Tag Archives: Duocracy

IC Quintet+1 at the Presidio, Duocracy Workshop, Fred Randolph Quintet

Hi folks,

I wanted to let you know about some exciting events coming up:

First, next Friday July 31, I am very happy to be bringing my Quintet+1 to the Presidio Sessions series, which is presented by San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music at the Presidio Officers’ Club. The room is beautiful, parking is easy, and best of all, it’s FREE! (However, seating is limited and these shows have been popular, so they suggest you reserve a spot through Eventbrite.) As a bonus, I’m very excited to have as a special guest, from New York, the amazing flutist and saxophonist (and alumnus of the Quintet+1) Evan Francis. We’ll be playing music from our albums Roads & Codes (“4-1/2 stars” –Downbeat) and my new suite Interview Music (coming to a CD near you in 2016). The series encourages a casual atmosphere and interaction with the musicians (but no stage diving!).

WHAT: The Ian Carey Quintet+1 featuring Evan Francis
WHO: Jon Arkin, drums; Sheldon Brown, bass clarinet & saxophone; Ian Carey, trumpet; Fred Randolph, bass; Adam Shulman, piano; and Evan Francis, flute & saxophone
WHEN: Friday, July 31, 6:00pm-7:30pm
WHERE: The Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave, San Francisco
HOW MUCH: Free! (Reserve a seat here)

The following Sunday (8/2), my partner-in-crime Ben Stolorow and I will be presenting a two-hour workshop for musicians at the California Jazz Conservatory on the Art of the Duo. Drawing from the techniques presented on our 2014 album Duocracy, we will demonstrate the range of possibilities of the duo, outlining the traditional roles of each instrument as well as showing the potential for creating more abstract contrapuntal textures. Special emphasis placed on the importance of rhythmic feel in performing in this fun yet challenging format. Open to all instrumentalists and improvising vocalists.

WHAT: The Art of the Duo: a Workshop
WHO: Ian Carey, trumpet; Ben Stolorow, piano
WHEN: Sunday, August 2, 2pm-4pm
WHERE: California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison St, Berkeley
HOW MUCH: $30 advance, $45 day of workshop

Finally, after the duo workshop, I will be heading to Portola Vineyards for an evening performance with the great bassist Fred Randoph and his Quintet as part of their summer jazz series. We’ll be playing music from Fred’s great new album Song Without Singing.

WHAT: Portola Vineyards Summer Jazz Presents the Fred Randolph Quintet
WHO: Fred Randolph, bass; Greg Wyser-Pratt, drums; Matt Clark, piano; Rob Roth, tenor saxophone; Ian Carey, trumpet
WHEN: Sunday, August 2, 5:30pm-7pm
WHERE: Portola Vineyards, 850 Los Trancos Rd, Portola Valley, CA
HOW MUCH: $15 adult, $4 child

Thanks, and hope to see you at one or more of these events!

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

Spring Update: Three Sundays of Music

Hi folks, happy spring to you all! I’ve been keeping busy, recording what I think will be a great album with drummer and composer Bryan Bowman at the legendary Fantasy Studios, getting ready for my own recording there with the Quintet+1 in April, and playing as much as possible! I wanted to let you know about a few shows coming up which I think you’d enjoy…

First up is a show this Sunday at Rose Pistola in North Beach–pianist Ben Stolorow and I will be joined by bassist Doug Miller for an evening of standards, originals, and jazz rarities.

WHO: Ian Carey, Ben Stolorow, & Doug Miller
WHERE: Rose Pistola, 532 Columbus Ave, SF
WHEN: Sunday, February 15, 8-10:30pm
HOW MUCH: no cover!

The following Sunday, I’ll be back in North Beach playing with the great new big band The Electric Squeezebox Orchestra (formerly the Bay Area Composers’ Big Band, but it’s still almost entirely original music!), led by the great trumpeter Erik Jekabsen and featuring some of the Bay Area’s finest. This is turning into quite a hang, so don’t miss it! (With a little luck I may even have an arrangement to premiere).

