Category Archives: Photos

Spring Update: Quintet+1 at the Sound Room, Bryan Bowman Album, Big Bands

Hello Folks! I wanted to let you know about some exciting musical stuff coming up that I’m glad to be a part of.

studioFirstly, the Ian Carey Quintet+1‘s next album, Interview Music, was recorded this past weekend at the legendary Fantasy Studios in Berkeley (in the same room as “Don’t Stop Believin'”, if you can believe that). The band put a herculean effort into a very long day (and my pain in the @#$ compositions) and I couldn’t be happier with the result. The album is on track for a fall release.

Speaking of which: the Quintet+1 (Kasey Knudsen, alto sax; Sheldon Brown, bass clarinet; Adam Shulman, piano; Fred Randolph, bass; Jon Arkin, drums; and me) will be returning next month to the great downtown Oakland venue The Sound Room. The show is on Saturday, May 16th, so please save the date for what should be a very exciting show.

I’m also excited about a new album I was fortunate to record with the great local drummer and composer Bryan Bowman and his quintet (with saxophonist Bob Kenmotsu, pianist Matt Clark and bassist Doug Miller). The album, titled Like Minds, features many of Bryan’s beautiful compositions. The CD release show for the album will be held Thursday, May 7 at 8pm at Bird & Beckett Books in SF.

I’ve also been playing quite a bit with two very interesting big bands, both dedicated to original arrangements–which is especially great since just a couple of years ago the Bay Area seemed to be becoming a big band dead zone.  The first is guitarist/composer Tony Corman’s Morchestra, which will be playing this Friday, April 24 at 8pm at the California Jazz Conservatory (aka the Jazzschool) in Berkeley. In addition to Tony’s beautiful charts, we’ll be joined by a special guest vocalist, the great Ed Reed.

The other big band is the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra (led by trumpeter/composer Erik Jekabson), which features a who’s who of local heavies and only performs arrangements written by members of the group. I was lucky enough to play on several tunes of their upcoming album Cheap Rent and have been playing fairly often with the group (and they’ve been gracious enough to play one of my compositions). I’ll be joining them at their regular (free!) Sunday night residency at Doc’s Lab in SF on the following Sundays: 4/26, 5/3. 5/24, 6/7, 6/21 (all shows from 6:30-9pm).

And later on in the summer, I’m excited to be playing for the first time with one of my compositional and bandleading idols, Nathan Clevenger, so stay tuned for details.

Finally, I’m planning on expanding both my musical instruction and graphic design business in the next year, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you know someone interested in trumpet, improvisation, or composition lessons, or who is in need of graphic design assistance.

Thanks and hope to see you at a show soon!

Duocracy Live in Tiburon, 3/1

ben_ian_3Hi folks, I wanted to let you know about a show coming up I’m very excited about–my partner in crime Ben Stolorow and I will be returning to the hills of Tiburon for a Sunday afternoon appearance at the historic Old St. Hilary’s, a former church-turned-beautiful performance venue.

This will be our second appearance at Old St. Hilary’s–our show there last spring was one of my favorite Duocracy shows so far. We’ll be offering our unique take on favorites and forgotten gems from the American Popular Songbook, along with some jazz rarities and possibly even an original or two.  Hope to see you there, and please pass on the word to any North Bay friends!

WHAT: Duocracy (Ben Stolorow, piano; Ian Carey, trumpet)
WHEN: Sunday, March 1, 4:00p
WHERE: Old St. Hilary’s, Tiburon
TICKETS: $20/$15, available here

“Interview Music” Premiere: Photos

Hi folks, I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who came out to our premiere of “Interview Music” last week at California Jazz Conservatory (sponsored by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music).  And I should clarify–they didn’t just come out, they sat still for the 60-minute first set (in which we played “IM” in its entirety with no breaks), and they also stayed for a second helping!  Credit is also due to my incredible band, who worked their butts off and played the hell out of that thing.

I also wanted to share some great photos which were taken at the show by Brian Yuen:

I have more exciting shows coming up soon, including my first appearance with the new Bay Area Composers’ Big Band this Sunday (9/28) in SF, a  Duocracy reunion (with Ben Stolorow) at Bird & Beckett Oct. 5, and performance #2 of “Interview Music” at the Hillside Club in Berkeley, November 14!

New Album Update!

Hello folks, happy summer to you all! I hope you’re all OD’ing on corn dogs and peaches and outdoor shows while the gettin’ is good. I wanted to give an update on my upcoming, soon-to-be-but-not-yet titled new album.

