» 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:

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.”

Feel free to share:

Music Universe, Music Mind

I just finished reading this book about the Creative Music Studio, Karl Berger’s school in Woodstock in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. It isn’t too long and is a pretty easy read that offers some great stories and nuggets of wisdom from the participants in CMS.

Mumm j1

Feel free to share:

Tim Daisy/Ken Vandermark Duo at Open Ears 7/26

I don’t usually use this space to push upcoming Open Ears events, but tomorrow night’s show should be special. We are fortunate to be able to host the New Orleans stop on the Tim Daisy/Ken Vandermark Duo tour. The show is in the Blue Nile Balcony Room on Tuesday July 26, 2011, sometime after 10 PM CDT. The concert will be broadcast on WWOZ (90.7 FM in New Orleans and wwoz.org everywhere else), so if you aren’t in New Orleans, or can’t get to the club, please listen online, or the radio. There is a $10 suggested donation.

Read the Time-Picayune’s preview of the show.

Ken tim

Tim (on left) and Ken rock their excited look.

Ken Vandermark plays woodwind instruments, composes, and makes things happen. He’s had a number of groups, and is probably best known for his long running quintet The Vandermark 5. In 1999 he won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.

Tim Daisy is a composer and percussionist. He has been a member of several of Ken’s bands and on top of that is a busy member of the Chicago scene. I have heard a rumor that Tim is a Slovenian free jazz rock star, and I know he knows where to find the best pho in Chicago.

These guys are special, don’t miss it.

Feel free to share:

Thoughts on an Astral Project show, or I feel like a teenager again

My step-son (Blake) asked me to take him and a friend (Taylor) to hear Astral Project at Snug Harbor tonight. One of the cool things about Snug (and there are many) is that young people are allowed to come in to the club and hear the music, when accompanied by an adult. There aren’t many places that 17 year old aspiring musicians can go to hear good live jazz.

I hadn’t heard Astral Project live in quite some time. I was nice to be reminded how great they are. When I was about the age of Blake and Taylor, I spent a lot of time listening to Astral Project. Many of my early musical inspirations and revelations happened at Astral Project shows. I hadn’t thought about that music much recently, but tonight I was reminded how much the sound of this band is a foundational aspect of my musical and aesthetic DNA. I realized that most jazz drummers leave me flat, because I want them to be Johnny Vidacovich. I remembered a night in Dixon Hall at Tulane, when I heard Tony Dagradi, and his sound made me want to find a voice on trombone that is that personal and vibrant. They are really a special band, and it was nice to be reminded of that tonight.

I have been trying to do a good job of exposing Blake to good music, and giving him a chance to find the things that he likes. He returned the favor tonight by asking me to take him to a show that left me feeling just as inspired as it left him. I love the nights that remind us that music is fun.

Feel free to share:

Recent Reading – The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue

The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue

The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue
A Phenomenology of Music

Bruce Ellis Benson, Wheaton College, Illinois
ISBN: 9780521009324
Publication date: February 2003

This is the one book I finished during my many hours on airplanes in the past few weeks. I highly recommend it for those of you who like to look for the realities of musical practice, and not settle for the myths that we have adopted about what we do. It isn’t so much about improvisation, but it is quite interesting as a phenomenology of music.

Feel free to share:

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.

Feel free to share:

Moutin Reunion Quartet at Snug Harbor

I just caught most of a set of the Moutin Reunion Quartet at Snug Harbor. I had heard about this band, but had not heard them. They are definitely worth checking out. Former New Orleans resident Rick Margitza plays saxophone with the group. It was really nice to hear Rick in that room again. Much of my college time was spent listening to Rick, and often in that room. They are there tomorrow night as well, so go hear them.

Feel free to share:

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?

Feel free to share: