Hello, it’s 2013!!

Posted: May 28, 2013

My home page has been sadly neglected! I can only apologize.

Let’s get to current events. Then a few comments on the wonderful experiences that have come my way already this year.

I will be attending the International Society of Bassist Conference June 2-7, held at The Eastman School of Music. I hope to connect with some friends on the faculty there, besides enjoy the Conference. There will be over one thousand bassist from ten to eighty years old, from different parts of the world. It is the greatest ‘hang’ we bassists have. As you know, we never get to see each other. So this is precious indeed. Besides, the quality of performance is always inspiring and daunting! There is a wonderful line-up of performers this year, as usual. I’ll be performing with Martin Wind, John Clayton, and Lynn Seaton Wednesday evening. Go to the website and check out the concerts and workshops.

What can I tell you, I am flying HIGH! The ISB Conference was amazing. I performed with Martin Wind, John Clayton, Lynn Seaton, and pianist, Bill Mays. Martin Wind wrote and arranged some fantastic music for us. The audience loved it. Nothing like performing for other bassists!

Thursday night was very special because Diana Gannett performed. She is totally an amazing player with an amazing sound. When she plays a single whole note, you get goose bumps. Seriously! The best is that she performed my composition, CARESS THE THOUGHT, which I wrote specifically for her. Her entire performance was music written for her and all of the composers were in attendance. it was a special night.
(Sheet music for “Caress The Thought” available here under the ‘music’ tab)

It was hard to leave for Chicago Friday while the Conference was still going strong. Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, Dave Holland and many more bassists were doing Master Classes and performing, but I would not be there! If you are a bass player, or just a bass lover, join the INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF BASSISTS. Special thanks to Madeleine Crouch, Kristin Korb, Jeff Campbell, Douglas Mapp and many more for making this years conference a huge success.

The next week will find me at the Stean’s Institute on the grounds of Ravinia, the summer home of The Chicago Symphony. This is always an inspiring week. A small select group of young musicians from different parts of the US are invited to spend a week with David Baker, Curtis Fuller, Nathan Davis, and myself. We coach, we talk, we all play, they compose and at the end they perform a concert of original music written mostly that week. It is an incredible experience for us all.

A special event for me, an appearance at the Wabass Workshop led by Ranaan Meyer at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. If you don’t know about this young man, Google him and get ready to be amazed. I have known him since he was young and he has really taken charge of his life. His trio, Time for Three, stays busy. Check his schedule at his website.  A truly dedicated young bassist and a pleasure to be around. If you are interested in attending his workshop, learn more here.

After that, you will find me at Jamey Aebersold’s Summer Jazz Camps for two weeks.  Jamey has been doing these camps forever! And they are the best thing going for aspiring jazz musicians. Whatever age you are, consider coming to one of these weeks, and prepare to have your mind blown!! Pianist, Steve Allee teaches here too, with a host of other great musicians. This will definitely be an excellent way to spend your time this summer, have some fun, learn tons on how to be a better player. It may even change your life. Check it out.

In the middle of July I will have the excellent opportunity to perform with The Tim Hagans Quartet at The Pori Jazz Festival in Finland. I have not been to Pori for many years and I look forward to this. Earlier in May, I performed with Tim’s Quartet at City College on their Jazz Festival. As always, it is such a joy to perform with these musicians. Perhaps you caught us at the Brooklyn Museum last October!

Most exciting for me this year, was hearing my Concert Band Compositions. Finally! The Ridgewood Concert Band premiered two compositions of mine on May 10, 2013. “Joy In The Oasis” was commissioned and written four years ago for the United States Air Force Band of the West. The piece was never performed. I confess to wondering how it sounded as time went by!! Chris Wilhjelm, conductor of the Ridgewood Concert Band, besides performing “Joy In The Oasis” also asked me to perform with the Concert Band? Ok!! I orchestrated “Caress The Thought” for the occasion and suddenly I was privileged to hear both of my Concert Band compositions in one night. Now that is really unheard of. What a beautiful experience. I cannot thank all of them enough. Chris is a truly excellent and dedicated conductor. They are an excellent band, and performed my music gorgeously. If you live in the area, you will want to begin attending their concerts.

I had the pleasure of having Quiet Pride, my five-movement for large ensemble composition, performed twice this year. The first time in January at the JEN Conference in Atlanta, performed by the Joe Gransden Big Band. Joe’s band truly took care of business. At this concert many people discovered that I have been composing. Even those who knew some of my compositions, did not realize I was this deep into it! The Bucknell University Jazz Band performed Quiet Pride in April at the Weis Center. This is a gorgeous Performing Arts Center and I was pleased to present this music there. The Bucknell Jazz Band worked hard on the music and came together beautifully for the final performance. The best is yet to come. I recorded Quiet Pride with a hand picked all-star group of individuals. Look out for more about this project in the coming months.

I had the exquisite pleasure of performing at the new Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University. That is one gorgeous place. Google BING Concert Hall to check it out. This hall is definitely bass friendly. I took my bass out to center stage and just listened to the acoustics. What a beautiful hall. I performed there with the Stanford University Jazz Orchestra, directed by Fred Berry performing some of my other big band music. We had a great time!

I continue to teach and perform. This year the Richard Davis Foundation celebrated their 20th year of teaching Young Bassists. It was quite an event and as always just inspiring. These young bassists are a force to be reckoned with.

The “Out Front” Trio is still performing! Steve Allee and Duduka Da Fonseca are still playing with me and giving me great joy! We performed on the Sunday Afternoon Jazz Series at William Paterson University in February. One of our most exciting events last year was performing at “Jazz Upstairs” in Montreal. We were invited by Jazz en Rafale and had the privilege of packing each set of the club both nights. It was thrilling. That is a wonderful club to perform in. We could not have been treated better, nor had a better experience. That happened in February of 2012 and was a great way to start the Trio’s work. We ended our Trio work last year with a concert in Newark, part of the James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival. We were honored to be part of that Festival, after so many years of knowing and loving Moody.

Last July, I returned to the Sligo Jazz Project in Sligo, Ireland. They have a first rate week of jazz, presented in the finest manner. Eddie Lee heads up a cast of dedicated, informed people that take good care of everyone. The SJP has become one of the most significant jazz workshops in Europe.

Another fantastic event for me was being invited to perform with the Gil Evans Centennial Project at one of New York’s busiest jazz clubs, The Jazz Standard. It was a great experience to play that music. The music Gil wrote, particularly for the Claude Thornhill band, is wonderfully intricate and tons of fun to play. In the course of four days, we performed over 60 arrangements. We all got a composition and orchestration lesson every night. INCREDIBLE! Hats off to Ryan Truesdell for putting this one together and getting it off the ground.

Many of you may have heard about or been present at the tribute and celebration of Milt Hinton at St. Peter’s Church in NYC. That was a wonderful event including a Documentary on his life as musician and photographer. It was definitely a bass event. Ron Carter engaged us all in typical Ron Carter style. Jay Leonhart captivated the audience with his “Milt Taught My To Phone Ring.” Recipients of the Milt Hinton Scholarship Fund; Doug Weiss, Mimi Jones, Sue Wiliams, Elias Bailey, Fred Hunter, and a host of other bassists concluded the evening performing “The Judge Meets The Section.” Nikki Parrott was there! Did you see the ever-young Bob Cranshaw? So many bassists! A beautiful tribute to an amazing person.