey, trumpet; Larry Epstein, bass
When: Thursday, July 2, 8:30p-12am
Where: Cafe Stritch, 374 S 1st St, San Jose CA 95113

Monday, I’m very excited to be playing for the first time with one of my favorite Bay Area creative music aggregations: the Nathan Clevenger Group, which plays exclusively Nathan’s beautiful and thorny compositions, as part of the venerable Monday Make Out series. (I will be shedding this relentlessly unpredictable music until about 8 minutes before the gig in the hope of not crashing and burning in such heavy company.) Also on the bill are two additional bands featuring plenty of other big-time local improvisers!

What: The Nathan Clevenger Group
Who: Marcus Stephens: clarinet, tenor sax; Ian Carey: trumpet; Rachel Condry: bass clarinet, clarinet; Sam Bevan: bass; Jon Arkin: drums; Jason Levis: drums, percussion; Nathan Clevenger: guitar and compositions
When: Monday, July 6, 10ish? (The show starts at 8:30 and we play the third set, following sets by EGW Trio and Ryan Pate.)
Where: The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd Street (& Mission), San Francisco
How Much: FREE!

Finally, I am fortunate to perform once again with Circus Bella, the Bay Area’s independent circus, as they begin their 2015 Circus in the Parks series–all shows are free, with live music by Rob Reich and the Circus Bella All-Star Band (Reich, accordion; Ralph Carney, saxophone; Ian Carey, trumpet; Greg Stephens, trombone; Jonathan Seiberlich, sousaphone; and Michael Pinkham, drums). Upcoming shows are:

July 3rd, 6pm: Mosswood Park, Oakland
July 10th, 6pm: Studio One Arts Center, Oakland
July 11th, 2pm: Hamilton Playground, San Francisco
July 12th, 2pm: Union Square, San Francisco
July 19th, 12pm: Dimond Park, Oakland
July 25th, 2pm: Pickleweed Park, San Rafael
July 26th, 2pm: Herons Head Park, San Francisco
August 1st, 1pm: Mission Bay, San Francisco

Thanks!

P.S. my new graphic design site is now live—please have a look and let me know if you have any design needs!

Announcements and thoughts from a Bay Area trumpeter and composer