My recital was a big hit on Monday night. I must say that I am relieved that it is finally over and that I can go about my remaining days at the University of Central Oklahoma with less stress. I do look forward to hearing the recording in a few weeks. I am having it mixed and mastered at the Jazz Lab by recording engineer and general musical mastermind, Aaron Tomasko. I'm excited to hear what he does with it and how great it all came out. It sure sounded great that night!
In December I get to walk across the stage and graduate with my Bachelor's of Music. Immediately following that, and perhaps sooner, I am going to begin studying classical guitar with local guitarist extraordinaire Matthew Denman. Classical guitar has always been a topic of interest to me, and at the urging of maestro guitarist, Paul Bollenback, I decided to find a teacher. I look forward to having time to practice on my own, transcribe solos, memorize jazz standards, work on technique and classical repertoire, and just get to live life without college for awhile.
One big misconception about the collegiate music atmosphere is that you actually improve a lot while in college. It's not to say that you do not improve by attending these programs, but your improvement comes from the bandstand and not in the classroom. Education happens in the classroom, but experience happens outside in the real world. I look forward to experiencing the real world a great deal more than I have as of late. I've gigged with a lot of great musicians lately, and can tell the difference in my playing from our interactions - the difference being more drastic than the change over my collegiate career. I can tell the difference in my playing thanks to one lesson with Paul Bollenback. I can tell a huge difference after transcribing just a few choruses of Wes Montgomery, Peter Bernstein, and Lage Lund. So I do look forward to working on my own.
Well, another milestone down and it will be time to relax in December and find a real world job. Hopefully music related, but if not part-time anywhere, so that I can still teach and gig as much as possible. One of the facts of a musicians career is that you do what ever you can to make your dream the biggest part of your life. Any job that pays the rent and keeps you able to practice and improve is a good job.
Thanks for reading! Time to go practice - whatever I want!
It's less than two weeks away folks! My senior recital is October 27th at the UCO Jazz Lab at 7pm!
The band is killing all the tunes! I'm thankful for these guys and gal. They're truly the best of OKC.
Please come out and support my recital. It will not take up more than an hour of your time and you get to hear some great music!
It's also being recorded! So if you do not have a chance to be there please watch my SoundCloud page for updates. I don't think I have the space to put it all up, but watch my page and you'll get to hear it all eventually. I've recently updated it with my original Crepuscular Rays from last year.
As always, thank you for following!
As you all may know by now, my recital is slated for October 27th, 2014 at 7pm inside the renowned Jazz Lab at the University of Central Oklahoma, and I could not be happier with the cats who have agreed to play on it. On piano, Alyssa Kozlowski; on drums, Jemar Poteat; and on bass, Stephen Schultz. No matter how I play that night these cats will be swingin' harder than anyone in Oklahoma - guaranteed.
It is finally August and that means that summer is on its way out the door. The other signal is the beginning of a new school year, and this year I graduate from the University of Central Oklahoma in December. After starting in January of 2011, I feel pretty good about being done a semester early on a degree plan that generally takes students 4-6 years to complete. Music degrees are highly competitive, and when you tack on general studies courses, it takes an eternity to complete one. I have come a long way with my performance capabilities since I began. My improvisations have more direction and flow than when I first started. My ideas are longer and flowing and more unifying than when I began college. I am extremely thankful for my time at UCO and for the opportunity to study with: Lee Rucker, Danny Vaughan, Brian Gorrell, Michael Geib, and Dennis Borycki. I have met some amazing players and played with several different groups that put me out of my comfort zone. I have cherished my time doing my undergraduate degree and look forward to applying for graduate work in Texas and Colorado.
I recently drove down to Dallas and purchased a Henriksen Jazz Amp 112ER from Tom Van Hoose of Van Hoose Vintage. He's a great guy with a wealth of knowledge of guitars and amps. I purchased my first archtop, a D'Aquisto Jazz Line, from Van Hoose's friend Gary Brunner. I still have and love that guitar! Anyway, the amplifier is fantastic. The EQ control, reverb, and tweeter are all very interesting options not offered on most amps. Of course reverb and tweeters do come on a lot of amplifiers, but you can actually toggle them both completely out of the circuit. It's a really great concept. The amp is just about a 15" cube all the way around. It's maybe 30lbs. It is the ultimate "gig-ready" rig. All you have to do is find an outlet, plug it, and go. I am looking forward to "thinning-the-herd" and getting rid of my Fender Deluxe Reverb.
