Category Archives: Updates

Starting 7/11: “Playing the Changes” & “Modern Jazz Improvisation” at CJC

Hi folks, I’m excited to be teaching two 6-week courses this summer at California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley (aka The Jazzschool). Here are the details:

Playing the Changes

About the course: A structured and in-depth study of techniques for playing harmonically specific jazz lines that “nail the changes.” Students develop the ability to improvise lines that clearly suggest a tune’s underlying harmonic progression in melodically compelling ways. Emphasis on mastering the II-V-I progression in major and minor, turnarounds, and standard jazz harmony. Lots of playing in class. Students should bring their instrument and manuscript paper to each class session. Prerequisites: knowledge of major and melodic minor scales. Tuesdays 8:15–9:45 pm; 7/11–8/15. You can find out more or register here.

Modern Jazz Improvisation

Ready to take your improvisational toolkit beyond bebop licks, modes, and blues scales and into the sonic worlds opened up by artists like McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane, and Woody Shaw? This course will look into three different approaches for developing melodically compelling ideas for use in a wide variety of harmonic situations. Beginning with the applications of pentatonic scales, the course will progress to the simple technique of combining pairs of major triads (and the six-note scales that result), and finally intervallic pairs, in each case examining their use in major, minor, and sus chords, a variety of dominant chords and ii-V-I progressions, and modal or chromatic contexts. Finally we will explore methods to integrate these new ideas into the student’s existing language in a natural and non-contrived way. (Basic knowledge of jazz harmony required.) Tuesdays 6:30–8 pm; 7/11–8/15. More information and registration here.

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!

Workshop Feb 18 in Berkeley: Triad Pair Scale Improvisation

Hi folks, I’m going to be offering a workshop on February 18 (at 11:30am) at California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley on triad-pair-based scales and how to use them. (That sounds more complex than it really is, but these scales have become a big part of my own language.)

Here’s a short video with a little preview:

The workshop is open to anyone with basic knowledge of jazz harmony and you should definitely bring your instrument. You can find out more about the class and register here.

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!

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!

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!

 

Save the Date: ‘Interview Music’ Live Recording Nov. 14 in Berkeley!

Hello folks,

I wanted to give you a heads-up about a show next month that I’m very excited about. My group will be giving only the second performance of my new 4-part suite Interview Music (made possible by a grant from the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music). The show will also be our first appearance at the historic Hillside Club, a beautiful Maybeck-designed hall at the foot of the Berkeley Hills.

I wrote the piece over the past year and a half, specifically for my Quintet+1 (Adam Shulman on piano, Fred Randolph on bass, Sheldon Brown on bass clarinet, Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone, Jon Arkin on drums, and myself on trumpet). It’s close to an hour long and contains the most involved writing I’ve ever done. You can read more about it, including what the title means, here.

More importantly, we’re going to be doing a recording of the performance which will hopefully be released as our fourth album next year–and you have the opportunity to say, in the words of Pee Wee Marquette, “that’s my hand on that record!” This is also likely to be your last chance to hear Interview Music in its entirety for quite a while. We’ll also be playing other music from our book including music from our album Roads & Codes (“★★★★½ ” – DownBeat).

The show will be Friday, November 14 at 8pm, and the Hillside Club is located at 2286 Cedar St. in Berkeley. Hope to see you!


 

I also wanted to let you know about two exciting shows this weekend–the first is Friday 10/24 at 9pm. It’s the debut of a brand-new 17-piece big band, the Morchestra, which is led by guitarist/composer/arranger extraordinaire Tony Corman, and features an embarrassment of local riches in the band. We’re going to be playing at the newly-relocated Birdland Jazzista Social Club in Oakland and it should be a great time. More info here.

Saturday night (10/25), I’m excited to be getting together with my friends Fred Randolph, Adam Shulman, and Bryan Bowman for some good old bar jazz at the Albatross Pub in Berkeley from 9:30-12:30. Just a $3 cover. Come on by and see if we can be louder than the crowd!

