Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nest - Autumn 2010

Hope you enjoy this promo video I made for the upcoming release of my second CD "Nest."


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Up, up and away

I really dislike flying, but it sure does make a lot of amazing things possible. For instance, I’m on my way to Tulsa, Oklahoma to play the first show of a 4 week tour with Michael BublĂ© and I’m able to still have the wonderfully catchy music of Darcy James Argue in my head after our Secret Society hit last night at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. Specifically, two newer pieces “Hard Up on the Down Low” and “Dymaxian.” I often get the music that I’m playing stuck in my head on a constant loop, so it’s nice that it’s some quality music for a change!

It was my first time playing at Dizzy’s and I had a blast. The space has a panoramic view of Central Park that is pretty inspiring. I was also able to see some fellow friends/musicians in attendance including composer Molly Thompson, clarinetist Anat Cohen, and bassist Dan Seefe. A great note on which to leave NYC for a little while.

So, considering air travel makes all this possible, I’m willing to even be a little thankful for it. Soon, though, it will be all bus and hotels.

The bus is always really nice. Still a bus. I can’t complain, though, I know how lucky I am.

Now, before I get too diva, where’s that kid with my latte? …

Monday, May 17, 2010

F means cold

I'm just getting in after the best day I've ever had in Paris. This is probably my fifth time here, but the first time in quite a while that I have had a day off.
Me and a couple of friends made it over to Montmartre where a lot of my favorite artists had studios. I was over there to stop by the Vandoren reed office where I had a fantastic time trying mouthpieces and reeds (I think I'm going to have to buy a Vandoren Optimum Ligature). We then walked around taking in the most fantastic views and eating the best pastries.

I just capped off the evening with good dinner and some pretty terrible wine (can't win them all).

All that's left is some Serge Gainsbourg and Debussy's La Mer.
Je suis content.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Big Picture vs. Details

I've had to work very hard during my years as a professional musician in Brooklyn keeping focus on what I want to achieve and share with the world. In college I spent most of my time working on details (sight reading, intonation, scale patterns, ear training, vibrato, etc …). However, as I began to think about composing for and leading a band in New York, I was confronted with the feeling that there is little need for another competent saxophonist. How could I try to tap into the relevant things that I was uniquely equipped to share with the world. For me this became an important search to try to see myself from the prospective of an outsider without years of jazz training.

I’m generally pleased with the outcome of the last 10 or so years, but found myself getting a little sloppy.

The unfortunate by-product of my big picture thinking has been a lack of discipline in my craft that I have enjoyed rediscovering over the last year and a half. It has been through some lessons with some great musicians that I have been made aware of some terrible habits in my playing and breathing!

Just a few weeks ago, I made a revelation that my right hand laziness (not just my left) had been causing heaps of trouble in my clarinet technique. Better late than never, I guess.

It’s just a great reminder of the importance of Balance in life. Hope I can keep it up.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Listening and Sharing

I was listening to my favorite Death Cab for Cutie album "We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes" today and it got me thinking of favorite albums by different artists.
For me, it has so much to do with the personal connection I have with said album. Where did I buy it, what was going on in my life.
In the case of Miles Davis, my favorite is still the classic "Milestones." While there's little to dislike about this great record, this is a hard sale to the world at large due to Miles' prolific output and "Milestones" proximity to one of jazz's most beloved albums, "Kind of Blue."
I was given "Milestones" as a record when I was a teen and it was one of the only albums available to me at the time. Along with Dizzy Gillespie's "Sonny Side Up" and some great Beatles albums, "Milestones" was on heavy rotation. This is still some of my favorite Cannonball on record as well. It is also, in many ways, a transition album from Miles' records that sounded like live sets of music ("Milestones" has a piano trio cut on it!) and albums that have Studio Purpose.

I got on this topic last week after a nice dinner in Portland with some old friends. We were talking about Radiohead, and I asserted that my favorite album is "OK Computer." I got an amen from a stranger walking by, bolstering my opinion.
Agreements from strangers aside, however, "OK Computer" is primarily my favorite because of when I was listening to it. During my Master's in Jazz Studies at North Texas it provided the soundtrack alternative to all the brain-cramming I was doing during the days.
My musical knowledge tells me that "Amnesiac" with all it's awesome songs (I even covered "Knives Out") or "Kid A" with about the greatest opening to a record ever ("Everything in its' Right Place") should place as best, but the added emotions I feel when "OK Computer" comes on place it in a different category.

I guess in the end, as much as I try to learn about all the techniques that going into making great art, I still feel like it's the subjective nature of a work that seems to win out.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ya gotta start somewhere.

So I was reading the New York Times' Science Times section recently and came across an article about the future of the internet (among other things). One thing that struck me was that Cisco Systems predicts that by 2013 ninety percent of internet traffic will be video.
Well, to counteract some of that video, I figured I'd try to cram some more written words out into the universe.

Between the amazingly talented musicians that I'm able to spend time and work with in New York and on the road, and the traveling that I get to do, I figured I could share some of the things I get to experience with the internet.

Hopefully, it will be good for me to put together a few coherent(ish) thoughts together every once in a while as well.