I’m late posting this, but take a listen to the new LP by Virginia-based ambient electronic duo honeybrandy, joined by Chris Schlarb on guitar, Phillip Greenlief on woodwinds, and myself on trumpet. We made this down at Big Ego Studio in Long Beach earlier this year, and it all came together so beautifully. I’m especially fond of the last track…
2017 has been eventful to say the least, and I’ve been lagging on posting updates here but not for lack of activity. Above are some photo highlights. Back in January I was pleased to accept the Jazz Educator of the Year award from the Kern County Music Educators’ Association, which was a nice prelude to our 2nd annual KCMEA Jazz Day event at Bakersfield College in April, and a few months later my acceptance of a tenure-track, full time teaching position as Director of Jazz Studies at BC. Lots of exciting things coming down the pike as we expand and develop this program…
I’ve been doing a bit of work down in Long Beach at my friend Chris Schlarb’s new Big Ego Studios, playing on several soon-to-be released projects by Schlarb’s group Psychic Temple, LA bassist Anthony Shadduck, Virginia duo Honeybrandy, and Iowa-based songwriter Dana Telsrow. In May I made a new record with Mike Baggetta – our fifth duo project as Tin/Bag – which should be out next year on Big Ego records.
Other highlights include gigs in Idaho and LA with Cathlene Pineda‘s Quartet, Sacramento and Oakland with a new trio with bassist Lisa Mezzacappa and percussionist Nathan Hubbard, and an epic gig atop the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook organized by SASSAS and my friend Dan Clucas.
“In one speaker, Philip Glenn’s Hammond organ laps and trickles; in the other, Cathlene Pineda lays down Wurlitzer chords that recall Alice Coltrane’s spiritual exultations on ‘Oh Allah’. When the familiar six-note motif makes its entrance, it’s through trumpeter Kris Tiner, who rejects the original’s studied blankness in favor of lyrical, expressive vibrato, unfurling the riff and reaching its tips out in new directions.”
Looking forward to setting off for Durham, England to take part in a Philosophy of Improvisation Workshop on April 17-18, organized by Andy Hamilton and presented by the Gateshead Jazz Festival and Durham University. I’ll be giving a presentation on systemic music, and later performing at the University with Mike Baggetta in our duo Tin/Bag:
The workshop will explore the concept of an aesthetics of imperfection in which spontaneous process is valued over finished product. While this aesthetic is expressed most clearly in the work of improvising musicians, it’s also necessary for higher level creative performance while following a score. The concept thus deepens our capacity to understand and appreciate both improvised and composed music. The workshop is aimed at performers, promoters, producers, researchers, teachers and jazz enthusiasts.
Participants include improvising musicians Louise Gibbs and Steve Beresford from the UK, Mike Baggetta and Kris Tiner from the US, writers Philip Clark and Andy Hamilton, as well as promoters and record producers.
Two – two! – new records from Psychic Temple are set to drop in the next few weeks, and I’m happy to once again be included in Mr. Schlarb’s plan for global music domination. Psychic Temple Plays Music for Airports comes first, later this month on Joyful Noise Recordings…
Psychic Temple, led by band/cult leader Chris Schlarb and featuring Mike Watt (Minutemen), Sheridan Riley (Avi Buffalo), Paul Masvidal (Cynic, Death), jazz trumpeter Kris Tiner and more, has reimagined Brian Eno’s 1979 ambient landmark Music For Airports. The group’s own version of “Music for Airports 1/1” was recorded in one afternoon, live in the studio without headphones, overdubs, edits or effects.
The album’s flip side features the fiery original “Music for Bus Stops,” conceived as a working class commentary on Eno’s preferred method of transportation.
From Greg Burk’s liner notes: “Psychic Temple approaches Airports from a fresh angle, rescuing it from its ‘dark, boring fate’ of becoming a museum piece to be analyzed by select musicians inside expensive concert halls. Where Eno’s distant, static masterpiece doesn’t seem to fit the real-life chaos of what goes on in an airport, Psychic Temple’s version adds a human touch and a dose of reality, showing that we’re all in it together, we can make room for one another, and we’re calm.”
