My new music enterprise Hollistic MusicWorks, covering various aspects of my musical output including recording, sheet music and educational products/activities, is slowly but surely coming on line. HMW’s first recording project, “Unsung Heroes” (mentioned previously in my newsletters) is in the final stages of preparation for release. We’ll be doing a soft rollout over the next couple of months, and we’re aiming to have it together for an “official” launch by mid to late summer.
Speaking of “Unsung Heroes”, we’re having a “pre-release” party featuring the band on the recording at NYC’s Smalls coming right up this next Thursday, May 21st. I’ll be also playing “Unsung Heroes” music with my Midwest cats at hometown (Milwaukee) hang The Jazz Estate on Saturday, May 30th. For more details, check my itinerary.
IN THE MEDIA
My visage and pithy comments were featured in the cover story for the current (June 2009) issue of Chamber Music America magazine, on music marketing in the digital age. I’ve been associated with CMA as the leader of a member ensemble (Spheres Of Influence) since 2001, and received a “New Works – Creation and Presentation” grant from CMA in partnership with the Doris Duke Foundation in 2003 to fund the composition and premiere of “The Spheres Of Influence Suite”. Incidentally,Hollistic MusicWorks will be reissuing the CD of this music, originally recorded in 2004 with such great musicians as Miguel Zenon, Conrad Herwig, and Dafnis Prieto, in a remixed version later this summer.
I’ve had the pleasure of recording numerous CDs for the Dutch label Criss Cross over the years, including my first two CDs as a leader back in the 1980s. eMusic.com, the digital downloading subscription service (highly recommended – I’ve been a member since 1999) has recently started to distribute the Criss Cross catalog – a great opportunity to sample some of the best jazz playing in the last 25 years on record. EMusic’s online survey of the best of Criss Cross singles out my most recent Criss Cross CD, “ConClave”, for special recognition in “Criss Cross – The eMusic Dozen”. You can read the review at: http://www.emusic.com/lists/showlist.html?lid=37177064
The Freddie Hubbard Memorial Concert at St. John’s the Divine Cathedral in New York City this past May 4th was a beautiful evening. So many great musicians honored Hub with their playing; for me a special highlight was the appearance of one of today’s true individualists on the trumpet, Wallace Roney. I was also honored to take a modest part in the tribute, performing Freddie’s signature “Byrdlike” in the company of Randy Brecker, Joe Lovano, Todd Herbert, Aaron Goldberg, Santi DiBriano and the great Louis Hayes. I salute fellow trumpeter and Freddie’s manager David Weiss and the Jazz Foundation of America, along with Freddie’s widow Brigitte and son Duane, for making this event possible.
I think about Freddie every day. You should too. He personifies jazz to me in the form of his genius.
The beginning of this month as well as April was consumed with teaching activities. My NYU ensembles and big band played a number of gigs around town and both ensembles logged some time in the studio. I had fun taking my Tuesday ensemble out to Knoop Studio in NJ for a real record date. Everyone chipped in and we made it happen! Two large ensemble pieces and five smaller group tunes were recorded. The very fine young musicians in this group played some challenging material extremely well – well enough to share once it’s mixed, perhaps!
Also spreading the jazz word out in Chicago, a favorite place of mine, at the Merit School of Music. Merit is a fantastic school devoted to taking up the slack in music education for school age children in Chicago. I’ve given workshops for Merit’s Latin Jazz Band during a NYC field trip in the past, and last month’s workshop and concert with that same group, so ably directed by Michael McLaughlin, was a great continuation of what I hope will be an ongoing relationship with Merit.