Hello folks! The day that I’ve been waiting for, obsessing over, and in a state of near-panic about for the past several years is almost here—I’m talking, of course, about the midterm elections Tuesday. (Vote!) But I’ve also been doing pretty much those same things in anticipation of the world premiere this Sunday evening of my new piece Fire In My Head (the Anxiety Suite) at SFJAZZ’s Joe Henderson Lab (joined by my longtime partners in crime Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone, Sheldon Brown on bass clarinet, Jon Arkin on drums, Fred Randolph on bass, and Adam Shulman on piano).
Some back story: a few years ago I wrote a suite for my Quintet+1 called Interview Music, which was purposefully not about anything. I wanted to let the music stand on its own, and while I don’t regret that decision, in retrospect 2016 was a not a good year to be “above the fray,” artistically speaking.
So when I was very fortunate to receive a grant (from Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works program) to compose a new major work for my band, I decided to write about something I’ve been struggling with on a personal level for ages, and that pretty much everyone I know has been dealing with on an hourly basis since, oh, late 2016: anxiety.
Fire In My Head is my five-part, 50-minute attempt to translate that emotional cyclone into music. But one thing I discovered in the process is that, just as my wife pointed out to me that “even your happy songs have an undercurrent of anxiety,” even my intentionally anxious material can’t seem to help but to also reflect hope and a desire to create beauty and connection.
So please join me and my bandmates (who have been working their butts off on this challenging material—see a sneak peek below) Sunday at 6pm or 7:30pm for this opportunity to hear original music by local musicians at the beautiful SFJAZZ Center! Buy tickets here.
ALSO: I’ll be talking about the show (and giving away some tickets!) with Alisa Clancy this Thursday morning at 9am on KCSM Jazz 91. Tune in or listen online.