Wide listening

One of my go to recordings recently has been Return the Tides by Rob Mazurek and Black Cube SP. I have also recently been on a kick to try to expand my listening to and appreciation of music that is more mainstream or popular than what I usually listen to. This has led me to spend some time with the new D’Angelo record and even check out some Iggy Azalea, in efforts to better understand some of the recent discussions on these topics. I have found that there is more musical commonality across those spaces than I might care to admit.

Growing up musically in a space that was largely influenced by jazz culture, I have some completist tendencies. I like to dig deeply into the music of my favorites. I guess that could be more of a me thing than a jazz thing, because I did that as a kid with my favorite rock bands too. Once I decided I really liked a band, I had to get all of their albums. This habit has made it hard for me to “skim” the music of someone who is new to me, but my recent decision to broaden my horizons has forced me to do just that.

What I have discovered is that even cursory exposure to new music is rewarding and offers insight into old favorites as well. Maybe that has always been obvious to most of you. It just hit me in a new way today.

New music from Jeb Bishop & Jacob Garchik

I try not to be too trombone-centric in my listening or writing, but this post is about new music from two trombonist led trios.


Jeb Bishop has just released a CD by his new trio that features Jason Roebke on bass, and Frank Rosaly on drums. Jeb was one of my favorite trombonists before he became a close friend, collaborator, and colleague. I think this is some of his best recorded work. I was honored that Jeb asked me to mix and master this CD (or at least turn the virtual knobs and faders until he liked what he heard). I spent lots of time with this music in my ears throughout the mixing process, and I still like to listen to it. That’s a pretty strong endorsement. You can hear samples at CD Baby.

In other trombone trio news, Jacob Garchik has posted a recording of his trio that was made at Ibeam in Brooklyn on April 10, 2010. There is a zip file of 256k mp3s, and youtube video of the entire concert as well. Check it out here.

Thoughts after Conference Call

This past Tuesday night, the Open Ears Music Series hosted Conference Call (Gebhard Ullmann, Michael Jefry Stevens, Joe Fonda, and George Schuller). What a great night. These four guys are amazing musicians. The music has just the right balance of cool composed material, free blowing, noise, and humor. They laughed on stage… regularly, not just once. It was beautiful. Sometimes improvisers can begin to take themselves too seriously, but Conference Call mixes plenty of fun and laughter in with their artistic integrity. It was refreshing.

I did a little financial experiment Tuesday night as well. Instead of leaving the donation receptacle on the front of the stage and making announcements and walking the jar once per set, I stood at the door and took the donations there. It wasn’t exactly a cover, because I didn’t turn anyone away, or demand a specific amount. I just said, “We are asking for $10, but whatever you can do is cool.” Most of the regular music fans didn’t even blink, and just put in their $10. A few put less. Oddly, many some musicians were reluctant to cough up $10 for a great band that is on the road. I get that cats are broke, but the musicians have to get paid somehow. If we all get in for free, who pays the band? I related two results to taking the donations at the door. There was more money for the band, and there was less talking during the show, because every one had bought in and was committed to hearing music. The downside was that I was stuck at the door. I could hear pretty well, but it still isn’t the ideal place to listen.

Do any of you have tips/ideas/theories about how to maximize compensation for the artists in donation type situations?

Matt Wilson, Adam Kolker, and Rail

These three discs have been in my changer for a while, but I am just now getting around to writing a little something about them.


In the past, I’ve made no secret of my enthusiasm for Matt Wilson’s music, and his new quartet disc, That’s Gonna Leave A Mark, just kicked that enthusiasm up another notch. The music is swinging and adventurous and fun and socially conscious. It balances inside and outside exceedingly well. Get this CD!


Adam Kolker’s Flag Day features Kolker on tenor sax, John Abercrombie on guitar, John Hébert on bass, and Paul Motian on drums. This disc can seem a bit understated at times, since it doesn’t go for high levels of exuberance, but maintains steady melodic flow and controlled expression. It is soulful in an intellectual way. I know that seems like a contradiction, but it doesn’t have to be.


A friend gave me this self titled CD by a band called Rail. I had never heard of them, but the music is interesting. They call it “heavy duty post jazz.” I might have called it instrumental indie rock played by guys with some jazz in their background. Either way it is pretty interesting. CD Baby has sound samples.

Get In To Go Out – Paul Giallorenzo


I have been listening to Paul Giallorenzo’s Get In To Go Out lately. It is aptly titled. It swings really hard in spots, and has a familiar but slightly off-kilter (in a good way) compositional style that flows from a Monk or Andrew Hill kind of vibe. It is a good disc worth checking out.

Full Disclosure: I know all of the musicians on this disc and count them as friends. It is good music whether I know them or not.

Brass all around

Here are some recent musical acquisitions that I have been digging.


Josh Berman’s Old Idea on Delmark

Josh, Keefe, and Jason are members of the Lucky 7s. Josh’s music occupies a great space that can be both lyrical and frenetic.


Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society Infernal Machines on New Amsterdam Records

This is a vital and captivating large ensemble recording. I’m not sure if calling it big band (or bigband) gives one the right mental starting point to hear this great music.


Dave Douglas Spirit Moves on Greenleaf Music

Brass quartet plus drums. Vincent Chancey’s horn is a nice color in that mix, and Marcus Rojas on tuba and Luis Bonilla on trombone are two of my favorites on their respective instruments.

Note: Both the New Amsterdam and Greenleaf sites rock the very cool instant download when you order the CD vibe.

Rob Mazurek – Lisa Sokolov

These discs deserve reviews, but I don’t really have the time to get to them. They have both been in my player quite a bit lately. Mazurek’s disc is full of great textures. Come to the Lisa Sokolov disc with out jazz singer expectations, and you’ll get to some good music. If you look at the titles of the songs, and expect something similar to what you’ve heard before, you might have a hard time with it. Let it be what it is, and you’ll be treated to a great new experience.