So I had the coolest dream last night. I dreamt the I somehow got the chance to record an album with Nels Cline. We were at DNA Studios recording and he said that he liked the sounds I made. It was all really surreal, as most dreams are. Of course, near the end of the dream I made the mistake of expressing my awe of him. Thankfully all he said was, "Please, don't say that". I obliged him until my phone rang this morning.



So I'm on a little break from recording the soundtrack for CTM's production of Stuart Little. Just thought I'd write about the session a bit. Mark from The Selfish Gene is playing percussion. I'm really impressed with his playing. He's never heard any of the music until tonight and he's pulling out some really nice stuff. His time is impeccable also! Seems to be a very creative player.

Brennan Connors (sorry, no website, no link) is playing tenor, soprano sax and flute on the session. Brennan played with my group Tank! for a while before moving to Chicago to work on his degree at Roosevelt University. It's great to hang with him again. He's one of the best musicians I've ever played with and also one of the chillest cats ever. Very inspirational.

Gary from Tank! and The Dorothy Heralds is playing some trombone. Kevin from The Dorothy Heralds is playing midi files, etc. mostly. It's always a pleasure to hang and work with those guys. I guess that's why I work with them so much.

Slim from Good-N-Loud is engineering the session. I'm really beginning to like working with him. Great ears, funny guy and a great work ethic.
Anyway, the session's going smoothly and the beer is flowing freely. I'm sure some stories will come out of tonight, so stay tuned!


Derek Bailey is dead. Long live Derek Bailey!

I wasn't planning on posting another entry here until after the New Year, but the news of Derek Bailey's death came as a shock to me. I haven't followed his career that closely, but his book Improvisation had a huge impact on me. I'm not sure how it holds up as a scholarly work, but being shown how the thread of improvisation is woven throughout the history of music was a revelation for me.

I checked out some of his early recordings last night and I had another realization. Listening to his early recordings I finally was able to draw a line between his work and Bill Frisell's playing. This came as a complete surprise to me as I'd always wondered what Bill was channelling on the segues between tunes on his live trio album from the 80's. That album was a huge influence on me, both my approach to the instrument and conceptually. I'm still trying to figure out how to capture the beautiful abandon and angular melodicism displayed on that recording. This gives me another piece of the puzzle!

Rest in peace, Derek!

Derek Bailey's record label, Incus
Site with audio and video clips, etc.


Christmas Time Is Here

... and gone.

I had a great Christmas this year. I got to spend it with some of the most important people in my life for which I'm very thankful. I completed a short EP of Christmas carols arranged for solo guitar for my family. My parents seemed to enjoy it which was a bit of a confidence booster. While playing the CD for my family, my brother-in-law asked who it was. This also was a big confidence booster!

This time of year tends to be a time of reflection for me as I'm sure it is for many people. I feel pretty good about my acomplishments this past year and I'm looking forward to a very challenging 2006. Lots of plans to execute. Many opportunities to take advantage of and to create for myself. Here's a little peek into my plans for this next year.

  • Gigs, gigs, gigs

  • Recording a new Dorothy Heralds album

  • Recording the first Tank! album

  • Touring

  • Release of the new Josh Harty album, One Particular Day In December

  • Completing a rhythm guitar book

  • Starting school full time

  • More sound design work

I'll also be working on an album with Michelle Sawyer, the vocalist/percussionist in Tank!. You should check out her band Two Timer. They're a lot of fun and a great group of people.

I'm also looking forward to getting the website completed. I'm working hard on getting some lessons and audio up before going live. Also working on that damn press kit... blech!

Among other things of course.... See y'all next year!


Heh, so that's what blogs are about...

Not posting... ever....

Oh well, I've been working on my site at N8spg. I've had a lot happen in the past few months since my last post here. I won't try to get into it all, but for some highlights...

The first weekend in December I went up to Minneapolis to record the new Josh Harty album. It was a blast. A lot of crazy stuff happened that weekend. I haven't heard any of the mixes yet, but from what I did hear it's going to be pretty cool.

I've been working on music for the Madison Children's Theater's production of Stuart Little with Gary and Kevin from the Dorothy Heralds. That's taken up a lot of my time lately. The show opens Jan. 6th 2006. We'll be recording all next week most likely with Slim from Good-N-Loud. Slim's got a great ear and a pretty neat guy all around. He's also recording the pre-production demos for the Dorothies next album.

Other than that I've been keeping busy with transcriptions for my group, Tank!. I'm also working on an album of Christmas carols arranged for solo guitar, etc. I've also been reading a lot. The therapist I'm seeing has recommended a number of books, which I haven't gotten around to purchasing yet. She loaned me one that I'm almost done with. Thinking about one's personality and how you deal with the situations in your life has been sort of refreshing for me. It's amazing how you can feel a certain way about a decision or action, then you sit and look at it and your feelings about it tend to change. So much for the unreflected life....

So, that's all for now. I'm eagerly awaiting the Bill Frisell and John Zorn performances in Minneapolis next year.



So it's been a while... seems like the typical way these things go. You start off with the intention of posting everyday, and within days or weeks you've begun to neglect your new blog. Oh well!

So I've started picking up a few more students, and I'm on track to never have to get another day job again! I have been concerned about how young some of my students are. Having to teach a 5 grader can be a little nerve wracking. I don't want to make her do boring scale exercises the whole time, but then again should I really be teaching her "Crazy Train"? I thought that maybe working with her on clavé would be cool, but is that too advanced? I don't know. I just know I have to figure it out by Monday....

