This song, "Together At Last", was something I wrote years ago at Prov to play around with Rhythm changes, and then forgot. We played it once at a World Music Group concert and haven't played it since.
Acoustics of Music
Band & Orchestral Techniques 1
Band & Orchestral Techniques 2
Bible Study Methods
Directed Study in Composition
Faith and Reason
Intro to Judaic Studies
Intro to the New Testament
Intro to the Old Testament
Introduction to Christianity
Introduction to Composition
Jewish Religious Texts
Literature Since 1900
Major English Writers
Mission Issues Today
Music History 1
Music History 2
Music History 3
Music History 4
Music in Christian Worship
Music Skills III
Music Skills IV
Music Theory I
Music Theory II
Music Theory III
Music Theory IV
Philosophical Foundations for Studying Theology
Vocal Ensemble: Veritas
Being in music, many of the courses I have taken were repeated many times (for example, I took voice lessons for six semesters, and will have taken trumpet lessons for 4 at the end of this year).
Wow. I feel old now. Something about my courses - my favourite courses I have taken are Philosophical Foundations, Music Theory IV, Intro to Composition, and Band & Orchestral Techniques. Honourable mentions - Major English Writers and all my ensemble courses (Wind Ensemble, Brass Quintet, Veritas, Jazz band, etc). Philosophical Foundations and Music Theory IV (at CMU) changed the way that I think. I would not view things the same if I had not taken these courses. Intro to Composition has me writing music and learning about different techniques, and I really like it, and Band & Orchestral Techniques is teaching me how to be a band teacher. These get the top spots for being incredibly fun, well-taught, and useful for life. My honourable mentions didn't make the top, but were a lot of fun, and educational, too.
Courses I wish I didn't take - Environmental Science (What was I thinking? This class was completely useless and I did not learn a single thing, despite getting an A), Beginning Acting (didn't learn anything new), and Mission Issues Today (my mom is a missionary, so also nothing new). Faith and Reason was also pretty useless, but I can't remember why at the time.
Total credit hours at the end of this year: 150.
Total credit hours at the end of 2011: approximately 250.
Classes I've wanted to take but haven't had time: Calculus. Yes, Calculus. I'm a sucker for punishment. Also, more philosophy.
It's really neat to look back. I encourage you to post your class lists, and talk about what they've meant to you!
At the beginning of the workshop, Jackie Dawson (our conductor) gave us a talk on "Music: What's in it for me?". She talked about how music is a gift that we give, and how this gift is best when we give it away. She also talked about the passion that is in music, and about remembering that we love what we do. I was really inspired by this , and by the rest of the workshop.
The trumpets went off and had a sectional with Jeff Johnson, and he was a fantastic clinician. We actually didn't do a ton of playing, but he talked to us about music and teaching and making music. I probably got a lot more long-term valuable stuff out of this than I would have if we would have spent more time playing.
After this, we had a brass sectional with Steve Dyer - who is fantastic as well, but this was mostly "work on your parts" - but Steve is great as well.
And lastly, I had lunch (graciously provided by the U of M...I think), and then I had a repertoire test with Jackie Dawson. This is the part of the day that I will remember most, because I actually got to spend some time one-on-one with Jackie. And I was thoroughly impressed and humbled by her - somewhat by the fact that she is an amazing conductor and director, and knows her stuff through and through, and how to get her musicians to improve, but mostly because I could totally tell that she cares about me, and that she is genuinely happy to have me as a part of her ensemble. Even though she really only talked with me today, I was blown away by the fact that she knew who I was, and even knew some stuff about me, even though I had never told her.
This is what being a musician and a teacher is all about. Because of Jackie taking the time to find out a bit about me, I am now inspired to be the best I can be, and I genuinely feel like I belong in the ensemble.
Jackie Dawson has officially been added to my list of "People I Admire". You're probably not reading this, but, thank you, Jackie Dawson, for making me feel like I am important. I hope I can do the same for everyone else.
So a few months ago, I got an email from someone I didn't know asking for permission to use this piece in a recital. I said yes, and today I got an email from the same person with a link to the YouTube video. So, I present to you, "Amber's Bounce", played by Gabriela Santander from Venezuela!
So here's an update.