Site Redesign, Gigs, & New to Me

Hi folks, it’s been a while since my last update. As you can see, I’ve redesigned my whole site from scratch; the reasons were a) it was time, and b) I’ve been learning some new tools and this was a good opportunity to put them to use–for the design-nerd details, I created the site as a whole in Adobe Muse, the homepage animation in Edge Animate, and the blog is still in WordPress with a customized template (since Muse doesn’t yet have its own compatible blogging engine). Please have a look around–there are now pages for my projects, albums, a new bio, my design & illustration portfolio, a list of upcoming events, and you can let me know what you think at the new contact page!

Gigs-wise things have been interesting–I’ve got at least two more hits with Circus Bella this summer, had a really challenging and interesting show with the great Satoko Fujii at Duende (I hope they’ll continue their adventurous programming now that Rocco Somazzi is leaving), and am busily preparing for the world (!) premiere of my new piece for Quintet+1, “Interview Music”  (if you follow the jazz media at all you’ll get the joke/reference), this September at the California Jazz Conservatory. Ben Stolorow and I have also just confirmed Duocracy‘s first San Francisco appearance, at Bird & Beckett in October.

Finally, I’m overdue to give you a “New to Me” installment—here’s a quick rundown of some of the music that’s been on heavy rotation in my ears lately.

The top five:

  • Israel: The Music of Johnny Carisi — I can’t overstate how deeply this record has bowled me over since I picked it up (on Marc Myers’ recommendation) earlier this year. So intricate, so creative, so swinging–it’s everything I aim for in my own music.
  • Olivier Manchon: Orchestre de Chambre Miniature — This random used CD pickup was a lucky find. Gorgeous small-group string writing by this French violinist, lush harmony, creative textures, layered through with solid blowing by John Ellis and Gregoire Maret (who I was lucky to get to play with a few times in NYC). This is listed as “volume 1″—I hope more is on the way because this one is over way too quickly.
  • Hindemith: Kammermusik 1-7 (Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado)  — This is a bible of modern contrapuntal technique. Drop the (virtual) needle anywhere for an immediate sonic bath of virtuosic counterpoint and texture. He makes it sound so easy (maybe it was for him). The cello-focused #3 is my current favorite, but they’re all amazing.
  • Villa Lobos: Wind Music  — As much as I love Hindemith, he can sometimes feel a little dry emotionally—the first time I heard this record, it made me think of a more soulful (and due to the Brazilian connection, inevitably more reminiscent of jazz harmonies) version of a Hindemithian texture. The duo, trio and quartet are all great. I am stealing lots of stuff from this record.
  • Halvorsen/Fujiwara/Formanek: Thumbscrew — I was lucky to hear these guys last month during their Duende residency (where else would that ever happen outside of NYC?) and was really floored. All three players are forces of nature, and the tunes are perfect vehicles for what they do best. (Although they do just fine without tunes as well, as demonstrated by the all-improvised second set they did with perfectly attuned sitter-inner Ben Goldberg when I saw them.) This (as well as the Satoko Fujii show) has really inspired me to get into more free playing.

Other records I’ve been crazy about lately include:

  • Darcy James Argue: Brooklyn Babylon
  • Donald Byrd: How (with incredible string charts by Clare Fischer)
  • Jimmy Giuffre: New York Concerts
  • Charles Mingus: Pre Bird (“Half-Mast Inhibition”!)
  • Henry Cowell: Piano Music
  • Kirk Knuffke: Chorale  (Finally got to hear him live recently with Todd Sickafoose–one of my favorite young trumpeters cornetists)
  • John Swana: Bright Moments (My friend Lorin turned me on to Swana, who is a mother$#&* of creative changes-playing and sounds equally scary on trumpet and EVI)

… plus a bunch of other great stuff I’m forgetting! Anyway, that’s a good start. Stay tuned for more news about “Interview Music” and part 2 of “Blues, Authenticity, and the Hopefully Not-So-Abstract Truth.”