Tour Post #1

By , April 22, 2014 7:22 pm

Okay, so I waited a little longer than I would have liked to post my first tour blog, but I’m going to try to give a quick rundown of our first couple of stops:

Our first stop was at the Applegate Lodge in Applegate, Oregon, which was a great first show because we had played there several times before and I really enjoy the community of people there; I consider many of the people there good friends!

After that we headed down to the Hopmonk, a venue in Sebastopol, California.  The space was designed to look like a medieval abbey, with a courtyard and stone buildings, really cool.  It was also a nice birthday show for Jason!

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The next night we played in South Lake Tahoe, at a new venue called the Loft.  The opening band, 4 Piece Puzzle, will be down in New Orleans for Jazzfest too, so it was nice to hang out with them before then.

Saturday night was the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco.  Kate and Naomi of the band Syrinx Effect were in town that night as well, but unfortunately the timing didin’t work out to hang before the show.  More often than I’d like I find myself scrambling to find time to catch or meet up with friends while I’m on tour; sometimes soundcheck takes longer than expected, or we have to leave right after we play, or we have to be at the venue early, etc.  I did get a chance to meet up with my friend Jack, and I finally was able to meet his fiance Diana too, which was really fun!

By the end of the first week, I found myself thinking a lot about the different music I play and what it takes to find the people that like it.  It has been really inspiring to play for really supportive audiences, and I hope to come home motivated to compose, practice, and work on my sound and approach.

I’ll stop here for now, but next post I’ll pick up with week 2, some considerations about the non-music aspects of my life, and more random tour thoughts!

Upcoming Tour Blog

By , April 3, 2014 3:13 pm

It’s less than a week now from when I will be on the longest tour I’ve ever done, three and a half weeks to New Orleans with the Polyrhythmics, and I haven’t done a tour blog since the first tour of my career, when Hardcoretet went down the coast to Los Angeles 5 years ago!

Stay tuned for posts from the road throughout April, and hopefully I will be able to put up a video or two as well.

April Excitement

By , March 8, 2014 4:48 pm

I had a nice excursion North to Bellingham the last couple of days; Theoretics had a solid first Bellingham show at the Wild Buffalo, and I was able to spend the following day with Karl, drummer for the band Polecat, who the Polyrhythmics have shared bills and festivals with pretty frequently.  It was good to talk about music as a career with someone else who has been doing it for a while:  how to make it work, the positives and negatives, and how to balance everything out.  Then that night we topped it all off with a great jam with Jeremy, guitarist for Polecat, Jefferson Rose, a killer bass player with a band of his own, and Mars, one of the best trombonists I know.  Right on, Bellingham!

A couple of things I’m looking forward to next month:

April 8th Hardcoretet will be releasing our third album, a full-length recording that we are all very excited about.  Not only that, we are also opening for Kneebody, a group that has been one of my primary musical influences for the last couple of years, and the show is at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard, one of my favorite venues in town!  Some preview tracks of the new album are available at the Hardcoretet band camp page:  https://hardcoretet.bandcamp.com/

The next day I embark on tour with the Polyrhythmics; we are travelling down the coast to Southern California, East through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and finishing in New Orleans.

I have never been to New Orleans and cannot wait to be there to take in as much as I possibly can.  The more I play and listen to music, the more I know I am influenced by that city.  Many of the musicians I enjoy listening to have spent significant time there, and its historical significance cannot be overstated, in my opinion.  I’m going to try to post a bit from the road, so stay tuned!

There is a fundraising campaign to help us minimize the expenses and costs of the tour; most of the places we are playing are new to us, so there will likely be a few lightly-attended gigs, so to speak.  If you want to help, please go here!  http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/polyrhythmics-new-orleans-jazz-fest-2014

2013 Dog Blog!

By , January 7, 2014 1:53 pm

As promised, here is a pictorial tribute to all the pooches I was likely enough to meet throughout the Pacific Northwest and along the West Coast.  There were more, but unfortunately it was difficult to document the others.  Here’s to more friends, dog and human, in 2014.  Happy New Year everyone!

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Happy Holidays!

By , December 4, 2013 10:17 am

One of the many Love’s Truck Stops in the great state of Idaho:

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The end of this year has been punctuated with tours to Los Angeles and Montana, as well as working with new recordings and new musical ideas.

I’m still trying to find a sound and approach that I can consistently use in all musical situations, rather than change the way I play from group to group. Maybe it isn’t possible, maybe it’s supposed to be a neverending search, but I feel like my playing would be even more rewarding that way (if that’s possible!)

Regardless, the opportunities to travel and take in the moods and social climates of other cities have been really fun; it has been interesting to think about how my musical tastes are affected and defined by my Seattle background, and how that compares to other towns and areas.

Getting close now to the end of the year, and the traditional New Year’s Post.  My plan this year is to compile a Dog Blog post, a collection of pictures of all the dogs I’ve come across while travelling and playing music this year.  The original Dog Blog was a short-lived page on the original Polyrhythmics website, which has now gone away, but there are plenty of pictures worth putting up, so stay tuned for that soon!

Lastly, a bit of listening.  Before I heard this song, I had heard of Dianne Schuur, but wasn’t really familiar with her.  Her voice on this blew me away, as did the song, which totally struck me as well.  With a little bit of research, I found out it was written by a famous Brazilian composer Ivan Lins, who I hope to check out more.