First things first: Herbie Hancock and Dave Brubeck. Wow - both of these shows were absolutely amazing (please forgive my alliteration) - yet completely different. Kenny Garrett (an alto sax player) opened up for Hancock, and had the house rocking for an hour and a half (we were at the Burton Cummings). After Garrett, Herbie's band came on. Some of the highlights: Watermelon Man mixed in with a tune called "Seventeens", which was in 17/4 time, Maiden Voyage played as a piano-only ballad, Cantaloupe Island, some of the songs that Herbie co-wrote with John Mayer, and the encore, Chameleon, where Garrett came out to join Herbie's band (which was a quartet - piano, guitar, bass, and drums). This show was high-energy, featuring pure amazingness from all involved, and Herbie occasionally played a keytar. Best. Show. Ever.
I went to see Dave Brubeck a few days later...amazing, but in a completely different way. Bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding opened, and this time with a shorter set (30 minutes-ish). Wow - what a voice, and amazing bass chops as well. I think that she's probably only 25 or so, which is even more amazing. So, after Spalding, Dave Brubeck walks on stage. In contrast to Herbie Hancock, Brubeck doesn't say much. He sits down at the piano, and launches straight into "On The Sunny Side Of The Street", and lets his fingers do the talking. Apparently Brubeck turns 87 this year, and his other players looked equally decrepit, but they did not show their age in their playing. Brubeck whipped his way through a set that was mostly straight-ahead jazz, in contrast to Hancock's funk-filled extravaganza. Brubeck capped the night off with his trademark piece, "Take Five", and then played "Blue Rondo ala Turk" for the encore.
The best way to describe these shows: Herbie Hancock was a huge party with all your friends, with music pumping, and everyone dancing like mad. Dave Brubeck was an intelligent conversation with an old friend.
In other news, I moved out of my parents' house July 1st, into the basement of a house with Aaron. It's awesome, although if you have spare food, please send it our way.
I spent July 6-13 serving at Providence Arts Camp. I taught a class on Music and Worship, directed a small girls choir, and helped with the worship music. Good times were had by all - I'm planning on coming back to teach again next year.
In other other news, I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last Saturday morning at approximately 4:52 a.m. The verdict: this is the best book yet. And, holy crap, what a way to end the series! I will write about it later, but I don't want to post spoilers. If you read this, bug Aaron about finishing Half-Blood Prince, and then Deathly Hallows, because he owns it but is procrastinating reading it!
And...school starts in a month or so. And I'm very, very excited. Excited.
For those who complain about me never updating my blog...happy now?
A jazz version of Scotland The Brave. With a jazz bagpiper. And a kick-ass rhythm section.
The player? Rufus Harley, who apparently died last summer. This guy was an accomplished jazz saxophonist who had guested with the likes of Sonny Rollins and Herbie Mann. This wasn't kitsch or something strange...it was straight-ahead jazz with bagpipes as the lead instrument. The best part? It was pretty good, too!
Now I've heard everything.
ED: You see a well groomed garden. In the middle, on a small hill, you see a gazebo.
ERIC: A gazebo? What color is it?
ED: (Pause) It's white, Eric.
ERIC: How far away is it?
ED: About fifty yards.
ERIC: How big is it?
ED: (Pause) It's about thirty feet across, fifteen feet high, with a pointed top.
ERIC: I use my sword to detect good on it.
ED: It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo!
ERIC: (Pause) I call out to it.
ED: It won't answer. It's a gazebo!
ERIC: (Pause) I sheathe my sword and draw my bow and arrows. Does it respond in any way?
ED: No, Eric, it's a gazebo!
ERIC: I shoot it with my bow (roll to hit). What happened?
ED: There is now a gazebo with an arrow sticking out of it.
ERIC: (Pause) Wasn't it wounded?
ED: Of course not, Eric! It's a gazebo!
ERIC: (Whimper) But that was a plus three arrow!
ED: It's a gazebo, Eric, a gazebo! If you really want to try to destroy it, you could try to chop it with an axe, I suppose, or you could try to burn it, but I don't know why anybody would even try. It's a *)@#! gazebo!
ERIC: (Long pause. He has no axe or fire spells.) I run away.
ED: (Thoroughly frustrated) It's too late. You've woken up the gazebo, and it catches you and eats you.
