Hi all – hope you’re keeping cool on this increasingly warm planet, and solvent amidst default, both monetary and ethical alike! It’s been a good while since I’ve done a newsletter and so many things have happened since the last one. Herein a few of the most notable:
UNSUNG HEROES – 5 STAR REVIEW IN DOWNBEAT!
My Unsung Heroes recording project continues to gain plaudits from the critics. One of the most notable of these appeared in the July 2011 issue of Downbeat, arguably still the most prestigious jazz publication extant.Reviewer Eric Fine gave Unsung Heroes the honor of its highest possible rating, the coveted 5 stars. This is my first 5 star rating, and in my experience very rare for a “straight ahead” jazz CD in this day and age. Thanks to Eric and Downbeat for this recognition of UH’s quality!
I’m still chipping away at the mountain of additional Unsung Heroes content to come, but some significant progress has been made! I’m happy to announce that all the Unsung Heroes Vol. 1 play alongs are ready for download through the website and Bandcamp page. They’re available for all the Unsung Heroes instrumentation as well as being suitable for other axes such as trombone and guitar. Play along with the original performance as recorded, or stretch out for more choruses with alternate versions cutting out the other horn solos! Charts for your instrument are included. You can download UH playalongs here: http://brianlynch.bandcamp.com/
I’m happy to report success in my trial run on the Unsung Heroes audio stem project, and I will be getting these multi track audio file versions up for download as soon as possible! We are going to have some fun with these. Cryptic? – perhaps, but stay tuned….
More recognition from Downbeat, this time of a more personal nature, came in the August issue of the magazine with the release of the 2011 International Critics Poll. The collective of journalists and critics gave me my highest ever placing of #3 in the Trumpet category! Thanks to all the writers for their recognition of my continuing efforts.
A short anecdote: When I first was with the Horace Silver Quintet in 1983,the great Eddie Harris came by the Hollywood club where we were playing atwo week engagement (sure would like to have one of those now!). Eddie, whoI had known and idolized since I was a teenager, complimented me and theband, but then asked me how old I was. When I replied “26”, he thought for amoment, and then said: “You’ll be alright. The hardest part is when you’re between 25 and 60. That’s when you’re too old to be a prodigy and too young to be a living legend.” Those words were a bit dismaying at 26, but they feel a bit more comforting at (almost) 55…
Brian Appointed Professor Of Jazz Trumpet at University Of Miami
I’m proud and honored to announce this next phase of my educational side with my joining the faculty of the Frost School Of Music at the University Of Miami starting this fall. Under the dynamic direction of Dean Shelly Berg (a wonderful jazz pianist in his own right) and Jazz Studies Director Whit Sidener, the Frost School boasts one of the premier university jazz programs in the country. I am looking forward to taking the teaching concepts I’ve developed during my tenures at New York University, the Prinz Claus Conservatory, and in my many years of private instruction to Miami and expanding my knoweldge together with my students and fellow faculty. While maintaining our New York residence and my artistic presence there, my wife and I will be also enjoying what Miami has to offer (such as the weather right around January and February).
I salute you if you’ve scrolled this far down the page! All for now -there’s some news I have about some special upcoming performances that I’ll let you know about in a separate message.
After the ball drops, the year’s odometer turns over and resets. Musically, it was a busy and sometimes challenging year. Herein is a review of various performing, recording, and educational highlights throughout 2010:
Looking back at the calendar, I wonder how I was able to pull some of those jaunts off – March, for instance, was insane! I feel a sense of accomplishment that I was able to keep it together and finish the year in one piece. Here’s a list of nine gigs that I especially enjoyed doing, some with my own groups and others with my musical extended family:
Brian Lynch Unsung Heroes Group (Brian Lynch, Donald Harrison, Alex Hoffman, Rob Schneiderman, David Wong, Pete Van Nostrand) at Jazz Jakarta March 5-6
We had an rewarding time in Jakarta with Unsung Heroes, playing this truly world class (one of the biggest!) jazz festival. Special guest Donald Harrison tore it up and made me feel good to be alive on stage with him, as always. The group played great and the experience solidified the chemistry of the band.