One of my big summer projects was to transcribe more. I found myself transcribing a lot of solos, but nothing completely finished. So I sat down last weekend and completed Wes Montgomery's solo on Four on Six from Smokin' at the Half Note with the Wynton Kelly trio. It took me about 6-8 hours to learn it, write it on paper, and then transfer it to Sibelius. I have not been able to proofread it, but I do look forward to being able to share it briefly here on my website.
My next project is my senior recital. It is tentatively scheduled for October, 27th, 2014 at 7pm in the UCO Jazz Lab. It is a full hour of music and I am really looking forward to playing with a great group and getting a solid recording. My tune selection so far is: Celia - Bud Powell, Four on Six - Wes Montgomery, and Detour Ahead - Herb Ellis. I will add a few more tunes and be ready by October. Truthfully, I feel as though I am ready right now. I don't have many anxious feelings toward this recital. I am ready.
I'll cut it here. My gigs are posted in the gig page on this site. They will likely remain fairly few until after my recital. If you're nearby a gig, please do come through and say hey!
It has already been sweltering here in Oklahoma City, but today we got a reprieve with cooler weather and more rain. It has given me a lot of inside time to reflect on this past year of college, and assess my plans for the future. The main plan is continuing to teach, perform, practice, and compose. Oh yeah, and graduating with my BM in Music Performance in December. After that I am going to audition at a few schools and see where life leads me. I would have no issue staying in Oklahoma City for another year and continuing to shed standards, write new tunes, and gig. So in retrospect, although getting into graduate school is a priority, if I do not make it into University of North Texas, UT Austin, or other music programs, then I will not be too upset by being allowed to further hone my craft.
Playing this Friday, June 13th at Othello's Italian Restaurant in Norman from 9:00pm - midnight. It will be myself on guitar and Jemar Poteat on bass. Jemar is a solid musician all the way around. He is a top-notch drummer and bassist, who I have had the great fortune to work with over the past year or so.
Saturday, Melissa Brumfield and I will be performing at a good friend of her's wedding. We have new tunes to throw down and experiment with for the wedding. Our crop of tunes is still mostly standards, but have thrown in quite a few pop tunes to mix it up. It has been a wonderful and eye opening experience to work with Melissa. I have learned a lot about arranging for duo style playing and how to accompany someone and make it interesting. As always music is an ever evolving thing and this project is definitely something we will continue to see evolve.
I am hoping to write and record an album about a year from now; pending graduate auditions. I have a few tunes in the works and perhaps a couple lesser known standards to add on. It is hard to commit to recording an album when you constantly evolve. It is hard to say x, y, or z are you best moments when tomorrow brings a whole new set of challenges and surprises. I am trying to commit to it and push forth and record at least 5-7 tunes to showcase my playing.
As much as I am known for my solo guitar playing, I am really ready to put that on the back burner. It has no been at the forefront for several years, but lately I have played nothing but solo guitar gigs. I love solo guitar. It is part of the reason I really got into jazz - listening to great players like Ted Greene, Joe Pass, George Van Eps, Joe Beck, and countless others - but my perspective has shifted toward ensemble playing. The tunes I have been writing rely heavily on a quintet formation that is popular these days: guitar, piano, bass, drums, and saxophone. I have been listening to Kendrick Scott Oracle, Lage Lund, Will Vinson, Jaleel Shaw, and deriving a similar concept for the tunes I have been working on. I do look forward to putting together a group of players to record an album with and if not now perhaps while in graduate school. It is all settled to go down in the next three years, but I am hoping to record within a year given time constraints.
I will cut it here for now! I need to write updates about new albums I have been listening to and to review the fantastic Comins Guitars GCS-1ES! I will dedicate more time to writing over the summer and less when school starts up again.
The title of an incredible Pat Metheny composition, April Joy, seems to sum up my thoughts about this month perfectly. There is a lot of news to share about upcoming gigs!
The first of which happens tomorrow evening with Lee Rucker on trumpet, Aaron Tomasko on bass, and Justin Walke on drums. I cannot express enough gratitude to Lee for inviting me to play with these guys - they are truly the cream of the crop here in Oklahoma City.
Next week, Melissa Brumfield and I will be performing at Zannotti's Wine Bar in Stillwater from 7 to 9pm on Tuesday, April 29th. Please note the time has changed! We are starting an hour earlier than usual. Then on Friday, May 2nd, we trek up to Enid, Oklahoma to play at The Felt Bird for their First Friday/Jazz Stroll. We are very excited to be playing at both of these occasions! We are grateful to Zannotti's for always having time for us to play, and we also thank everyone at The Felt Bird for inviting us up there! Both of these shows are free, so come on out if you're around!