ERIC: (Reaching for his dice) Maybe I'll roll up a fire-using mage so I can avenge my Paladin.
I have two CDs of his that I want to write about today - the first being "Largo". This CD has gotten a lot of play in my car recently, and even Aaron was impressed enough with it to blog about it. I think that my favourite track is "Dusty McNugget", with its extremely laid-back feel, with a touch of funk. "Paranoid Android" is awesome as well, as is "Dear Prudence", which is a close second for best track. The last track, "I Do", is very reminiscent of some Billy Childs stuff I heard recently, and this track is just Mehldau and his piano. I can detect a touch of Gil Evans in the arranging done for this CD as well - very, very innovative, with some extremely interesting sounds and harmonies. This is a great CD for chilling out to.
The second CD is Metheny/Mehldau. This is a duet CD between the legendary jazz fusion guitarist Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau. Save for two tracks, this CD is just Metheny and Mehldau. These two play together like nothing else I have ever heard - what goes on in this CD is pure, unadulterated magic. The tracks I currently like best are "Unrequited", "Ring of Life", "Say the Brother's Name", and my favourite, "Make Peace". I can't even describe how good this CD is - it's probably best labelled as fusion, but is very accessible to people who aren't intimately familiar with the inner workings of jazz genres. This is also great chill-out music, and chances are that even if you aren't a jazz fan, but appreciate good music, you will enjoy this CD.
So there you have it. Buy both of these CDs - you won't regret it. Here's a link to some of Mehldau's music on the Web.
And, just for fun, a YouTube of Mehldau!
This is a short story that I wrote as a Christmas present for one of my friends. I recently discovered the manuscript, and thought that I would share it with you, my dear readers!
It was a typical day at
“Wasn’t that a great concert last night?” said
“Oh, yeah,” replied
“I know,” said
A hush fell over the
The thumping got louder and louder, and with a crash, the cafeteria doors burst open.
“Aaaah!” someone screamed.
It was a manatee. But not just any manatee. Normally, manatees are docile sea cows that live off the coast of
Panic broke out in the school.
“What do we do?” yelled
“What do we do,
And coming closer it was. Drawn by the scent of
The manatee turned and spotted
“Hey!” she yelled at the manatee. “Come get me, you tub of anchovy paste!”
The manatee turned to look at her.
“That’s right,” she yelled, “Come eat me, you big dumb tuna fish!”
With her last proclamation, she hurled her Nalgene bottle at the behemoth. The bottle flew through the air as if in slow motion. As
As we all know, Nalgene bottles are practically indestructible, except for one part: the cap. The bottle hit the ceiling in just the right way as to shatter the cap.
Water poured down on the manatee. It looked up in confusion, but a split second later, the manatee was obscured by a cloud of steam. A few seconds later, the manatee, with one last moan, toppled to the ground.
And that is how
Okay, just a few clarifications. Marilee and Lisa were my official French Horn groupies that year. And I thought the concept of a rampaging manatee was hilarious. For those of you who don't know, a manatee is the least aggressive animal on the face of the planet. They are endangered mostly because they are too docile to move out of the way of boats!
Thanks for reading!
Pat, could you tell us your opinion about Kenny G - it appears you were quoted as being less than enthusiastic about him and his music. I would say that most of the serious music listeners in the world would not find your opinion surprising or unlikely - but you were vocal about it for the first time. You are generally supportive of other musicians it seems.
Kenny G is not a musician I really had much of an opinion about at all until recently. There was not much about the way he played that interested me one way or the other either live or on records.
I first heard him a number of years ago playing as a sideman with Jeff Lorber when they opened a concert for my band. My impression was that he was someone who had spent a fair amount of time listening to the more pop oriented sax players of that time, like Grover Washington or David Sanborn, but was not really an advanced player, even in that style. He had major rhythmic problems and his harmonic and melodic vocabulary was extremely limited, mostly to pentatonic based and blues-lick derived patterns, and he basically exhibited only a rudimentary understanding of how to function as a professional soloist in an ensemble - Lorber was basically playing him off the bandstand in terms of actual music.
