Monday, January 25, 2016

Sundilla Presents Chuck Brodsky 1/29/2016

From the Sundilla website. Brodsky's website is chuckbrodsky.com.

Chuck Brodsky brings his unique sound, one-of-a-kind stories, and a brand new CD to Sundilla on Friday, January 29. Showtime at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is 7:30; admission at the door is $15 ($12 for students), but $12 advance tickets are available at Spicer’s Music, Blooming Colors, and online at sundillamusic.com. Students can get in for just $12.

Chuck Brodsky is a storyteller, a songwriter, a troubadour, a modern day bard. His acoustic guitar and voice draw you in with genuine, down-to-earth warmth and quirky, rootsy, finely crafted songs. Chuck’s wit and irony, set to haunting melodies delivered over syncopated guitar strumming or sweet fingerpicking, tells stories of oddball and underdog characters. His songs celebrate the goodness in people, the eccentric, the holy, the profound, the courageous, the inspiring, the beautiful. They poke fun at what needs poking, and sometimes challenge what needs to be challenged. They’re sworn to tell the truth. Read more...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Making the Piper Pay

"Performing is the price we pay to get to rehearse."

A friend said those words to me at a party the other night. Sure, I go to parties. Anyway, he's a very good recorder player with a beautiful collection of recorders, harpsichords, and a Baroque flute or two. He plays in recorder societies in Atlanta and sometimes Birmingham, and has participated in big-deal performances. He's a math professor, grows succulents, and used to play tuba and I think saxophone. He is a quiet person, and reserved. What he said fits him perfectly. He'd much rather rehearse with people for fun than perform for any reason.

It was funny to me, and after thinking about it for three seconds, also applicable. Until moving back home to Auburn, Alabama, I didn't have a history of seeking out performances. Though there's a college here, it's a small town in a rural area with a widely spread-out musical community. After a few months, I discovered that creating my own opportunities is far and above the best way to get gigs. After a few years, I've already gotten out of the habit. These days, I generally play only when I'm asked, and that's not terribly often.

The scene here covers a lot of real estate. So beating the bushes, networking among the people you want to play with, jamming, etc. means a lot of driving and being out late. I have a job. My wife has a job. Kids. Tired. Old. But my friend's comment suggests that it's likely not kidstiredold, though I don't want to give up on my best excuse for staying home and watching Elementary, even if you know who the killer is in the first ten minutes because it's always that one actor you know from something else.

Public performance is stressful for musicians. At least it is for those who are compulsive introverts. At least it is for this compulsive, introverted musician. Me. I mean me. It makes us vulnerable to criticism and embarrassment, it is intimate, frightening, expensive, staggeringly inconvenient, and easy to avoid. That last thing is especially true for those whose livelihood doesn't depend on it. But even when it is, in fact, a feed-your-family necessity, it can be easier to find something else to fill that need.

But like any risk, performance can have huge payoffs. First of all, it's where all the rehearsing and practicing gets locked in. It's where the clay pot you made gets fired, and not because it's the final step in the process. There's more to it than that. It's like when they put the magic hat on the snowman, and he comes alive and says, "Happy birthday!" And on a practical level, performance is where the turning points in a musician's career happen. It is also where we interact with humanity on an artistic level. And sure, a bad performance can fly your plane straight into the cold, hard earth, but those are rare, really, at least among people who have any business doing this at all.

So is it worth the cost? Hell, I don't know. And I don't even know if the question is relevant. For me, music seems to have its own consciousness. It has a momentum that drives itself toward public performance. It's the undertow everybody warns you about. Sure, the ocean's fun until you're a mile out and have to remember to swim parallel to the shore and punch sharks in the nose. But sometimes, when I'm there, it can be sublime, even transcendent. And other times, when it doesn't seem like much more than an hour or three of hard work, a bit of sincere audience feedback and/or a surprisingly good recording can make me forget what an ordeal it was.

I was happily surprised to hear my friend say what he did. It meant maybe I will get to hear him play more. In a couple weeks, it will be me performing, and aside from the normal stressors, it will be in a genre of music outside of my comfort zone. Its my own fault. I was the one who invited the people up here, and I was the one who suggested they do a couple of shows with a group I'm in. See what I mean? We'll rehearse once.

