Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Album Status

Photo from 'Connections' recording Session Jan '09

Blog # 56: New Album Status

So as I've mentioned a few times in previous blogs, I'm hoping to record my second album this spring. Right now, I'm refining my concept and am finishing up writing the music. The music on this album will be a departure from my last record, 'Connections', which was a 'modern straight-ahead' record. The new record will use elements of minimalism, indie rock rhythms, along with improvised solos, and will be much more of a 'concept' album. Some of the songs I've already finished and have been playing them live, figuring out exactly what I want to do with each of them and getting comfortable playing on the forms and chord structures. 'Shine', 'Progress', 'Patience', and 'Fixation' will all appear on the new album. (you can hear some of these tunes in their early stages on my bandcamp website: www.JonCrowleyMusic.bandcamp.com)

When I wrote 'Fixation', and wanted to have an interlude piece played before like an intro, which is how I came up with 'Patience'. This got me thinking, and I've decided the album will have several longer compositions with shorter interludes between them. It is my hope to use the 'interludes' to bring the whole album together into one large piece, that is the whole album. These interludes won't just be random intro's, but will hopefully link song to song to make a more seamless flow. I'm also thinking of using these interludes, to combine different instruments in the band. Maybe one Interlude will be solo piano, another just bass and trumpet.

I'd like to write 3 more tunes (I have one already half-finished) then work on the 'connecting' material. Then ideally I'd like get the band to play a few live shows, to get it all working smoothly.

I've also started to figure out who I want to use on the next record. Some people I want to use I've only played with a little, but think there is potential with, others I've done a lot of playing and gigging with. I know a few of the people I hope to get have never played with each other, so I'm also trying to set up some sessions soon to make sure the chemistry is good. Some of these guys are pretty big names and pretty busy; so we'll see what happens. (sorry to be so vague and mysterious here, but I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by saying too much now).

Lastly, I'd like to say that I've been thinking a lot about what I want to say with this album and what I want to express. I keep coming back the idea and progression of: 'Sadness, Suffering, Hope, Triumph', which has become the working title for the album and that is what I'm trying to express with this music.

I'm starting to get excited about this project as it comes together. The next step is to finish the music and start looking for funding.

Stay tuned......

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jazz Musician Bio's

Blog #55: Jazz Musician Bio's

A friend and I have an ongoing joke about Jazz Musician Bio's, and the new trend for people to boast and exaggerate about their accomplishments, or mention irrelevant information to gain credibility. Several venues will even list the musician's bio on their website, as a way to hype the gig, or validate the performer. My friend found one recently that even used the phrase. "Near Genius IQ" to describe the musician in question. I read another bio that claimed "______ is the most promising new tenor saxophone player of her generation". (wow, pretty lofty statement until you realize, she wrote it in her own bio). I know another musician, (who happens to be a fantastic player), who has 'Degree in Physics and Mathematics' from an Ivy League School in his bio. This has nothing to do with music, other than to imply: 'He is probably a genius, so if you don't like his music, you're probably not smart enough to get it.' I understand the point of a Bio is to let people know a little bit about yourself and what makes you special but some of these exaggerations are just down right crazy to me(and perhaps crazier is that the public/industry people/venues believe this hype). To me, the Truth is in the music, the rest is Bullshit.

So to stay competitive in the JazzWorld, I've created a new bio. Maybe it will lead me to fame, fortune and commercial success too:

Genius, Jon Crowley is one of the most talented people who has ever walked the earth. While in elementary school, Jon realized he could cure aids and cancer if he focused his energies toward pursuing a career in medicine. Instead, Jon thought his amazing god given gifts would be better put to use by changing every person's life for the better who listened to his music. Have you ever heard of Mozart, Beethoven, John Coltrane or Miles Davis? Jon is better than all of them combined. Simply put, Jon is the Best musician who has ever been and ever will be.

I think I should probably make it a little longer.

**I want to say, the musician who mentions his degree in physics and mathematics, I understand he's just sharing information about himself, that will help people know him better. And why shouldn't he share it? I am only pointing out the fallacy of how other people may use this information to validate his music. coincidentally, I actually do like his music :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Red Light Growler

Blog #54: Red Light Growler

More FREE music!

Check out my new Post-Rock band: Red Light Growler

We're playing our first show next friday(Sept 17th) at The Local 269, in the Lower East Side(NYC).


These are our first recordings from a rehearsal, reading through some tunes of mine. I'm very exciting about this new project and hopefully we'll be playing some different venues and will be coming to a town near you soon!

Listen or Download here:



Saturday, September 4, 2010

Live at Chris' Jazz Cafe 8/26/10

Blog # 53: Live at Chris' Jazz Cafe 8/26/10

A week or so ago I took a band down to Philly to play at Chris' Jazz Cafe. None of us had played together in a few months because of summer tours, being out of town, work, vacations etc. We also didn't have a chance to rehearse before the gig, so I thought it might be a good chance to play some standards for a change and some easier(lead sheet-style) tunes of mine.

The gig (and the drive) were a blast, everyone played well and the audience was awesome. It was actually our biggest crowd yet at Chris' and a few friends that came out said it was their favorite show we've done. A few days before the gig I rediscovered my old Couesnon flugelhorn in my closet while I was cleaning my apartment. I hadn't really been playing flugelhorn for about a year now and I had totally forgotten about this magic instrument. It was like seeing an old friend; I played it on 'In the wee small hours of the morning', 'Wind Chimes' and 'Theresa'(written for my mother). I love playing ballads and I plan on playing it a lot in the future.

I was able hide my recorder under the piano, and got most of the show(a couple of tracks had some distortion and weren't usable). Just finished cutting it into tracks and uploaded it on my bandcamp website for FREE download (or you can listen from the site too). This recording is rare opportunity to hear my band play standards, we usually play all originals of mine.

Lastly, I wanna say Julian Pollack played an unbelievably gorgeous piano intro on 'In the Wee Small hours of the Morning'. This kid is so talented, keep an eye and ear out for him.



Jon Crowley- Trumpet, Flugelhorn

Julian Pollack- Piano

Peter Schwebs- Bass

Nick Anderson- Drums

('Wind Chimes', 'Theresa', 'Don't Vibe Me', and 'Mind Travel' are by Jon Crowley)

I hope to put up a lot more bootlegs in the future, include some of my new rock band 'Red Light Growler'.