I’ve got some nice irons in the fire right now. Every so often I get called for a project that makes me dig into new (to me) music. I’m doing a short tour with Tom Easley’s Mingus Tribute and this is one of those projects. I’ve always keep Mingus’ music at arms length (with the exception playing Black Saint and the Sinner Lady years ago); I guess I was always confused by it…Now that I’m really digging into the book for the tour I’m realizing how much great stuff I’ve missed out on. The cool part of this our is that we’ll be using Halifax as a base and running out from there. This leaves me free to record on Zoe Leger’s new project during the day time. Zoe’s a very tasty singer/songwriter that comes out of the jazz tradition. Her music has a fresh spin and I’m looking forward to being part of it coming to life. I think I’ll have a chance to use my new Facet Bucket Mute on it too. This mute is AMAZING. I just got it today and when I tried it out, I was blown away with how right it is. My other buckets (Jo Ral and Stone line) have way to many upper overtones present int the sound. The Facet dampens all the uppers and leaves only the “dark chocolate” bits of the sound left – perfect. As for my stuff: BiCoastal Five is set to be recorded in July in Dallas, and I have a new Quartet project (also in July) Happening in Chicago. Exciting time indeed.
I am returning to Sweden for a few gigs with my long time friend, Guitarist Fredrik Olsson and the Stockholm Organ Trio. To say I am excited about this would be an understatement. We will be playing at the Glenn Miller Cafe in Stockholm and Stationen in Bålsta among a few other hits. The music (I hope) will be really fresh; alongside original music by Fredrik and myself we are digging into a bunch of (new to me) Wayne Shorter tunes. Then it’s writing time. I am working on the music for a new quartet project and finishing a few things for the next BiCoastal project. Fun times ahead!
I just got back from ITG. I was attending the conference supporting Edwards and Getzen trumpets and adjudicating the jazz solo competition (along side Michael Hackett, and Tiger Okoshi). The new Getzen Prototype Bb is a serious horn. I got to take it for a test run at the ITG jazz session. I heard some fantastic music and as always the hang was deep; recharging and draining all at the same time. Hanging with some buddies from the olden days, Carl Murr and Jason Levi, was a real high point. Another great part was hearing all the great feedback on the Griego mouthpieces I got to help develop. Thumb!
I am very excited for my up coming sabbatical. The list of fun includes a tour in Sweden, a month is Spain, and composing my part of the music for BiCoastal: Chapter Five which is a large ensemble project. I have a personal project in can waiting on mixing and have a few other projects I am involved with in various states of completion too. It’s a good place to be. I am starting the process on a new quartet recording. I am working with six unbelievable visual artists on this project, Eli Tynan, Jennifer Sandquist, Dave Barnes, Michael Barton, Chris Main, and Paul Vienneau. I’ll be writing music inspired by their work – it’s beautiful stuff and I think/hope the music will be too.
Wowza. This is very exciting. To the best of my knowledge this is the first time a jazz musician has earned a double nomination in the ECMAs Jazz Recording of the Year category. And to make it even better the other nominations as all tremendous and worthy of winning. This years noms are: Guitar wizard Greg Amirault, Canadian tenor sax hero Kirk MacDonald and super groovy les Païens and my two projects BiCoastal Collective: Chapter Four (Chapter Three won the ECMA last year), and Autumn Song. I am honoured to stand with these killing musicians.
Here is a sample from BC4 and here is a sample from Autumn Song
Congrats to all the nominations.
New Griego #1 trumpet mouth piece
I had been playing the same trumpet mouthpiece since 1994. That changed today. I now am playing the Griego #1 trumpet mouthpiece and the FL 2C flugelhorn mouthpiece. My old pieces were not a good fit for me anymore; even though they were comfy and I knew them well it was time for a change. I chose to work with Griego in making new mouth pieces because Christan Griego is simply one of the best around, a brass wizard if you will. We worked together on the new Edwards X-19 Flugel project and Edwards trumpets related things. I knew he understood my sound concept and my overall approach to brass playing. We started with my old mouthpieces and made them better, clearer, crisper, easier to play. The Griego line of trumpet and flugel mouth pieces are the end result of wanting to make the best tools for the job and striving to make that job easier to do. I am proud to play them. They’ve made beautiful music easier to make. Christan will have them at the Midwest band and orchestra clinic in Chicago if you’d like to check them out (and you should!).
I have a few special gigs coming up that I am very excited to tell you about. First off on Wednesday, October 29 I am playing with the great drummer Peter Erskine at St. Francis Xavier University, secondly I will be presenting a masterclass and working with the students at Kent State University on Nov. 13th/14th. On the evening of the 13th I’ll be playing a concert with those students too. As an added bonus I’ll be teaming up with my old friends Bobby Selvaggio and Ashley Summers for a hit at the Bop Stop in Cleveland, Ohio on Nov 14th.
Some neat things on the horizon. I picked up a SD systems microphone the LCM77f. I am officially endorsing theses mics now. YAY! I just found out that the latest BiCoastal Collective recording, Chapter Four, received a nomination from Music Nova Scotia for their Jazz Recording of the Year category. Also YAY! And, I am plying my first real gig on saxophone. Maybe YAY (I’ll let you know)!