But he did show a knack for connecting to the basest impulses of the large crowd by deploying his two or three most effective licks (holding long notes and playing fast runs - never mind that there were lots of harmonic clams in them) at the key moments to elicit a powerful crowd reaction (over and over again). The other main thing I noticed was that he also, as he does to this day, played horribly out of tune - consistently sharp.
Of course, I am aware of what he has played since, the success it has had, and the controversy that has surrounded him among musicians and serious listeners. This controversy seems to be largely fueled by the fact that he sells an enormous amount of records while not being anywhere near a really great player in relation to the standards that have been set on his instrument over the past sixty or seventy years. And honestly, there is no small amount of envy involved from musicians who see one of their fellow players doing so well financially, especially when so many of them who are far superior as improvisors and musicians in general have trouble just making a living. There must be hundreds, if not thousands of sax players around the world who are simply better improvising musicians than Kenny G on his chosen instruments. It would really surprise me if even he disagreed with that statement.
Having said that, it has gotten me to thinking lately why so many jazz musicians (myself included, given the right "bait" of a question, as I will explain later) and audiences have gone so far as to say that what he is playing is not even jazz at all. Stepping back for a minute, if we examine the way he plays, especially if one can remove the actual improvising from the often mundane background environment that it is delivered in, we see that his saxophone style is in fact clearly in the tradition of the kind of playing that most reasonably objective listeners WOULD normally quantify as being jazz. It's just that as jazz or even as music in a general sense, with these standards in mind, it is simply not up to the level of playing that we historically associate with professional improvising musicians. So, lately I have been advocating that we go ahead and just include it under the word jazz - since pretty much of the rest of the world OUTSIDE of the jazz community does anyway - and let the chips fall where they may.
And after all, why he should be judged by any other standard, why he should be exempt from that that all other serious musicians on his instrument are judged by if they attempt to use their abilities in an improvisational context playing with a rhythm section as he does? He SHOULD be compared to John Coltrane or Wayne Shorter, for instance, on his abilities (or lack thereof) to play the soprano saxophone and his success (or lack thereof) at finding a way to deploy that instrument in an ensemble in order to accurately gauge his abilities and put them in the context of his instrument's legacy and potential.
As a composer of even eighth note based music, he SHOULD be compared to Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver or even Grover Washington. Suffice it to say, on all above counts, at this point in his development, he wouldn't fare well.
But, like I said at the top, this relatively benign view was all "until recently".
Not long ago, Kenny G put out a recording where he overdubbed himself on top of a 30+ year old Louis Armstrong record, the track "What a Wonderful World". With this single move, Kenny G became one of the few people on earth I can say that I really can't use at all - as a man, for his incredible arrogance to even consider such a thing, and as a musician, for presuming to share the stage with the single most important figure in our music.
This type of musical necrophilia - the technique of overdubbing on the preexisting tracks of already dead performers - was weird when Natalie Cole did it with her dad on "Unforgettable" a few years ago, but it was her dad. When Tony Bennett did it with Billie Holiday it was bizarre, but we are talking about two of the greatest singers of the 20th century who were on roughly the same level of artistic accomplishment. When Larry Coryell presumed to overdub himself on top of a Wes Montgomery track, I lost a lot of the respect that I ever had for him - and I have to seriously question the fact that I did have respect for someone who could turn out to have such unbelievably bad taste and be that disrespectful to one of my personal heroes.
But when Kenny G decided that it was appropriate for him to defile the music of the man who is probably the greatest jazz musician that has ever lived by spewing his lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, fucked up playing all over one of the great Louis's tracks (even one of his lesser ones), he did something that I would not have imagined possible. He, in one move, through his unbelievably pretentious and calloused musical decision to embark on this most cynical of musical paths, shit all over the graves of all the musicians past and present who have risked their lives by going out there on the road for years and years developing their own music inspired by the standards of grace that Louis Armstrong brought to every single note he played over an amazing lifetime as a musician. By disrespecting Louis, his legacy and by default, everyone who has ever tried to do something positive with improvised music and what it can be, Kenny G has created a new low point in modern culture - something that we all should be totally embarrassed about - and afraid of. We ignore this, "let it slide", at our own peril.
His callous disregard for the larger issues of what this crass gesture implies is exacerbated by the fact that the only reason he possibly have for doing something this inherently wrong (on both human and musical terms) was for the record sales and the money it would bring.
