How Music Got Free: the end of an industry, the turn of the century, and the patient zero of piracy

I recently finished reading How Music Got Free: the end of an industry, the turn of the century, and the patient zero of piracy by Stephen Witt (Penguin Random House).

It is a compelling account of the end of the era of major label largess told through the concurrent tales of a label executive, technology innovator, and early pirate. It doesn’t offer answers to the industry’s current problems, but it does help explain how we ended up where we are. Witt is a skilled story teller and it is an enjoyable read. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the inner workings of the music industry, and related technology.

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Tour recap and shout outs

I just got back from a lovely two weeks in Europe. The main purpose pf the trip was for a tour in Italy with Marcello Benetti’s Shuffled Quartet, but I worked in a trip to Switzerland for the International Society for Improvised Music 2015 Conference.

Our regular woodwind collaborator, Rex Gregory, could not make the trip because he is busy being a new father, so we had Dan Kinzleman on clarinet, flute, and tenor sax. Dan is an American musician who has lived in Italy for the last ten years or so. He is a wonderful musician, a fun hang, and a great road comrade. We were happy to have him with us. It was also nice to have two people who spoke the language of Italian sound engineers at sound checks.

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We did most of the touring in Marcello’s Toyota Yaris Versa. Somehow we all fit, with the stuff.

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Setting up for soundcheck in Udine, for our performance at Udin&Jazz. The concert space was lovely and the sound was very good. The festival also had great hospitality.

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Sound check selfie.

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The last gig of the tour was in Rovigo for the summer jazz series presented by the conservatory there. We shared the concert with the quartet of Massimo Morganti, who teaches at the conservatory. This pic is Massimo’s band at sound check.

After the gig in Rovigo, Marcello and I drove overnight to Chateau-D’Oex, Switzerland for the ISIM Conference. The over night drive was crazy, but when you arrive to this view from your hotel room, it feels less stupid.

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This tiny alpine village seemed like an odd choice for the location of this year’s conference, but the setting was lovely, and the hosts were great. There were some good conversations about diversity, and community building. I presented on improvisational structures I use with my student laptop orchestra, and I really enjoyed Jeff Morris’s presentation on his weblogmusic.org project.

I also got the chance to hear a great house concert before I came back home. The band was led by Filippo Vignato, and they did his arrangements of Albert Manglesdorf’s music. The band included Piero Bittolo Bon, who has performed at Open Ears, and a great young bass player named Rosa Brunello.

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It was a great trip. We made some good music, and I met or reconnected with a bunch of great people. I am happy to be home, but a touch sad that I left before I could experience Mirano Baseball Day.

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Breakfast for Dinner Records

I have a new record label called Breakfast for Dinner Records. The music is available in most of the usual digital places and CDs are available from the label’s band camp page.

You can also buy the downloads on Amazon ( Staffa, Duets 2014 ), or iTunes ( Staffa, Duets 2014 ), or listen on Spotify ( Staffa, Duets 2014 ).

eMotion gestural control system

A few years ago I met a Chet Udell at a SEAMUS conference. He is a composer/technologist, a nice guy, and he wrote a great piece for trombone, piano and computer stuff. We have kept in touch, mostly via running into each other at conferences and whatnot.

Last fall, I saw him do a demo of a new gesture control system that he has been developing, and the possibilities were pretty exciting.

He is nearing the end of the Kickstarter for it. If you are curious about that sort of thing, check it out.

Visit the page here: http://kck.st/1gTwSCF

Sera Jey Monks at Loyola!

The Loyola University Department of Music Industry Studies, the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, and the Office of Mission and Ministry are pleased to host the Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Sera Jey Monastery in Bylakuppe, India, one of the premier leading Buddhist monastic institutes in the world.
November 12 – 14, 2013

The Sera Jey monks are on a U.S. tour to perform sacred music and art. Their aim is to sow the seeds of world harmony and compassion, and to bring attention to their monastic secondary school in India. The monks will create a sand mandala and perform sacred music on Loyola’s campus.

Sand Mandala for Compassion:
November 12, 13, 14
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Location: Loyola University — Danna Student Center, first floor lobby
Opening Ceremony 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. — Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Closing Ceremony 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. — Thursday, November 14, 2013
Sacred Music and Discussion:
Thursday, November 14, 2013
7:30 pm
Nunemaker Auditorium
Monroe Hall
6363 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118

All events are free and open to the public. Donations to the monks are accepted.
For further information, contact: John Snyder, 504-865-3984; jsnyder@loyno.edu.

Sand Mandala for Compassion:
The Sand Mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition of drawing a sacred design with colorful sands. Each mandala symbolically represents the palace of enlightened activities of a specific Buddha and his entourage. Every aspect has a symbolic meaning, nothing is arbitrary. The mandala is used as a base for meditation to spread blessings and inspirations. The mandala will be dissolved with prayers; the dissolution represents the impermanence of life. After the closing ceremony, the monks will distribute sand to attendees as a blessing and pour the sand into a body of water to spread compassion.

Sacred Music Performance:
The Tibetan monastic music and dance tradition originated with the earliest Buddhist practice. The great masters of the Buddhist lineages passed their visions of deities’ movements to their students through sound and music. The sound of the drum represents religion itself. The monks who perform scared dance aim at subduing such negativities as violence, disease, ignorance, jealousy, and hatred.

http://www.serajeymonastery.org/secondary-school

The Tree on The Mound

The Tree on the Mound is the new CD by Jeff Albert’s Instigation Quartet featuring Kidd Jordan, Hamid Drake, and Joshua Abrams, released by the Paris based RogueArt Label.

Totm cover

Get more information on the label website. Ordering direct from the label will give the most support to the people who work hard and take risks to release good music. Order here, especially if you are in Europe.

The CD is also available in finer stores and online outlets like JazzLoft, Dusty Groove, Downtown Music Gallery, and Squidco among others.

Thanks for listening.

» SIX YEARS OF DEST: OUT Our Beginner’s Guide to Free Jazz

The wonderful blog destination:Out is celebrating its 6th birthday with a great post. Good reading and great listening. Even for those of us who listen to “free jazz” often, it is a good read. If we all approached our friends and potential audience members with this attitude, the world would be a better place.

» SIX YEARS OF DEST: OUT Our Beginner’s Guide to Free Jazz destination: OUT:

“2. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LISTEN TO FREE JAZZ.
OR: HOW DO YOU TELL THE GOOD STUFF FROM THE BAD?
Relax and trust your instincts. Most people automatically assume that there’s something in Free Jazz they’re not getting. Like you need conservatory training to appreciate what the musicians are doing. Or that there’s some secret content you’re not privy to. Nonsense: It’s just sound. Sometimes complex and abrasive, sometimes funky and buoyant. There’s no code to be broken.”