Also on Friday, May 2nd, I will be performing solo for the Scholarship and Donor Luncheon on campus at the University of Central Oklahoma. I am honored to be asked to play on campus again.
This past Tuesday, I was given the tremendous opportunity to perform with the Jazz Composer's Combo at the Jazz Lab. I have been fortunate enough to play with these guys all semester and I could not be more thankful. I have been pushed to lengths I did not know were possible. These guys stretched my concept of jazz and opened up my ears by writing and choosing truly challenging material. This has truly been a highlight of my time at the University of Central Oklahoma. Anyway, I was lucky enough to bring in an original tune entitled Crepuscular Rays for this concert. These concerts are recorded and I hope to be able to share this original with everyone in the coming months.
I just want to thank: Brian Gorrell, Jared Cathey, Eric Upchurch, Collin Ferrell, Stephen Schultz, and Michael Bremo for these past few months of great music. It has been an honor to play with you all.
It has been a great several months and I look forward to this summer so that I can sit down and woodshed for a few months. I plan on finishing a lot of started transcriptions and relax after a long semester. I am pleased to say that I will finally graduate in December!
I will do my best to keep everyone up to date on my new guitar and the happenings going on this summer. Any new gigs will be posted in the gig section - so stay tuned.
Seeing as we have already swept into March almost, I am, obviously, a bit late on updating my website. Here is a brief recapitulation of the past few months:
After a productive winter break, I auditioned into the Jazz Composer's Combo at UCO. It is a group of forward thinking modern jazz musicians, who either compose or transcribe modern jazz tunes. We had our first concert last night at the Jazz Lab playing selections by Mark Tuner, Stephen Schultz, Cedar Walton, and Jesse Van Ruller. It was a great set last night, everyone sounded great, and for once I get to be the one getting beat up in rehearsals. I have been on the upper edge of most of the ensembles I have been in thus far at UCO. I have been fortunate to be in some great ensembles, but this combo has truly driven me to practice harder. I am truly blessed to be playing with these guys. I wish we could rehearse everyday!
For some time now, I have been researching semi-hollow guitars in order to bridge the sound between arched-top and solid-body instruments. I have been through several Ibanez models and been very disappointed by both vintage and newer models. Sometime around January, I stumbled across Bill Comin's Guitar Craft Series, which are built in Korea then shipped to Philadelphia where Bill sets them up and sends them to dealers. Being a jazzer in Oklahoma City puts me at a significant disadvantage to trying new gear, but I decided to go ahead and order a Comins GCS-1ES. I should take delivery of it by mid-late April, but I am very excited about his instruments. I have scoured the internet for a negative review of these instruments and I could not find one. I am not looking to give up my love of arched top instruments, but I do need a little more practical guitar to haul around everyday.
I have played a few gigs since I posted at the beginning of this year: A set a Zannotti's, which is always a great place to play, although it is rather quiet on Tuesday nights. Two shows at the Jazz Lab, one with Jazz Ensemble III and the combo concert last night. The big band will also be playing this upcoming Monday night: March 3rd at 7pm. All four big bands will play that night, so come on out and enjoy the wide selection of tunes by all four bands. I started out solo this past Friday playing at Paramount OKC, on good ole Film Row down West Sheridan in OKC, and was then joined by Melissa on vocals. It was a great show. It can be hit or miss at these smaller venues, but I felt really well about how I played that night.
I have added a couple new students this semester, all of which I am happy about, but adding the fact that I am enrolled in seventeen hours at UCO - it makes for a very long week.
I will try and post more updates in the future. I'll do my best to document the Comin's GCS-1ES when it shows up at my place. There is not a ton of information about these guitars online just yet, so I will give my two cents when it arrives. In the meantime, check out Jesse Van Ruller's album Views, specifically the tune Sway, which I transcribed and the composers combo played last night. Also, a big thanks to Jesse Van Ruller for
It has been one long year, hasn't it? Although there were times where it seemed to fly right by, it seems like 2013 has had a bit of a drag to it over the past couple months. Christmas is still going around here and through this weekend just to make sure we meet up with all of the family. As much as I enjoy it, it serves as a constant reminder to take advantage of the time you have - and to take advantage of the time you get in the practice room.
Melissa Brumfield and I played a fun set at Othello's Italian Restaurant in Norman, OK on Saturday night. It was our first time down there and we had a blast. We didn't get through all of our new tunes, so we'll debut a few new ones on Friday, January 3rd at The Paramount in OKC. We're updating our setlist to feature modern compositions and be friendlier to the non-jazz crowd while still maintaining a few standards. Come on out on Friday!
