Sunday, June 21, 2009

Please return your seatbacks and tray tables to their full-upright position...

So, it has been over 2 months since my last post.

In the blogosphere this is roughly equal to the amount of time it takes for light from Alpha Centauri to reach Earth, so I am grateful for anyone who is still following. If you are new, welcome!

My move to Rhode Island has been a very positive step for me. The energy of New England is a much better fit and the location is perfect, close to Boston and New York. Being able to drive 1.5 hours and hear an artist of the caliber of Jerry Bergonzi (with only 10 people in the club!) is a true blessing.

The scene in Rhode Island seems to be positive. I have met and been working with some great players including: Joe Parillo, Joe Potenza, Gene Rosati, and Jared Sims. I'll be starting my Master's Degree at The University of Rhode Island this fall so I have a feeling that most of my projects will be focused in that direction for the next couple of years. The program at URI is very interesting and seemingly very progressive. It's a performance degree but the curriculum is quite ad-hoc. Lots of opportunity for independent study and research coupled with traditional lessons, recitals etc.

The Spring has been exciting in the listening realm. I've been on a big Joe Henderson kick lately. His sense of time and harmonic individuality are big inspirations to me lately. I have read in interviews and also heard from some of my teachers who studied with Joe that he was big on writing etudes on tunes under study. I have been doing a bit of this in my practice and it is a very valuable way to understand a tune. The trick for me is to write etudes that don't sound like etudes. Greg Fishman (one of the teachers mentioned above) is great at this. He has several books of etudes that are great examples of the process.

I have also been listening to a lot of Rich Perry. I am in love with this guy's playing. Beautiful sound, rich harmonic and melodic ideas and a soft and subtle concept that really appeals to me.

I've taken a bit of a break from writing, although I currently have an "itch" that I keep messing around with at the piano, so something may be coming soon.

Finally I must state me sorrow at the passing of Charlie Mariano. I have been listening to a wonderful arrangement of Ravel's Pavane for a Dead Princess by Vince Mendoza that features him.

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