Sunday, April 24, 2016

2016, what a year.

I’ve noticed I haven’t written these blogs as much in the past several years.  I’m getting older, busier, it’s hard to keep up, and especially hard to keep ‘em interesting.  I could write that I’ve been practicing 5 hours a day as always, writing music, working with Destiny Records on developing the art and concept, and all that goes into releasing an album, or about how I’ve been teaching more and more trumpet lessons, which has been great, but it would hard to make that into an exciting entry since it’s really just a day-to-day grind.  I’ve been in New York City for 10 years now.

I guess I’ll just give you the bullet-points of the past several months: First we shot photos, came up with album art concept and developed them, all coordinated between myself, Agnes Fohn(photographer), Sashico Asano(graphic artist) and Cam Mizell(label coordinator).  The visual concept was to juxtapose the concept of feeling disconnected and “not-human” with an image that was “The most” human, thus making the person look at the image and question their initial impression.  To me, the most human quality is one-on-one connection, so I used an image of two people holding hands to represent that human connection.

The end of last year into this year were pretty rocky.  First off, my girlfriend and I broke up in January, and I had a number of friends have certain emotional(and spiritual) crises at the same time.  I’ve done a lot of reflection these past few months about what truly is important in life and where we derive our meaning and value from.  I think it’s important to think about these things, even though they can be very difficult.

We played our record release show on Feb 28th, and “I Walk Amongst The Humans” was out a few weeks later.  Feedback has all been really positive, I just wish more people could hear the record.(you can listen to it on youtube, in it’s entirety or here:  I’m really proud of this album.  When it finally came out I reflected on the fact that it was almost 2 years after I recorded it, and on the fact that since I was 16 years old all I wanted to do was create a record I felt was good.  It took me almost 15 years to do that.  I feel my first two records(“Connections” and “At the Edge”) are fine, but “The Rehumanization EP” and “I Walk Amongst The Humans” are my first records I’m really proud of.  I finally feel like I’m playing a style that’s uniquely my own.

After the album came out, I went back into the studio and have started recording my next album.  No title yet.  We did one day so far, and we’ll do a second in mid-May.  The music is for a larger group: Trumpet, Alto Sax, Bari Sax, Bass Trombone, Piano, Bass, Drums.  We got a lot of great stuff on the first day.  I’m hoping it’ll be out fall of ’17.

I think I’m making the best music I’ve ever made… it really takes a long time to create something you think is good.  No one ever tells you that when you’re starting out and basically hating everything you play.  As Miles Davis once said “It takes a long time to sound like yourself.”  Still, this is a tricky time to put out music, with the music industry basically tanked.  Everyone consumes music via streaming which generates zero income.  I wonder what will happen in the future, and what music’s role will be in our society.

Band photos:
Jon Crowley - Trumpet
John Beaty- Alto Sax
Alden Banta- Bari Sax
Owen Caprell- Bass Trombone
Brad Whiteley- Piano
Julian Smith- Bass
Dan Pugach- Drums