And that will be fun.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I Recorded Some Interviews / Improvised Music Coming to the Museum

Click on the track name above (or here) to be able
to read the description on SoundCloud and see
some relevant links.
Just sent off the news release to the museum for this week's A Little Lunch Music concert (1/21/16) by Chicago improvised-music group, The Few. Last week, after a New-Year's-Resolution style commitment to buckle down and catch up on home projects, I decided to do my first-ever video interview of the two improvising groups that are on the schedule this season. That turned into two separate interviews, due to Steve Marquette's bad cold, one which ended up with a ton of problems and became an audio interview.

Both of course involved post production. I am not quite a noob with regard to video and audio editing. After a handful of projects in recent years, I think I can upgrade myself to a hack. It takes a fair amount of time for a hack to produce something decent, but I think what I ended up with is ok.

I did fortunately make some progress on the home-front, and got some experience with recorded interviewing and subsequent editing. I like it. Maybe too much. I have done a bunch of it for written articles, but it's a different thing altogether to record it for public consumption.

This week's audio interview of Steve Marquette is above. If it's not there, comment on this post. I may have had to fix something and repost. Come to the show Thursday. Eat your vegetables. Or don't. It's in the interview.

The video I did of the other improviser, trombonist Jeff Albert, is at this link. He'll be in Auburn with drummer Dave Capello for A Little Lunch Music and some other things on 2/11/16.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Open Monthly Jazz Jam in Columbus

The Columbus Jazz Society has started the Columbus Unified Jazz Jam at The Loft. Looks like the dates scheduled are every second Wednesday, 7-9 ET. The Society's website says it's in collaboration with CSU Jazz, has lead sheets with transpositions and everything. Open to all. Society link with more info is columbusjazzsociety.com.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Among FSU Tenor/Piano Duo's Music Will be Iraq Soldier's Poetry, 1/24/2016

Chuck Chandler
Tenor Chuck Chandler will perform with pianist Tim Hoekman on Jan. 24, 2016 at Goodwin Hall. Chandler is on faculty at Florida State University as is Hoekman. Everything you need to know, including how to get advance tickets, is at this link: http://www.cla.auburn.edu/music/calendar-event/?calendar_Id=6832.

If I get more info, I'll post it here.

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I got more. Below is from Dr. Chandler (emphasis added to tempt your eyes to read more). There will be lots of new music! -Patrick

Our recital of living American composers features as its first cycle of songs, Serenade written by Timothy Hoekman who is also playing the recital! The songs in Serenade are contrasting and rich, with both light-hearted and somber moments.

Songs of the Poet is a cycle of songs written by New York based composer, Norman Mathews. All poems by Walt Whitman, this cycle is esoteric and dramatic, and expresses themes common to Whitman's writing including unreturned love, music in nature, the human soul, and despair.

Following intermission, selections from a very new set of songs entitled, Here, Bullet will be performed. These pieces are musical settings by Reginald Unterseher of poems written by US soldier and writer, Brian Turner. Turner's poetry is a brilliant juxtaposition of the beauty of poetic form and sound with sometimes horrific subject matter. The poems were written during Turner's one year tour of duty in Iraq and are based on and inspired by those experiences. Both the music and the texts are exciting and moving.

The program ends with a few pieces that are especially beautiful and more in the standard literature. A Ricky Ian Gordon aria, an American folk song, and Richard Hundley's "Come Ready and See Me" should all be crowd pleasers!

We hope you will share your evening with us as we perform music by these living American composers.

Sundilla Presents Jack Williams Friday (1/15/2016)

Got this e-mail from Sundilla. Concert Friday night.

Jack Williams
Jack Williams (jackwilliamsmusic.com) returns to Sundilla on Friday, January 15, 2016; showtime at the AUUF is 7:30. Admission at the door will be $15, but $12 advance tickets are available at Spicer's Music, Mama Mocha's Coffee, Blooming Colors, and online at sundillamusic.com. Student tickets will also be $12 at the door. Even bigger discounts are available by purchasing a Sundilla Season Pass, which will get you into every 2016 Sundilla concert held at the AUUF; additional details about the Season Passes are also available on our website.

Many who are familiar with the work of Jack Williams stopped reading after the first sentence; they already know how incredible his concerts are, and are now busy making plans to be at the show. The title of "legend" is thrown around far too loosely, but every so often, it's a perfect fit. Such is the case with Jack Williams, a longtime Sundilla favorite who never fails to dazzle the audience with his great songs, wonderful voice, and dazzling guitar playing. Oh, that guitar playing; the accolades for his picking could fill a page all by themselves. Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) calls him "the best guitar player I've ever heard," and that's just one of many similar raves. Read more...

