It’s always a joy to play with Mark Dresser, whose latest band is a septet with Nicole Mitchell, Marty Ehrlich, David Morales Boroff, Joshua White, Jim Black and myself. The septet’s album “Sedimental You” will be out on Clean Feed in November, and I was happy to see Nate Chinen plug this track in the NY Times. Mark titled “TrumpinPutinStoopin” months ago but it turns out to be timely now, given last week’s chapter in the Trump media circus.
I once asked Yusef Lateef what he practiced. He replied: “I try to discover things that I had not known before.”
Somewhere In The Upstream is a piece for my trio, featuring incredible collaborators Chris Tordini and Dan Weiss. I dedicated this music to Yusef, a very important teacher of mine. (You can read about my perspective on Lateef in the Preface I wrote for his 2005 Songbook publication.) This piece is a “scorestream,” my term for algorithmic, networked compositions that are displayed dynamically on computer screens for improvisers to interpret. I had a wonderful experience performing and recording this piece with the trio in June, supported in part by a project award from New Music USA. In addition to playing at iBeam in Brooklyn, we had a very special concert in western MA on the Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares series. My friend Glenn Siegel organized a pre-concert interview/conversation about Yusef, and wrote a beautiful blog post about our concert.
I just had a fantastic week in Manizales, Colombia participating in the “Festival de la Imagen.” I spent much of the week collaborating on a telematic concert between there and San Diego as part of the Tele-Espacios series, including a new piece I composed along with other works by Mario Valencia, Juan David Rubio and Hector Fabio Torres, performed by Santiago Osorio, Yosvany Betancourt, Tommy Babin, Tata Ceballos and Juan and myself. I also gave a talk on telematics and a really fun half-day trombone workshop for young trombonists from the region. This was my second time at the festival and I hope to continue working more in Colombia and with my wonderful friends there!
I’m always inspired by the deep musicianship of pianist Joshua White, and recently enjoyed two different performances with him in April. The first was an improvised concert at Dizzy’s in San Diego with his sextet, which also included Stephanie Richards, Ellen Weller, Mark Dresser, and Kjell Nordeson (thanks Robert Bush for the review!) . The next weekend, Joshua performed on a new piece of mine titled Bonegaggle #2, for trombone, piano and electronics, on our ICIT Faculty Concert at UC Irvine, which also featured works by my fantastic colleagues Nicole Mitchell, Chris Dobrian, Ko Umezaki, and Lukas Ligeti, with special guests Joshua and Maggie Parkins. [photo from Dizzy’s concert by Peter Kuhn]
On April 10, we performed the third and final concert of “Changing Tides: A Telematic Translocational Concert Series,” a series I’m co-directing with Mark Dresser. This concert was with a fantastic quintet in Stony Brook, NY: Marty Ehrlich, Ray Anderson, Min Xiao Fen, Denman Maroney, and Satoshi Takeishi, with our co-director Sarah Weaver conducting. In San Diego, I performed with Nicole Mitchell, Stephanie Richards, and Mark Dresser. I was one of the composers and created a new piece for each of the three concerts, so the whole series was an amazing experience for me on many levels. It feels like each year we gain more fluency working within the telematic space, and our community of collaborators is constantly expanding. More to come soon!
I recently enjoyed performing on and co-directing a telematic concert featuring George Lewis’ work “Spooky Interaction: Lesson II (2016).” It featured Geri Allen (piano) and George Lewis (trombone) performing from the University of Pittsburgh, Nicole Mitchell (flute) and myself performing from UC Irvine, and Francis Wong (saxophone) performing at the San Francisco Jazz Center. There were also two “virtual performers” on disklavier, one at UCI and one at Pitt, driven by Lewis’ Voyager software system. John Crawford did a fantastic job directing video and visual design in our black box theatre at UCI. It was such a privilege to collaborate with these musicians who have all been inspirations to me for many years! Special thanks also to Mount Allen at SFJazz, the UltraGrid video software development team, and the many tech team members at all 3 sites.
