Kicking off Year #2


Hello, readers! It’s been about a month since I’ve written in the blog, but not without good reason – school is super busy! It isn’t as if I did not anticipate being very occupied…but between all my rehearsals, classes, projects, and performances, I am always on the move!

I recently received the recordings from my Emerging Jazz Artist Project submission demo. I recorded two originals, “The Dragon Express” and “Fluky’s Blues” along with my arrangement of John Mellencamp’s “Lonely Ol’ Night” as the required piece. I’m very happy with the results so far and I’m looking forward to hearing the final mix! Sound files will be up soon. I can’t thank my friends Robert Walker, Joey Lamb, and John Weisiger for helping me make this all happen.

I just finished up a big band concert cycle with Brent Wallarab’s IU Band. We performed a few weeks ago at the Indianapolis Jazz Festival, and prepared charts by Jim McNeely, Thad Jones, Duke Ellington, and Bill Holman. It was great to get out into the community with a school group! Our concert in the Musical Arts Center included a few more tunes by IU graduate students, “Maids of Cadiz” by Gil Evans, and “Penny Arcade” by Joe Farrell. Professor Houghton actually performed that one with the band – a real powerhouse behind the drums! Learning “Penny Arcade” was a challenge. It is a 1970’s funk tune, and playing with high intensity and tight focus was an eye opener to that style of music. I can’t wait to swing again with that band!

I’ve been playing a lot of small group around Bloomington, too! Professor Pat Harbison has asked me to play several times with his band “The Post-Modern Jazz Quartet”. We will be rehearsing tomorrow evening for an all Cole Porter show on October 19th at the Player’s Pub. I will also be performing at Cafe Django on October 29th (following the Indiana-Northwestern football game) with the PMJQ. I’m honored that Professor Harbison has asked me to play with his group!

I’ve been transcribing Tony Williams lately, too! I hadn’t felt quite ready to tackle his genius until this year. The thought of a drummer being so incredible that he began playing with Miles Davis at age seventeen still frightens me. My method of understanding Tony is as follows. I’m analyzing the connection between the piano player and the drummer, in this case with Herbie Hancock. I’m studying “So What” from Miles’ album, “The Complete Concert, Four and More.” I transcribed Herbie comping rhythms first, and now I am transcribing Tony’s drumming. By putting the two together, I have a clearer picture of exactly why Tony played what he played. This track is a gem!

I must get going now…two more IU Big Bands are taking the MAC stage tonight! Associate Instructor Ashley Summers’ band is performing as well as Professor Jeremy Allen’s band! I’m excited to hear some great music this evening!

Thanks for reading! Back to the woodshed for Shiney!