Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Video and some quick thoughts

There was a time that saying: "He's a West Coast player" or "He's a real Chicago Tenor" meant something very specific in terms of style, vocabulary, sound etc. Something that I hear today in my contemporaries and even in my own playing is no sense of regional identity. It is probably quite naive to think in this age of global information that there could be such drastic stylistic differences. An apprentice saxophonist today living in Nebraska has equal access to music from all geographic areas of the US as well as internationally at the click of a mouse. This is a wonderful thing for both the student and the professional, but, I do miss being able to hear a player' geographic linage in his or her playing. Today it sounds like we have all listened to the same 25 records, which of course, we have. As we move through the three stages of artistic development (Imitation, Style, Innovation) I think it would do us well as artists to undertake a study of a historic regional style of playing that appeals to us. We'll be more historically grounded in as well as discover new sources for our own vocabulary.

In that light, our Sunday Video today, features a true Chicago Tenor that I grew up listening to and that I have had the honor of performing with a couple of times...Von Freeman.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Video...

Some killin' Joe for your Sunday. The sound is a little fuzzy, but Joe's genius comes through. I may have to transcribe the initial statement of the melody! Enjoy...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I can almost see the floor...

Since the new year, I have slowly been clearing the weeds away from this blog. It had gotten so overgrown from neglect and non-use that I was afraid I'd never get it back.

The past 4 months have been a huge shock to my system. Going to grad school full time and working full time is no joke! I will say that it was a great decision. I'm working toward some interesting goals and there are some potential opportunities out there that look really encouraging.

My study this semester has left me with a bit of an identity crisis, though. I am having a difficult time finding a center as far as who and what I want/need to study. I spent last semester dealing with Warne Marsh and that was quite rewarding in the final analysis, although a bit frustrating while I was in the middle of it. I am thinking of dealing with Joe Henderson next semester, I have been on a big binge of his playing for the last month and I really would like to try to absorb elements of his harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary.

The semester was extremely productive in terms of my writing. I completed an original piece for Jazz Orchestra entitled "Pablo's Return" that had a very successful premiere. I have to say, I'm happier with it than I've been with anything else I've written in recent memory. Once I get the recording back, I'll post it at my MySpace.

The horizon has some projects that I'm looking forward to. I'll be doing an independent study project on the Lydian Chromatic Concept. This is very exciting, I have wanted to dig into the Concept for years, but it always kept slipping off my list. I also will be doing a Duo Recital with the wonderful pianist Pamela Hines (she's also on my Quartet hit at Acton Jazz Cafe on February 19th - more on that soon).

Ahh...that's better. I can see more of the floor now...

Friday, January 15, 2010

My inner geek...

sometimes comes out. Click here if you need help getting going this morning....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quote of the day...

“This music, jazz music, has a discipline that comes from practice, that’s very good for life in itself.”

~ Muhal Richard Abrams at the 2010 NEA Jazz Masters Awards

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Is this the future?

My wife turned me on to this article in the NYT today.

I was pleased on several levels. As an ex-pat Chicagoan it is great to see some of the cats on that scene doing great things. But, on another level I am pleased to see the trend of musicians taking ownership for the scene continuing. I wrote in an earlier post about how musicians like Dave Douglas and Matt Otto are changing the paradigm from a "label-centric" jazz world to more of an "artist-centric" one. The idea of musicians owning and managing the performance space is a logical step in that continuum. It isn't really new, though. Tesser cites Ahmad Jamal owning a club as well as the AACM model. I would add Seventh Avenue South, the Greenwich Village club owned and operated by the Breckers in the 1970s as well as Free Life Communication, the artist's collective of the 70s that counted David Liebman, Michael and Randy Brecker, Steve Grossman, Dave Holland, Chick Corea, Don Grolnik, Richie Beirach and many more.

I think that we as artists have to move in this direction. As long as we continue to rely on outside entities such as club owners or record labels to provide venues for the exhibition of our art, there will always be a market influence on said art.

Business models like these above as well as self-distribution and places like AS220 in Providence, RI place the art first. It is our music, lets support each other in the presentation and distribution of it!

Go out and hear some local music. Buy art from local artists, buy a CD from a player at a gig. Find a local theater and see a play. Buy a book by a local author. Seek out local artists and support them.

We want to play, write, perform, show for you!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Matt Otto...

has a new book out.

If you are unfamiliar with Matt's playing, rectify the situation here. I have been loving his playing for just over a year now. He is one of the most organic improvisors I know of today as well as being one of the most generous.

The idea of an entire book on one particular scale (Harmonic Major) is very interesting. A quick look leads me to believe that there will be much to mine here.

Congrats, Matt...I'll be ordering one soon!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Something to start your year off right....

Hard to go wrong with Miles, Wayne, Tony, Herbie, and Ron...

Happy New Year, all...