Sunday, March 27, 2011


I remember Joe Morris talking to me about a “pivot” where a given moment in an improvisation is like a triangulation that references points immediately before and after in time, or above, below, left, or right, etc. in space. Listening back to some recordings from my last year in school, it seems that it was definitely having an effect on me – I’m trying to recapture this idea in my current playing, as I sometimes find it’s lacking (did I forget?). The idea, if memory serves, is one way of dealing with “line,” where the line continues (as it does naturally because it exists in time), but I as the improviser do not coddle (or swaddle) it. If the line of music is a child, you have to let it go out and play. The line of course is not only mine but mine in relation to others’ – a klangfarbenmelodie of fragmented swing, blips, ringing tones, etc.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thingness: A Little Leslie Scalapino

I've been reading an earlier series by Leslie Scalapino, hmmmm. I'm finding myself falling into her work more and more, after a brief hiatus. There is something quite tangible about this writing, where I can simultaneously relate to the emotion in the work while at the same time be strangely freed of its inherent heat. She utilizes decidedly biological symbols in this series (the water lily, the fish, and, like George Oppen, the anemone) that act to objectify and thus cool narratives that arise from “extreme” emotional or socio-economic states.

Or, as in covering a contortionist with a blanket, allow one to see the shape discarded of the uncomfortable and unflattering tangle of the body.

The narratives are folded. I read first the happening - say, of searching frantically for someone in a park at night - and then the symbolic overlay brings me away from the intensity of the first-hand experience. With Scalapino often acting as a conduit of another's reflection on an historical (personal) action, there is a further distancing of the narrative by degrees, further cooling it, giving it a certain solidity, tangibility, and "thingness."

It is a hunk of obsidian.

The series is available via the linked site above, the Electronic Poetry Center at Buffalo.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Difficult Fish, or A Post About Everything

I've been sitting on this post for a little while now. It's a bit half-baked, but nonetheless has been what I've been feeling swimming around my brain for the past month.

The difficulty being that, when living in New York and practicing any art, one has to do more of everything, with less time to do it. I’m finding myself in this challenging position. “Everything” means not having a sole focus on practice. I want to see more performances, of friends as well as people I don't know personally, of "up-and-coming" musicians as well as those "established."

Also, I would like to spend more time online in a constructive capacity. “Constructive” almost literally – building a repertoire of words to support the framework of my musical tree house. That includes the music of others, of course. It is always important - and maybe now more than ever, amid a recession and all the challenges stemming from it - to support one another.

So how does a person accomplish everything?

New York is a difficult fish. Even if you're hungry and want to eat you first have to catch it and know how to cook it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

An Addendum on "Obstructions for 'Solo' Trumpet"

You may ask why I put the word "solo" in quotes for this piece. I can't divulge everything, because I don't want to ruin any surprises, but let's just say the music I'll be making on June 8 will have one foot in the tradition of solo instrumental improv, and one foot kicking (or softly nudging) its counterpart repeatedly. There will be doppelgangers, voice walls, and hopefully a macked-out ride (for solo instrumentalist, of course).

The tentative titles for the pieces are as follows:

Obstruction #1: Wall
Obstruction #2: Mutes
Obstruction #3: Solo for Four Voices
Obstruction #4: Background Music

Oh Fun

I’m not going to even talk about how long it’s been since I last posted something on my blog. Oops!

Below is a list of some upcoming shows that I’d like you to know about. There are a lot of "TBAs," so be sure to check back for said announcements.

March 24, 8:00: Moffett/Kaplan/Merega/Nazary @ Doulgass St. Music Collective w/ Henkel/Carlson duo.

April 9, 9:00: Bird Fly Yellow @ International Waters (Philadelphia) w/ Henkel/Carlson/Stardrum and others, TBA
April 10, time TBA: Bird Fly Yellow @ Douglass St. Music Collective w/ Henkel/Carlson/Stardrum
April 30: Bird Fly Yellow is in the studio!

May 7, 10:00: w/ Jeff Kimmel (bass clar), Marc Riordan (dr), and Brian Labycz (synth) at Heaven Gallery in Chicago. Also performing: Wingbridge.

May 9, 7:30: w/ Jeff Kimmel at Myopic Books, Chicago.

June 8, 8:30: Obstructions for “Solo” Trumpet @ Douglass St. Music Collective. Also performing: Buckminster.

More dates with Bird Fly Yellow to be announced – looks like we’ll be in Washington DC and Baltimore in June. Check our website for updates: