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.
[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!
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!
First of all, thanks to everyone who made it out to my TAKOYAKI 3 show last week at Birdland Jazzista–we had a great time, the venue was fun and the incomparable Lorin Benedict even joined us for a couple of tunes.
Here’s a track from Bryan Bowman’s surprisingly clear recording (given how tricky the acoustics were)–it’s my newish arrangement of the standard “All or Nothing at All”:
Also, Takoyaki 3 has another show coming up later this month–we’ll be returning to Rose Pistola in North Beach on Sunday, March 30. The group will once again feature Adam Shulman on organ, Jon Arkin on drums, and myself on trumpet & flugelhorn, and we’ll be playing original music from Roads & Codes, (& possibly even Duocracy!) as well as select standards and underappreciated classics by jazz composers like Herbie Nichols, Ornette Coleman, and Lennie Tristano.
WHAT: Ian Carey’s Takoyaki 3
WHERE: Rose Pistola, 532 Columbus Ave., San Francisco
WHEN: Sunday, March 30, 8-10:30pm
HOW MUCH: No cover!
Duocracy has only been out a few days (pick up a copy here!), but we’re already seeing some nice reviews coming in, which is really gratifying. Here are some of the first batch!
From a thoughtful review from Stephen Graham on the great site marlbank (check out the site for two versions which inspired our rendition of “Goodbye”):
More traditionally minded on the surface at least than Roads and Codes, last year’s Ian Carey Quintet + 1 outing, Duocracy opens with ‘Little White Lies,’ the Walter Donaldson song from 1930 that Paul McCartney has mentioned was a childhood favourite of John Lennon’s. Trumpeter Carey, who’s in his late thirties and is from New York state, teams here with NYC-born pianist Ben Stolorow a few years his junior who debuted in 2008 with I’ll Be Over Here and whose input gives the album its deceptively early jazz feel. Carey has width and expressive resource in his approach, Stolorow too, and while Roads and Codes found Carey more in Dave Douglas-land here the trumpet stylings are far more mainstream, for instance the sound of Ruby Braff springs to mind a bit, and I suppose Stolorow could be compared to the late Dave McKenna in that his style borders on stride but never quite goes the full furlong as that would be just too retro. … Ultimately whatever the way in to the song, and the same applies for the album as a whole, while Stolorow and Carey play their own particular blend of goodbye, jazz fans may well prefer a firm hello to this appealing duo. (3 1/2 stars)
Face it, a duo format is almost as “naked” as a performer can get so any apprehensions from the artists are more than understandable … yet there is unique chemistry that allows Carey and pianist Ben Stolorow to form a dynamic duo of sorts that slays the more pop oriented tunes from the classic days of jazz. Ben moves well away from the more traditional role of accompanist to achieve that “duocracy” of equal lyrical footing… There is an understated eloquence that takes hold throughout the release. Melody is back, changes are done with finesse and not a self-indulgent pretentiousness that may find one artist attempting to out perform the other. While the tunes are familiar and some bordering on eclectic, the original composition “Comin’ Along” is an abstract showstopper formed around the Benny Golson standard “Along Came Betty.” Rodgers and Hart’s “You Took Advantage of Me” is the perfect vehicle for the harmonic gifts of pianist Stolorow. The Mancini tune ” Two For The Road” is a master class for trumpet players that are looking to work on a more expressive tone, Carey simply nails it. (5 stars)
San Francisco jazzmen Carey (trumpet) and Stolorow (piano) did some gigging together last year in the Bay Area and decided to make it legit, the result being Duocracy. The album offers 10 tracks, including American Songbook standards and showpieces like “Cherokee.” Carey’s tone and approach are in the hard-bop style, somewhere between Lee Morgan and Clifford Brown in their bouncier moods. Stolorow skillfully backs him up, and there’s a meeting of the minds on every song. When two fine players are having fun, it’s good to listen in.
Always interesting to read which influences different listeners hear in one’s playing! From Chris Spector in the Midwest Record:
After years of striving and making albums everyone raves about, this duo that has worked a lot together but never recorded together decided to take a tip from us and go after hours. Just the two of them smoking it up hotel piano bar style on a set card of warhorses carries the day quite nicely and you can tell they enjoy recording with the pressure off. In fact, these Bay area staples sound like they were kicking it out in the bar at this swank hotel on the rehabbed Berkeley waterfront with the sun going down in the background and the glasses clinking. First class throughout, loaded with the joy of playing for the fun of it. Infectious–in a good way!
The duo of Richmond trumpeter Ian Carey and Albany pianist Ben Stolorow is the most adventurous and exciting trumpet-pianist pairing since cornetist Ruby Braff and pianist-organist Dick Hyman played together a quarter century ago. But whereas Braff and Hyman’s music was rooted in the pre-bop mainstream, these two East Bay musicians draw stylistically on a somewhat later era. They have a terrific new CD titled Duocracy on which their approach to melody, harmony, and rhythm suggests Thelonious Monk as they playfully explore “Cherokee,” “Little White Lies,” “You Took Advantage of Me,” “All the Things You Are,” and other popular standards, plus Gigi Gryce’s “Social Call,” Monk’s “Four in One,” and a tune of their own.
