Saturday, May 28, 2011



May 22, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 217 - Banned Rehearsal
Slow Blues X 2 - Keith Eisenbrey

An experiment - taking the recordings of both the solo and trio versions from the Jack Straw sessions and mixing them together. The result, as often with such experiments, is more interesting than successful. The respective piano parts proceed at somewhat different tempos, effectively unhinging the metrical and harmonic force of the written-down portion of the piece, moving it closer to the time-sense world inhabited by the improvised portion of the piece. The downside is that it is precisely the potent contrast of time-sense worlds that makes the trio version click.

Gradus 74 - Neal Meyer
Banned Rehearsal 772 - Banned Rehearsal

May 24, 2011
Meddlin' With The Blues - The Two of Spades

I was reminded of the giddily chaotic calliope music of the Bickleton Carousel in its hoary old age. 

Wailing Blues - The Cellar Boys
Body and Soul - Benny Goodman
Ko-Ko - Duke Ellington

I love the pianist's percussive anacrusis. (What is the plural of anacrusis? anacrusi? anacruses? anacrusises?) The dynamic range is pretty compressed on this recording (the one on the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz) - it must have really been spectacular live.

Get Happy - Harry Sweets Edison
Nice Work If You Can Get It - Sarah Vaughan/Miles Davis
That's All Right (live) - Elvis Presley

May 26, 2011
A Tall Cool One - The Wailers

The cuts generally improve through the course of the album. The piano on the first cut is kind of wimpy sounding, as though it were played on a spinet, or recorded poorly, or both. Isabella goes on my party mix any day. 


May 21, 2011

The  "StormSound" Cycle - S. Eric Scribner
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
with S. Eric Scribner, Mike Sentkewitz, Ivan Arteaga, Neal Kosaly-Meyer, Matt Kocmieroski, Dale Speicher, Jay Hamilton, Keith Eisenbrey, Bruce Greeley, Ryan Burt, David Paul Mesler, and Clifford Dunn

First of all, my sincere congratulations to Steve on the successful accomplishment of this mammoth task. Putting together nine plus hours of music with twelve performers and running it as efficiently as he did is not easy. My hat is off to you. Well done!

Nine hours is long for a piece of music, but the scale is in keeping with a spacious spirit. Processes spin out hugely in their own sweet time. If they proceeded any faster they would be radically different processes. For me the experience was very like that of committing to and taking a long and occasionally strenuous auditory day hike. One can only move so fast and it takes as long as it takes. No shortcuts. Although I found it physically challenging to sit and listen the whole time it was entirely comfortable to stand up and quietly move about the space if I needed to. Karen brought me a nice hot dinner (thank you!!) and we ate in the narthex/lobby while listening. There were several of us that stayed the whole time, and quite a few who attended for several hours. In the end I found the "ordeal" aspect of it to be much less of a problem than I had feared.

The day hike analogy works for me pretty well in all sorts of ways. The procession of musical imagery is like that of scenery going by rather than like, for instance, a detective novel. There is a preponderance of natural-sourced sound in the prerecorded material  - bird song, wind, fire, crickets, that sort of thing. Several times the birds in the actual out of doors seemed to be conversing with the birds of like species in the virtual out of doors. The sound made by the live performers might be the conversations we have along the path. Sounds returned over the course of the cycle variously transformed, as though the same geographical feature were seen from different vantages. Most of all it allowed me to hear the sounds as a part of what was happening in my world, rather than as a story or problem every detail of which demanded my attention.

The cycle consists of 21 sound files played into the room in sequence. Performers were assigned tasks of a generally musical nature to accomplish at certain times. The upshot of this is that the social interaction, and hence the musical interaction, between the players is essentially that of parallel play rather than ensemble play, i.e. we play at the same time, but aren't really playing together. There is little or no designed in detailed intent interaction between the people on stage. As a performer this is strangely not freeing, having more the effect of being set adrift or left in the lurch - neither having been given something specific, detailed, and socially engaging to do, nor being given carte blanche to completely be oneself in the situation - not enough score or far too much.

But all in all this was a splendid effort and I'm glad I took the time to experience the whole thing. It is a considered, imaginative, and brave project. There is much in this music to ponder, quibble though I might with aspects of its methodology.