After an outstanding house concert in the spring, we learned the sad but exciting news that the great Evan Francis was heading for New York, and decided it would be a crime to put this new music on disc without him. We were lucky to find a single day prior to Evan’s skipping town which worked for all six of us (plus our engineer Dan Feiszli), so we filed into Studio Trilogy in SF for an 11-hour, nine-tune marathon in early June. This challenged chops, fingers, tempers, and attention spans, but at the end of the day (literally), everyone was very happy with the result (or so they said!).

Currently Dan and I are knee-deep in the mixing process, and it’s looking like the album will be released in January (kind of a long wait but we have to avoid the jazz radio Christmas music crunch for obvious reasons). The disc will feature all new 6-piece compositions and arrangements, including six originals plus reworkings of music by Ives, Stravinsky, and Neil Young.

Look for more details soon about the CD release and show dates. (And I’ll be back soon with a fresh installment of “New to Me.”)

Audio: 8LM on Baytaper + Bonus Live Quintet Tracks

Joe Cohen, Me, and Noel Jewkes with 8LM. Photo from

Hello, listeners, and a happy summertime to you all. I wanted to share two things with you: the first is that the great local music website has posted photos and audio recordings from last months 8 Legged Monster show at Club Deluxe. The band featured local luminaries such as Noel Jewkes, Rob Barics, Vince Lateano, and others, and I really enjoyed playing with them. There’s also a guest appearance by local trumpet phenom Mike Olmos, who stopped by and sat in on a tune written especially for him by bandleader Mike Irwin Johnson. So swing by Baytaper and check it out (and be sure to browse their extensive library of recordings of other fine local musicians).

Secondly, I promised to put up some recordings from my April Quintet show at Anna’s in Berkeley for those who weren’t able to attend. The band was smokin’ (if I may say so), and we played some interesting new (or new to us, anyway) material. So here are two tracks for your (absolutely free) enjoyment–if you like what you hear, please consider buying our CD (if you haven’t already).

  • Sink/Swim (I. Carey): The title track from our CD, in maybe the best live version we’ve done.
  • Sockdolager (I. Carey): A disjointed minor blues in 6/4 time, which I wrote in NYC years ago but updated for this group. Personnel on both tracks: myself on trumpet; Evan Francis, alto saxophone; Matt Clark, piano; Kurt Kotheimer, bass; Tim Bulkley, drums. Recorded live, 4/23/08.

Travels: Portland Trip

Last week Linda and I decided celebrate the home stretch of my sabbatical and her spring break by taking a short trip up to Portland, Oregon (where she lived for a year or so after college). Although we were really only looking to explore and eat some delicious food, the trip wound up having some real musical highlights for me, as well.

I didn’t know any musicians up there beforehand, but since I had heard there were some great players in town, we dug through the newspaper listings and were lucky enough to find a jam session the first night we were there. It was hosted by the great local drummer Ron Steen, and was at a cool little pub called Produce Row. They were nice enough to let me play quite a bit and hear some fine local players like bassists Scott Steed (formerly of the Bay Area) and Lea Ball, among many others.

Kate Davis & I with Ron Steen at Wilf’s. More photos here.

Ron also kindly invited me to come by and sit in at his gig two days later at Wilf’s, which is in the classic Union Station building downtown (with its flashing “GO BY TRAIN” sign). Also playing were pianist Dan Gaynor, who was a great soloist with a really nice touch, and 17-year-old phenom Kate Davis on bass and vocals, who will definitely be famous before long.

Another definite high point of the trip was my visit to the Monette trumpet and mouthpiece factory, where Dave Monette and his staff have been quietly revolutionizing the brass instrument business for the past few decades. First, Dean Comley treated me to a fascinating tour of the shop, where they make every part of their instruments and mouthpieces, “except for the rubber rings on top of the valve casings.” They were just finishing a prototype of a new, hybrid instrument for Ron Miles (it looked a little like a larger, shorter trumpet, and was pitched in G!), which one of the employees demonstrated–it had a great, resonant sound.

Once we finished the tour, Dave Monette himself came in and gave me an impromptu clinic on the concepts behind his mouthpieces–perhaps the most crucial point being that standard trumpet mouthpieces were originally sized for trumpets in the key of A, and are therefore too long to “slot” correctly over the range of the instrument without requiring the player to make body adjustments which introduce unhelpful tension and effort. He asked me to a) play notes over three octaves with my old mouthpiece and posture, then b) had me repeat them with my tuning slide pulled out until my horn was in the key of A, then c) pushed the slide back in, and had me repeat them again with a Monette mouthpiece and the posture and breathing adjustments he suggested. The results won me over immediately.