Meanwhile, I was a guest on KCSM’s great Desert Island Jazz show last week, and had a great time talking about some of my all-time favorite music with host Alisa Clancy and producer Michael Burman. My playlist can be found here–it was incredibly challenging to winnow my list down to 8 tracks, but I feel good about who made the final cut. I also recommend taking some time to check out their full list of past guests and picks (who range from local heroes to international legends), which is fascinating. You can listen to my episode here:
Finally, don’t forget that Ben & I have one more CD release show next Friday (March 7)–our North Bay version–at Old St. Hilary’s in Tiburon. If you weren’t able to make it to the Jazzschool (uh, make that California Jazz Conservatory!), please consider heading to beautiful Marin County next week to hear us!
Hi folks, long time no etc. It’s been a busy musical summer so far for me, with shows by Takoyaki 3 (at Yoshi’s Lounge), Circus Bella (all over the bay), and even my shortest gig ever: a 3-minute obligatto for a groom-to-bride dedication of “All the Things You Are.”
Gig news: This Friday (7/19), Takoyaki 3 (Adam Shulman on organ, Jon Arkin on drums, & myself on trumpet) will be playing at Rose Pistola in North Beach from 9-11:30p. No cover! Then Sunday (7/21) at noon, Circus Bella (you can hear some live audio of the great original soundtrack here) comes to Oakland’s Dimond Park. Also free!
Also, I’m pleased to announce the next appearance for my Quintet+1, which will be Friday, September 13 at a secret venue in the East Bay. If you’re on my email list, you’ll get all the info beforehand; if not, why not sign up? (It’s easy-on, easy-off, I swear.)
Ian Carey is a direct artist. Honest, informed, inventive. The pieces never scream “Look at me!”, but rather, “Come with me.” Unlike many jazz recordings, the length of each piece feels beautifully and organically proportioned, whether they are nearly 12 minutes or just over two – they never plead for airplay with artificial brevity, or feel indulgent with endless solos. Carey incorporates many influences, from the lush worlds of Kenny Wheeler and Maria Schneider, the kickin’ sounds of Joe Henderson and John Coltrane, to adaptations of classical 20th-century composers Igor Stravinsky and Charles Ives, to a Neil Young film score. Yet his sound and compositional approach is always very personal. This sextet of three horns and piano/bass/drums actually feels more like a seven or eight piece band because of how much motion he puts into the horn writing, each horn sharing in the melodic and accompanying roles. Carey’s group has at once a very unified sound (remarkably, recorded in just one day), yet each member has a distinct voice as a soloist, always commenting on the piece at hand. Most affecting, though, is his visual art for the project. Carey directs his masterful illustrations to address the concerns that face most jazz artists in this country receive, from bewildering comments by critics, to the public’s lack of understanding of jazz, to the select jazz audience’s need for reassuring tribute albums. And he does so without the slightest hint of resentment. In fact, it is his child-like honesty in these artistic liner notes that is most breathtaking. (His comments on each of his tunes are informative, as well). Without a doubt, this is an artist you need to hear.
New Album News: In a few weeks, the great pianist Ben Stolorow and I will be mixing the duo project we recorded last month in Oakland. The as-yet-untitled album features 12 intimate tunes from the familiar to the rarely-heard, and we’re hoping to release it this fall. Stay tuned!
This week, the California Report (produced right here in SF by our own KQED and broadcast throughout the state) featured local jazz writer Andy Gilbert’s review of Roads & Codes:
Ian Carey possesses a bright, gleaming tone and a knack for attracting similarly accomplished musicians. Featuring material gleaned from sources far beyond jazz’s usual ken, his new album “Roads & Codes” reflects a singular vision, musical and otherwise… Carey turned the CD’s cover into a self-mocking 10-panel comic strip. The art depicts his quandary over how to present a new jazz album so that it might actually find an audience. On the back, his manga-inspired illustrations suggest the mindset with which he approaches each piece. While not presented as a suite, the album flows like an interlaced book of short stories, an impression heightened by his beautifully rendered art work.
You can check out the entire thorough and thoughtful review, which also features audio samples of tunes from the album, here:
Hi folks, I’m continuing to be happy with the good press and airplay Roads & Codes has been getting–it’s in the top 100 in the U.S. jazz charts, and the top ten in Canada, which is more than I expected for an album with no standards and multiple tracks over ten minutes.
Meanwhile, here are two quick audio cuts for you–first, I had a nice chat yesterday with Nicholas Mokover at KZSC (UC Santa Cruz). We talked for about ten minutes about my background, and the old NYC vs. Bay Area question. The entire interview is here:
Second, here’s another cut from our Takoyaki 3 show last month in Berkeley–this is our version of the classic Ornette Coleman anthem “Lonely Woman” (originally on The Shape of Jazz to Come). Check out the looping effects at the end of the track–that’s something I’ve been experimenting with more & more since originally attempting it to recreate the effects we used on our version of the theme from “Dead Man” (which you can hear a streaming version of here).