I’m happy to announce that my trio has received a New Music USA Project Award! The award will help support performances and a recording centered around “Somewhere In The Upstream,” a composition I premiered with the trio last fall that is dedicated to and inspired by Yusef Lateef. I look forward to performing and recording this work with Chris Tordini and Dan Weiss this coming June, in Amherst MA and NYC. For more, please visit the New Music USA project page.
We had a great telematic concert on Feb. 13 between San Diego and Zurich for the second event in “Changing Tides: A Telematic Translocational Concert Series,” a series I’m co-directing with Mark Dresser. Myra Melford, Nicole Mitchell, Stephanie Richards, and Mark and myself performed in CA, along with Matthias Ziegler and Gerry Hemingway in Zurich. Brian Cross and Benjamin Burger provided visual art and as always, we had an amazing tech crew at both sites. Thanks to all!
On Feb. 19 and 20, I have the privilege and pleasure of joining concerts at UC Irvine with a trio led by Kei Akagi, an outstanding pianist with a long and deep history in the jazz world including work as a sideman with Miles Davis, Stanley Turrentine and so many others. Kei has worked in a trio format for over 20 years with the other two fantastic musicians on these concerts, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Jason Harnell. The concert will feature Kei’s own music as well as other musicians who worked with Miles Davis. [Photo by Skye Schmidt]
After well over a year of planning, it was fantastic to finally perform this telematic concert with our friends in Korea, for the first of three concerts in “Changing Tides: A Telematic Translocational Concert Series,” which I am co-directing with Mark Dresser. In addition to Mark and myself, the quartet in San Diego included Myra Melford and Nicole Mitchell, and performing with us from Ansan, Korea at the Seoul Institute of the Arts were pansori singer Bae Il Dong, daegum player Kim Young Dong, and gayageum player Lee Jungpyo. The concert also included work by visual artists Brian Cross, Kim Bo Sul, Jesse Ricke and others. I composed a new work for this concert, along with compositions by Mark, Nicole, Young Dong and Jungpyo. Many thanks to Trevor Henthorn, Tay Yoo, Jun Oh, Kim Bo Sul, the incredible tech crews at both sites!
After almost a decade of doing telematic projects, I’m excited to announce the release of our first DVD documenting this work: Virtual Tour: A Reduced Carbon Footprint Concert Series was just released on pfMENTUM, and documents a telematic concert series that I co-directed with Mark Dresser, with premieres by eight different composers, myself included. The DVD contains all three concerts, each featuring the core quartet of Nicole Mitchell, Myra Melford, Mark Dresser and myself in San Diego, performing on three different days with Marty Ehrlich, Jason Robinson, and Bob Weiner in Amherst, MA; Matthias Ziegler and Gerry Hemingway in Zurich; and Sarah Weaver, Jane Ira Bloom, Min Xiao-Fen, Ray Anderson, and Matthew Wilson in Stony Brook, NY. You can also watch this excerpt from one of my own compositions, or see the DVD trailer above.
I started 2016 recording new albums with two of my favorite bandleaders and friends: the Mark Dresser Septet and Jason Robinson’s Janus Ensemble. Dresser’s group features Marty Ehrlich, Nicole Mitchell, myself, David Morales-Boroff, Joshua White and Kjell Nordeson. After a couple concerts in SoCal, we recorded in Hollywood’s famed EastWest Studios with the great engineer Ron Saint Germain (pictured here). That album will be out on Clean Feed Records later this year. Jason Robinson’s Janus Ensemble features Marty Ehrlich, JD Parran, Oscar Noriega, Marcus Rojas, Bill Lowe, myself, Liberty Ellman, Drew Gress, George Schuller, Ches Smith, and we recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn after a gig at Shapeshifter Lab. It’s such a privilege to collaborate with all these fantastic musicians!