Blog

The Vulnerability in a Solo.

Improvising a solo in front of an audience is one of the most vulnerable things a musician can do. While we often see solos as displays of virtuosity, an improvised solo contains glimpses into a musician’s character, their empathy with those present in the room, and all the feelings of the moment. It’s why fans of John Coltrane or Miles Davis feel as though they know something about them despite having never met them. In this post I aim to explore two questions: What makes a solo vulnerable? Why is vulnerability important? [Read more]

What This Lester Young Solo Can Teach Us About Leading a Purposeful Life

Whether or not the doctor’s statement happened before or after this solo, I’m not sure, but Lester undoubtedly knew in some way that he was in poor condition and that his consumption was trashing his body. This solo, however, doesn’t show a “tragically past his prime” Lester Young. From the bold way he gets up to the mastery with which he packs so much meaning into so few notes, Lester is teeming with confidence here. He doesn’t try to play like he did in his 20’s; he stands tall, makes a beautiful statement with only the capabilities he had on that day, and fills the room with honesty and vulnerability. [Read more]

5 Things We do as Jazz Musicians That Have Made it America’s LEAST Popular Genre (1.4% in 2015)

I know I’ll get some flack for saying some of these things. I’ll just start by saying I’ve done every single thing on here. Not one, a couple, most… every single one. This post is coming from a place self-awareness/self-critique as much as it is about general trends I’m seeing in our field. It goes almost without saying that each point has many, many exceptions. No finger pointing, I just want our music to be heard and think we need to have an open conversation about these issues for that to happen. So, Jazz has become America’s LEAST popular genre, accounting for only 1.4% of total US music consumption in 2015 because: [Read more]

Why are 19th Century Landscape Painters Relevant in 2019?

All too often, we study art in a vacuum. Louis Armstrong played minor 3rds on major chords, Seurat painted using only dots, James Joyce wrote extended metaphors… but why? As I researched the career of English naturalist painter, John Constable, and his contemporaries, I came across many detailed descriptions of his brush work, color choices, and accolades, but one big question remained: Why were European artists living in the height of the Industrial Revolution painting scenes like these? [Read more]

Constable: Release Notes

Today is the day! My first studio release, Constable, premieres tonight at 8PM Eastern time. On this cherished day in late September, I got on my bike and hit the road with nothing but my camera, a couple of sandwiches, and a bottle of water. Since moving to Amsterdam a few weeks prior, I couldn’t wait to escape the city to see the beautiful Dutch countryside. [Read more]

Beauty is a Verb

The world is filled with an incomprehensible number of beautiful people, processes, and things. I don’t mean beauty in the magazine cover kind of way but in a broader sense appreciating how something appears, behaves, or sounds. I’m talking about pristine and symmetrical beauty, ugly beauty, nonsensical beauty, beyond-words beauty, and everything in between. How can we bring more beauty in our lives and why should we? [Read more]

Conversation with NEA Jazz Master, Sheila Jordan

Recently for my Jazz History class at school, I was tasked with interviewing a musician connected with the bebop movement. Sheila Jordan, a friend and mentee of Charlie Parker’s, Duke Jordan’s former partner, a former student of Lennie Tristano (said by Max Roach to be the leader of the “downtown” school of bebop), and of course, an incredibly studied and accomplished musician herself, seemed to be a perfect candidate. I was lucky enough to make contact with her, see her perform for her 90th birthday celebration at Blue Note NYC, and have a wonderfully enlightening conversation at her residence a few days later. [Read more]


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