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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What I'm listening to today... MYSELF! Ha!

This weekend Quintette 7 will be performing at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference at West Point... and I thought since I have been observing a non-intentional blog silence, I would post the videos Quintette 7 has put together in honor of our performance this weekend. If you play the saxophone, own a saxophone, played a saxophone in school but ended up being "no good" and live withing 100 miles of West Point, you should come to this event.

(I often have people tell me that they once played the clarinet and turned out to be "no good." This is reminding me of the interview I did with David Yandl where he speaks on this... he describes how people become self-aware at a certain age and often quit playing an instrument.))

WEST POINT BAND CONCERTS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Check out www.westpointband.com for more information. Quintette 7 will perform March 19th at 6:30 in Eisenhower Hall.

If you are interested in the music of Raymond Scott, and would like to perform the pieces we recorded on our CD, let me know and I will put you in contact with the guy that transcribed them. The Raymond Scott Archives have been really great to work with, and they are very supportive of people playing Raymond Scott's music.

For those of you who may not know, Quintette 7 came to be after I programmed a recital of Raymond Scott's music in 2008 as part of the West Point Band's chamber music series. One thing lead to another, and the band asked us to record a full length CD of Scott's music (The West Point Band's Quintette 7 Performs the Music of Raymond Scott - say that 10 times fast!). We did this in January 2010 and the recording conditions were brutal. The room was freezing, and we were rehearsing with the West Point concert band half of the day and recording this really challenging music the other half of the day. We pulled it off, and the CD was released in October 2010. If you would like a copy, you can write in to the West Point Band and request one, or you can hear some of the tracks on the band's website in the listening room.

 We got the idea to make videos when we had our CD release concert in October. Introducing Quintette 7 was put together by our trumpeter, Denver Dill from still photos, video, and other slide- show-type elements with our recording of Quintette Goes to a Dance.



Shortly after putting this video out, we made a video of live footage from our holiday performance. Get Up on the Housetop was arranged by our saxophonist, Brian Broelmann, and features the dancing skills of Josh Phillips.



After the band's holiday break, we came back to a video our percussionist put together. Eric Garcia's "paper dolls" are put to animation with our recording of Manhattan Minuet as the soundtrack. Very cute!



And last, but not least... Quintette 7 is Late for a Parade. This video depicts the "real life"of a West Point Band member trying to get ready for a military review at West Point. The tunes you hear during this video are Egyptian Barn Dance, Powerhouse, Boy Scout in Switzerland (not on the CD, it is a live recording), and Snakewoman. Many people contributed to making this video, but Willie Callohan, our "video specialist" at the West Point Band did the editing work. His full time job at the band is drummer with the Hellcats (the band's drum and bugle group). 



I hope you enjoy the videos if you haven't seen them already! Have a great week, and hopefully I'll see some of you this weekend!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

What I'm listening to today, clarinetist and composer Louis Sclavis

In 2002, Sclavis recorded "Napoli's Walls" which was released on ECM. He has six other recordings with ECM, and seven with Label Bleu He is often categorized as an avant-garde or free jazz clarinetist, but is also known for his expressiveness. He has written music for film, and "Napoli's Walls" is his attempt to provide a soundtrack to the street paintings of Ernest Pignon-Ernest.

In the liner notes, Christian Rentsch writes that Pignon-Ernest “has been leaving behind traces of himself since the 1960s - in Avignon and Grenoble, in Charleville, Anvers and Lyons, mostly in France, but also in Italy and elsewhere. Between 1987 and 1995 he worked in Naples, where he excavated the city's overlapping and interwoven stony layers of Orient and Occident, of myths and religions, with their secret rituals of life and death, their conflicting images of women and especially of destruction, suffering, perdition.”

The music and the perspectives are kaleidoscopic. Pignon’s works are site-specific: in Naples he affixed dozens of drawings and paintings at strategic points throughout the city. His strangely beautiful pieces, inspired by his experiences of the town and its history (particularly its musical history, which embraces all options from Gesualdo to opera to popular Neapolitan songs and street cries) provide Sclavis with new musical cues and clues. As Sclavis says: “The work of Ernest Pignon-Ernest is like the script of an opera. In it one can find emotion, drama, all the dynamics necessary for music. I let myself be swayed by his images…We play here through a present and a past that are closely layered upon each other, in trails of noises, words, imperatives.”



 This video comes from a live performance of "Napoli's Walls" at Jazz a Vienne, France. Enjoy!