WHAT: The Electric Squeezebox Orchestra
WHERE: Doc’s Lab, 124 Columbus Ave, SF
WHEN: Sunday, February 22, 6:30p
HOW MUCH: no cover!

And the Sunday after that, Ben Stolorow and I will bring our duo project Duocracy back to the landmark Old St. Hilary’s (on the hill above beautiful Tiburon) for a very special show featuring our unique take on rarely-heard gems from the American Popular Songbook. This is a great, intimate place to hear music and was one of my favorite shows last year.

WHAT: Duocracy (Ian Carey & Ben Stolorow)
WHERE: Old St. Hilary’s, 201 Esperanza St., Tiburon
WHEN: Sunday, March 1, 4pm
HOW MUCH: $20/$15 (available here)

Hope to see you there!

UPCOMING:

April 24: Tony Corman’s Morchestra featuring Ed Reed, CJC
May 7: Bryan Bowman Quintet, Bird & Beckett
May 16: Ian Carey Quintet+1, The Sound Room

‘Duocracy,’ Canadian-Style

Even though my most recent record, Duocracy, came out way back in February, it’s nice to see it still getting attention here and there. This is a natural result, I think, of the constantly overflowing state of the reviewers’ inboxes—but just like I will occasionally see a CD laying around which I’d forgotten I bought and end up loving it, sometimes a reviewer will get around to a record long after it’s been released. In this case, the reviewer—Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen, a very thoughtful writer whose work I’ve read for years—paired the review with another trumpet/piano duo (Dave Douglas’ and Uri Caine’s Present Joys, which I have to pick up!). Here are some highlights from his very kind write-up:

With their fine and refined album Duocracy, trumpeter Ian Carey and pianist Ben Stolorow have a fresh and rewarding musical partnership. The album appeals immediately because the two San Francisco Bay Area musicians, both in their late 30s, are both lean, polished players with lots of facility and flow, but the good taste too to never throw in extra notes. Their disc reveres jazz tradition but feels unbounded too, blessed with spontaneity, poise and personality. The album presents savvy selection of 10 tracks… Cherokee, while taken at its requisite breakneck tempo, feels like a walk in the park, with Carey and Stolorow playing freely and expressively. Stolorow’s a sensitive and varied accompanist throughout the CD, but on Cherokee he really shines as he finds different ways to keep the tune moving forward… There’s more jazz cred on a rendition of Thelonious Monk’s striking, finger-stumping tune Four In One. … Versions of Gigi Gryce’s Social Call, which saunters nicely, and Comin’ Along, a contrafact built on the chord changes of Benny Golson’s Along Came Betty, keep the bop flame burning. On those and a few other tunes, there are stretches of tandem, contrapuntal improvising that stand out for their clarity and simpatico. Trumpet and piano duets pop up infrequently in jazz. Don’t ask me why. And yet, Carey and Stolorow make the pairing sound like the most natural and rewarding team-up going.

Overall I’ve felt that the press Duocracy received mostly focused on the “straightahead-ness” of the record, and failed to hear the ways that Ben and I tried to take the album out of the standards-jam-session model—especially those “stretches of tandem, contrapuntal improvising” Hum mentions above—so it’s gratifying to hear from someone who really picked up on that.

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.”

First Duocracy Reviews + Desert Island Jazz

Duocracy has only been out a few days (pick up a copy here!), but we’re already seeing some nice reviews coming in, which is really gratifying. Here are some of the first batch!

