Showing posts from May, 2021

Chronicles #5: In The Waking Hour

 The people that know me, know that I have a particular fondness for improvisation. I find improvising to be the ultimate form of musical expression. It’s often like walking a musical tightrope, where anything can happen, including falling off. But it’s that sense of danger that also makes it appealing to me.  I also have a particular fascination for the female voice, especially singing wordless vocals. Some of my favorite recordings are female voice and percussion, like the 3 albums put out by Tamia and Pierre Favre in the 1980’s ( de la quit… le jou r, on the ECM label, is a particular favorite and has been a source of immeasurable inspiration these past 33 years since it was released), and the series of  duo recordings Fredy Studer released over the years. I had wanted to do something along these same lines for many years, but it all came down to finding the right people for the project. This recording was born out of the Milwaukee Improv series, Unrehearsed MKE . I had played wi

Chronicles #4: Astronomos

ASTRONOMOS Chicago is truly one of the great music cities in the world. There is so much diversity and so many small venues offering creative music each night of the week. I always feel fortunate to be able to play at a venue there. This album was recorded live at Brown Rice (named after the Don Cherry song),   on March 18, 2008. The space had formerly been The Candlestick Maker , drummer Michael Zerang’s longtime studio and concert venue. I must have played at The Candlestick 2 or 3 times over the years. I’d also attended a lot of concerts of creative music there and would have gone to many more if I’d have lived closer than 80 miles away.  The place looked the same (what could you really do to change it?). It was a small room with red painted paneling on the walls. There was a small office up front and a storage room & bathroom in the back. For a small space, the acoustics were perfect if you didn’t over power things. So my percussion always sounded nice in there.  I hadn’t pl

Chronicles #3: Scattered Light

What if light were sound? What if you could hear the light rays streaming through your windows? SCATTERED LIGHT is just that. Like 2010’s SOUNDINGS, which imagined percussive sounds underwater, SCATTERED LIGHT imagines sound as light waves moving through the air. Like most of my projects, SCATTERED LIGHT started as a thought, an image held in my mind of sound moving like beams of light, moving through different mediums—scattering, reflecting, and refracting in all directions. I'm a very visual person and have always been fascinated by light. I love the way it breaks through a cloud, or shines through a window. I love shadow play upon a wall or floor. Light is such a dominant part of our lives, and in fact, a very necessary one.  And again, like the previous album, SOUNDINGS, everything was recorded live to 2-tracks. I picked the sounds I wanted to use and the appropriate strikers, then played based on an impression or feeling. Everything was improvised during a few different recor

Chronicles #2: SOUNDINGS

Soundings is a composition for solo metal percussion. It was written for the Ingenuity Fest in Cleveland, Ohio. I premiered it on September 23 & 24, 2010 at the Fest, held on the historic Detroit Superior Bridge in downtown Cleveland. You can download or stream the tracks here . A Quest for Echoes SOUNDINGS started out as an idea, an impression about sounds underwater and how they reflect and echo. I was thinking sonar, submarines, whales, and other deep sea sounds. Metal percussion is the ideal medium, because the tones have a strong attack, yet also have a long sustain. Because of this, they interact with each other, producing additional tones and beats. Sounds close to the same pitch react by producing a rhythmic beating pattern. In playing metal percussion, the tones ring out and fade away into the air. For me, it's as important to play the spaces, as it is the notes, leaving the sounds hanging like mist in the air. I like the idea of the sounds moving from one to anot