Monday, January 12, 2015

Life update

Once again it's been kind of a while since my last blog post.  Thought I'd give a little update on what I've been up to.  First off, I released 'The Rehumanization EP' back in May, played a CD release show and have done my best to try to get the record into the hands of any press people and reviewers I could.  I actually have a friend in book publishing who was able to get me the email addresses of 30 Jazz press people.  So I emailed them all personally(and politely), including a link to the record streaming, and a free download code.  Using my band website I can track how many copies were actually downloaded(and how many plays/listens there'd been).  Sadly from the Jazz press, both came to ZERO.  That was a bit frustrating and disheartening.  The Jazz biz is pretty tough, and unless you've got someone on the inside helping push your record it's damn near impossible to get any Jazz biz people to even LISTEN to it.  It's funny, because I've gone to shows of the people they hype and there's barely anyone there and the music is received in a kind of luke-warm fashion.  While, I played a show this summer at Muhlenberg College and sold 30 records(!).  That was a really fun and incredible show, it felt great to connect with people musically and talk with folks afterwards, who told me how much our music had touched them.

Once we'd played the CD release show back in May, I started writing new music and started thinking about ways to expand and change my band style and format.  It had been about 2 years playing that music with essentially the same people(we had about 15 songs in the book), and after recording it I always feel relieved and ready to move onto the next thing.  The new group I started writing for in June added Baritone Sax and Bass Trombone to the existing Trumpet, Alto Sax, Piano/keyboard, Bass and Drums.  The idea was to add lower counter parts to the existing Trumpet and Alto sax, essentially having a low brass and low reed respectively.  I also wanted to kind of take things in an even more rock way, and use the horns as a 'brass band' type thing but playing alternative rock.  I also was influenced by the Bon Iver 2nd record 'Bon Iver', and it's use of Bass Sax and Trombone.  Over the last couple months I've written 10 songs, rehearsed and the new arrangement of the band played back in November for the first time.  Here are some videos  from our last rehearsal just last week. (I got a camera recently, so I'm hoping to put out videos consistently now)

Other than that, I've been in talks with a great Jazz label and am close to finalizing and signing a contract with them to release my next record.  I'm really exciting about this, they've been releasing great music for a while now and I'm happy to be on board with these awesome guys.  I actually recorded 2 albums at the same time over the past year and a half.  'The Rehumanization EP' is the first from those recordings, and 'I walk Amongst the Humans' is a full length record.  They're shooting to release it this August('15).  MORE INFO TO COME!!

Lastly, I've been doing more teaching than I've ever done before over the past few months.  Teaching trumpet has really been something I've completely fallen in love with over the past several years.  I've had the pleasure of working with some great people who are hard working and committed to improve, and I've guided them through the same studies I learned from my time with Laurie Frink.  It's amazing watching it work for them just like it worked for me.  I've also modified the routine person to person based on their unique and individual strengths and weakness.(I learned a lot about the variations Laurie came up with through seeing different students' routines that she taught.)  I've learned so much about this method and my students are the proof.  It's so deeply satisfying to see them improve by leaps and bounds week to week, and analyzing and fixing chop problems feels so natural to me and my personality.  I still think about Laurie daily, and it feels like I'm walking in her footsteps and keeping a little of what she(and Carmine Caruso) created alive.  I have noticed that I've been teaching for a while that some of my students can play most anything on the horn now, so I need to keep finding new ones to help.  Hopefully it all snowballs, since this is really what I want to do moving forward.