This was such a fun and beautiful session with a stellar lineup of mostly LA-based musicians, some of my favorite people around. Here’s a trailer for a quick taste:
Psychic Temple III is out in May on Asthmatic Kitty Records, and it will be epic – check out that “Deluxe Altar Edition” LP gatefold above…
Psychic Temple ‘III’ completes the transition from avant-jazz solo project to a working band constructed around timeless songs that draw upon the rich history of classic American soul, blues, and folk. Equally immersed in the sound of California’s canyons and the swamps of the deep South, Psychic Temple’s cult leader/guitarist Chris Schlarb steps out of the shadows and up to the microphone for the first time with astonishing results.
Maintaining Psychic Temple’s affinity for nuance and delicate minimalism, ‘III’ exhibits a new directness centered around Schlarb’s agile guiding voice. While the album places his unfolding vocal melodies and narratives in the foreground, ‘III’ subverts easy categorization by sustaining the collaborative, exploratory spirit of ‘Psychic Temple’ and ‘II’.
Culled from sessions recorded at home in Los Angeles and the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama – ‘III’ includes contributions and performances from Spooner Oldham (Neil Young, Bob Dylan), David Hood (J.J. Cale, Aretha Franklin), Mike Watt (Minutemen, The Stooges), Avi Buffalo, Nedelle Torrisi (Sufjan Stevens), Elliot Bergman (Wild Belle, NOMO), Dave Easley (Brian Blade Fellowship) and many more. Coming together quickly and intuitively, the album was mixed over three days with Ronan Chris Murphy (King Crimson).
It also comes with a recipe for pancakes:
Cathlene Pineda Quartet CD Release Tour for Passing: A California Suite
Cathlene Pineda, piano, compositions
Kris Tiner, trumpet
Tina Raymond, drums
David Tranchina, bass
Passing: A California Suite was written after a commission received by the Los Angeles Jazz Society to compose a piece about Los Angeles for the Angel City Jazz Festival in 2014. The music is inspired by the poetry of LA’s first poet-laureate, Eloise Klein-Healy, and each piece is based on an excerpt of her work.
For more info: www.cathlenepineda.com
More about Orenda Records: www.orendarecords.com
The four members of The Invisible Astro Healing Rhythm Quartet formed in 2010 while studying music at Bakersfield College in sunny Bakersfield, California; a region known (musically) for the twangy, steel-guitar sound popularized by hometown heroes Buck Owens & Merle Haggard. IAHRQ take a decidedly different approach, reaching skyward toward the cosmos & the outer reaches of cosmic, spiritual jazz & Ethio-centric long-form jams.
“2” is the aptly named second album from the quartet (the first was released in late 2013 on noted composer & trumpet player Kris Tiner’s Epigraph Records) was recorded & produced by Chris Schlarb (Psychic Temple). “2” finds the ensemble digging deeper and reaching further out than before, honing their mixture of Ethiopian funk, spiritual jazz & cosmic psychedelia to a finer point. The album starts with “Praise One” & “Praise Two”, a pair of complimentary jams that begin in a free & loose cloud of cosmic dust, before honing in on a loping mellow groove that would fit perfectly next to tunes by Mulatau Astatke or Hailu Mergia. The rest of “2” populates the same headspace, pulling funky drum breaks (”Lifetime”), heady brass arrangements (”Headways”) & proggy psychedelia (”Cosmic Loneliness”) toward and over the event horizon.
This record is going to really blow some minds. I’m glad to have contributed to the brass arrangements along with saxophone hero Phillip Greenlief and Bako trombonist Omar Murillo. It’s not out till November 13, but you can preorder the very limited edition vinyl now at Trouble in Mind Records.