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The radio show was fun.

Yes I have finally dug out from the mountain of snow and I’m back stirring the musical pot. We had a great time on Valerie’s radio show on WPKN on Tuesday February 15. The “Lucky Dogs” played a few tunes and chatted for about an hour. Thanks to Valerie for having us. Thanks to Jim Baldoni for playing bass and Frank Panzarella on guitar and the lovely Lizzy singing. I played mandolin and sang a little. We did one of my tunes called “Invisible.” If you would like to hear the show, here is a link to listen: http://archives.wpkn.org/bookmarks/listen/16592
You can link to the rest of the radio station through WPKN.org.  Send them a couple of bucks, they are a great organization that plays a ton of all kinds of independent music.

Lao Tzu, traditionally the author of the Tao T...

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Next up I will be playing a free concert/service with Christopher Reba, Sarah Heath, Lydia Smith and Matt Torcillini on March 18th at the Unitarian Society of New Haven. This is a Friday night vespers service, part of their once a month vespers program. The music is all original music that I wrote over the last year or so. It will be very meditative and calm with poetry by Rumi, Li Po, Yeats, Lao-Tzu, Hildegard of Bingen…..(well you get the picture… the mystics) a nice way to end the week. I have also arranged for some visual images to coincide with the music and poetry. It should be a hip happening happening.
Hope you can join us.
March 18th at 7:00 PM
700 Hartford Turnpike,
Hamden, CT
(203) 288-1807


Hopefully a few more surprises in the next month or two.
Take care
Glenn

Upcoming events

Dave Mix and Glenn tearing it up in Branford, CT.

We have been out of the picture lately, resting and digging out from the snow. Hope you all are well. I wanted to let you know of some music coming up in the next month or two.

On Tuesday, February 15 around 5 PM, a few of the Jazz Folks crowd will be playing some music on Valerie Richardson’s WPKN radio show. Frank Panzarella and I will be joined by Lizzy Hess and Jim Baldoni in a band called “The Lucky Dogs,” doing some folk-like covers and an original song or two. Find WPKN at 89.5 on the FM dial, or listen on line through the inter tube webby thing at wpkn.org.

On Friday, March 18 at 7 PM, I will be playing with an excellent group of musicians for a Vespers service at the Unitarian Society of New Haven. This should be a wonderful, meditative evening of music and poetry, and will include several musicians who have sat in with Jazz Folks. The music will be informed by sounds and images of nature, using structured improvisations that let the musicians interact freely with each other. Instruments will include mandolin, bass, xylophone, percussion, piano and voice.

Yazheng

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A Friday night vespers service at the Unitarian Society of New Haven.

Free and open to all.

March 18th at 7:00 PM
700 Hartford Turnpike,
Hamden, CT
(203) 288-1807

“Empty your mind of all thoughts, Let your heart be at peace.” Lao-Tzu

Readings from the mystic poets throughout the ages.  Meditative original music by Glenn Stevens with Sarah Heath, Chris Reba, Lydia Smith, and Matt Torcellini. A multi-media vespers service with music, poetry and visuals.

Party Mandolin

 

I haven’t posted for a while now and I thought I should weigh in with a word or two. I have been working hard at some new tunes. I’m still enamored with delays and some sound warping effects with my mandolin. As a result the new tunes are a little outside of the box I have been playing in the last few years.  What I have posted here are some sketches.  I plan on fleshing them out with a wider variety of musicians and a grand debut in February.

Letting Go:  This is a little tune in a fast 7/8. Thanks to Corey Stevens for playing the bass. I wrote this song as my mother-in-law was passing away.

Sun In the Night: layers on layers in patterns layered on to the layered patterns all spinning around and grinding to a ……..

Mandolin in shadow
Mandolin in shadow

Cool Morning Early has a really nice ambient introduction worked out that gives the sense of the early morning waking up. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear on this recording.  You’ll have to come to the premiere in February for the full effect.

