A Return and Review
Greetings all. Major changes in the past little while:
1. I said goodbye to the Glenn Miller Orchestra in April of 2016, and hello to Basic Military Training in May of 2016. My seven years touring the world with the GMO were in short amazing, scintillating and full of seven times seven years worth of life and relationships.
2. The USAF Band of the Golden West is now my home, and what a wonderful home it is. I also have family in northern California, by pure coincidence, so it’s a great fortune that I was stationed here. The Air Force is also an intensely supportive organization, and a great place of thriving for a full-time musician with diverse musical and knowledge interests. In fact, I may be teaching a course on base soon. More on that later.
3. Slowbern continues to burn like an ember in the background. Gigs this last December and January went very well, and soothed my jazz soul. We will have a record release on December 23rd, 2017 at Chris’ Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia. Online release is November 1st, so keep an eye on the relevant sections of the website for that. The album will be available via CD Baby and affiliates, Bandcamp, and Spotify. I have a team of folks working hard to get this off the ground and into the right hands so that it gets heard by enough ears. I’m currently scouting for a venue for the west coast edition of the band, and we may do some kind of west coast release some time at the beginning of next year if I can find a monthly residency. Ideas fully welcome here; area of possibility includes Vacaville/Fairfield, Davis, and Sacramento.
4. I also released Starlight Serenade with pianist Quin Arbeitman, a duo CD of mainly original compositions, in Japan. We toured the CD all over that country for three weeks in July and are currently working on stateside rights for the handful of licensed tunes on the record. We are holding off on electronic releases for now, until we can get the full battery of international rights squared away (as it turns out, there’s a reason that US and Japanese release of albums are typically quite different, and it all has to do with licensing fees and legal requirements). Quin and his wife were amazing hosts, and a number of enriching friendships from across the years continue. My spirit home is always calling to me, and thankfully I can still afford to go there from time to time and enjoy a nice jazz vacation.
5. Next project: my original composition for saxophone quintet which was debuted in January at Andrea Clearfield’s Salon. The first draft played at the Salon was more or less a sketch; the full butterfly will be premiered at the International Saxophone Symposium in Fairfax, VA on January 12th or 13th, with the USAF Band of the Golden West Saxophones, aka Delta Burst. The program will also feature my arrangement of the Air Force Hymn and a brand new commission by Gordon Goodwin. My excitement is brimming on this, and as we still await our final time slot, I’m also working in some teaching days for us out on the east coast. This event is free and open to the public, so if you find yourself in the DC area on the weekend of January 12th, come on out!
6. I’ve been enjoying monthly theme concerts at Shine in Sacramento with Tenor Explosion, featuring four tenor saxophones and rhythm section. For August we played the music of Radiohead, September was Michael Jackson, and the October 26th show will feature music from the film, O Brother Where Art Thou? The concerts are totally free and occur at 8pm once per month, followed by an open jam session for the community. Keep an eye on the Tenor Explosion Facebook page for more on these shows.
There is a lot more to come in this space, and updates on all of the above. I promise! One thing I’ve learned in the last few years: don’t bother with SEO. Instead, have a decent, simple website with good content and some kind of track record of accomplishing things. Even a minimal one like mine is enough to keep you at the top of searches, apparently. Thanks again to Bristow for setting this up, and finally kicking me in the pants to update it and continue building an online presence.
In the past year or so, my interest in a number of subjects has been rekindled. I’m working on that novel again, studying Japanese and chess for real, and shooting that stick bow every now and again. That may seem like a monumental workload, but thanks to fellow thinker Scott Young I have a lot of ammunition going into these learning projects.
Quin offered the idea of generating incentive for me to continue writing by posting snippets of the novel here on the site. Once I can get another text embed on a separate page going, I’ll begin posting draft portions. If it’s something you seem to be interested in, I’ll keep it going with monthly excerpts. If not, I’ll still do it but offer them as private links for draft readers to critique as the process continues.
I’ve also become interested in furthering my education and knowledge through a few simple tools. One of them is Crash Course, a great educational YouTube channel that acts as a video version of Very Short Introductions to a number of subjects. The world history and philosophy courses were particularly good for long car rides. Sam Harris’s podcast has also filled up a lot of my driving and cooking time in the last few months. We don’t see eye to eye on every little thing, but much like his interactions with the folks he has on the podcast, I find this to be the knowledge intersection where good discourse happens. Sam’s gift of attracting intellects from all walks of life has steered me in a lot of good directions, and his commitment to meditation has gotten me back on track with that as well.
It’s great that this type of open content is offered for free due in large part to the services of Patreon and the like. I may need to get involved with them if I’m going to offset the $(value redacted; it’s a lot) I’ve already spent out of pocket on this big band album, but only time will tell if that’s sustainable and I can produce enough content to make it worth your while. As always, your input is welcome and encouraged. Until next time!