 

Summer Recap

By , August 28, 2013 1:45 pm

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Another eventful summer is coming to a close; in many ways this one was an extension of the tours, trips, and festivals that I really began to experience last year, and yet at the same time I could feel my “adult” life begin in Seattle.  I’ve become (slightly) more organized with my teaching schedule, I’ll be committed to living somewhere for longer than a year (unusual for me), and the dust has started to settle in this post-day-job life.  And all this was happening while traveling to Montana for the first time since I was a kid, performing in places that still seem unreal to me, and playing music for more people than I ever have in my life.

In addition to that juxtaposition, travel vs. home life, I’ve found the need to connect with listeners, friends, and family stronger than ever, and at the same really valuing the time I have by myself to organize my…self.  These two dualities, social and professional, are really what drove my summer.  I’m not sure whether feeling this way is healthy/helpful/sustainable, but for me it feels good.  It feels like I am experiencing life from as many different aspects as possible, and when it all comes down to it, it hasn’t kept me from being both happy and musically productive, and that’s really all that matters.

Plenty of fun things in the pipeline:  just finished recording the next Hardcoretet album; it will be the first time any band I’ve been in will get to three records!  The Polyrhythmics album will be coming out on vinyl soon, another first for me, and the artwork looks great!  Theoretics shows at Sasquatch and Capitol Hill Block Party were great successes and will be leading to more opportunities in the future.  Other than that, I’m just doing the best I can to be present, enjoy the moment, and put myself in good places!

 

 

Jazz, Teaching, and Lucky Brown

By , May 15, 2013 11:20 am

A couple of really fun performances around town over the past couple of weeks:

Claudio Rochat-Felix and Michael Marcus at 418 Public House:  Drums, Bass, and Saxophone.  Really cool chance to stretch on things and mess with forms in interesting ways.

Claudio, Tim Kennedy, Ian Sheridan, and Thomas Marriott at Vito’s:  First time playing with Tom and a great time playing tunes and interacting as a quintet.

Eric Hullander, Owen Ross, and Tyler Graves at the Seamonster:  Another standards gig, for the most part, but run through the Seamonster lens.

Bill Bradburd, Geoff Harper, and Tim Kennedy at the Columbia City Gallery:  Sort of a Dexter and Hayes reunion; it had been too long since I’d played with Bill!

Jacob Zimmerman jam session:  This was just Jacob and me playing saxophone and talking; I left his house really motivated to continue getting deeper into playing music!

I was really happy to be a little busier in town with different people; Although I always feel connected to the music community in Seattle, this added something different to the connection, in a great way.

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I also participated in a student recital as a teacher for the first time!  Although I still want my focus to be performance, I really enjoy teaching kids, and I was happy and proud that some of my students were able to perform in front of friends and family.  Hopefully the first of more to come.

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Last but not least, this past weekend I played in the Lucky Mystery Now Orchestra, which was essentially a conglomeration of several funk groups including the Polyrhythmics, and performed original music written and arranged by Lucky Brown.  Many of the other Polyrhythmics members have known Lucky for years and years, but I’ve known him just for the last year or so, and I admire his dedication and energy that he puts toward his music.  To see him in front of the LMNO so happy to hear us play what he wrote was inspiring to me, and something I hope to remember as I continue to write and perform.

 

 

New Photos Up

By , April 22, 2013 11:35 am

I added a new gallery of photos taken from Hardcoretet’s performance at Central Washington University.  The show was after an evening clinic/master class with some of the music students there, our second one at CWU, and the reception was very warm and enthusiastic.

I enjoy playing music at bars and smaller clubs; I think the social/party atmosphere can really help people get over their discomfort at trying to get into types of music they don’t hear very often.  If the setting is too formal, I feel as though listeners sometimes question their own reactions to the music, because they think they need to know more to enjoy it.

That being said, I don’t get a chance to play at concert or recital halls very often, and to be able to do it while at Central was an awesome opportunity.  Something about the darkened hall and silence as everyone there focuses on the sounds to come creates an atmosphere that can heighten the experience.  The audience was attentive but also threw out some great energy, which really helped us rock out a bit at times, and in the end we put on a great show, which is always at least part of the goal.  Hope to do it again soon!

 

 

Road Post

By , March 17, 2013 11:53 am

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Posting from my phone for the first time, while riding in the van with the Polyrhythmics in Idaho! I plan on putting up an album with some of the more beautiful views when I get back home.

This is the longest amount of time that I have been on the road, traveling and playing music, and this is after traveling with Hardcoretet the previous weekend, so the last month or so has been an interesting combination of lots of time with my bandmates and lots of time meeting new people that came out to the shows, which has been encouraging and enlightening.

I am still learning about engaging and connecting with listeners at shows. In both live stage performance and face-to-face contact, I feel like there are opportunities to really bring an audience further into the experience without compromising my own personal musical expression, and I feel as though I don’t always do that, which is something I can work on.

Loving this time traveling and playing, but also excited to return home to Seattle with some major motivation and direction!

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Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up

By , February 1, 2013 12:46 pm

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It’s been a really fun run of performances the last couple of weeks.  Polyrhythmics had a memorable mountain show at the top of Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, Hardcoretet played the Comet Tavern for the first time with two great bands in Industrial Revelation and Skerik and really got to rock out, and there were a couple of pick-up gigs that felt great for my playing:  Grant and Delvon (airing out an old Pocket Change tune!), sitting in with McTuff, and a semi-Dexter-and-Hayes-reunion with Tarik, Tim, and Ian.

In addition, I’ve been able to take a little bit more time and practice, which has made a huge difference (what a surprise).  I hope to keep the momentum going in the coming birthday month!

 

 

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