All posts by Ian

April Update: CJC Workshop, Asian-American Orch. at SFJAZZ, ESO

Hello folks! It’s been a happily busy musical spring so far (in spite of the daily horrors of the news), and I wanted to let you know about a few upcoming events.

CJC Workshop: Fluency in All 12 Keys

This Sunday (4/9) at 11:30am I’ll be at California Jazz Conservatory/Jazzschool in Berkeley, kicking off the Contemporary Jazz Improvisation Workshop Series, a four-part educational series for musicians featuring different local players exploring a variety of topics. My focus will be “Developing Fluency in All 12 Keys,” and I’ll be looking at several strategies  for getting comfortable in the intimidating key signature-hinterlands. Open to anyone with basic knowledge of jazz theory, and also available on a single class-basis. Registration info here.

Asian American Orchestra at SFJAZZ Poetry Festival Sunday (4/9)

Sunday evening at 8pm, I’m excited to be joining Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra and SFJAZZ Poet Laureate Genny Lim at the Joe Henderson Lab as part of the SFJAZZ Poetry Festival. We’ll be performing our updated version of Max Roach’s We Insist: Freedom Now Suite (with new poetry by Lim). Information and tickets available here.

ESO in San Francisco (4/16)

On Easter Sunday evening (4/16) from 6:30-9pm, I’ll be back with the indomitable Electric Squeezebox Orchestra (directed by Erik Jekabson), which has been holding down its residency at Doc’s Lab in North Beach for over two years, performing only original arrangements by members of the band and other local composers (like me!). We’ll be joined by a special quest, the phenomenal clarinetist Ben Goldberg. More info here.

Finally, for no reason other than that it’s good, here’s some video from my performance last month with the Adam Shulman Sextet. Enjoy!

IC Quintet+1 in Healdsburg, Takoyaki 4 in SF

 

Hi folks! Two shows coming up that I’m excited about. First up is Thursday, Feb. 23, when the Ian Carey Quintet+1 (with Kasey Knudsen, Adam Shulman, Fred Randolph, Hamir Atwal, and me) will be performing at the after-party for the Healdsburg Jazz Festival’s “Jazz on the Menu” fundraiser. Opening up for us will be the Healdsburg High jazz band. The details:

WHAT: Ian Carey Quintet+1 & Healdsburg High School Jazz Band
WHEN: Thursday, February 23, 7pm
WHERE: Costeaux French Bakery, 417 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg
TICKETS: Available here

Then, Saturday, February 25, my group TAKOYAKI 4 (the Takoyaki 3 organ trio of Adam Shulman and Hamir Atwal, plus special guest saxophonist James Mahone) will be making our first appearance at the great local home for jazz Bird & Beckett Books in San Francisco. We’ll be playing original music by members of the group plus some jazz rarities.

WHAT: Ian Carey’s TAKOYAKI 4 featuring James Mahone
WHEN: Saturday, February 25, 8pm
WHERE: Bird & Beckett, 653 Chenery St, San Francisco
TICKETS: $10 donation requested

I hope to see you there!

GIGS: Ian Carey Quintet+1 at SFCMC, February 17

Well: it’s been a rough start to the year for pretty much everyone, and I would be lying if I said there weren’t times that music seemed like a minor and self-centered pursuit. But that’s exactly why it’s been a welcome break to let myself get very excited about a show coming up this month.

It will be my first gig as a leader working with the great local organization Jazz in the Neighborhood, which was founded by trumpet legend Mario Guarneri and  has been producing a wide variety of shows featuring Bay Area artists for several years (I’ve been fortunate to be on several as a sideman including with the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra and various guests). JITN’s M.O. includes guaranteed wages for the musicians (a lifesaver and unfortunately a rarity these days) and features emerging artists for portions of each performance; they’re doing it right and I sincerely hope they will be around to enrich the community of artists and listeners for a long time.

This will also be my first performance at Community Music Center, and my first San Francisco show as a solo leader in quite a while (although S.F. is in the Quintet+1’s DNA—we got our start at The House of Shields, after all). I’m thrilled to have the band together again, this time with two special guests. First is the amazing Hamir Atwal on drums—I’ve been lucky to have quite a few opportunities to play with Hamir over the past year or so, and every one of them has been an adventure. We’ll also be joined for the first time by amazing multi-reedist and recent local repatriate Steven Lugerner, who will be filling in the Sheldon Brown chair on bass clarinet and baritone sax (!). The group will be rounded out by the outstanding usual suspects Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone, Adam Shulman on piano, Fred Randolph on bass and me on trumpet.

