Sunday, June 9, 2013

Theoretical Planets This Friday at Shaker And Vine

Before I got serious about playing jazz piano, I was more than curious about the drums. I played with some bands in high school; even during my first year at Peabody Conservatory as a trumpet major, I considered switching to drums and transferring to the New School. Who knows what would have happened in such an alternate universe! Although most folks know me as a pianist, I've kept my interest in the drums and every once in a while, I get a chance to play drums in public. I don't get to practice as much as I would like, but I just try to be musical. Over the years, I've had the fortune of playing with many great drummers(Jack DeJohnette, Lenny White, Cindy Blackman, Terri Lynne Carrington, Ralph Peterson, Rodney Holmes, Bill Stewart, Billy Hart, Al Foster, Dave Weckl, Ari Honeig, E.J. Strickland, Donald Edwards, Quincy Davis, Rudy Royston, Billy Drummond, Billy Kilson, Jimmy Cobb, Carl Allen, Louis Hayes, Jeff Hirschfield, Tyshawn Sorey, Gene Jackson, Jeff Watts, Dennis Chambers.....just a few off the top of my head...), so I've gotten opportunities to absorb a lot of great ideas from drummers.

This Friday in Portland, at a venue called Shaker and Vine, I will be presenting a new band of mine called Theoretical Planets. This group features my drumming and compositions, but also a number of talented young musicians from the Portland area. On tenor saxophone is Nicole Glover, who is really developing fast as a soloist. I predict great things from her in the future. Another phenom is Jon Lakey on bass. He's also a multi-talented multi-instrumentalist. The youngest member of the band, Aaron Riehs, still in high school, is a great alto saxophonist and composer. An alum of the Thara Memory American Music Program, he's already on his way to great things.

We had our first performance recently at the Camellia Lounge. Below are two youtube clips. The first clip features a tune called "Moment To Spare," which is a heavily mixed meter challenge. The tune is inspired by some of Ralph Peterson's music, and the drumming is obviously indebted to my love of Peterson's drumming aesthetic. The second piece is from Ornette Colman's record "New York Is Now": the tune was transcribed by Nicole Glover and it's called "Garden Of Souls." Get a taste of the band and then come see us live this Friday at 8pm at Shaker and Vine(2929 SE Powell in Portland). It's only 5 dollars; come on people, it's so cheap! In New York, you'd have to pay at least 10 dollars to see this group!

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