Music Pitfalls

So here we are on the internet again.  I’ve been traveling and searching for a home base for a couple years and have landed here in Los Angeles for the time being.  What a load off it has been.  Lots of good friends, food, and music.  I’m surfing now, which has been a lifelong dream.  My music world is filled with variety and interesting personalities.  I’ve been revisiting favorite recordings from youth and performing the material.  Discovering songs by Lee Morgan and Horace Silver to be some of the most enjoyable that I’ve performed in a long time.  Songs like “Totem Pole,” and “Yes I Can, No You Can’t” are at once Exciting, Grooving, and Challenging.  Giving my love to the American Jazz tradition.
I’ve been performing with a new friend Josh Payne, who’s midnight shows here in downtown LA have been an inspiration.  Rock and roll recording with a brooding quality and an improvisers edge.
I am investing my personal practice into old and new harmonic ideas and the subsequent projects they inspire.  Living in both a world dominated by the natural cycle and also of symmetrical configurations.  I have been meditating on the emotional value of my music and have been striving for a balance between edginess and beauty.  I plan for a new brass band with percussion battery.  I feel that the rhythms and harmonies that color the images in my mind are straying from the Jazz music that I most often perform.  Rhythms of Africa, Bali, and South America have been providing me with a new perspective.  I can hear the American language as an extension of these world cultures more clearly and have been amazed at the cross pollination of ideas and styles.  I’m also very into some bands I’ve just discovered: Deerhoof, Deth Grips, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and few others.   I have been dreaming of creating a new musical environment that is captivating and energetic.  Overwhelming with its intensity and good for moving.  In the upcoming months, I will plan for this project to be challenging to the ears and good for the soul.
More immediately though, I have a collection of quartet compositions to share with you.  I have recently recorded at one of my favorite studios in LA, the home of Nolan Shaheed in Pasadena.  Nolan is a joy to work with and his home has been the setting for my last two studio recordings.
This is a set of music that I’m very proud of.  I perform two of my new compositions with intensity and great support from the group.  They are a Jeckle and Hyde pair in a way.  The character of each track is quite different although both are up-tempo and modern harmonically.  The rest of the songs are chosen from the catalogs of two of my favorite composers.  Paying tribute to some of the music I listen to for enjoyment.
My biggest early influences were numerous, but Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk certainly stand out as very important.  I feel that both are complete musical personalities.  Showing a full range of emotion and a control of a compositional craft that is in service of their creative choices.  I perform a lesser known song by Duke and two of my all time favorite Monk compositions.
Be Well

Tripping

The months soon whizzed by and before I knew it I was on a plane heading on a crazy trip from Auckland -> Thailand -> London -> Dublin, all in the space of 10 days (I guess it’s no surprise that I’m now sick with flu, or could that be the copious amounts of Guinness recently consumed)

On the flight over to Dublin (my first time with Ryanair now that’s another story altogether…) I was filled with anxiety it seemed odd that I was so nervous to meet other people who were so like myself! The descent into Dublin was a shaky one; angry, swollen rain clouds enveloped us as our little plane landed.  I found my way to Abigail’s hostel, and was greeted by two of the friendliest hostel reception staff I had ever encountered!

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