Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas With Bessie Video

Here is the video that I shot at Christmas With Bessie. It is not complete, some of the performances were left out because of space on my Flip and just plain forgetfulness. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Quarter's Project

For Charles Mingus  
Download now or listen on posterous
ForCharlesMingus.mp3 (10781 KB)

Here's a midi mock-up of a piece I was working on this quarter. I called it For Charles Mingus since I was inspired by the Town Hall Concert album when I started to write it. I'm hoping to get it played live at the Composer's Forum at school next quarter.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Dead Air Trio: the final installment

Here's the final installment of the second set at J. Michael Walker's studio. Gets a little more active, with some great trumpet to open up the first couple of minutes. There's some faux-bass by me about 1/2 way through and Brian picks things up as well.  A good end to the set.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

LA New Music Website

I've created a new site where I'm trying to post concerts, news, etc. for LA contemporary classical, jazz, improvisation, electronic. You can join and post your own events, music, videos etc. I've posted a bunch of stuff already, but it would be great if other people wanted to make their own contributions. I've also set up a Twitter feed for it. Check it out and let me know what you think!



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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dead Air Trio: 2nd Set at J. Michael Walker's Studio, part 3 of 4

Here's part 3! Starts real slow and quiet, lots of other voices in it too. Compelling footage of me rummaging around in my bag. Cool muted stuff by Dan at the end. This really was background music.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dead Air Trio: 2nd Set at J. Michael Walker's Studio, part 2 of 4

Here's the second of the four installments of this video. Lots of bird interaction on this one. You'll also see a lot of people walking through the performance space. While this can sometimes be annoying, on this day we were happy to be part of the whole landscape with all of the people, art, and animals. Dan described it like being part of one of Stockhausen's outdoor performances.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dead Air Trio @ the Arroyo Arts Collective: Sunday 11/22, 2 PM

The improvising trio that I play in,  Dead Air Trio will be performing at the space of artist J Michael Walker as part of the Arroyo Arts Collective's annual self-guided tour, the "Recovery Discovery Tour". Tickets for the whole tour must be purchased, the address of the artist's space will be provided at that time. The Dead Air Trio will perform at approximately 2 PM.

The Arroyo Arts Collective/“The Recovery Discovery Tour”
Starts at the Lummis Home
200 E. Avenue 43
Highland Park CA 90031
9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (length of whole event)
$10 provides access to all artist spaces
Event Page

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

DO THE MATH: Interview with Albert "Tootie" Heath

I used to live on Fifth Street between Bowery and Second Ave. Tons of musicians were on the block: Elvin Jones, Joe Farrell, John Hendricks, Ted Curson, Bobby Timmons, Lee Morgan... We used to go on the roof, get high, and have jam sessions. And around the corner on Bowery and Third was the original Five Spot, where Ornette would play every night for months. We’d walk around, smoke a couple of joints, and say, “Hey, let’s go listen to the Cold Man.” We called Coleman “the Cold Man.”

At the Five Spot, everybody in the place was high, and at first, the music seemed real out. But after awhile...Billy Higgins was the one who helped me begin to understand that: “Hey, man, these guys are actually playing together. I don’t know what it is, but they’re together.” I loved it. Ornette didn’t count off anything, didn’t tell anybody any changes, he would just do it like this: “Boom!” They’d start, and be in the song, together. I was amazed by Ornette.

I saw Sonny Rollins in there a lot, hiding in the phone booth, checking out the music but not wanting to be seen. Trane was down, Lewis from the MJQ. Everybody started coming down.

Percy was the one that kind of got me on Ornette. He brought me the record that he’s on with Ornette, saying, “This is some funny stuff these guys play!”

I loved some of the phrases Ornette played, they sounded like he was saying things, which he was, so I made up little sayings that went with the music. I know in that interview, Billy Hart said I made up words to whole songs, but that’s not really true, it was just some phrases.

But I did love Ornette, especially with Charlie Haden and Don Cherry. Blackwell and Higgins each had their special magic.

Higgins could play anybody’s drums and still sound like Higgins. It could be a huge bass drum and the wrong kind of snare, but he could sit down and start swinging right away. There was some happiness in his playing that related to his beat. He had a great ride cymbal beat that was consistent, that never stopped, no matter what else was going on.

Blackwell had the New Orleans street stuff that he could incorporate into swinging. He’d play swing for a while but then he would leave it, and with Ornette he could do that. He was a master of swinging, leaving it, and coming back to swing. One of his signature things was something that sounded Nigerian, too.

I called Blackwell alongside Cherry for that same record with Mtume. I had him on there with Don. I would have had Ornette too if I could have paid him enough!

A great reminiscence by Tootie Heath about Ornette Coleman. There are a number of great stories in this great interview with the master jazz drummer.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

SoCal Creative Music: Misuzu Kitazumi @ Max & Co. Nov. 20th

From So. Cal Creative Music. I haven't heard Misuzu since we were at CalArts together and I've never heard her play koto, so I'd definitely be interested to hear how she mixes all of it.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Olmeca CD Release

Monte Carlo 76 has been asked to play on Olmeca's CD release show at Self Help Graphics on 12/4 at 8 PM. This will be a great night of hip-hop, reggae, and theater, all to celebrate the release of Olmeca's new album La Contra Cultura.

