Friday, June 24, 2022

The Pronghorn Is Not An Antelope Nor A Deer.

 Wednesday I did an improvised performance with Dominique Matelson. It was a last minute thing. Dominique put the evening together in a former yoga/dance studio in Atwater Village. There were also performances by Dylan Marx & Armand Paul, and Cate Kennan. Dominique and I have only worked together one other time. Corey Fogel was also part of that improvisation. So we had no idea how it would work out this time. I have to say it was quite fine. 30 minutes of a coherent improvisation anchored by three of Dominique's poems. The crowd was definitely into it. 

I got to use two instruments for the first time. A while ago I made a Pronghorn oboe. When I ordered the bone (the femur), I expected it to be a lot bigger. I had a different vision for it. But it is very small. Maybe 6 inches long. So I had to adjust. I put a hole in its closed end, and three fingers holes along its length for some additional notes. I use a plastic oboe reed to generate the sound. It is pretty hip. Works better when it is played loudly. The other one is the fujara. It is an overtone flute, originally from Slovakia. Traditionally they are made out of wood. The one I purchased is made of PVC and is in sections. Makes it easier to take around. Nice sound. Very soft though. 

I've said it before, I'll probably say it again...this Blogger app is incredibly funky in placing photos. I'd never chose the order/layout you see here. And I had to take the captions out. They seem to confuse the software in an extreme way. I don't have the time or energy to fight it, particularly if I am going to lose anyway. 

So it goes. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Juneteenth, Julius Eastman and Wild Up!

Sunday, June 19th was Juneteenth. It is getting to be a big holiday all over the country now. For black musicians it is very much like the Month of My People - February. All of a sudden we are working. I had one job, with the Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra (what a mouthful) that got canceled. I won't say why. Actually, I don't really  know why. Just very informed rumors. Then at close to the last minute, I got asked to participate in a performance of Julius Eastman's "Buddha." This was the first time that I've performed a work by Eastman. That tells you something about his place in the world. And mine. Fortunately, these days he is starting to get the attention he deserves. But he is dead, so it doesn't help him much. A lot of people have worked and are working hard to bring about this late recognition. The group that invited me to play is Wild Up, one of Los Angeles' premiere chamber music ensembles that specializes in new music. They have released two recordings of Eastman's music. This performance was a celebration of the release of the second recording. The show wasn't billed as a Juneteenth performance per se, but hey, it was Juneteenth, it was Julius Eastman...I can't believe it was a coincidence. It was TWELVE hours long! The sections I played in lasted only about five hours. That was five hours of nearly continuous playing. It was glorious! Thanks to the inimitable Patrick Shiroishi for recommending me.

Remember, you can get the Juneteenth spirit any day by downloading my eponymous solo tuba tune from Bandcamp.  

Some photos from the performance. Thanks to Wild Up and 2220 Arts + Archives

Monday, June 13, 2022

Downtown and Koreatown

 The P.A.P.A. appeared at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on Saturday evening. We did a performative rehearsal in an installation of the garage that we rehearse in in South Central Los Angeles. The week-long installation is part of the Memory-Material. It really was a typical ARK rehearsal. They always manage to be chaotic. That is just how it goes. Here is short vid of Randal Fisher doing a solo on Mike's Tune.

On Sunday I went to Liberty Park in the mid-Wilshire/Koreatown area for the Getty Koreatown festival. It was a small but pleasant little festival. The most notable aspect was that it had no Korean food. Only food trucks that specialized in Oaxacan food. Explain that, if you can. 

Music programs keeping the youth on the right path.

Giants! I submitted.

Sorry you folks who want to make American great again, this is the future. And it is grand!

Sunday, June 12, 2022

A Full Weekend with the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra and The Gathering

 On Saturday P.A.P.A. performed at the RedCat Theater at Disney Hall. This year is the 61st year of the ensemble. I think this was a big time gig for P.A.P.A. RedCat is one of the best sounding theaters that I have played in with the ensemble. The other one was at the Wadsworth Theater on the Veteran's Administration grounds in 1997, led by Horace Tapscott. I didn't have time to take photos at RedCat, but downloaded some taken by Chuck Koton, from Facebook. 

Sunday a lot of the same musician's reassembled for a recording of Jesse Sessions group The Gathering. This too was to celebrate the 61st anniversary of the P.A.P.A. We recorded Horace's Ghetto Suite

Gary Bias, Michael Session, Devin Daniels

Wayne Peet, Randal Fisher, Gary Bias, Michael Session, Charles Owens

Kafi Robers, Jesse Sharps - leader, Michael Session

Jamael Dean


Roberto Miranda

Mekala Session

Robert Watt, Fundi Legohn

Wayne Peet - recording engineer, Jesse Sharps - leader

James Andrews, Fuasi Abdul-Khaliq

Peter Jacobson

Charles Owens


Rene Fisher Mims

Fritz Wise

Back Home Again

 Back in Altadena. On the 2nd (June), I attended an event held by LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. They were celebrating the retirement of John Echeveste as CEO of the organization. LA Plaza runs the Eastside Arts Initiative, from which I received a grant to compose a string quartet and present it in two concerts. One concert will be for instrumental students at the L.A. County High School for the Arts, the other for the orchestra members of YOLA at Torres. It will be performed by the KOAN Quartet.  

The next day I had an unusual session. Unusual because it was a vocal session. I can't name the project, but it will be public by the end of the year. I did some hand claps and finger snaps. I did one of the vocal cues, but I really don't sing well enough to do the ones that remained. I got sent home. Not a problem. I had sent them of video of me singing. They knew what they were getting. I got a full session and an hour of overtime out of it. It is hard to ask for more. The session was at United Recording in Hollywood. It was that studio that I did the track for Tim McGraw's Mexicoma.