Category Archives: Video

Sunday 11/4: The Ian Carey Quintet+1 Premieres Fire In My Head at SFJAZZ

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.

World Premiere: Fire in My Head (The Anxiety Suite) at SFJAZZ’s Joe Henderson Lab, 11/4

Hello folks! I am very excited to announce the premiere next month of my new suite Fire in My Head, which was commissioned by Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works program.

The piece, which ranges from straightahead jazz to chamber music and beyond, is a 50-minute, 5-movement exploration of the topic of anxiety, which is something I’ve dealt with personally for a long time and that many of us have recently been forced to deal with on a community level. I wrote the piece for my long-time musical partners the Ian Carey Quintet+1 (“a highly skilled band of improvisers” –Down Beat), featuring Adam Shulman, piano; Kasey Knudsen, alto saxophone; Sheldon Brown, bass clarinet; Fred Randolph, bass; Jon Arkin, drums; and me on trumpet. (You can get a taste of the piece in the video below.)

I’m especially excited to be premiering this work at SFJAZZ’s Joe Henderson LabTickets are now available for both shows (6pm and 7:30pm). Please don’t miss this rare chance to hear original music played by great local musicians in this beautiful space!

ALSO: I will be on our local treasure KCSM Jazz91 talking about the show with Alisa Clancy on Thursday 11/1 at 9am. Tune in or listen online here!

Friday 11/3 in Berkeley: Ian Carey & Nathan Clevenger: New Music for Septets

Hello folks! I’m very excited to tell you about a special performance this Friday (11/3) at 8pm, at California Jazz Conservatory (aka The Jazzschool) in Berkeley. I’ll be bringing my brand new genre-bending septet Wood/Metal/Plastic (with Alisa Rose and Mia Bella D’Augelli on violins, Jessica Ivry on cello, Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone, Lisa Mezzacappa on bass, Jon Arkin on drums, and myself on trumpet), performing a new book of original music (by me) ranging from chamber music to straightahead jazz to free improvisation.

We’ll be joined by a true treasure of the Bay Area musical scene, the Nathan Clevenger Group, led by my friend the guitarist and composer, and featuring Rachel Condry on bass clarinet, Cory Wright on tenor sax, clarinet & flute, Tim DeCillis on vibraphone and percussion, plus Kasey, Lisa and Jon (who will be doing double duty in both bands). The Group has released two acclaimed albums and notable recent performances include SFMusic Day, the Switchboard Music Festival, and a featured night as part of the Best Coast Composer Series at the SF Center for New Music.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! After our individual sets, the two groups will be combining, Voltron-like, to an 11-piece “superband” to perform two brand new compositions which Nathan and I have written specifically for this concert.

Tickets available here! Don’t miss this chance to hear two (really three!) adventurous ensembles for the price of one! And check out a preview video of Wood/Metal/Plastic below.

 

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!

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.

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!

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!