Olmeca CD Release
Friday 12/4 8 PM
Self-Help Graphics
1802 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90063
$10/All Ages
Free Giveaways
w/ Pachamama, Las Ramonas, Nuai, DJ Dubtonez

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Avant Garde Project - 20th Century Classical, Electroacoustic, Avant Garde Music Downloads

The Avant Garde Project is a series of recordings of 20th-century classical, experimental, and electroacoustic music digitized from LPs whose music has in most cases never been released on CD, and so is effectively inaccessible to the vast majority of music listeners today.

This looks like something that I can spend a lot of time on.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fan Financed Music

The goal is to sell 1 million notes. Purchased notes will be used in not just one single million note work, but rather many new works. Composers will work with performers and compose pieces of varying lengths. The first work to be written will be a 1000 note work for solo marimba composed by Music Academy Online founder, Dave Schwartz, and written for percussionist Nobue Matsuoka. The second work will be a 4000 note composition for saxophone and harp and it will be composed by Anthony Lanman who will be working with saxophonist Dr. Noah Getz and harpist Jacqueline Pollauf who perform together as the duo Pictures on Silence.

Yet another creative way to finance a piece. I think we'll see more and more of this type of thing as the traditional sources of funding dry up.

What's your most creative funding idea?

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daily Fragment

10 - 27 - 09 by Jeremy Keller  
Download now or listen on posterous
Fragment-10-27-09.mp3 (1490 KB)

Here's something I came up with while practicing this morning.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Separated at birth???

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Monte Carlo 76's Arizona Trip (Tag: Monte Carlo 76,gigs,Arizona,TonaTierra,Chicano Batman,Olmeca,Carly's Bistro)

Just got back from Monte Carlo 76's trip to Arizona with many good memories. First and foremost the music and playing was great, with all three shows coming off without a hitch. Adding a computer to the mix has been interesting and I think we'll need to streamline in some areas, but overall it's working.

We were lucky this time to be able to travel in Alex's RV! I'd never traveled in an RV yet and now I'm hooked. With lots of sleeping room, a stove, bathroom, etc. it's a luxury compared to the vans I've toured in in the past. Except for the last night, Gomez, Alex and myself slept in the RV.

It was great to see Arizona through meeting Marisa's family and friends. We got to meet her mom, aunt, sister, and other friends in Phoenix. Our last night in Phoenix we spent with her husband Chris' family on what was basically a ranch outside of the city. The next morning we had an awesome breakfast that included grilled steaks. Maya even got to ride a horse (see slideshow).

One of the side benefits of playing live music are the people that you get to meet and I really enjoyed getting to know Maya better on this trip. She sounded great on backing vocals and on the raps that she contributed to Sun Will Rise and Intoxicating. We also got to hear some of the tracks off her new album. Stay tuned for that one, it sounds really strong.

Speaking of Intoxicating and Sun Will Rise, we're working on remixes of those tunes that we hope to release soon. The beats are strong and danceable, we'll let you know when they're ready. 

It must be a time for new music, as Chicano Batman were selling their new CD and Olmeca is getting ready to drop his new one. This was the lineup for the first two shows at Sports on Congress and TonaTierra. Both shows were pretty well attended and were a great way to show Phoenix our own little cross-section of LA music. One of the highlights of the TonaTierra show were the jams that got all of the musicians together for some freestyle raps courtesy of Maya and Olmeca over some funk and cumbia.

At Carly's Bistro Doug Bale and Mike Montoya played solo sets before and after ours. Doug's set was acoustic versions of mostly 90's rock, while Mike gave us a set of his originals, which got me intrigued to hear more. Special thanks to Doug for letting me use his Super Reverb.

That's about it, the pictures should give you a little more as well.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Contemporary Music DIY

The more I work with ACM and see the success we are having in reaching new audiences, the more convinced I am that focusing on contemporary music is the way to revitalize the Classical, (for lack of a better term,) tradition as a whole. This is only the beginning. If the ideas we've started catch on, we can build an audience for new music. We can recreate a global community of people who care, who attend concerts and debate and talk about contemporary music, breathlessly wait for the next World Premiere, and even compose their own music.

I love to see this kind of spirit enter the Classical/Contemporary/New Music World. Instead of waiting to be asked by the well-known performance organizations or academia for music, Seth Boustead and his group ACM (Accesible Contemporary Music) decided to take matters into their own hands and not just produce concerts for themselves, but also offer classes in theory and composition, as well as a place where new composers can have their work presented.

Seth's article on NewMusicBox describes what sounds like a very effective blend of the use of the internet, community outreach, and traditional performance and education.

This type of organization appears to be a viable option for many. Here in Los Angeles we have also seen similar organizations such as the Improvising Composers United who have produced concerts at schools and libraries featuring contemporary composed and improvised music.

