New Music; old music; life changes; I did learn something in undergrad; and a new CD

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I’ve had these two new Mike Reed CD’s sitting on my desk, waiting for me to write something about them for quite some time. I don’t have the time nor inclination to write full reviews, but I do feel the need to let you know that these are really good, and you should buy them…both. Clicking on the cover images will take you to the label’s website. If you are in Chicago right now, Mike has some cool gigs over the next couple of days. Check out his schedule.

Edit: I just realized, while looking for commerce links for these discs, that they aren’t officially out yet. I think they drop (as the kids say) on Sept. 9, so be sure to look for them then. I think the 482 stuff is usually available on iTunes, and eMusic, and you can order the plastic version from the label, and CD Baby I believe…once they drop.

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I’ve gone on an old AACM and related vinyl eBay spree, and my two latest scores are duos with George Lewis and a saxophonist, although “saxophonist” seems like such a lacking term for either of these musicians. I had never heard the Lewis/Ewart collaboration, but had heard of it, and it didn’t disappoint. I was turned on to “Elements of Surprise” by Jeb Bishop. When he first played it for me, I nearly lost my mind. Then I would request it every time we had a listening session at his house. I finally scored my own copy, so he might be safe from my nagging requests to hear it…not that I had to really twist his arm to get him to spin it.

My life is about to change pretty drastically. Monday, I start classes at LSU. I am working towards a DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts). I don’t know how that will affect my time for various activities, but I have tried hard to clear my plate enough that making music can remain a high priority along with school. We’ll see how the blogging fares, not that it has gotten that much attention lately anyway.

I did learn something all those years ago in undergrad, as evidenced by the fact that I passed the theory and history diagnostic exams that all new grad students have to take. Small miracles never cease. Well, a last minute review with a friend helped too.

I will have a new CD out this fall. We recorded it August 13th, and the master went to the pressing plant today. It will be called “Similar in the Opposite Way” and I’ll post more info as it becomes available.

Michael Ray & The Cosmic Krewe video

I was just informed of the YouTube presence of this video. This is from 2003. Playing with Michael Ray was a very important part of the process that got me to the space I am in today. I learned a lot about music and about myself playing with him.

The musicians are: Michael Ray (trumpet), jeff Albert (trombone), Eddie Croft (tenor sax), Dave Ellington (keys), Ian Cunningham (guitar), Jimbo Walsh (bass), and Dan Caro (drums)

LPs

I recently scored a bunch of 70′s Arista Braxton LPs on eBay. I have been reading George Lewis’ AACM book, and it put me on an eBaying spree because that seemed like the easiest place to find some of this stuff.

I’ve found myself in the middle of the LP vs. CD “discussion” on several occasions. I haven’t had particularly strong feelings one way or the other, although I usually come down on the side that realizes that we are stuck with newer technologies, so we might as well deal with it.

I must admit, however, that opening the box of 4 different albums and giving them each that first listen, sure was fun. Yes, LPs sound different than CDs, and yes the liner notes are in a cooler format, but the thing that struck me the most about the LPs is that they make you listen differently. They change the listening ritual.

You can put a CD on and leave it. You get up to 70 minutes of music, with no further action, and when it is over, it just stops. You can hit shuffle in iTunes and have music for weeks with no further action required. You have to pay attention to an LP. You can’t go much more than 20 minutes without having to do something to make the music continue, or even to make it stop. I have found that this keeps me from letting the music become sonic wallpaper. I like that. Just sitting and listening, and maybe looking at the nice sized photos on the large jacket.

I’m not going to start releasing my stuff on LP (yet), but I might come down on the other side of the discussion next time.

Nice compliment ?

On the quartet’s gig at the HiHo last Sunday night, I was told by an audience member that I played like a two year old. I am pretty sure she meant with the joy and wonder and excitement of a two year old, and not the chops of a two year old.