I’ve got a bunch of other tunes along these lines that I am anxious to share with people in the next few months.

Stay tuned. Thanks,

Glenn

Playing in Church

I am fortunate that my church has an adventurous music director.  We have heard everything from Bach to Miles Davis to Steve Reich as part or our Sunday service. I recently read an article about how much church choirs are a part of the ministry. I am happy that our music director is adventurous enough to include me as a participant in creating this place of worship.

I recently played for the Sunday services. We played three of my original tunes: “Praise”, “You and Me”, and “Cool Morning, Early.” Thanks to Mark Zarrillo for playing percussion and Christopher Reba for playing bass. I played mandolin with some electronic delays.

Cool Morning, Early was a new piece. I am trying to get a more integrated improvisational thing Lake with early morning mistgoing. This piece works well on this level. It featured Chris playing some very nice melodic acoustic bass and Mark holding it all together with his mysterious pile of percussion. We got lots of requests for recordings and that is something that is in the works, for now we have two traditional jazz and swing recordings available on the “What We Do and What We Have Done” page.  The “Works In Progress” page has some examples of this recent musical train of thought. Thanks for all the great comments and feedback for our worship contributions.

Glenn

September 18    Dancing in Pink!

I saw the “Dancing in Pink” benefit dance concert in Torrington last week.The performance was at the Nancy Marine Studio Theatre. I live in Connecticut and this theatre complex was a real find. It seems to be a vibrant little complex with a lot going on.

I haven’t seen much dance lately so this was a real treat.  I love the combination of thoughtfully chosen music and  visually interesting movement. Hmmm is that what dance is? I like pieces that are organized like a good piece of music: there are places where the ensemble works together as a unit and places where an individual or individuals move to the attentive forefront and the rest of the ensemble is active but in the background. I like modern jazz that works this way as well. Not so much, play the head-solo-solo-solo-play the head, but a more interactive ensemble that solo together and alone building and coming together and breaking apart and coming together.

There were a couple of pieces that stood out to me:
In Particular “Wings of the Sparrow” Choreographed by Anthony Manuel and danced by Anthony Manuel and Emily Wiadro. This was a lovely duet with music by Angleique Kidjo. The dancers were focused and fluid with a seemingly effortless grace. I guess I need to tap into the modern dance scene a bit more because I would like to see more of Anthony’s work.

Also: “Preserve Me” choreographed and danced by Lacey Byrne and Valerie Rodgers was a moving and visually interesting piece.  “Healing Dance” Choreographed by June Can of Clarke Dance Theatre was also a cool piece. This piece had a nice mix of group  and solo or small group movement. The dance was contemplative with a strong grounded presence.

OK good good good good stuff but, where is the live music? Come on people there are enough talented musicians around willing to lend their vision to the mix. Get some live music!

Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1951, Fitzwilli...

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Not for money! That is for sure. What is it about the creative process that drives us? I know enough musicians that spend countless hours practicing alone and with bands and they earn little money. They have day jobs and squeeze their “art” in as best they can. In fact the best guitar player I have ever heard bar none was playing in New York City for tips in a coffee shop the size of my small living room. I see this drive to create in dancers, visual artists, poets, cabinet makers, teachers and countless other of creative people as well.

I know for me I can only watch so many episodes of the Partridge Family marathon before I find myself out in the yard welding hunks of metal together or plugged into my recording equipment working on a new piece.  Art or great art isn’t really part of the equation. I just end up trying to create something.

There is an interesting interview with Daniel Pink and Clay Shirky at Wired.com about this topic. They talk about how much free time we have and how (for a brief time, in my opinion) people used to fill up their free time watching TV and now they use their free time creating content on the net. I like the idea of Cognitive Surplus, great title. I think about pre-electricity days when most people lived on an agricultural calendar. There must have been vast amounts of free time in the winter. This is when people quilted or played music or hand crafted furniture, or maybe just drank the winter away.

