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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
Interview Music, the new album from my Quintet+1, is officially out there, and some very gratifying reviews have been coming in.
First, from Doug Ramsey at the great music blog Rifftides:
In the articulate liner notes for his fifth album, Carey explains that he writes music not to label it “about something” in order to snag foundation grants, but to employ what he’s learned and make it work for him and his players. Interview Music does that. Even better, it works for the listener. … His sextet plays the five-part suite with drive, wit, swing and a palpable unity of purpose. It is complex chamber music with solo space for Carey, long an impressive trumpeter; bass clarinetist Sheldon Brown; alto saxophonist Kasey Knudsen; pianist Adam Shulman; bassist Fred Randolph; and drummer Jon Arkin. They are among the cream of the Bay Area’s jazz community. In a victory for his creative policy, the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music supported Interview Music with a grant despite its not being “about something,” which, of course, it is. It’s about music.
[Carey] has returned with an ambitious new recording that succeeds in its effort. Interview Music is a fantastic suite that sees some of Carey’s most adventurous writing matched with truly outstanding performances. … While the production is one of some range, it is accessible, even as weaves and winds its way forward. … Carey’s writing affords each of his fellow players many moments to exhibit their depth of talent, and in the process, allows the entire project to shine.
And a listener left this very thoughtful review on the album’s iTunes page:
Very inspiring to hear this kind of sophisticated composition and playing coming out of the Bay Area. As an ex professional trumpet player who grew up in Bay Area and studied and played in NYC, this is really the first time I’ve encountered such a high degree of post-bop compositional creativity and craft come out of the Bay Area with the exception of Joe Henderson of course. Also very fine playing all-around, with a special shout out to Ian who is obviously a really accomplished trumpeter and improviser.
The album also got mentions from Marc Myers’ Jazzwax (“this abstract original suite for quintet led by trumpeter Carey has classical overtones”) and Tom Hull (“a sprawling suite with four parts and an interlude, a fine example of postbop composition and arrangement”). It’s great to know people are giving it a listen, 15-minute tracks and all!
Finally, here’s another sample track from the album, the interlude and first half of the fourth movement. If you’d like to hear more, please pick up a copy for yourself!
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!
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!
Announcements and thoughts from a Bay Area trumpeter and composer