Eddie Palmieri/Brian Lynch Jazz Quartet (Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch, Boris Kozlov, Dafnis Prieto) NYC Iridium March 12-14
Reconvening this amazing gang of four after a two year hiatus was a revelation. With no opportunity to rehearse beforehand, we wondered if there would be any rough edges or even train wrecks. We weren’t surprised, however, when the music came out better and stronger than ever. This band will be a increasing priority for Eddie and myself in 2011, with engagements in DC (Blues Alley, Jan. 20-23 and Boston (Scullers, Apr. 1-2) already on the books. and a recording slated. Here’s the Quartet at Iridium playing Eddie’s classic Latin-jazz composition “Palmas”:
Bye-Ya The Latin Jazz Quintet (Brian Lynch, Mick Paauwe, Jens Kerkhoff, Randal Corsen, Enrique Firpi) Bimhuis Amsterdam March 24
My association with this excellent Dutch group (I’m on their latest CD, “Further Arrivals” on Challenge Records) deepened with the mini tour we did in the Netherlands to celebrate their new recording. Bye-ya has to me a unique and sensitive group sound that I really enjoyed playing with, and on the Bimhuis concert I really felt a space opening up for myself in the music that I’d like to pursue with them further.
Eddie Palmieri Afro Caribbean Jazz Sextet (Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch, Louis Fouché, Luques Curtis, Jose Clausell, Little Johnny Rivero) Copenhagen Jazz Festival July 5
Like I’ve said many times before, it’s always good times and great music when I’m out on the road with the Big Guy and the rest of the my musical family in the Palmieri organization. Our July European tour had many highlights; this gig in Copenhagen, a city I was to get to know much better later in the summer, was one of them.
Brian Lynch Quartet (Brian Lynch, Henrik Gunde, Jesper Bodilsen, Niclas Bardeleben) at Cafe Montmartre Copenhagen August 19-22
I returned to this sophisticated and gracious city to play at the historic Café Montmartre, newly reopened in its original location. Some wonderful Danish players were with me on this engagement and we were able to really dig in over the week. I had a ball!
Brian Lynch NYU Afro-Caribbean Jazz Ensemble Latvian Tour August 24-28
I went straight from Copenhagen to Riga, Latvia to meet my NYU student ensemble for a tour sponsored by the State Department, NYU, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. It was a great experience for the students, and some good music was put down too!
Eddie Palmieri Afro Caribbean Jazz Sextet (Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch, Louis Fouché, Luques Curtis, Jose Clausell, Little Johnny Rivero) Alverno College Milwaukee November 6
It was great to finally play in my home town of Milwaukee with Eddie after all these years. A memorable performance!
Phil Woods Quintet (Phil Woods, Brian Lynch, Bill Mays, Steve Gilmore, Bill Goodwin) at NYC Birdland November 16-20
It’s always a blessing to play alongside this master musician and this great band. We had two NYC engagements in 2010; I think the Birdland date was especially successful.
Brian Lynch NYU Ensemble (Brian Lynch, Ray Mason, Jinhee Lee, Michael Eckroth, Ku Oh, Sangmin Lee) /Unsung Heroes (Brian Lynch, Vincent Herring, Alex Hoffman, Rick Germanson, Luques Curtis, Pete Van Nostrand) Double Bill Zinc Bar NYC December 8
The fall semester at NYU brought another new student ensemble together, and a very good one indeed. Our end of semester gig at NYC’s Zinc Bar (now with a real piano!) was burning and set my chops up well for the Unsung Heroes band’s sets right after. I really enjoyed this night!
Honorable Mentions: University Of Houston February 20; Bill Lee Big Band Zinc Bar Feb. 23; CTI All Stars Burghausen Germany March 10; Eddie Palmieri Houston April 18; Charles McPherson Quintet Featuring Brian Lynch Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music Milwaukee May 6; Brian Lynch Spheres Of Influence Zinc Bar June 3; Maraca Jazz All Stars North Sea Festival July 11; Eddie Palmieri NJ Sep. 24; Killer Ray Appleton Quartet NYC Creole October 14; Eastern Washington University Jazz Dialogue Festival November 13; Brian Lynch Quartet Dazzle Denver Dec. 17
My recording activities of course were dominated by the Unsung Heroesproject. A considerable learning curve was encountered in mixing my own music for the first time, but with the help of Dave Darlington and later Tyler McDiarmid I was able to get a good result after much trial and error. Unsung Heroes is out (digitally), as most of you who are bothering to read this far know already. The CD of the Vol. 1 is at the manufacturer and should be trickling out in February, and play alongs should be ready very soon!
Other recording activities as a leader in 2010 featured a Criss Cross date with Yosvany Terry, Manuel Valera, Luques Curtis, Justin Brown, and Pedro Martinez; entitled ConClave Vol. 2, this followup to my well received 2005 release ConClaveon the same label should be out by the early spring. My 2009 release Bolero Nights For Billie Holiday(Venus) continued to show legs on jazz radio and critics lists in its stealthy (this Japanese import is somewhat hard to locate) way.
