For a while I’ve dreamed of putting together shows where people from different musical worlds come together and create an experience that can never be replicated. I finally got my act and courage together and curated such an event… The first one is in less than a week away. On Wednesday, May 29 at 7 p.m. at Gold Diggers in Los Angeles we’ll be ready to rock. Click here for tickets.
Here are the details…
Maddie Jay – Through a former student of mine, Danae Greenfield, I met Maddie a few years ago at Berklee College of Music. She is an amazing bass player, writer and producer. She’s one of the most inspiring young artists in LA.
Louis Cole, Sam Wilkes & Sam Gendel Trio – These guys don’t need any introduction. Louis has become one of the most influential jazz/funk musicians around. His videos reach millions of viewers and have sent a ripple through the new music scene across the globe. Sam Wilkes is one of the more funky and in-demand bass players around. But he is also a creative force who puts out great records. Sam Gendel is a multi-instrumentalist who shreds on sax and guitar. He has played with a wide range of artists including Knower, Moses Sumney, Keifer and countless others. His solo shows are inspiring in their own right. You can see Louis, Sam and Sam playing in this Knower video…
Michael Stegner, KJ Sawka & Tim Lefebvre Trio – I’ve dreamed for years of getting KJ Sawka and Tim Lefebvre together musically. KJ Sawka and I go back to playing crazy improv gigs in Seattle before he blew up and began touring arenas with various bands. He also is all over Ableton Live with his masterful sampling packs. Tim is one of the most sought after bass players in the world. He is in New York this week playing on the Colbert Show. He played bass on the last Bowie record, Blackstar. He has toured for years with Tedeschi Trucks Band and Donny McCaslin. Here is Tim playing on NPR’s Tiny Desk…
Here is the video that KJ Sawka posted years ago that went viral and launched his star…
If you are getting this via email and can’t see the videos, click here.
It’s always a little intimidating to sing/release songs that are raw and emotional. But it’s time for me to start sharing. Over the past few years I’ve been writing and recording a series of songs that are essentially letters set to music. They are written from one person to another and they loosely tell a story.
I’ve been so fortunate to have some of my favorite musicians contribute to this project. On this first set I have Rachel Eckroth singing the lead of the opening song, “A Believer”. Rachel is a remarkable keyboard player who also sings at the highest level (as you’ll hear on the recording).
Just wanted to give a quick heads up that I’m playing tonight… Monday, 2/25 at the amazing Hotel Cafe as part of a long-running songwriter night. The room is legendary and it’s an honor to play there. I go on at 9:30 for a short set on the second stage – the night is called Monday Monday. I’ll be singing and playing some new stuff.
I’m excited to share a new record that I’ve really enjoyed working on. The title pretty much sums it up… It’s a record about the plight of sleeping in the 21st century. So if you’re reading this in a different century, you probably won’t get it.
You can listen, purchase and share it with the player here…
Keyboard and vocal wizard, Rachel Eckroth, came over with her Moog synth to make fun sounds. We organized the blips and added some things which turned into this track. Rachel has toured the world with Chris Botti and is currently touring with and opening for Rufus Wainwright. She is a powerhouse keyboard player and vocalist who was an honor to collaborate with. Check out her latest album, it’s amazing.
You can listen to and buy the song through the Bandcamp Player here…
One week ago I had the honor of speaking at the MTAC Convention in Anaheim, CA. MTAC is an association of private music teachers throughout California. This convention featured guests speakers from around the world as well as some inspiring student and professional performances.
This was my first time speaking at a state-level event in California and it was an inspiring experience.
On Sunday I led a panel for students, teachers and parents on “Careers in Music”. The panel featured Loren Battley (Michael Bublé & Pomplamoose), Natalie Hernandez (Quincy Jones Production and Interscope Records), Jim Domine (San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra), E.L. Lancaster (Alfred Music and Cal State Northridge) and Joanna Ezrin (Producer, Session Musician and Teacher).
Monday I presented an hour presentation on building excitement in your teaching studio. I was so blown away with the turnout, the people interacting from the hallway and by so many folks staying an extra 30 minutes for an extended Q&A. Thank you to those who were in attendance.
In other news, I’ll be starting the blog up again with some fresh posts soon (as soon as jury duty is over).
Also, I’ve been teaching/consulting folks online over the past year. I really like this format for teaching. Everyone is really improving a lot. I have one opening for the summer. If you are interested in working together, let me know and we can discuss options.
On Monday, June 18, I’ll be playing and singing a set of original songs at one of my favorite venues in Los Angeles – The Resident. And for those of you who don’t like the late shows, we’ll be starting at 8:30. By “we” I mean this amazing group of musicians I’m very excited to perform with. Here is who is playing with me on Monday…
Francesca Simone (guitar) – has toured extensively with Beyoncé and Kehlani
Maddie Jay (bass) – has her own amazing project called Maddie Jay & the pH Collective
Bianca Richardson (drums) – Moonchild, Genevieve Artadi and many more
Loren Battley (backing vocals) – Michael Bublé & Pomplamoose
The other bands on the bill are Brent Amaker & the Rodeo and We Are The West. Brent Amaker & the Rodeo are from Seattle and have built a nice following up there. We Are The West is one of the most impressive and musical groups I’ve seen since being in Los Angeles.
Come say ‘hi’ if you come to the show and it would be appreciated if you spread the word among your Los Angeles friends.
One of the most important aspects of performing is communication. Even though the quality of our performance will mostly depend on how prepared we are musically, communication can help make the performance less stressful while allowing us to put most of our energy into the main thing – the music.
Practicing and performing should not be that different from each other when it comes to our musical approach. I believe that standards for energy, emotion, execution and creativity shouldn’t change that much between our practice room repetitions and the stage. If someone were to eavesdrop on a practice sessions, they should feel like they’re hearing us perform. However, they shouldn’t hear us sounding perfect or even good.