The show will begin with an opening set featuring two excellent local student players (backed by Fred, Adam, and Hamir), and then we’ll be performing selections from our past three albums, including works from Interview Music (2016), Roads & Codes (2013), and Contextualizin’ (2010), some of which have never been performed in Quintet+1 format before! Here are the details:

WHAT: The Ian Carey Quintet+1
WHEN: Friday, February 17, 8pm
WHERE: Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street, San Francisco
TICKETS: Available here

Finally, for no reason at all, here’s a video of me playing Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”—I recorded this to help demonstrate my qualifications for teaching a class about that gnarly tune last month. I’m also offering a workshop on improvising with triad pairs (a very fun and interesting way of dealing with a variety of chord changes) on  February 18, check it out!

New Year’s Update: Gigs + Workshops: Berkeley, SF, Vallejo, Healdsburg

Hello folks! It’s been a stressful couple of months, but I’ve been trying to Be Like Bob (above) and channel it all into the music. The end of 2016 brought some gratifying mentions of my album Interview Music in year-end top ten lists, including The Mercury News (“an exquisite balance between [Carey’s] ambitious compositional vision and his design to showcase his superlative cast of improvisers”) and Bird is the Worm. And I feel fortunate to have some exciting events coming up, including…

Bryan Bowman Quintet in Berkeley & Vallejo

This introspective group plays the swinging, forward-thinking music of drummer and composer Bryan Bowman (you can listen to a track from our 2015 album Like Minds here), and features some of my favorite players: Bob Kenmotsu on tenor sax, Matt Clark on piano (and Luke Westbrook on guitar), and John Wiitala (and Dan Feiszli) on bass. We’re going to be playing twice this month: on Saturday, January 14 at 8pm we’ll be at the great new Berkeley venue The Back Room ($15); and on Sunday January 15 at 5pm we’re at the historic Empress Theater in Vallejo ($20), sponsored by the Vallejo Jazz Society.

Other local shows this month: Don Alberts’ Renaissance Band at 7 Mile House in Brisbane on Tuesday January 24, and Tony Corman’s Morchestra with Nic Bearde at Bach Dancing & Dynamite in Half Moon Bay on Sunday January 29th at 4:30p.

Jazzschool Workshops: Giant Steps & More

For those of you who are students of the music (of any age): I’m offering two workshops at California Jazz Conservatory’s Jazzschool Community Music Program’s spring session:

Stepping Into Giant Steps (January 21): A two-hour deep dive into one of John Coltrane’s most famous and challenging compositions, geared towards taking the fear out of those gnarly chord changes.

Modern Improvisation: Triad Pair Scales (February 18): Want to learn to navigate familiar chord changes in an interesting new way? This workshop takes a deep dive into the technique of creating and using versatile six-note scales by combining pairs of triads.

And just a reminder: I’m also available for private lessons!

Coming in February: IC Quintet+1 in Berkeley & Healdsburg, Takoyaki 4 in SF

I’m thrilled to have two opportunities to play with my Quintet+1 (Adam Shulman, Sheldon Brown, Kasey Knudsen, Fred Randolph, plus special guests Hamir Atwal and Steven Lugerner) next month:

  • On February 17, we’ll be at The Back Room in Berkeley for an event sponsored by the great local organization Jazz in the Neighborhood.
  • On February 23, we’ll be playing at the after-party for “Jazz on the Menu” at Costeaux in Healdsburg, presented by the Healdsburg Jazz Festival.

I’m also looking forward to playing with my organ-based group Takoyaki 4 (Adam Shulman on organ, Hamir Atwal on drums, and special guest James Mahone on tenor) at local institution Bird & Beckett Books in San Francisco on February 25.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you soon!

June News: Have You Heard, AAO Plays Roach, Jazzschool Classes

Hello folks! I’m just writing to tell you about a few musical things I’ve got going on in the near future.

Have You Heard?

This Monday night I am very happy to be featured on one of my favorite radio shows, Have You Heard?, hosted by the great saxophonist Patrick Wolff. Each week Patrick does a deep dive on the work of a single artist (usually someone on the less well-known side) in a way rarely heard on this coast. For this show we’ll be hearing tunes from several of my albums (plus an unreleased track of a work for big band) as well as having some conversation about the jazz world in my usual curmudgeonly fashion. You can hear the show Monday at 9pmon KCSM; the show will be also be available for one week after at the Have You Heard? website.