My new group Tank! played a couple of shows this week. In the rehearsals leading up to the shows this joke got thrown around:
Person One: What's the name of your band?
Person Two: Jazz band.
Of course this is one of those jokes you just have to experience during a six hour rehearsal. While we all had a great laugh with this one, something dawned on me during the second tune of our first show this week. I'm onstage and we break into the tune "Tank!" (from which we've obviously derived our name) and I realize that there's no way we could be called a "jazz band" or that even the music we're playing could be called "jazz". It's too loud and it rocks too much. I think we've begun to capture that punk-like aesthetic exhibited by players like Marc Ribot. Not that we're on that level, but I think we've begun tap into that attitude while playing some pretty difficult music.

I want to thank Dave Esmond for putting the show together. I was only able to catch the very end of his set, but it's obvious that he's a very good player that serves the tune rather than his own ego. He's also got a great tone! You can check him out at Home of Squirt.

We played yesterday at the UW Terrace. It was an interesting gig. It was definitely the first time I could hear our vibraphone player onstage! The sound guys there really are fantastic. So, yesterday was probably the hottest day in Madison so far this year. Absolute hell on stage. So we get through the first set and take a break. After our set break a storm rolls in over the lake. While this may not be an issue for a lot of bands, it was for us. We're in the middle of a tune, in fact I'm in the middle of a solo, and I'm really getting into the moment. Suddenly, the wind picks up and music stands, etc. start blowing over! Well, that's fine and good right? Except for the fact that I don't have the tune memorized, and my music is blowing all across the Terrace! Thankfully, there were some very kind people that grabbed what they could and passed the sheets back to us. We were able to finish the tune and get loaded out before it started to rain too badly.

I also have to thank my good friend Sean Gillette for reminding me to write my thoughts here. He just started a new blog here. Stop by and say hello sometime...


858 1-4

Again, I'm not keeping up with this as much as I'd like. Updates, updates, updates.

Met with the guys from the Weather Report thing. It was an interesting night. Lots of old war stories thown around. Of course some expectations were presented, or hinted at rather. It's a bit odd to think about, but I'm already in groups with three of the four cats. The idea is to use Weather Report as a jumping off point. Sometimes the hardest part of starting a band is determining the group's identity. Having an initial idea like this is generally a good thing, as long as no one tries to restrict it to that initial identity. Groups have a way of turning out some wonderful and surprising work when they're allowed to grow in an organic fashion.

I'm still looking for the right day gig to give my life some financial stability. It's difficult when I've committed to so many different projects. However, the music that I'm creating now is definitely benefitting from all the time I've been dedicating to these projects. It's just like anything else (as I'm fond of saying these days), just putting in the time will make all the difference in the world.

I'm finally redeeming all the free tunes I've won from iTunes. I just grabbed the new Bill Frisell album, Richter 858. It's pretty amazing. For a long time I was starting to worry that Frisell was just going to stick with the whole ambient americana thing he was doing for a while. It's nice to hear him stretch out more. And of course, I am partial to dissonant musics so I'm in hog heaven right now.


...and they did

So a few days away from this and you'd think I'd have accomplished something. Well, you're wrong. Politics with the various projects I'm in are going well at least. It'll be interesting who sticks with all of them and who actually winds up on the bandstand at the first gig. The Weather Report gig (tentatively titled "Six degrees of Weather Report") is starting to get interesting. Not only are the tunes pretty easy (except for the fact that I'm copping Wayne Shorter on a guitar, a GUITAR!) but there's a ground swell of ideas to actually modernize the tunes and make them our own. It may just turn into a real band instead of a pick-up gig of sorts.

That's enough for now. I've got to do some work on the website (which can currently be reached here. Have to put up a lesson area, etc. So stay tuned for my reveiw of the El Clan Destino/Youngbloods Brass Band Show a few weeks ago.

Have fun!


And you thought the beats stopped....

I've only been awake for thirteen hours at this point, but damn it still seems like a long day. Lots of practicing (reading through the Charlie Parker Omnibook) and lots of searching for jobs. Not a whole lot out there that will let me set my own hours. Made coffee and forgot about it for two hours. Now that's abuse.

Got together with Gary (bassist from TDH and ELQ). He's putting together something of a Weather Report tribute band. Now there's a new idea, put together bands that play just like the great jazz combos. Funny. The reaction he's been getting from people when they find out is also humorous. Everyone expresses an interest and then almost sarcastically wishes him "good luck". We sat down tonight to pick tunes to work on before the first rehearsal. I tell you, sometimes I'm amazed that these guys are venerated by jazz-heads and musos. There is some really sickly-sweet schlock on their albums. God it's horrible. Should be interesting carving out space in the group as a guitar player though. I'll definitely be able to straddle the sax/synth division.

Need sleep. Have to make sure to bring my homework from two weeks ago to class. Ugh. I-IV-V-I progressions in E minor. yay.


A long winter night....

So, now that my stint as a contractor ("sub" contractor that is) for the State is up, I've decided that this of all times would be perfect to increase the amount of time I spend with a guitar in my hands. However, it seems that for every twenty minutes I spend practicing or writing; I spend an hour and twenty minutes with my fingers blazing at the keyboard. Go figure.

My spy-jazz quartet (The Evan Lurie Quartet) had our first gig this past Friday at the Hemingway Cigar Lounge in Fitchburg, WI. Thanks to all of you who came out. A number of trainwrecks were avoided and a good time was had by all. The night didn't start off so rosily though. I have to give a big thanks to Anthony Cao and his girlfriend for being so gracious when they walked in and saw our rigs set up. Apparently there had been a mix up in the booking since the management had changed. Anthony, I owe you a drink or two!

Otherwise, looks like we might be hooking up for a celebration of the Taco Bell Boycott coming to an end. (http://ciw-online.org/ for more info) If everyone can do the show (and we can get on the bill), we'll be doing a few tunes from the Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Prostizos albums. Fun.

Must return to working on the website, http://www.guerillabeatz.com.