Polebridge Funded!

Thanks to all the generous souls who pledged support for this album through the kickstarter! Rob and I are super humbled and touched that so many friends and supporters helped out with this. Next week will see the two of us up in Toronto finishing recording a couple of things, and then on to mixing and mastering with the talented Mr. Peter Lutek. After some art is put together, we’ll press things up and have it all ready to go by early summer!

 

We’ve got a couple of shows lined up in New York and Brooklyn in June that we’re pretty excited about. More soon!

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Polebridge Kickstarter Campaign

After many months of various obstacles, ranging from Sandy related issues, to the American Government not allowing Rob back into the country (hooray Green Card bureaucracy!), Polebridge (Rob Mosher- woodwinds, myself – trumpets, John Marcus – violin, Stephanie Nilles – piano, Andrew Small – bass) is finally at the precipice of releasing it’s first album. Rob and I have a few small things left to track, and then it’s on to mix and master with the talented Peter Lutek in Toronto. After that, pressing albums, and the release show in June!

BUT! We need the slightest financial nudge to see this project through! We just posted a Kickstarter campaign with the hopes of gathering just enough crowd-sourced funds to put the finishing touches on it. Won’t you please take a few minutes and see what the group is, and listen to a few of the rough tracks we currently have in the can? Your support (be it monetary, hug-related, or simply in the form of a bedtime prayer) is undeniably appreciated. Simply click on the widget on the right of your screen to follow into Kickstarter.

Thanks for the help!

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Sandy vs. New Amsterdam Records

This has been a a bizarre week in New York City. I’m sure the media images being splattered across your media devices speak for themselves, but it’s still strange to be here. There’s a wild disconnect between those of us who were basically handed a mother-nature-sponsored week-long hiatus to our work lives, and those who are still, five days later, without power, facing an unimaginable reorganization to their property and their priorities.

Red Hook, home of Ikea, Fairway, the Six Point Brewery, and a few of my favorite bars and restaurants in the city amongst a great harbor neighborhood, took a punch this week. The water marks were high, and the destruction is clear. Red Hook is also the new home of New Amsterdam Records, a vibrant hub of new, young classical music in New York.

The collective had just moved into an amazing space that I was able to see and use before it’s early demise. It’s an amazing and beautiful warehouse that was to be used for rehearsing, recording, performing, and conspiring. It was filled with old furniture, all sorts of gear, and a great Steinway grand. It’s a great space that I think, with help, love, work, and time will realize it’s potential. In their own words:

“Despite the many hours we spent on Sunday preparing for the storm-stacking furniture on cinder-blocks and moving everything we could to higher ground-our space was flooded with almost four feet of polluted sea water. As a result, about 70% of our catalog of CDs has been destroyed-CDs we hold on behalf of our artists (we do not own them). Literally ALL of our financial records were destroyed, including our back-up hard-drive. Sewage, gas, spilled paint thinner, and bleach all blended with seawater, creating a toxic mess. A mess that is sure to corrode our newly installed drywall, kitchen cabinets, and office furniture. Even the basics like doors and plumbing are compromised and will need to be replaced. Musical equipment, amps, and priceless vintage synthesizers were also destroyed, along with countless personal items, clothing, two couches, records, and other furniture. We will need to move swiftly to acquire industrial dehumidifiers and hire professional mold-cleaners to help us combat the high risk of toxic mold. We have yet to assess the damage to our donated Steinway grand piano which we wrapped with a plastic tarp prior to the storm; the water mark from the flood was drawn inches from the piano’s lid.