From a thoughtful review from Stephen Graham on the great site marlbank (check out the site for two versions which inspired our rendition of “Goodbye”):

More traditionally minded on the surface at least than Roads and Codes, last year’s Ian Carey Quintet + 1 outing, Duocracy opens with ‘Little White Lies,’ the Walter Donaldson song from 1930 that Paul McCartney has mentioned was a childhood favourite of John Lennon’s. Trumpeter Carey, who’s in his late thirties and is from New York state, teams here with NYC-born pianist Ben Stolorow a few years his junior who debuted in 2008 with I’ll Be Over Here and whose input gives the album its deceptively early jazz feel. Carey has width and expressive resource in his approach, Stolorow too, and while Roads and Codes found Carey more in Dave Douglas-land here the trumpet stylings are far more mainstream, for instance the sound of Ruby Braff springs to mind a bit, and I suppose Stolorow could be compared to the late Dave McKenna in that his style borders on stride but never quite goes the full furlong as that would be just too retro. … Ultimately whatever the way in to the song, and the same applies for the album as a whole, while Stolorow and Carey play their own particular blend of goodbye, jazz fans may well prefer a firm hello to this appealing duo. (3 1/2 stars)

From the website Bop-n-Jazz:

Face it, a duo format is almost as “naked” as a performer can get so any apprehensions from the artists are more than understandable … yet there is unique chemistry that allows Carey and pianist Ben Stolorow to form a dynamic duo of sorts that slays the more pop oriented tunes from the classic days of jazz. Ben moves well away from the more traditional role of accompanist to achieve that “duocracy” of equal lyrical footing… There is an understated eloquence that takes hold throughout the release. Melody is back, changes are done with finesse and not a self-indulgent pretentiousness that may find one artist attempting to out perform the other. While the tunes are familiar and some bordering on eclectic, the original composition “Comin’ Along” is an abstract showstopper formed around the Benny Golson standard “Along Came Betty.” Rodgers and Hart’s “You Took Advantage of Me” is the perfect vehicle for the harmonic gifts of pianist Stolorow. The Mancini tune ” Two For The Road” is a master class for trumpet players that are looking to work on a more expressive tone, Carey simply nails it. (5 stars)

From Bruce Collier in the independent weekly The Beachcomber:

San Francisco jazzmen Carey (trumpet) and Stolorow (piano) did some gigging together last year in the Bay Area and decided to make it legit, the result being Duocracy. The album offers 10 tracks, including American Songbook standards and showpieces like “Cherokee.” Carey’s tone and approach are in the hard-bop style, somewhere between Lee Morgan and Clifford Brown in their bouncier moods. Stolorow skillfully backs him up, and there’s a meeting of the minds on every song. When two fine players are having fun, it’s good to listen in.

Always interesting to read which influences different listeners hear in one’s playing! From Chris Spector in the Midwest Record:

After years of striving and making albums everyone raves about, this duo that has worked a lot together but never recorded together decided to take a tip from us and go after hours. Just the two of them smoking it up hotel piano bar style on a set card of warhorses carries the day quite nicely and you can tell they enjoy recording with the pressure off. In fact, these Bay area staples sound like they were kicking it out in the bar at this swank hotel on the rehabbed Berkeley waterfront with the sun going down in the background and the glasses clinking. First class throughout, loaded with the joy of playing for the fun of it. Infectious–in a good way!

And finally from Lee Hildebrand in our own East Bay Express:

The duo of Richmond trumpeter Ian Carey and Albany pianist Ben Stolorow is the most adventurous and exciting trumpet-pianist pairing since cornetist Ruby Braff and pianist-organist Dick Hyman played together a quarter century ago. But whereas Braff and Hyman’s music was rooted in the pre-bop mainstream, these two East Bay musicians draw stylistically on a somewhat later era. They have a terrific new CD titled Duocracy on which their approach to melody, harmony, and rhythm suggests Thelonious Monk as they playfully explore “Cherokee,” “Little White Lies,” “You Took Advantage of Me,” “All the Things You Are,” and other popular standards, plus Gigi Gryce’s “Social Call,” Monk’s “Four in One,” and a tune of their own.

Meanwhile, I was a guest on KCSM’s great Desert Island Jazz show last week, and had a great time talking about some of my all-time favorite music with host Alisa Clancy and producer Michael Burman. My playlist can be found here–it was incredibly challenging to winnow my list down to 8 tracks, but I feel good about who made the final cut. I also recommend taking some time to check out their full list of past guests and picks (who range from local heroes to international legends), which is fascinating. You can listen to my episode here:

Finally, don’t forget that Ben & I have one more CD release show next Friday (March 7)–our North Bay version–at Old St. Hilary’s in Tiburon. If you weren’t able to make it to the Jazzschool (uh, make that California Jazz Conservatory!), please consider heading to beautiful Marin County next week to hear us!

Duocracy is Here!

Hi folks, I’m happy to announce that as of today, Duocracy, my new album with pianist Ben Stolorow on Kabocha Records, is available for purchase (and should be on a radio station near you)!

Physical CDs can be picked up at CDBaby, and digital downloads are available at CDBaby (in high-quality mp3 and FLAC formats), Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, and eMusic. (The album is not available on Spotify, since we’re not interested in being digital sharecroppers and getting $.000001 per play.)

Please pick up a copy or ten! And if you enjoy it, please consider adding a review–they really do help!

Coming soon: Video from our really enjoyable CD release show at the Jazzschool last week! And don’t forget our North Bay CD release show is March 7 in Tiburon.

December Update: Year-End Honors for Roads & Codes, Duocracy Coming Soon

Hi folks, it’s been a while, so here’s some recent news: I’ve been very happy to see Roads & Codes getting some love in year-end lists, including a mention in Downbeat’s Best of 2013 Issue (alongside some heavy hitters!–although I wish they’d highlighted my album cover instead of that cornball Chick Corea-in-shining-armor painting).

Meanwhile, Andrew Gilbert of NPR’s California Report named Roads & Codes on his list The Golden State of Jazz: The Best California Jazz CDs of 2013, and included some of my artwork.

The album also got a really nice mention in James Hale’s Best Jazz Recordings of 2013 list (Hale also reviewed the CD for Downbeat, so I’m very glad it ended up in front of him!):

Bay Area trumpeter Ian Carey was the discovery of the year for me. On the inventively conceived Roads and Codes, he made great use of his highly skilled band of improvisers by writing to their strengths—a lesson gleaned from his mentor Maria Schneider. The program—an arty mix of pieces by Neil Young, Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives and his own harmonically pleasing compositions—covers a lot of ground, and does it all well.

Ken Frankling included “The Thread,” one of my tunes from the record, on his list of “the 10 best new songs from CDs released in 2013” on his blog Jazz Notes.

R&C also made the Top 50 list of Scott Albin of Jazztimes, and the honorable mention list for Ted Gioia’s 100 Best Albums of 2013 (any genre!).

I’m especially glad to see the record showing up in these lists since it came out in February, so if people still remember it, it must have made quite an impression. I give much credit to the awesome musicians–Fred Randolph, Kasey Knudsen, Adam Shulman, Evan Francis, & Jon Arkin–who made that music with me.

duocracy_covBut no resting on laurels, because I’m happy to announce that my new album, Duocracy, will be released in February. The album is an intimate duo session with my amigo the great pianist Ben Stolorow, featuring a selection of some of our favorite classic American Popular Songbook chestnuts, from the well-known (“All the Things…,” “Cherokee”) to the rare (“Two for the Road,” “Little White Lies”). We have two CD release performances scheduled so far: the first in the East Bay, at The Jazzschool in Berkeley on February 21; the second in the North Bay, at Old St. Hilary’s in Tiburon on March 7. The CD will hit the airwaves on February 25. Stay tuned!

Finally, from my other other career, a little thing I wrote with Darci Ratliff is up at the great literary & humor site McSweeney’s today: Things Not to Bring to a Gunfight.

Coming soon: part two of my rambling Blues, Authenticity, and the Hopefully Not-So-Abstract Truth. Happy Holidays!