Since that record came out - in protest, as insignificant as it may be, I encourage everyone to boycott Kenny G recordings, concerts and anything he is associated with. If asked about Kenny G, I will diss him and his music with the same passion that is in evidence in this little essay.
Normally, I feel that musicians all have a hard enough time, regardless of their level, just trying to play good and don't really benefit from public criticism, particularly from their fellow players. but, this is different.
There ARE some things that are sacred - and amongst any musician that has ever attempted to address jazz at even the most basic of levels, Louis Armstrong and his music is hallowed ground. To ignore this trespass is to agree that NOTHING any musician has attempted to do with their life in music has any intrinsic value - and I refuse to do that. (I am also amazed that there HASN'T already been an outcry against this among music critics - where ARE they on this?????!?!?!?!, magazines, etc.). Everything I said here is exactly the same as what I would say to Gorelick if I ever saw him in person. and if I ever DO see him anywhere, at any function - he WILL get a piece of my mind and (maybe a guitar wrapped around his head.)
NOTE: this post is partially in response to the comments that people have made regarding a short video interview excerpt with me that was posted on the internet taken from a tv show for young people (kind of like MTV)in poland where i was asked to address 8 to 11 year old kids on terms that they could understand about jazz. while enthusiastically describing the virtues of this great area of music, i was encouraging the kids to find and listen to some of the greats in the music and not to get confused by the sometimes overwhelming volume of music that falls under the jazz umbrella. i went on to say that i think that for instance, kenny g plays the dumbest music on the planet – something that all 8 to 11 year kids on the planet already intrinsically know, as anyone who has ever spent any time around kids that age could confirm - so it gave us some common ground for the rest of the discussion. (ADDENDUM: the only thing wrong with the statement that i made was that i did not include the rest of the known universe.) the fact that this clip was released so far out of the context that it was delivered in is a drag, but it is now done. (its unauthorized release out of context like that is symptomatic of the new electronically interconnected culture that we now live in - where pretty much anything anyone anywhere has ever said or done has the potential to become common public property at any time.) i was surprised by the polish people putting this clip up so far away from the use that it was intended -really just for the attention - with no explanation of the show it was made for - they (the polish people in general) used to be so hip and would have been unlikely candidates to do something like that before, but i guess everything is changing there like it is everywhere else. the only other thing that surprised me in the aftermath of the release of this little interview is that ANYONE would be even a little bit surprised that i would say such a thing, given the reality of mr. gs music. this makes me want to go practice about 10 times harder, because that suggests to me that i am not getting my own musical message across clearly enough - which to me, in every single way and intention is diametrically opposed to what Kenny G seems to be after.
I would like to cordially invite you to the Prairie Voices Winter Concert, entitled “Volare”, Italian for “fly”.
We will be performing works by Eric Whitacre, Moses Hogan, Healey Willan, Guido Lopez-Gavilan, and a new piece by Jussi Chydenius of Rajaton.
The concert is at 7:30 PM on Friday, March 2, 2007 at Knox United Church (400 Edmonton Street) in Winnipeg. The cost is $15 for adults, and $8 for students/seniors. You can get tickets by letting me know, or by purchasing one at the door.
I would hope that every one of you would be able to attend – it should be a good concert!
This one, (Save the whales...or not)
This one, (the magic fridge)
This one (Pulp fiction in 30 Seconds).
After the show, we went to Carlos & Murphy's in Osborne Village. That place has really good Mexican food! Thanks to Third Floor for introducing me to this place!
Today Kyle (my youngest brother) took me to HMV and bought me some stuff for my birthday. Namely, a CD. It's Imogen Heap's Speak for Yourself. If you haven't heard of Imogen, go to her Myspace site and listen. Then buy this CD.
I also bought:
Chris Botti's To Love Again - a duets album, featuring many, many good people.
Run, Lola, Run for $7.99
and Edward Scissorhands for $9.99. Well worth the price!
Also, an announcement:
Prairie Voices is having our Winter Concert on March 2nd at Knox United Church. It's at 7:30 PM(I believe). You can buy tickets from me, or at the door (but please buy them from me in advance so you can be sure you can get in!).
So this is my life so far. I hope all of you are doing well, and please feel free to email or call me - if you're reading this, I miss you!