Every year I realize more and more how important teaching is to my continued development as an artist, and how satisfying it is to share with others what I’ve gleaned from my life’s musical journey so far.
My NYU teaching practice, now in its sixth year, continues to enrich my musical consciousness through the challenge of working with and mentoring the talented young musicians who cross my path there. As noted above, my Artist Ensemble embarked on a well received tour to Latvia in August, and my trumpet students have been a source of inspiration to me as I strive to do them justice as an instructor and resource for their learning.
My activity as a mentor for two different groups of young jazz players started up in 2010 and will be a focus in the new year. The Ensamble Tonica, based in Guadalajara, Mexico and composed of young Mexican jazz musicians, just aced their first international performances as a group at the Panama Jazz Festival under my direction, and will be making a number of other jazz festival appearances in Latin America during the next year. I’ve been coaching the group since last summer, in person and by distance learning, and will continue to work with them in this fashion throughout the year. My alma mater The Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music has named me their Jazz Institute’s Artist In Residence for 2010-11, and I’ll be going up to Milwaukee in February for the second of three residencies coaching the ensembles of the Jazz Institute, oriented towards developing high school age players.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
2010 was the year where I really felt myself moving into a new phase life wise. I have more zest and drive to extend my reach in this music than ever. But I’m also perceiving that I’m not a young “cat” any more. I’m moving into a different stage of my life and career now, where time must be used wisely and productively – so much I still want to do! My New Years resolution is to privilege musical activities that give me the most satisfaction, whether they are practicing, performing, composing, or teaching. I also feel that I need to do some work on reevaluating musical values and goals, becoming wider and more open to different attitudes and idioms of the music, while still staying true to my history and core values. It’s inescapable to me now that the music has changed from the classic forms I grew up emulating and mastering. I feel it’s very important that the values of these forms remain strong in the music, but my feeling is that those of us coming from this older way of feeling need to be open to, and try to comprehend better, the contemporary sensibility. Only then can we effectively project our values and keep them a part of the music of today and tomorrow, and not just in a museum piece sort of way.
Hope the New Year is already a productive and satisfying one for you!
The Unsung Heroes Project , Volumes 1, 2 and 3, is finally live and online in its finished form! Thank you, everyone, for hanging in there patiently while I’ve been putting the final touches on the digital art and such.
Next up is completing the design for the physical CD of Vol.1. I hope to have that ready in about a week to 10 days. Knowing how the process goes with manufacturing, I would say about a month from the time I turn in the materials will be when I have CDs in my hands. So, maybe around Dec. 1st? – I’ll have it ready in time for Christmas.
Play along track “prints” are being generated here at Hollistic Studios whenever I have spare hours – it’s a fairly simple process but time consuming since there’s 5 to 10 possible variations of “minus one” for each performance. It’s coming along – the trick is to figure out a way to master all this stuff cleanly, efficiently, and without undue expense. The multi track stem project will be addressed once I’ve achieved more traction on the play alongs.
Video? My man Nick Myers has been working away on the footage and achieving great results with the raw material synced up to the tracks. He’s a little less that halfway there; we’ve got seven videos up now for streaming on Vimeo. When all the tracks have been mated to image, then we’ll get to hooking up the DVD. The documentary is in process but a little farther back in the queue.
The long summer is almost over, and as I swing into September, many things are happening. The most important pertain to my Unsung Heroes recording project:
1) LESS THAN 30 DAYS LEFT ON MY KICKSTARTER FUNDRAISING PROJECT! I’ve had great support from y’all so far for my effort to raise funds to promote and distribute Unsung Heroes. But time is running out, and I’m still short of the goal. If you’ve been waiting to help, now is the time – especially since I’ve added new offers oriented towards the non-musician jazz fan. See what’s new and contribute at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1927361678/get-my-unsung-heroes-project-out-to-the-people
2) ADVANCE OF UNSUNG HEROES VOL.1 NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD! Yes, at long last! Check it out at http://brianlynch.bandcamp.com/ The only difference between this advance release and the official release of the downloadable version is that the cover image and booklet will be slightly different on the official release (coming by the end of the month). If you get the advance version, I will make sure you get the updated material as they come on line.
I’d also like to invite you to check out the numerous blog posts I’ve written about my summer activities on this site…
Thanks, and hope to see you on my Kickstarter backers list!
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