Here’s a quick rundown of some stuff I’m really excited about lately:
Bloodshed Love (September 12-13)
My composer friend Adam Conrad wrote the musical score for a fantastic short film directed by MCTC student Mason Makram, and enlisted me to play on the recording. Adam and I have worked together on quite a few projects like this and they keep getting better and better, no exception here. Adam likes working with me because I give him everything I’ve got (including tons of constructive criticism haha) and I keep coming back because he always writes me cello solos and he’s a tolerable person. There’s really nothing like recording a film score without a click, conducted to the film with the full ensemble. It’s a huge rush, and huge pain in the ass, and so worth it. I just attended the premier at the St. Anthony Theatre the other night, having only seen snippets of the film, and I was totally blown away by how it came together. Keep checking back into the Bloodshed Love <facebook page> for info regarding the movie’s release on DVD and/or other media.
So Killing, Man – music transcription blog (October 2 – present)
This project, brain-fathered by good friend and sax player Ben Doherty, is “dedicated to the study of improvisational music through transcription and analysis.” Ben, Adam Meckler and I are taking turns posting our transcriptions on Sundays, and we will continue to do so until the internet is full. Or if we die, or something. Both scenarios are quite distant and hypothetical, so if you like transcriptions of improvised music you should check this out! If nothing else it’s a clear window into what insane musicians like us think about, and what we like to listen to. You can take a quick view of my transcription by clicking HERE. The name of this blog is derived from a ridiculous internet video called Jazz Robots, which is an un-prisoner-takingly accurate satire of the way jazz musicians talk. **warning: use of F-word in linked video**
Todd Harper – composer/pianist (October 14th – present)
I met Todd through a mutual friend of ours, Brian Roessler (bassist), and a couple weeks ago he invited me to play a duo gig with him at the Black Dog. We read down some of his charts and made up a whole bunch of stuff on the spot, and really had a blast. I joined him again the next week with his improv ensemble Full Moon Rabbit, and that was just a total riot. I don’t know if I’ve ever had so much fun at a gig, and I got to play with/meet some really great local musicians in the process. We didn’t read a single note of music the whole night and relied completely on our eyes/ears to make everything happen. I’m really excited to see where this all goes! Check out Todd’s amazing album The River Inside of Trees to get an idea of his compositional style.
Liz Draper – bassist/badass (October 13 – present)
Liz and I both have backgrounds in classical music, but don’t really have a solid outlet to get our respective classical camber music fix. This duo is our solution to that problem, and so far it’s going great! We raided the Pertucci Music Library (imslp.org) and downloaded a bunch of classical duets, most of them for two cellos, and we’re working up some repertoire to record a little demo and snag some gigs around town. I’m thinking our musical stylings will be perfect for weddings, mitzvas, funerals, art galleries, punk rock shows, and whatever. Upright bass and cello duets are anything but common, and our diverse musical backgrounds give us a unique take on the classical genre, so I think this is going to be a really fun/successful project!
Jonny James and the Hall of Fames – americana/country western (October 22nd – present)
The first rehearsal for this band was just last week, and I couldn’t believe how good everybody sounded right out of the gates. We’ve got a killing crew of musicians who all do their homework, and guitarist/roommate extrordinaire Jon Ehresmann is doing a killer job band leader. The lineup is: Jon Ehresmann – Guitar/Vox, Cory Grossman – Cello/Bass, Mike Menard – Bass/Guitar, Cassondra Meyer – Vox/Percussion, Jacy Pelstring – Vox/Percussion, Matt Riehle – Keys/Vox, Samantha Sabroski – Fiddle, Bobby Stanton – Guitar/Lap Steel, Andrew Thornbrough – Director of Percussion. Our first gig is listed above (November 12th) and I have a good feeling that we’re going to knock the crowd on its collective ass with a tight sound and huge energy. We’re playing mostly covers from artists such as Wilco, Neko Case, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, The Band, and Tom Waits, to name a few, and sprinkling in some of Jon’s original tunes (which are amazing – duh). Keep an eye out for this band.