2013 has seen the fall of several of jazz giants: Yusef Lateef, Jim Hall, Chico Hamilton, Marian McPartland (of NPR fame), George Duke, Donald Byrd, who are just a few of the many who passed on this year. Jim Hall is of particular significance, and influence, to my playing. I first heard Jim playing on Jim Hall: Live! And after listening to the entire album, I knew I wanted to do that for a living. What spoke to me wasn't his "chops", but it was his effortless ability to speak melodically through his instrument. He created melodies and counter melodies in his improvisations similar to classical etudes. He did not "noodle", nor did he play anything too flashy, he was thoughtful, careful, and above all he listened and played only what needed to be played in a given moment. He will be forever known as one of the greatest improvisers of all time.
Now I may be ringing in the New Year with a sinus infection, but I have had a lot of time to sit and listen. Lately I have become a big fan of Jesse van Ruller, a jazz guitarist out of the Netherlands who won the Thelonious Monk Competition several years back. He has such a fluid and lyrical style to his improvisations, meanwhile capturing dynamics and articulations most guitarists skip over. I've been heavily influenced by his playing style on his Live at Murphy's Law recording. There is so much life in his playing, it is not as rigid as a lot of jazz guitarists can be these days. His feel is so free within the music that it is truly inspiring. He is definitely someone everyone should check out!
I am thankful for another New Year and hope it is filled with even more joy and music than 2013!
Right now, I am hunkered down in my house due to the cold weather looking back on all the great playing experiences I have had this year, the people I have met and worked with, and the opportunities that have been offered to me, and one word springs to mind: Blessed. I feel truly blessed to have worked with Lee Rucker since this past summer, and to have met the great saxophonist Eric Alexander, while working in his combo at the Aebersold Jazz Workshop this summer. I'm thankful for those whom I met, and got a chance to create music with, at Aebersold: Hannah (bass), Brian (tenor), Cole (drums), Matt (tenor), Greg (trumpet), Melvin (alto), John (pianist). We shared an amazing experience working together that week, playing the great George Coleman's "Amsterdam after Dark". Sitting in countless masterclasses by Mike DiLiddo, Dave Stryker, Fred Hamilton and Corey Christiansen, who shared their wisdom and techniques, helped to broaden my horizon of what this music is really about.
I'm blessed to be a part of Jazz Ensemble III at UCO this semester, and to be among all the great guitarists at UCO, all of which continue to push each other musically. I am thankful for Taylor Carmona, who spent countless hours texting everyone to set up regular jam sessions all summer long. She's since moved to Kansas City and set up a jam session at UMKC, and it has been a challenge to set up sessions with people since, her influence has been missed. I'm grateful for Danny Vaughan, UCO's guitar instructor, who encouraged me to come sit in at Grand House with the "old cats". He gave me the push necessary to play outside of my comfort zone with the master musicians in OKC.
I feel blessed to be working - whether it is teaching students, playing gigs, or most recently, playing guitar for People's Church OKC campus. A great deal of thanks is in order to Jemar Poteat, for setting me up with such an inspiring group of people to create music for the ultimate purpose.
I really cannot thank Stephen Schultz and Drew Wilson enough for their work on my Junior Recital last month. It was a pleasure to work with them, the ease and finesse they play with took me to another level. It was a joy being able to get together weekly to rehearse, and follow the music where it took us. I look forward to being able to play with those guys again soon.
Looking back at all these experiences, and even those not mentioned here, it is hard not to feel blessed and inspired musically. I look forward to next year, to continue playing at UCO, People's Church, and anywhere else I am needed. I hope to simply follow the music wherever it takes me.
My recital was a success! I got to play tunes with great cats. I could not have asked for a better result from these guys. A big thanks to Stephen Schultz on upright bass and Drew Wilson on drums!
The entire recital was recorded and a few of the tracks are already up on my SoundCloud!
I feel decent about what I put up online already. Segment seems to be a big hit, it has a cool vibe and great melody; plus it is a rarely played Charlie Parker tune. The other tracks I am still deciding whether or not I want to put online. The reason being is that I am trying to get an aural portfolio put together and have to select the best cuts that represent my playing.
Overall though, the entire recital went well and I am pretty happy with how it all turned out. As far as a Junior Recital goes, it went well, but I am trying to push myself even further lately. I have really improved my right hand technique as of late, so now I really need to get back to transcription to get my ear around more jazz vocabulary. Heavy listening is coming up in the future, so hopefully I can get back to posting about recordings I am checking out.
I am tremendously tired as a result of the recital, but I finally have a day off, so hopefully I can crash out awhile - and practice.
Check out the tunes on SoundCloud! Thanks for reading!