This fall I’m starting to write a set of original music for a large jazz ensemble. I’ve been busy and fortunate in recent years to have had arranging and composing projects for other large ensembles, writing orchestral arrangements for Aaron Meyer to use with the Bismarck Mandan Symphony Orchestra (and hopefully with other groups for future performances), as well as Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble, Big Horn Brass, and traditional jazz bands as well. It’s been a great experience, honing my skills and hearing great musicians playing some of my writing. This fall, I’d like to embark on honing my own voice as a writer as well, creating not for an employer, not for a paycheck, but for myself. A friend and I are both writing, and we’ll have some rehearsals set up for later in the fall. I hope to be able to share with you all a performance date soon, or some recordings. Check back in and find out!
At the end of my fourth year teaching at Clackamas Community College, I’ve got the good fortune to have planned a trip to Cuba for my students in jazz ensemble. I’m hoping the opportunity is not ruined by the recent efforts to undo the efforts of former president Obama to lighten travel restrictions. What an opportunity for the jazz club to be able to see up close and personal the beautiful music of Cuba, at the place where it has been cultivated and most personal. I can’t wait to share with them some of the music that has been a part of my musical journey in Portland, performing with numerous groups and players that I consider some of the great spirits of music in Portland. I think it will help to shape these students’ lives as well.
I’ve uploaded a new mp3 to my recordings page. The piece was written for the Clackamas Community College faculty ensemble. That group is made up of Kathleen Hollingsworth, Gary Harris, Clay Giberson, Kevin Deitz, Charlie Doggett and myself. The piece is called Six Winters, and it’s the first piece I’ve written with lyrics. When we talked about some original compositions for the group, I was drawn to a book of poetry by the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer that I had picked up in Port Angeles on a whim. I found this beautiful poem entitled “Six Winters” there; six shorts poems that relate to cold, dark or winter. I liked the poems, and also liked that there were six of them, one for each member of the sextet. I linked each poem to the next with an instrumental improvisation, one “featured” member between each. The piece is without a specific groove or tempo, spacious and empty, like the feeling I got from the poet.
Occasionally people ask me where I’m playing, or where they can find recordings of things I’ve written or played on. So I’ve decided to make a site where people can find these things, and where I can post information for my students, or general music related things. I’ll be updating the site with a calendar, recordings and pictures as I go. This opening page will function as a blog, with content rotating out and posting new things that I think would be of interest to people. Enjoy.