Category Archives: Gigs

Wood/Metal/Plastic Rehearsal Video + KPFA Interview

Hi folks, I’m very excited about our Wood/Metal/Plastic premiere next Friday at The Sound Room in Oakland. The music is really coming together and I’m looking forward to getting it off the page and into your ears! (Tickets here!)

Last night I had the chance to visit the great local DJ and music writer Larry Kelp’s “Sing Out” show on KPFA to talk about the project and share some rehearsal audio. You can listen to the show here (for two weeks I believe).

And here’s some footage from our recent rehearsal with snippets of several tunes. It’s a little rough around the edges as we were still working on the music, but should give you a taste of what kinds of things we’ll be up to at the show. Hope to see you there!

WOOD/METAL/PLASTIC: World Premiere 9/22 at the Sound Room

Hi folks! Here’s a press release about the world premiere of my new band on 9/22. Hope you can be there! –Ian

(Tickets available here. )

As a jazz musician and composer, Ian Carey usually viewed string instruments as distant cousins to his musical world, something he deeply enjoyed listening to but didn’t expect to have many opportunities to interact with one-on-one. But a chance musical encounter planted a seed that blossomed into a vivid new musical terrain: his 7-piece chamber-jazz ensemble Wood/Metal/Plastic, which makes its world premiere performance at The Sound Room in Oakland on September 22.

“For years I’ve played with Circus Bella, a great local circus troupe which has a live band,” led by San Francisco accordionist/composer Rob Reich. “Our long-term saxophonist left the group several years ago, and Rob decided to fill the spot with the great violinist Alisa Rose, so I spent the summer listening and soaking up what the instrument was capable of.”

Carey, who at the time was just finishing up several years straight of writing, performing, and recording the epic hourlong suite and album Interview Music (“[an] ambitious compositional vision” –Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News) with his long-term collaborators the Ian Carey Quintet+1, was looking for a musical change of pace and a new challenge.

He put together a new quartet, the loose and adventurous IJKL, featuring Quintet+1 holdovers Jon Arkin on drums (whose credits range from Lee Konitz to Ben Goldberg to the Afrobeat ensemble Albino!) and saxophonist Kasey Knudsen (who has played with Tune-Yards, Marcus Shelby, and the Holly Martins), and adding Bay Area creative music icon Lisa Mezzacappa on bass (who leads her own Bait & Switch and Avant Noir ensembles and has performed and collaborated with an encyclopedic array of notables across the creative music world); the new group focused on the freer side of jazz, performing new compositions by Carey at Studio Grand and the Make Out Room’s creative music series. “It was an exciting change of pace, jumping from the heavily planned-out world of Interview Music into this unpredictable group based on interaction and never playing something the same way twice.”

When a potential composition grant opportunity arose, “I wondered what it would be like to take our little free-ish quartet and stick it in the middle of a chamber ensemble with strings,” Carey says. He reached out to Rose (whose talents range from high classical to backcountry fiddle) and fellow violinist Mia Bella D’Augelli (who has performed with the traditional string quartet the Town Quartet as well as contemporary composers like Roscoe Mitchell and George Lewis), as well as cellist Jessica Ivry (who performed for a decade with Rose in the Real Vocal String Quartet and is a composer in her own right), and Wood/Metal/Plastic was born.

To prepare for the project, Carey took a deep dive into studying stringed instruments and how to write for them, at one point even renting a cello and spending several weeks practicing the basics to help wrap his mind around how it worked. “I was super-excited when I began to get callouses on my fingers,” Carey says, “but then I suddenly remembered how much time I had left to actually write the music and got back to composing quick.”

The result is a vivid musical palette ranging from lush chorales, to dense contrapuntal thickets, to wild cacaphonies and back again. Carey’s compositions incorporate influences as diverse as 20th-century masters Villa-Lobos and Ravel, chamber jazz pioneers Gil Evans, Jimmy Giuffre, and Charles Mingus, and free jazz adventurers Ornette Coleman and Steve Lacy.

How to bridge the gaps between these diverse spheres of influence? “As much as I love straightahead jazz, and completely written-out chamber music, and free improvisation,” Carey says, “part of my reason for doing this was that I knew I couldn’t resist writing tricky and beautiful things for so many instruments, and by putting together a group like this, with players this good, I wouldn’t have to choose.”

Ian Carey’s Wood/Metal/Plastic is made possible through the Musical Grant Program, which is administered by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and supported by the Heller Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation and San Francisco Grants for the Arts.

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!

September Update: Nathan Clevenger Group, Ian Carey Quintet+1 at SFMusic Day, ESO

Hello folks! Here’s an update about some upcoming performances I’m really excited about. Hope to see you at some of them!

Nathan Clevenger Group in Oakland
This Thursday night (9/1) in Oakland, I’m thrilled to be playing again with one of my favorite bands—the Nathan Clevenger Group (“includes many of the scene’s leading figures, but he’s created a sound that stands out from the crowd… he makes brilliant use of the many colors at his disposal.” –Andrew Gilbert, KQED). In addition to Nathan’s guitar and compositions, this version of the group includes Kasey Knudsen on alto sax, Rachel Condry on bass clarinet, Jason Levis on drums, Lisa Mezzacappa on bass, Tim DeCillis on vibraphone, and myself on trumpet. The show is at Octopus Literary Salon in downtown Oakland, a cozy cafe that’s been putting on some extraordinarily happening shows. (The show starts at 8, and the opening act is Bristle, another astounding chamber music-meets-free improvisation unit.) More info about the show here.

Ian Carey Quintet+1 at SFMusic Day
For the past few years, the great local arts organization San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music has been presenting an annual day full of free chamber music at the SF Veterans Building, and this year, on Sunday, September 25, I’m very happy to bringing my Quintet+1 to participate (along with a cast of hundreds including heavy hitters like Kronos, Rova, Myra Melford & Ben Goldberg, and many more). We’ll be playing a half-hour set at 3:30 in the Education Studio. More info here.

Electric Squeezebox Orchestra Meets Brazil!
I’m also excited to be playing several times this month with the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra, SF’s great original big band, back at Doc’s Lab in North Beach after their summer break. Sunday, September 4, I’ll be performing with the band, playing their usual (but unusual!) assortment of music all written by members of the band (including me!). The following Sunday, Sept. 11, we’ll be joined by special guest the Brazilian saxophonist Spok (aka Inaldo Cavalcante de Albuquerque), performing the music called Frevo, which he has pioneered in Northern Brazil. More about this show here.

Also…
A reminder that my new album, Interview Music (“an incredible piece of music… a superlative work.” —Brad Stone, The Creative Source, Soul and Jazz Radio), is now available on CDBaby, Amazon, and iTunes.

And just because, here’s a video of an improvised duet that my friend the great trumpeter Darren Johnston and I recorded before a gig last month at opposite ends of the huge Festival Pavilion building at Fort Mason (with its 8-second reverberation). Enjoy!

Improvised Duet, Darren Johnston & Ian Carey, trumpets. Festival Pavilion, Ft. Mason, San Francisco, August 21, 2016.

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!

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!