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Quilt detail - Sue Stevens

Detail of a quilt made by Sue Stevens

My cousin Megan reminded me that my aunt made me a dulcimer for Christmas one year. She was a huge influence on where my music has taken me. She encouraged my mother to give or she gave me a banjo and my first mandolin, as well as making the aforementioned dulcimer. The dulcimer was wicked out of tune all the time and couldn’t be put right but it was an awesome gift anyway. Sally was a big supporter of bluegrass, of which I do not play, but the instrumentation has sunk in and I love those acoustic american folk instruments. The mandolin has stuck with me. My mom and aunt where both quilters and crafty people of all types. I think that is where I get my creative side. Thanks mom. Thanks Aunt Sally. I dedicate “Sew What” to you two.

Here is “Sew What”, one of the songs from Simple Songs. I’m not sure the mandolin part is going to make the final cut but check out the rhythm section. It is a 1955 Singer Featherweight sewing machine. Rock On!

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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

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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.

Image via Wikipedia

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.

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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.

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