Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How 'bout a big hand now...

This is KILLER!  48 glorious minutes of Art Blakey and the Messengers circa 1961.

Thanks to Russ Neff at My Favorite Things for posting it.

Most of my posts of late have been links to other sites like this.  I do apologize and I will have some substantive writing very soon...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chuck says it all!!!!

Things have lightened up for me a good bit.

We graduated two classes yesterday and my teaching load has dropped considerably.  Now that things are a bit lighter, I can focus on some projects I have put on the back burner, most importantly, my transcribing.  I have spoken before about how I feel about transcribing as a pedagogical tool and those feelings were reinforced today upon reading this.  What a great article!!

Thanks to Revd. Andrew for posting the link...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Busy Sunday

The past 72 hours have seen some extraordinary activity in the world of Jazz Education.

First, was this.  This letter was posted on IAJE's website as well as delivered to the membership.  Upon reading this I checked my Vienna and sure enough, the blogosphere was abuzz.  Here are some of the more informative posts:

A new blog for me, The Independent Ear, has several posts.  Here is one of the most telling.

I am deeply saddened by the news that IAJE as we know it no longer exists.  I have been to three conferences in my my life and they were very positive experiences for me.  I was able to to get enough of a "Buzz" to keep my energy and enthusiasm up for most of the rest of the year. I must, however, agree with some of the voices that have characterized the experience as too commercial.  There is (or I should say, was) quite a consumer culture around the conference - all the newest books, horns, records etc.  But, again, let me emphasize, the experiences were overwhelmingly positive for me.  I will miss that experience.  Some of the highlights of the past three years have been:  Maria Schneider, Kenny Werner's Trio, David Liebman (in a variaty of ensembles), John Holenbeck, Jerry Bergonzi, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, One for All, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society North, Nordic Connect, and countless clinics and other performances.  Here are some links to my posts from Toronto.

In other news:  My trio piece was premiered today.  An amazing, sensitive and giving performance by the "Diversions Trio".  Pictures will be posted here soon and a recording will be posted on MySpace as soon as it is mixed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Sound

Here is a great video of Stan Getz with The Boston Pops.  Thanks to Bev Getz for posting it at her MySpace (you're awesome, Bev!!)

Stan has always been, for me, THE example of playing with a sense of inevitability.  I'll always remember where I was when I heard he passed - driving home from my girlfriend's (now wife) house.  I was listening to WBEZ and I think it was Dick Buckley who made the announcement.  I was 18 years old and I wept like a baby - I had always wanted to hear him live and never had the chance.

Billy's arrangement is nothing to sneeze at either...


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Daniel Melnick's Soundslope

Soundslope is a great jazz and creative music blog that I read fairly religiously.  Dan keeps his finger firmly on the pulse of the Chicago Creative Scene and offers wonderful insights in the bigger world of music as well.  

I was reading today's post and it really resonated with me.  It was a short excerpt from Tricycle: The Buddhist Review (another periodical I often read...).  Here it is in full:

The artist's dilemma and the meditator's are, in a deep sense, equivalent. Both are repeatedly willing to confront an unknown and to risk a response that they cannot predict or control. Both are disciplined in skills that allow them to remain focused on their task and to express their response in a way that will illuminate the dilemma they share with others. And both are liable to similar outcomes. The artist's work is prone to be derivative, a variation on the style of a great master or established school. The meditator's response might tend to be dogmatic, a variation on the words of a hallowed tradition or revered teacher. There is nothing wrong with such responses. But we recognize their secondary nature, their failure to reach the peaks of primary imaginative creation. Great Art and Great Dharma both give rise to something that has never quite been imagined before. Artist and meditator alike ultimately aspire to an original act.

--Stephen Batchelor, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Vol. IV, #2

I like this passage for a lot of reasons.  I have often likened practice to a meditation, in fact Matt Otto has some great thoughts about that here.  But I especially like the parallels that can be drawn between the faith required to sit every day and the faith required to go to the horn every day.  Neither discipline has much to offer in the immediate gratification department.  At this point in my life I don't hit plateaus in such a way that I have big breakthroughs after each practice session and I certainly don't feel any more enlightened after chanting (I currently practice Nichiren Buddhism)for 15 minutes (although I do feel more relaxed and centered) but yet I keep going back.  I have faith that the act will manifest positive results over time.  

Another parallel I like is that both disciplines place you squarely in the present tense.  Bergonzi says playing jazz makes you addicted to the moment.  This is so true for me.  The more I do it the more I stay in the moment - this goes for both music and meditation.    

I am thankful that Dan posted this today.  It was a beautiful gem of wisdom.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Kelly Bucheger's "Daily Grind"

Greetings all...
Apologies for the dearth of posts as of late.  I have two classes going into finals and they have been taking up a good bit of my thinking as of late.  I did want to share this.  Kelly is a sax player who I met several years ago at IAJE.  A great cat, great player, wonderful writer and one of the most light filled beings I have ever met.  Any time we hang I feel very energized after.  His site is chock full of good stuff but I especially like his approach to warming up and working technique. Very methodical and complete.  I have been using it in my "horn hour" and the results have been wonderful.  Nothing earth-shattering but very effective, efficient and worth checking out.

In other news, my woodwind piece: Largo, Fugue and Improvisation is set for premiere on April 20th.  Watch this space for sounds soon.

Happy Spring!