Jazzschool Classes

I’m happy to be offering three classes this summer as part of California Jazz Conservatory’s Jazzschool summer session, geared toward intermediate musicians of all ages:

  • Demystifying Coltrane Changes: A deep look into how to take the fear out of learning daunting tunes like Giant Steps and Countdown, including theory, listening and in-class playing. More info here.
  • Counterpoint & Beyond: An introduction to one of my favorite compositional toolboxes, with an eye toward real-world contemporary and jazz applications. More info here.
  • Modernize Your Language: A look at three ways to take the next step beyond bebop and mode-based improvising, with an eye on integrating with the student’s existing language, through theoretical discussion and in-class playing. More here.

If you or someone you know might be interested, please check out the links above to find out more and register. Class space is limited! (And a reminder: I’m also accepting new private students in trumpet, improvisation, composition, ear training and harmony.)

Asian-American Orchestra Performances

This weekend and next, I’ll be making my debut with percussionist & composerAnthony Brown’s Asian-American Orchestra. The group consists of an eclectic (in a good way!) mix of western and eastern instruments including shakuhachi and sheng (Chinese mouth organ) as well as a burning jazz ensemble. For these performances we’ll be joined by the Ojalá Batá percussion ensemble, plus poet Genny Lim and vocalist Amikaelya Proudfoot Gaston. We’ll be performing original works by Brown as well as a new realization of Max Roach’s classic Freedom Now Suite (you all know I don’t do plain old tributes).

We’ll be doing two performances this Sunday June 5 at the San Francisco International Arts Festival at Fort Mason, followed by a show on Saturday June 18 at Musically Minded Academy in Oakland. Hope to see you!

Also…

I’m happy to announce that I am among the lucky crop of grant recipients for San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music’s 2016 Musical Grant Program, to compose a set of pieces for my brand new 7-piece ensemble Wood/Metal/Plastic, premiering next year. And just a reminder that my new album Interview Music (“complex chamber music with solo space” – Doug Ramsey, Rifftides) is now available on CDBaby, Amazon, and iTunes. You can hear a free track from the album below. Thanks!

New Reviews for Interview Music + Bonus Track

Interview Music, the new album from my Quintet+1, is officially out there, and some very gratifying reviews have been coming in.

First, from Doug Ramsey at the great music blog Rifftides:

In the articulate liner notes for his fifth album, Carey explains that he writes music not to label it “about something” in order to snag foundation grants, but to employ what he’s learned and make it work for him and his players. Interview Music does that. Even better, it works for the listener. … His sextet plays the five-part suite with drive, wit, swing and a palpable unity of purpose. It is complex chamber music with solo space for Carey, long an impressive trumpeter; bass clarinetist Sheldon Brown; alto saxophonist Kasey Knudsen; pianist Adam Shulman; bassist Fred Randolph; and drummer Jon Arkin. They are among the cream of the Bay Area’s jazz community. In a victory for his creative policy, the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music supported Interview Music with a grant despite its not being “about something,” which, of course, it is. It’s about music.

From The Jazz Page:

[Carey] has returned with an ambitious new recording that succeeds in its effort. Interview Music is a fantastic suite that sees some of Carey’s most adventurous writing matched with truly outstanding performances. … While the production is one of some range, it is accessible, even as weaves and winds its way forward. … Carey’s writing affords each of his fellow players many moments to exhibit their depth of talent, and in the process, allows the entire project to shine.

And a listener left this very thoughtful review on the album’s iTunes page:

Very inspiring to hear this kind of sophisticated composition and playing coming out of the Bay Area. As an ex professional trumpet player who grew up in Bay Area and studied and played in NYC, this is really the first time I’ve encountered such a high degree of post-bop compositional creativity and craft come out of the Bay Area with the exception of Joe Henderson of course. Also very fine playing all-around, with a special shout out to Ian who is obviously a really accomplished trumpeter and improviser.

The album also got mentions from Marc Myers’ Jazzwax (“this abstract original suite for quintet led by trumpeter Carey has classical overtones”) and Tom Hull (“a sprawling suite with four parts and an interlude, a fine example of postbop composition and arrangement”). It’s great to know people are giving it a listen, 15-minute tracks and all!

Finally, here’s another sample track from the album, the interlude and first half of the fourth movement. If you’d like to hear more, please pick up a copy for yourself!

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!

cov_taller

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!