Over the last few months, we’ve invested countless hours preparing our space, and thousands of dollars renovating it — money and time we were hoping to make up for with a series of public events and private fundraisers this fall and winter. Now that plan is in severe jeopardy. Our financial future is intimately tied to our space; we were “all in,” so to speak. After sharing news of our plight on Facebook, literally hundreds of you have offered to help. The outpouring of love and concern from our larger community has been staggering and truly inspiring. At the suggestion of a number of NewAm friends and artists, we have decided to create this page — an official home for our Hurricane Relief Fund. New Amsterdam’s label arm operates on a non-profit-model that distributes 80% of album revenues directly to artists, so while we encourage the community to continue to buy albums and help support our artists who were also all affected by this disaster, the organization itself will receive the most benefit from direct contributions.”

You can, and should, visit their donation page here (tax deductible), and keep your eyes peeled for all of the artists on the label. They all do incredible things.

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Polebridge recording session

Early September, a new project of Rob Mosher and I, Polebridge, went into the studio to record the group’s first album.

The Band:

  • John Marcus – Violin
  • Stephanie Nilles – Pianos, Hammond B3, and I’m pretty sure some mumbling
  • Rob Mosher – Clarinet and Sax
  • Andrew Small – Bass, Fiddle
  • me – trumpets and some other noises

Working with this odd squad was humbling. I’ve been practicing just to keep up for the next time we play…

The Music: The tunes were composed by Rob, and cover some pretty diverse terrain. There’s some through-composed chamber style stuff, some minimalism, an appalachian folk tune, some Klezmer, a country tune, and some jazz influence banging around there as well. It’s a grab bag of styles, but Rob’s used the individualities of the players really well.

The Studio: Dubway Studios in Manhattan. These guys were awesome to us. They allowed us to move a console piano (thankfully donated to us by William Norman and the fine folks at the Fieldston School) into the studio to use on a few tunes. It was WAY more trouble than I had anticipated, but the guys at Dubway were inordinately supportive of the whole affair. Big, big thanks.

The Album: Titled “Polebridge” is scheduled for release in March. We’ve got some editing left, and then it’s off to Peter Lutek in Toronto to be mastered. There will be a kickstarter posted here, among other places, where Rob and I will kindly and politely ask you to support the group by backing the project, helping us to see the print of the album through. We’ve got some shows lined up in the Spring to celebrate the release, and are hoping to plan a tour in the Fall of 2013 (Pacific Northwest perchance?)

I’m super thankful to the group, and Rob in particular for helping see this album through. Rob and I had started planning this almost a year ago (in it’s earliest incarnation, we were going to go to Polebridge, MT, to record on site at an outdoor theater…maybe the sophomore effort will fulfill…), and it feels good to get it going off the ground. Life is good. More to come…

Also, one more special shout to Judd Greenstein and the friendly folks at New Amsterdam Records for letting us into their spectacular new space in Red Hook to rehearse. I can’t wait to see some shows there!

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Marlboro Festival Orchestra


For a couple of years now, I’ve had the unbelievable pleasure of playing with the musicians at Marlboro. Every year they end the season with a performance of the Beethoven Choral Fantasy, with Richard Goode, and Mitsuko Uchida (who played this year, with Leon Fleischer conducting…) alternating yearly as the piano soloists (if you haven’t heard the piece, it’s like a tiny version of the 9th Symphony…with piano solo). Hearing these two play is a gift. Being able to make music with them in some way is even more special. Mary Bowden joined me up there this year. Please check her trumpet playing out if you haven’t already…

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Kinhaven

For the past five summers, I’ve taught and played in the mountains of Vermont at the Kinhaven Music School. It’s a beautiful escape from Brooklyn for the hot weeks. The two photos above were taken from practice spots of mine in the first week. Things not created by a person dominate the panorama of my view at any point in the day. I never realize how profound this is until I get here. Also, there are no billboards in Vermont, so it’s nice to have the din of consumer America take a back seat to the green of the world. It smells really nice here too.

 

I get to work with a small trumpet studio of really talented, hard-working students (this year’s studio is especially great) who work primarily on chamber music, but also get lots of orchestral experience. It’s exactly the kind of place that I wish I had attended when I was in high school. The environment is super-supportive, the kids are great, and the faculty is really nurturing.

