Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Bones (and Whatnot) Pay Off Again

 I have all of these strange and exotic instruments. Most I buy, some I make. Here are three links to videos that demonstrate some of these: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3. Generally I use them for my own projects. Every now and then I get to use them on projects that get some wider exposure, like this project. That first video is an outlier. Usually on these types of jobs there is no credit. The sounds I produce are just part of the sound design. That was the case on one of the Shrek movies. But here's a recent one where I did get credit, the new Amazon series The Rings of Power. This link is to composer Bear McCreary's blog in which he gives me a credit. And here is a photo of the bones that came in yesterday. Eventually I'll make instruments of them. This time, since I have plenty of bone trumpets, I think I'll go a little further and add bells of horn and maybe mouthpiece rims. We'll see. It'll take awhile. The four in the foreground are buffalo, the long one in back is a 25-inch giraffe metatarsal leg bone.  

People Celebrating Their Cultural Roots (Or Just Having Fun)

 A busy weekend full of festivals. Saturday I drove out to Moorpark, in the southern regions of Ventura county. I was playing with Der Madderhorns traditional German brass band at the Enegren Brewing Company's Oktoberfest. It is a two-day celebration. It is a hard gig...two hours of solid playing. The tuba gets no rest in the realm of polkas. My lederhosen are getting a little tight. A loss of 10 - 15 pounds should solve the problem. I am certainly not going to buy a bigger pair. 

with the owner

Sunday was a trip down to South Los Angeles. The ARK was doing the closing set at the Watts Towers Jazz Festival. It is actually a two-day festival, the first day is The Day of the Drums. Closing the festival is a traditional role for the ARK (Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra). I've done it only once before. It was years ago, too long ago for me to remember when. What I do remember was that in one tune Horace (Tapscott) nodded at me to take a solo. I didn't want to take a solo and indicated such. Usually that is enough for the leader to move on to the next person. Horace acted like he didn't get the signal. But he did. He just decided to ignore it and kept vamping. He vamped and the band vamped. I realized that things weren't going to move on until I took a solo. I wasn't going to win this one. So I took a solo. It wasn't a great solo, but I looked like less of a fool than I would have if I hadn't taken one and let the band keep vamping with everyone looking at me. No such drama this year. Just playing tuba parts. The ARK has always had a mix of young and old. That is part of the strategy. Here are some shots of a few of the band members. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Bradford Strikes Again!

 This past Friday, Sept. 16, Jazz at LACMA and the L.A. Jazz Society honored Bobby Bradford for his long-time and continuing contribution to the field of African American creative music. Well deserved. We played his Jackie Robinson Suite. It was the original band: Don Preston - piano, Henry Franklin - bass, Tina Raymond - drums, Chuck Manning - sax, Vinny Golia - saxes, William Roper - tuba/spoken word, and of course our fearless leader Bobby Bradford. It was a big moment. Hundreds of fans. Okay, tons of them weren't Bradford fans when they showed up, but they were when they left. Here are some shots I lifted from Facebook along with a drawing by Dean Westerfield. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

A new femur video is up. To watch, click HERE.

September already! S for studio. On Labor Day did that recording of Jonathon Mandabach's work. I was too busy with high notes to take any photos, but did capture a spontaneous improvisation with a stool by Corey Fogel. 

 The very next day I did a session led by the Norwegian free improvisation master Frodé Gjerstad. The woodwind master flew into town to record with Bobby Bradford, Alex Cline and myself. Needless to say, musically it was a freewheeling time at Nolan Shaheed's studio in Pasadena. Frodé left the next day - in on Saturday, out on Wednesday. Hopefully he will still like the results after repeated listening. Things sometimes change.

You'll remember that performance at 2220 Music & Archives back in July that I did with Ute Wasserman? As we were accepting the applause of our rather satisfyingly large audience, I acted on a whim and queried as to whether she'd be interested in the two of us doing a recording session? She said "Yes," and there you have it. This past Thursday (September 8) I picked her up from the Villa Aurora and we head south to Wayne Peet's Killzone Studio. After setup and a nosh of some very tasty and sturdy cornbread that Ute had brought along, we got to it. I think the result is very good. We have one more piece to edit and then we'll have to decide what to do with it. We are going to put it out one way or another, it is just a question of deciding which way. When you hear it, you're going to be lovin' it!

Afterward we went to Bernie's Soul Food Kitchen in Culver City. I had ox tail and Ute went for the rib tips.

And a reasonable harvest of Peruvian apples. The height of the cactus makes them very difficult to harvest.

Closing Out August with Odes to All Nations and the City of the Angels.

At the end of the month I did Renée Petropoulos' "Analog Among Nations/WB: Sewing Circle." I'd categorize it as a performance piece. A big piece. Eleven participants. You'll see their names on one of the fliers below. Renée created the piece in relation to exhibits on flags and nationality at both The Broad and the Wende Museum. The Wende is an art museum and archive of the cold war, so for the performance there I used instruments that had some of connection with that particular era and European countries directly impacted by the expansion of the Soviet Union. These include a tuba made in Czechoslovakia in the 1890's, an E flat alto horn made in the Soviet Union in the 1970's, a Ukrainian lur and a fujara, an instrument original developed in Slovakia. Between the two performances I played at least 13 instruments. There might have more but that is all I remember right now.


From the Broad performance.

From the Wende performance.

And at the very end of the month, Vijay Anderson return for an encore performance and recording of his "Urban Jungle Los Angeles," created with visual artist "crushed blacks," and performed by his Silverscreen Sextet. It was a hot show performed in a very hot venue. Lots of sweat flyin' 'round. We recorded the piece the next day (September 1) at a studio in the same building.

Dinner before the gig. Nashville-style chicken sandwich. Not for the faint of heart.

The show.

The recording session.

The snareway to heaven.