As colleges and traditional performance organizations grapple with the problems of the current economy I believe that we will need more organizations that provide lesser known and maturing musicians and composers with new avenues to have their works publicly heard. This is nothing new, with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (also of Chicago) being one of the oldest and best known examples of an organization that provides both education and performance opportunities. I would encourage all composers and performers who identify a need like this in their own communities to use some of these organizations as an example and create something. Unfortunately, there will be no bailouts for the arts.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Good Ole Days

There is none so dangerous as the white American who waxes nostalgic about what he or she likes to call "the good old days." Or, alternately, those "simpler" times, or the era of so-called "innocence" remembered from their childhoods, memorialized in a Norman Rockwell painting, or via televised re-runs of the Cleaver family, or Opie Taylor casting a line down at the ol' fishin' hole.

I've never been a proponent of the "good ole days". Tim Wise articulates this well in this article, especially relative to the current political climate.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Indie Music Tech: Open Suggestions for MySpace

Open Suggestions for MySpace

There have been a number of posts recently like this one, suggesting that MySpace is irrelevant. Is it too late for MySpace, or can they reinvent themselves and become relevant again? If the latter, below are some suggestions I've complied from Hypebot. What else would you recommend that they do to improve their service? Please add your comments to this post and I'll email them to Owen Van Natta in about a week:
  • remove all unnecessary clutter like emoticons
  • remove all non-artist related apps and tools
  • significantly reduce the number of ads per page
  • improve customer support/service
  • create limitations and filters on how your friends may contact you
  • pay all artists for plays on MySpace, not just signed artists
  • limit the number of videos a user can have on his/her page
  • limit the image size that can be displayed on a page
  • update the design of the site
  • improve the artist rankings or get rid of them
  • limit the number of comments that can be displayed
  • limit the banner size an artist may have on their page
  • become a site only for bands to connect with other bands

Although, many don't seem to communicate through MySpace anymore, I was thinking today that it still seems to have some value since many artists have made it more like their static web page. I don't use it much any more myself and have little vested interest as to whether or not it continues, but when something that was/is so huge seems to be quickly falling out of favor I become curious as to why and whether it's worth caring about.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Wrong Cure for Insomnia

When I couldn't sleep this morning I thought I'd turn to Anthony Braxton's 9 Compositions (Iridium 2006) not to put me to sleep, but to occupy my mind with thoughts of something other than "why can't I get to sleep?"

It succeeded and then some.

Not only couldn't I get back to sleep, but it got me going on all sorts of musical tangents, ideas for the current piece I'm working on, etc. I started some coffee, sat down to start composing, but first got sidetracked by the video below.

What do you do when you can't sleep?

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Miles Electric

Lately I've been revisiting the electric Miles Davis stuff again, Get Up With It being a particular favorite. Just yesterday I was checking out the movie Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue and was really happy to see a movie in which the musicians were both allowed to talk and play more than usual. In fact, I think Stanley Crouch was the only critic in the film!

Anyhow, I'm not here to offer a review, but just share some of the inspiration that the film and Miles and the other musicians gave me. I especially loved Airto's segment.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Recording at ELAC

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New controller for Live - the Novation Launchpad

I've started to use Ableton Live for sequencing in the group that I'm in, Monte Carlo 76. So far, we've been using the Korg nanoPad to control the scenes in a pretty basic way. Create Digital Music has a full review of the new Novation Launchpad, a grid-style MIDI controller for Live. The design is simple, but it appears that you can even control volume and other parameters by switching modes and dragging your finger up and down the columns.

Since I haven't settled on a controller for Live yet and since I see it figuring prominently into my solo music in the future, this looks promising.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Virtual Composer - first drum machines, now this

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Here's a brief Septet I wrote last Spring

Download now or listen on posterous
Septet.mp3 (1849 KB)

In the spring quarter at CSULA the composition and orchestration students were very fortunate to have a professional septet come in to read and record our pieces. John Kennedy, the head of CSULA's composition department conducted. I re-orchestrated a section of a string quartet that I'd written and below are the results.

After hearing it for the first time since then, I'm happier with it than I remember. The problems I had with it originally were not with the performance, all of the players had either just been on a soundstage or were going to play with the LA Philharmonic that evening, but with the composition. I felt that it didn't fit well with the first movement (not heard here) and that there were problems with the harmonies. I don't feel this way now and am happy to have something like this well documented.

Special thanks to Steve Wight and the students of his recording course for recording the pieces, and especially Weba Garretson for the extra work that she did getting the audio together. 

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ReverbNation/Audiolife Store

Below is a video describing the ReverbNation/Audiolife store that is currently in beta. Although I'm not in the business of endorsing products, I am always interested in something that is powerful and easy for musicians and this appears to be one of those things. Essentially it integrates what ReverbNation has to to offer (widgets, FanReach, etc.) with the on-demand store capabilities that Audiolife offers. I've been messing around with ReverbNation a little lately and have also used Audiolife a little and this looks really cool to me.

<p>Reverb Store Walkthrough from Ferol Vernon on Vimeo.</p>

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