 

I also get to play chamber music concerts each week with the faculty (Deb Buck, Tony Mazzocchi, Logan Coale, Carloyn Wahl, and Don Batchelder among many talented others). This year, in addition to some standard brass quintet works by Sampson and Lutoslowski, and some great mixed ensemble stuff, I’ll also be playing in premiers of, and working with, Bruce Adolphe, and Nic Scherzinger. Good times.

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PBM’s “I Got Mine” Video Shoot

Just a little while ago, for the first time in a while, the touring formation of Mark Gould’s Pink Baby Monster (along with some special guests) came together to shoot a video for a tune called “I Got Mine”. It was definitely a thing.

 

A few years back, this group presented an evolving show, “Jews in the Desert”, written by Gould and Brian McWhorter. We did a handful of shows in New York City, a couple of tours, and an enlightening show at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Banff, Canada. These times were formative for me. Watching and participating in the creative process of this group has been a schooling. Gould is a force to be reckoned with.

 

The tune accompanying the video, “I Got Mine” is a libertarian fetish piece. It’s also rated “R”, but for really valid reasons. Hopefully the video will be released soon. It’ll be part of Mark Gould’s juggernaut run to the White House, to be elected in 2012. Some Genghis Barbie members are featured as well. They’re a fun bunch.

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Rob Mosher’s 31 Chorales Album Release Concert

 

My good friend and frequent collaborator, Rob Mosher, will be releasing an album this Wednesday (6/13) at a performance that I’ll be playing in. I was lucky enough to get to record on the album, made up of original music by Rob, played by him (sop. sax), me (tpt), Nathan Turner (tuba), and Peter Hess (bass clarinet).

Rob, a woodwind player and composer, came over to my place to make some music last year, and was showing me some four-part chorales that he was working on as a personal study of counterpoint. Studying four-part harmony (and the usually mediorce aping of Bach’s voicing) is standard in any conservatory trained classical musician, but it was really interesting for me to hear these  studies coming from someone trained primarily in jazz (most of Rob’s “classical” training is self-motivated and exploratory in nature, very different than my upbringing…). I encouraged Rob to write more and record.

Rob being Rob, he committed to writing one a day, for 32 consecutive days, and the album was recorded soon afterwards. The result is an artfully documented compositional journey for Rob, as he weaved his way in and out of various tonalities, finding a way to speak his musical voice through the medium of the chorale. The album is now available on Itunes.

Concert Details:

Wednesday, June 13 – 8pm

St. Peter’s Church

619 Lexington Ave, New York,  New York

TICKETS
$10 suggested donation at door, or online:
http://31chorales.eventbrite.com/

 

 

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John Cage Tribute with The Knights at The Stone

Last Sunday, I took part in a really fun concert with the Knights at The Stone, John Zorn’s venue in the East Village. The article in the Times (that’s me behind Josh Frank, who’s in the gorilla suit) sums it up pretty well, but Max Mandel created a John Cage tribute piece that required us to play a non-musical instrument in addition to our own (I used an air mattress pump, but there were also giant scissors, an old phone, and popcorn maker among the group), interspersed with quotes from the Big Lebowski that he had chosen. The two sets were a blast.

The people in that group are incredible musicians. If you haven’t had the chance to hear them live before, you owe it to yourself. It’s an incredibly special group of performers. They embody what every orchestra should aspire to. Even when dressed in gorilla suits, playing melodicas.

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Happy Websites

Here’s a prototype of a trumpet that I’ve concieved. It’s based on an idea I got from a sound sculpture I read about that was a trombone with a single input and multiple outputs. This is a trumpet with multiple inputs and a single output, to be played by two people. Andy Frobig helped put this thing together for me, and, once a few technical issues are overcome, there will certainly be more models (and some vidoes) coming soon. For other cornerstones of practicality like this, waste some time at noisejunk.eu

The End.

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