Hello folks, thanks to everyone who made it out to our Takoyaki 3 show last week–if you missed it, we’ve got two more later this month, at Rose Pistola (3/24) and Yoshi’s Lounge (3/27). See the end of this post for a free track from the show!
It’s been really gratifying to see more positive press for Roads & Codes coming in–the most exciting being my first appearance in Downbeat Magazine, where James Hale featured the album in a set of reviews of trumpeters from around the world, and gave it 4 and 1/2 stars:
Bay Area veteran Ian Carey knows it can take creative packaging to get great music noticed these days. Roads & Codes showcases both the trumpeter’s sideline as an illustrator and his primary gig as the leader of a highly skilled band of improvisers. Carey takes advantage of their chops by writing to their strengths–a lesson gleaned from his mentor Maria Schneider–and mixes his own harmonically pleasing compositions with pieces by Neil Young, Igor Stravinsky and Charles Ives. While the combination of graphic art and arty covers might sound contrived, it all works.
Hi folks, the long-awaited (by me anyway) day has arrived, and our new album, Roads & Codes, is available for purchase (both physically and digitally) at my new web store, as well as on CDBaby (the only place to get the physical CD so far), Amazon, iTunes, and eMusic. Locals can also pick it up at the great Groove Yard in Oakland (additional stores soon to come).
Also, just a quick reminder that tomorrow is our big CD Release & Art show at the Sound Room in Oakland. The band is sounding great and, in addition to all the music from “Roads & Codes,” we’ll be doing two brand new expanded arrangements of favorite originals from previous albums.
WHAT: Kabocha Records and Bay Area Jazz & Arts present The Ian Carey Quintet+1: CD Release & Art Show for Roads & Codes WHO: Evan Francis, flute & tenor saxophone; Kasey Knudsen, alto saxophone; Adam Shulman, piano; Jon Arkin, drums; Fred Randolph, bass; Ian Carey, trumpet, flugelhorn, illustrations
WHEN: Thursday, February 21, 8pm
WHERE: The Sound Room, 2147 Broadway (@ 22nd St.), Oakland
TICKETS: $15, includes free CD with purchase! (advance tix available here.)
Next, some really nice reviews for the album have started to come in, including one in our very own East Bay Expresstoday:
Besides being a clever graphic artist, Carey is a gifted musician who gets a warm sound out of his trumpet and flugelhorn, his approach suggesting Chet Baker, Miles Davis, and Art Farmer. His six original compositions on Roads & Codes not only draw on post-bop traditions but expand on them, particularly in the way Carey imaginatively harmonizes and layers his horns, Knudsen’s alto sax, and Francis’ tenor sax or flute over pianist Shulman, bassist Randolph, and drummer Arkin’s firm yet floating grooves.
There have also been positive reviews from Midwest Record (“champion of a session… solid stuff that never hits a false note”) and @CriticalJazz (“on the cutting edge of new sounds and exciting compositions for modern jazz… 4 Stars!”).
Finally, Phliip Freeman at the music blog Burning Ambulance put together a great feature about the album, including a slideshow of the cover art comic (I’m flattered that he describes it as “Harvey Pekar-esque”) and a free streaming track–our version of Neil Young’s theme to the movie “Dead Man”. Check it out!
Hello folks, one quick announcement and then a free bonus download!
First, the announcement: I’m going to be on the Bay Area’s great jazz station, KCSM Jazz 91, this week, talking with Alisa Clancy about Roads & Codes (and playing some tunes from the album, too). Local folks can listen at 91.1 on their FM dial, and out-of-towners can stream live here. Tune in to hear me run my mouth off about any number of things!
WHAT: Ian Carey interview on Morning Cup of Jazz with Alisa Clancy WHERE: 91.1 FM or kcsm.org WHEN: Tuesday, February 19, 9am
Next, just as a bonus to everyone out there in internet-land, here’s a free bonus track from my new album, Roads & Codes. It’s an alternate take of my Samurai movie-inspired attempt at a blues Joe Henderson would’ve enjoyed playing, “Nemuri Kyoshiro.”
During mixing, I went back and forth about a million times about which take I preferred–the fast and (very) loose first take, or the slightly more relaxed and swinging second take. After picking the brains of many of my musical friends, I settled on the first take. I then promptly changed my mind after last-minute but convincing feedback from another friend–“I know you think your solo was better on the first take, but you’re wrong, and here’s why”–and put the second one on the album.
But, I thought, why not throw Take 1 out there as a bonus? Then people can make up their own minds! So here it is!
(w/ Adam Shulman, piano; Ian Carey, trumpet; Fred Randolph, bass; Evan Francis, tenor saxophone; Kasey Knudsen, alto saxophone; Jon Arkin, drums. Recorded 6/5/12 at Studio Trilogy, San Francisco, Dan Feiszli, engineer.)
Don’t forget, Roads & Codes drops this Tuesday on radio & stores, with CD release showThursday, Feb. 21 at the Sound Room in Oakland!
Announcements and thoughts from a Bay Area trumpeter and composer