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Lament (video)

Here's me and Dan Mackowski as 2/3 of Cullars Improvisational Rotation performing J. J. Johnson's "Lament" at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art where we are the house band every (for the most part) Thursday night from 5-8. The trio has a SoundCloud, Facebook, and Twitter page @cullarsfield.

 

Friday, January 8, 2016

All Job and no Expression Makes Patrick Something Something

I have never been one to be able to create for the sake of creation. My music has always been driven by external circumstances. Sometimes, I've been hired to write music or make music, and that's impetus. Other times, I've had an opportunity to make music with other people. And whether money is involved or not, this has been enough motivation to do it to a reasonable degree of success. When I say "to do it," I mean to prepare myself and my abilities on the instrument to perform the music or to write the music itself, to organize rehearsals, and to browbeat other musicians to involve themselves with me for little or no money.

I have a job. The forms call it homemaker. More trendy, and more accurate to my wife's domestic management style, is the technical moniker of stay-at-home dad. We're in transition now that all three boys are in full-time school. We're catching up on things. Soon, our lives will need to change, as there's not really much justifiable need for a full-time homemaker, especially one as distracted from domestic tasks as me. How and where and I guess whether I will become employed will be the question.

The internet offers an opportunity for someone externally motivated like me. The relatively simple act of laying myself out here like this for the public to see, no matter ultimately how few of the public's members will ever read this, encourages me to make some forward motion, some artistic progress. Maybe the pork ribs Susan made on New Year's Day—they were amazing—have inspired this. The trick will be to work quickly, uncompulsively, and fearlessly. This will not only apply to expression, but also, and probably more so, to my job, whatever it may become, as I hew out an expressive persona that will balance with the needs of my family.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cullars, Playing Tunes, Edward Forstman

It's coming up on two years now that I've played with Cullars Improvisational Rotation, a jazz trio whose regular weekly gig is Thursdays from 5-8 at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Big question is why have I not mentioned it here on my blog? It's the most satisfying musical collaboration I've had in decades.

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Tonight our guitarist and conceptual father, Dan Mackowski, was out, so I asked guitarist Taylor Pierce to play. It was us and bassist Jason DeBlanc. The crowd was light, so I forced a challenge upon us to play tunes that the others didn't know. Taylor pulled some Pat Metheny and Bill Evans tunes out of the Real Book that were beautiful. Jason, whose repertoire covers more square miles than Taylor's and mine put together, picked McCartney's "Blackbird," which we butchered, and Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing," among others. It was a lot of fun!

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A Little Lunch Music, the weekly noontime series I run at the museum on Thursdays, happened today. Pianist Edward Forstman played. It was casual and the audience was riveted to his music. He played a Ravel's "Gaspard" and a Ligeti piece, both of whose terrifyingly difficult bits were made to seem effortless by Forstman's confidence and skill. He was professional and easy to work with. He has an interest in 21st century pop- and electronica-inspired art music for piano. I've asked him to come back with a full program of that. Some of our regular listeners will hate me for it. Not really, but they do like the Brahms and the Bach, which Edward also played today. Fine guitarist Katie Holmes returns next week.

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This weird little post is a further attempt to put content out there for its own sake and for mine.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Creating in the Spaces Between

A couple (few?) years ago, I had this idea that I could write short pieces of music to satisfy the urge to create during this period of life I find myself in where just about every minute is crammed with responsibilities. I gave myself 15 or 20 minutes to sketch out a really basic framework, and then spent the next 30 minutes or so fleshing it out. What happened with those pieces I don't have time to write here because I'm attempting to do something similar. I am trying to create something, in this case a simple blog post, in a very short amount of time.

I'm even speaking most of these words to my phone in my car while I'm waiting to pick up my sons at school. You may see the problem with this as quickly as I do. A life full of tasks is being filled up even more, but with this creative task. Is it different? Will it make anything better? Worse?

All I know is that I want to create. An occasional music gig where I can improvise or sometimes even play my own music is not enough. In fact, doing those things increases the desire to make something more or something else. It's awful.

And that's all I get to say about that because the bell is about to ring.