After that, all that remained was for Dean to very patiently hand me a long succession of mouthpieces while we looked for the right combination of comfort, sound, range, and flexibility–a process which made me pity the captive audience of guys working in the shop, but which finally helped me find “the one,” which I fortunately settled on with just enough time left for the short drive to the airport and to make our flight home. (And although I was expecting an “adjustment period,” I used the new mouthpiece on Ben Stolorow’s CD release party gig, and it felt great.) For any trumpeters visiting the Portland area, I highly recommend a making an appointment to visit to the shop, even if you’re not a current customer of theirs. But I warn you, you may walk out a believer.

Finally, I should mention another great thing for musicians about Portland–its wide variety of used record stores. I made it to just a handful, and came home with way too many new (used) albums and CDs–all reasonably priced, and (most importantly) sales tax-free. My favorite of those I visited was the funereally named Vinyl Resting Place, way out in the North part of town. Fortunately my stack of finds (including Jimmy Rowles, Charles Lloyd with Keith Jarrett, Gerry Mulligan and Lee Konitz, Toots Theilmans with Joanne Brackeen, Paul Motian, etc.) wasn’t quite heavy enough to push the suitcase over the limit–but it was close.

Thanks + Photos + Bonus Audio

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who came out to our shows last week at the Parc 55—I had a great time playing with Adam, Ron, and Noah, and with any luck I’ll be able to play there some more in the future. For those of you who weren’t able to make it, here’s our version of the standard “I Love You,” from Friday night.

  • I Love You (Cole Porter) With myself on trumpet; Adam Shulman, piano; and Ron Belcher, bass. Recorded live, 10/05/07.

Also: last Saturday, I played with one of three pickup jazz groups (mine had Jeff Marrs, Eugene, and Evan Francis) that performed for the Fillmore Street “Indian Summer” Stroll, which culminated in a wild sidewalk jam session featuring 15 or so musicians wailing away amid the pedestrians. I told another musician it would be cool if random jam sessions just broke out all the time on sidewalks around the city–kind of like “Critical Mass.” (Which then led to the mental image of thousands of jazz musicians clogging the streets and stopping traffic to play 500 or so choruses on “Now’s the Time,” as well as the unfortunate nickname “Critical Jazz.”)

For more photos of this and many of my other gigs, visit my Flickr site here.

Photos: Last Saturday at Octavia

First of all, thanks to everyone who came out last weekend to the Octavia Lounge. We had a great time playing and the room was perfect——intimate without being cramped. (And I hear the food was good, too.)

In addition to playing tunes from our CD, we premiered a couple of new compositions (“Disinvited” and “Contextualizin'”), and revisited some Thelonious Monk gems (“Ask Me Now” and the thorny “Four in One”)——but I think the audience would agree that the highlight of the evening was Evan’s blazing solo on “Chick’s Tune” (by Chick Corea, naturally). Unfortunately the performance wasn’t recorded, but hopefully we’ll play there again and I can plan ahead to do some self-bootlegging.

The excellent photographer, writer and occasional pastry chef James Knox was also in attendance, camera in hand. Here are a few highlights:

Me and Dad and the sandwich board (“Chef’s Cheesesteak”!)

It was especially good to hear Adam on a real piano.

Fred and Jon layin’ it down.

Me and Evan trying to read and swing at the same time.

The entire set of 52 (!) photos can be viewed here. (If you like what you see, be sure and drop some compliments in James’s comment box.)

We hope to have some more gig announcements for you soon. I’ll also be posting some “recommended listening” notes on albums I’ve recently been wearing out. In the meantime, enjoy your summers and stay cool. (I mean that literally. Not “cool” like Snoopy when he puts on his sunglasses and listens to jazz. Although if you want to put on sunglasses and listen to jazz, don’t let me stop you.)

Kansas City: The Four-Day Tour

I am the giant head of Charlie Parker!

I Am the Giant Head of Charlie Parker! Photo by Alan Watt.

“Oakland? That hellhole!”

This was the reaction of the bass player after I answered his middle-of-the-tune question of where I was from, as we slugged through “Confirmation” at 3:20 a.m. But let me back up a moment.

My girlfriend and I were in Kansas City last week for a friend’s wedding, but since we were in the town which produced so many jazz giants–Charlie Parker (of the giant green head above), Jay McShann, Count Basie, and many others–I decided to throw in a pilrgimage to what’s believed to be the oldest jam session in the country: the Mutual Musician’s Foundation, which has been hosting late-night sessions since 1930, give or take a few years for renovations. The session was listed as beginning at 11 p.m., but when we arrived after midnight the man behind the bar said, “music starts at one.” So we sat in the arctic air-conditioned chill, surrounded by framed photos of Kansas City legends past, and waited.

A trio began to play a little after 2 a.m.–unfortunately I didn’t get anyone’s names, but they were very good, playing mostly standards. I was wondering if they played a set before opening up the session, but there didn’t seem to be anyone else waiting to sit in, and after listening for five or six tunes and hearing some ruckus coming through the ceiling, I finally asked someone, and was told that the session was upstairs, and downstairs was for performances. But it worked out well, since I would’ve missed out on hearing the good music downstairs if I’d gone straight up to the session.

