Everybody digs Matt Wilson

A few months ago Matt Wilson seemed to be all over every jazz mag that showed up in my mailbox. I didn’t really know his work, other than having heard him with Lee Konitz’s New Nonet at the 2006 Chicago Jazz Fest.

I guess all the press made me curious. The first thing of his that I picked up wasn’t his recent release that spawned the media blitz. Somewhat randomly I downloaded his album Humidity. I grabbed it in the middle of one of those eMusic end-of-the-month-grab-fests, that occur when I lose track of how many tracks I have (or haven’t) downloaded. It sat in my new music playlist for a while. One day in the car I heard something that grabbed me, and realized it was this album. It has the combination of things I like in music. Some groove, some humor and irreverence, some great improvised moments…

A few months later I heard a cut from the press pushed new CD (Scenic Route) on XM, so I grabbed it as well. A rather different vibe from Humidity, but a similar essence. More Matt Wilson that I liked.

Not too long after that a Cryptogramophone pre-release of “The Big Picture” by Trio M showed up in my mailbox, and who was the M in the drum chair, but Matt Wilson. The other M’s are Myra Melford and Mark Dresser. Another good CD with the drummer everyone digs.

I don’t think I have a man crush yet, but Matt if you read this and need a trombone player for your next project…

“Music of the Spheres”

I love getting to play new music. This week I am playing with the Louisiana Philharmonic for the world premiere of Stephen Dankner’s Symphony #8. This will be the third subscription series program I have played with the LPO in the last few months, and each program has had a piece by a living composer, and the composer has been present each time as well. I think it is fabulous that this orchestra has the courage to program new music.

The LPO website has cool podcasts that give a little overview of each concert, often with conversations with composer or guest soloists. Check out this week’s here:“Music of the Spheres” LPOd | Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Rooted in history

The November DownBeat features Steve Wilson in the “Backstage with…” section. The following exchange made me think.

What do you look for in your sidemen?

Musical ability and a respect for the legacy and history of the music. I’m looking for someone who understands that you cannot go forward until you look back. Pushing envelopes can be great and significant. But if it’s not rooted, it tends not to have the same substance and integrity.

What is rooted envelope pushing? Which parts of the legacy and history of the music must be respected? Is it possible to create music that has substance and integrity but is not rooted in some tradition?

I don’t mean this to be some sort of poke at Steve Wilson, I like the work of his that I have heard (mostly old Dave Holland and Chick Corea). His answer just made me question my relationship to the tradition. I know I have done my J.J. homework, but I don’t sound much like him these days. Am I disrespecting that tradition? I don’t know the music of Cecil Taylor like I possibly should. Am I disrespecting the free tradition? Is there anything that I can do with substance and integrity?

Comments encouraged.

Let your audience get to know you

I enjoy reading the blogs of other musicians. Part of the reason for blogging is the self expression, but a big part is also fan/customer relations. In this “why should I buy what I can download for free” world, one theory about maintaining sales is to develop relationships (or perceived relationships) with your audience. If people like you or connect with you on an extra musical level, they are more likely to support the business aspect of your art, at least in theory.

I like reading The Bad Plus’ blog, Do the Math. I own their CD “These Are The Vistas” and have enjoyed listening to it, but I never got on the “buy every new CD” track with them. This video from this post made me go directly to iTunes and buy “Prog.”

It is similar to my old cruise ship buffet theory that as long as I ate an apple along with the 7 chocolate eclairs that it was all cool.

Open Ears Music Series

November will bring the beginning of the Open Ears Music Series. In classic lazy blogger fashion I will paste the press release below.

For Immediate Release

Open Ears Music Series

The Blue Nile (Upstairs) 532 Frenchmen St New Orleans, LA 70116

Every Wednesday starting in November

9 PM

Contact Jeff Albert at (985) 966-6093 or jeff@openearsmusic.org . Info at www.openearsmusic.org

The Open Ears Music Series is a musician run creative music performance series. The performances will be on Wednesday nights in the intimate upstairs room of The Blue Nile (532 Frenchmen St, NOLA 70116), starting in November. The performances are scheduled for 9 PM and will likely be completed by 12:30. There will be no cover charge, but donations will be accepted and encouraged. All money collected will go to the artists that perform that evening.

Open Ears Music Series is curated by Jeff Albert, Justin Peake, and Dan Oestreicher. Its simple goal is to provide an accessible venue for interesting music. “In addition to providing a needed venue for creative and improvised music artists, we are also going to facilitate artistic pairings that might not have happened otherwise,” says co-curator Jeff Albert. “We are having Music Mash Up nights, which are nights that will feature a set of invited improvisers performing in various groupings, and with differing pre-set musical parameters. Similar to comedy improv show formats, but with musicians.”

The Open Ears Music Series website (openearsmusic.org) will archive concert recordings of each performance on the series (with artist permission). The archive will be searchable by individual musician or group.

The November schedule will feature a duo set with Dutch master bassist Wilbert de Joode and New Orleans cellist Helen Gillet. de Joode made several well received appearances in New Orleans last April, and has performed with Ab Baars, Michael Braam, Misha Mingleberg and many others.

The November schedule is:

November 7 – Jeff Albert Quintet with Dave Cappello, Nobu Ozaki, Tim Sullivan, and Robin Boudreaux

November 14 – Justin Peake Duo with Simon Lott

November 21 – Music Mash Up v. 1.0 featuring Tim McFatter, Dan Oestricher, Jonathan Freilich, Helen Gillet, Jimbo Walsh, Justin Peake, Jeff Albert, and Dave Cappello.

November 28 – Set 1 Wilbert de Joode (from the Netherlands) and Helen Gillet
Set 2 Jonathan Freilich Group with James Singleton, Doug Garrison, and other(s)(?)