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
- 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.”