Spring Was Here

Well, I missed a month. I hope that regular readers have managed to fill the gaping content hole I left with assorted journals, blogs, and shampoo bottles.

First and foremost, I want to draw your attention to part two of my exciting 3-part collaboration with Oakland artist Kim Miskowicz, a beautiful film Kim has created to accompany our song “Port o’ Nine Tails” (from Observatory). Please check it out here.

So, what’s been happening since last we talked? We’ve had 3 very special gigs, as anyone visiting this site is hopefully aware.

First, thank you to everyone who came out to our double bill with the excellent Ian Carey Quintet + 1 at The Sound Room in late May. Much to my delight and relief, this gig was a success on all fronts. It was a pleasure to play for a very healthy and engaged crowd in a wonderful space. Ian and I each brought in 3 involved new compositions for our respective bands. In an age (epicenter?) of incessant tribute project/”Plays the Music of…” blight, it felt particularly great to be a part of an evening jam-packed with new, original music presented to a respectable audience. (Far be it from us to get in the way of the local jazz scene/establishment pitching in and giving some needed attention to the music of promising up-and-comers such as Miles Davis, Prince, et al…)

Next up, at Berkeley Arts in mid-June, I debuted a new trio featuring myself, longtime collaborator Kasey Knudsen and pianist Michael Coleman. I love the way this lineup came together – performing creatively reduced versions of tunes from my sextet book and some rarely-played older tunes for previous smaller ensembles – and I am dedicated to making it happen more in the future, even though Michael is moving to New York (a blow to the band, the local scene and the local jazz baseball league). Stay tuned…

The 3rd gig might have been the biggest of them all…a night of my music for several ensembles as part of the San Francisco Center for New Music’s “Best Coast Composer Series” just this past weekend. I presented a series of solo winds pieces played by Cory Wright, a brand new extended work for improvising quartet (featuring Cory, vibraphonist/drummer Jordan Glenn, bassist Sam Bevan, and myself on piano and guitar), and a full set of new and recent music by my eponymous sextet with Jordan guesting on several tunes. I hope you were there and, if not, hope to have some videos up soon. It was a great night and a great honor. I can’t thank the members of my sextet enough for their incredible work, dedication and good humor over so many years, gigs, and on this night: Sam Bevan (bass since 2003), Aaron Novik (clarinets since 2003), Kasey Knudsen (alto sax since 2007), Jon Arkin (regular drummer since 2010, playing with us as far back as 2005), and Cory Wright (reeds galore since 2012). It’s overwhelming to have such talented people bringing the music and band to life and elevating everything year after year. Thank you!

After all of this activity, I am dedicated to pretty much taking the rest of this month and August off (barring any sideman gigs you may feel like offering me). I’ll be back in this space with tales of the things to come early next month, so please do check back. In the meantime, the calendar page has the basic facts re: our upcoming gigs. One thing to note: the October gig will feature Jordan playing vibraphone for the whole set!

Thanks for reading. Hope to see you at a gig.

n.s.c.