Sunday, May 23, 2010

JazzTimes review

Fortunate enough to be born in a suburb of Philadelphia and being able to be enriched by the “Philly jazz sound”, trumpeter Jon Crowley releases his debut album titled Connections.

While not copying the “Philly jazz sound,” Crowley and his Quintet with John Beaty on alto, Yayoi Ikawa on piano, Peter Schwebs on bass and Nick Anderson on drums do mold elements of it into their album and it works.

The title track “Connections” is a fine opener. This song allows everyone to show what they got. Crowley and Beaty, follow each other then Beaty takes off on his own flight. Up beat drumming by Anderson and piano by Ikawa hold the song together.

After an abrupt end, the quintet shifts into “Momentum.” A slower paced song, this allows Crowley to really speak. Great bass work by Peter Schwebs which leads into a one minute introduction for the song “Tabula Rasa” which is an up tempo, almost “New York” sounding song. As much as this is the Jon Crowley Quintet, altoist John Beaty gets to say his own thing throughout most of the songs.

Speaking of Philadelphia and New York, “City Mood” could capture the essence of big city life. The hustle and bustle of Nick Anderson and his drums really gives the song somewhat big cities feel. Partnered up with bassist Schwebs, “City Mood” could be the song that really connects people to the music and the Quintet.

The Jon Crowley Quintet has released an easy-going jazz album. One person does not dominate over the other. This is an example of how a quintet album could or should sound. The connections have been made.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Relaxing in Maryland: fishing, canoeing and hiking

Blog #47: Update

Its been a few weeks since my last entry. I've basically been getting reorganized. I've been trying to finish up some new music I've been writing so it'll be ready in time for a gig early next month. Playin' at Fat Cat(NYC) with a bunch of new people and guest Mark Shim(tenor). I also went to maryland to visit a friend this past weekend and go fishing. Now I'm back in NYC and feel like I've cleared my head and I'm refocused and ready to get back to work.

I'm also trying to set up some gigs for August. I've already schedule one in Philadelphia at Chris' Jazz Cafe and am hoping to schedule a few more around the east coast. When you stop and list all the Jazz clubs, they're really aren't that many. Since I don't have a booking agent or publicist, I just do it all myself. This can make things a bit tricky sometimes because of all the politics and payoffs of playing at certain places. But I try not to think too much about that stuff, and just focus on continuing to make the best music that I possibly can, and to keep improving.

I've been compiling a list of jazz labels too. I plan on recording an new album sometime next year and am thinking of trying to get it distributed on a label. Self-releasing my first album was cool(because I had total artistic control and all profits went directly to me), but its pretty hard to promote yourself and I'd like to see how the other side works. Right now I'm getting a list going of independent labels and mailing address, so I can see what kind of deal they each offer.

Lastly, I'd like to say I had a great conversation while I was in Maryland with a good friend of mine. My friend is good friends with the editor of one of the major jazz magazines. I was on a rant about how I was disappointed by what the Jazz Media chooses to cover (see my entry on 'Who Killed Jazz') . My friend made a great point, that those magazines are just desperately trying to stay afloat, and they need the advertising dollars they get from those pop acts just to keep putting out issues. A lot of those cover stories are because they are paid to interview someone to hype their new album. He explained that his friend(the editor) would rather cover more independent acts that he finds artistically interesting but he is stuck covering a lot of stuff he doesn't even like, just because it will keep the magazine in business for another month. So, I'm seeing it from their side a bit more now, and I kinda feel bad for some of the people behind the jazz media. With that said, I'm not reading anything until they cover something interesting to me.