Another interesting bit is this video or animated lecture by Daniel Pink about why people are not motivated primarily by profit. Shocking thought hmmm?

I guess I’m not the only one that wonders this: Same question with some inane comments, a blog discussion about the animated lecture by Daniel Pink.

I have been listening to Bill Frisell for quite a few years now. What the heck kind of music does he play? I really like most of what I have heard, especially his interpretations of folk and traditional music. I never thought to much about what to call his unique type of music, mostly because to me his playing is in its own category, but I know I like it. 

Bill Frisell - live at Jazz Alley, Seattle - 2...

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I heard him play last year with Eyvind Kang & Rudy Royston (a violist and drummer respectively) and it seemed true to what I expected and know of his work. I went to hear him play at the Village Vanguard in New York and boy howdy what a treat that was. I went with a sense of unease because I have never heard him play with horns and wasn’t sure about the whole bebop/jazz thing with Bill. The drummer and saxophone players seemed steeped in what I hear as modern bebop but Bill Frisell was well, Bill Frisell. 

I can only think of how Thelonious Monk approached the piano; bare, sparse, and angular. Bill’s playing captured that same bare and open playing. I really appreciated the space in his playing, it wasn’t blazing cascading mountains of fast notes but an intriguing angular almost melodic line with the notes placed just right. Something I strive for in my playing. 

Here is an interesting interview with Bill by Scott Nygaard: http://www.acguitar.com/issues/ag113/feature113.html 

Bill Frisell - Joe Lovano - Paul Motian

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A picture of the Japanese 13-stringed koto.

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I went to the first set at The Stone on Sunday the 22nd. The set was with Miya Masaoka (koto, electronics) Mary Halvorson (guitar) Satoshi Takeshi (percussion). It was my first time to The Stone. It is a small club on the corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street. It was a rainy soggy day and I was glad to get in out of the rain to hear some music. The koto is an instrument that seems to be all about nuance and subtlety and and at times that element was evident. Other times the ensemble created a wall of sound that brought the instrument into another dimension. Mary Halvorson is a great young guitarist. You should check her out if she comes through your town in any one of her many projects.  I enjoyed Satoshi Takeshi’s percussive additions. He played in an understated quiet way that supported the other musicians. His kit was unconventional in that he sat on the floor and had a series of cymbals and other percussion laid out before him.

 I’m looking forward to seeing more shows at The Stone. A cool little venue with interesting music every night.  I love unconventional combinations of instruments so this was a perfect fit for my tastes.

Related Articles 

Downtown New York

Image by sreevishnu via Flickr

I’m making an effort to get out and hear more LIVE music. Kind of hard to do for a cheap bastard.  Classical music, jazz, folk to outside the box weird ass music, I’ll listen to almost anything. I know, I’m a music slut. I’ll be going into New York tomorrow to hear some musicians playing koto with electronics, guitar, and percussion. 8:00 at the “The Stone”. I’ll update after the show.

August 1

We played at the Kasbah Friday August 1st. Dan Brownell a young flute player studying music at Ithaca College sat in with us. Here is a rough recording of a tune from our set with Dan.

Fly Me To The Moon

(If you are reading this on the Jazz Folks web site you need to click on the title of the post and listen to it at the blog site.)

We had a beautiful night to play outside. The moon would appear between the clouds and the birds sang along. Well, maybe the birds were just complaining because we were keeping them awake. The Kasbah stays open as long as the customers keep coming in. We left around 10:00 and they were still going strong.

We should be playing at the Kasbah most Wednesdays starting around 6:00 as well as our first Friday gig. The Wednesday times will be a little more casual, but still a nice night out with good people and good music.

I spent Sunday drifting through New York with Amy. Looked at some beautiful guitars in a little shop on Bleaker St. and had the best latte’ at a little Italian cafe (I forget the name of both places.) Ran in to a friend of mine, Nelson across town with his son. The weather was perfect, not to hot, not to cold. We intended to go and see the Waterfalls installation but got side tracked and never made it.