Downstairs at the M.M.F. Photo by Alan Watt.

We made our way upstairs, and found three musicians playing in a much larger (and less freezing) room, surrounded by oblivious drinkers. I played three or four tunes with the group, which featured a great pianist named Oscar Williams II (who according to a Google search studied with Bobby Watson at UMKC), the aforementioned bassist with the anti-Oakland bent, and a pair of drummers including a nice guy who told us he’d toured with the Ojays. (Linda said he approached her while I was playing and politely said, “Excuse me miss, are you waitin’ on someone?”) Unfortunately we had to split around 3:30 a.m., though a lot of drinkers were starting to show up as the bars closed. I don’t know whether more musicians joined them, although I’ve since heard that the session really only picks up after 3–next time, I guess.

We also made it to the American Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which are in opposite sides of the same building, but could not be further apart in terms of content and execution.

The baseball museum had a ton of material, but seemed to think it needed everything to be visible at once. The result was overwhelming, and not in a good way. Overall, I’d recommend it, however, since the exhibits managed to present many of the compelling stories of the Negro Leauges days (even if in a somewhat cluttered way). Unfortunately they didn’t have the throwback-N.Y. Cubans hat that I wanted to buy, but I suppose I have enough hats as it is.

The jazz museum was another story, unfortunately. The space was set up well, and it’s connected to what looks like a nice jazz club called the Blue Room (where a saxophonist was just finishing up a little improvisation demonstration on “When the Saints”–too bad he wasn’t around when that tune was requested at the House of Shields)–but the exhibit was pretty short on substance. Other than Charlie Parker’s plastic alto (as used for the famous Massey Hall concert where Mingus had to redub his bass lines) and a few contracts, there wasn’t much to look at: lots of record sleeves which could’ve been seen at a record store, some photocopied gig contracts, and a late-model trumpet with the label “A Trumpet and Mouthpiece. Louis Armstrong was a famous trumpeter” or something like that. They also had a listening library with a couple of hundred in-print CDs–nice, I suppose, but probably no better than the average university or library collection. In fact, the most interesting thing I saw was a container of “Louis Armstrong Lip Salve,” which Linda suggested would probably sell pretty well today. Hell, I’d buy some (although God knows what people rubbed on their chops in the thirties).

Although the museum was a little bit sad, it was luckily only a few blocks from the world-famous Arthur Bryant’s, where we were able to smother our disappointment with ribs, “burnt end” sandwiches, and cole slaw the color of lime jello. (We also made it to Gates Barbecue but preferred Bryant’s in pretty much every way). Other highlights included catching an entertaining K.C. T-Bones baseball game–the T-Bones’ mascot is a bull named “Sizzle,” who is, as far as I know, the only mascot in professional sports whose name celebrates his own death. (We also made multiple trips to Sheridan’s Frozen Custard, which is so damn good that I can’t believe it hasn’t yet made its way to the Bay Area.)

Anyway, it was a nice short visit, and I’d like to go back and meet some more of the local musicians, since it seems like there’s still a pretty vibrant scene for such an otherwise economically-depressed town. We kept thinking that any moment thousands of Bay Area refugees were going to come over the hill hungry for lower rent, backyards, and custard. It could happen any day, so you better snatch up one of those $50,000 houses fast.

Audio & Photos: Tuesday’s Performance

Tuesday’s gig went well, and I was happy to see some familiar faces and return visitors. The group has really developed over the past year or so, and it feels good to know it hasn’t been in a vacuum.

Alex Budman (who heads up the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra) also sat in for a few tunes, including the Evan Francis-suggested Have You Met Miss Green Dolphin Jones?, which actually worked out better than you would’ve thought.

The photo is by James “in2jazz”, an avid jazz photographer and writer, who stopped by and took some pictures. You can see them all here. An added benefit of this is that I can clearly see that my posture is atrocious. (Especially when you compare it to James’s photos of Nicholas Payton, who looks like you could hit him with a wrecking ball while he’s playing and it would bounce off.)

In keeping with our policy of offering something for those who couldn’t make it this week, here’s a long excerpt (the entire song lasted 18 (!) minutes, but I whittled it down to 13 and change) from a familiar tune by Herbie Hancock.

  • D*lphin D*nce (Hancock) Soloists: Evan, tenor saxophone; Adam, piano; and Ian, trumpet; with Fred, bass, and Jon, drums.

Enjoy! (Bonus points for finding the spot where a bar patron shouts, “You picked the wrong scene, man!” Never a dull moment at the House of Shields.)