Saturday, May 21, 2011



May 15, 2011
Skoodlum Blues - Jimmy O'Bryant

If there is such a thing as hot, this is it. Punk rock eat your heart out.

Song of the Islands - Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans - Ray Noble

There are an astounding number of arrangement ideas in this 3 minute piece. It made me wonder what the live dance-hall arrangements were like, since I presume they were longer.

Ko-Ko - Duke Ellington
Blue Skies - Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong
Southern Hospitality - Moon Mullican

It's such a little thing, the bluesy shake. But here it is rhythmically dead on.

Shake, Rattle and Roll - Elvis Presley

May 16, 2011
Symphony No. 8 - David Diamond - Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz

All in the acceptable muscular style of music as it was taught to be written.

Musique du Burundi - various

May 17, 2011
The Madcap Laughs and Barrett - Syd Barrett

The production of these records may have constituted a form of session-musician abuse, but the result is often nothing short of brilliant. They are quirky and deeply personal, not in the squishy heart-on-sleeve sense, but in the "nobody but Syd could have come up with this" sense. They veer wildly into near incompetence while simultaneously incandescing at white heat. His imagination may have pushed him toward ideas he didn't have the technical capacity to accomplish, but the fact that he tried so valiantly and so publicly is to his everlasting credit. One wonders if anyone else ever took the possibilities of Psychedelic Rock as seriously.

Gospel Noble Truths - Alan Ginsberg
A Different Kind of Tension - The Buzzcocks

May 20, 2011
One: twotext commentary - Benjamin Boretz

A slow progression over 35 minutes from single tones widely spaced through dyads widely spaced and pairs of dyads widely spaced through to sensual tetrads - widely spaced. The gold-standard for considered pianism.


May 14, 2011
Seattle Opera at McCaw Hall
The Magic Flute - Mozart

I sincerely hope that one day I will have an epiphany in regard to this opera, but in the past 20 years or so I have liked it less and less every time it comes up. It's weaknesses as a piece of theater are legion, the foremost among them being that there is no conflict that isn't resolved within the space of TV commercial. On top of that the text is preachy and hopelessly outdated. It provides full employment for costumers, and the staging looked very good - I only wish it had been in the service of something worth doing.

But my real complaint is that the music isn't even very good Mozart. Aside from the overture and the Papageno/Papagena duet at the end it is square and plodding, one damned thing after another. We look forward to the birdcatcher song IF the singer has enough charisma to pull it off, but then it just comes out as "hey, here's Mozart doing stupid".

May 16, 2011
Gradus 192 - Neal Meyer

May 19, 2011
Ensemble Rhizome - Cafe Venus / Mars Bar, Seattle

Amy Denio (vocals and accordion)
Jesse Canterbury (clarinet and bass clarinet)
Greg Sinibaldi (tenor saxophone)
Tom Baker (fretless guitar and electronics)
John Seman (bass)
Evan Woodle (drums)

Due to some confusion about bus schedules we didn't catch the first number or so, but I think we did hear most of this set by a big crew of the usual suspects. This is free jazz with no discernible heads, all scrapes and howls and rubbings and discovered intricacies of melody and rhythm. Gobs of fun - and balloons too!

We couldn't stay to hear the rest of the bands. Next time!

Saturday, May 14, 2011



May 8, 2011
Mudgett: Monologues by a Mass Murderer - J.K. Randall

An essay in envelopes and timbretypes presumably using some precursor to C-Sound. The combination of bleepbloop music with voice overtwined evokes an eerie air of dis-familiarity.

Symphony No. 22  "City of Light":" - Alan Hovhaness - Seattle SO/Hovhaness

No building of tension, nor any building of sonority really. Perhaps a building of presence or/and apartness. Cathedral, massy.

Two Interruptions - Keith Eisenbrey

My live performance in 2005, a bit clumsy.

War - U2

I love the way the drums sound, especially on the first cut. As though recorded in an empty room.

One: twotext - Benjamin Boretz

An expanding space in which each flotsamite also partakes of expanding space.

Banned Rehearsal 216 - Banned Rehearsal

Begins with a texture of ocarina and two plucked strummers, moving to two flutes and a single strummer. Whistleshrill and windup toys.

May 10, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 561 - Banned Rehearsal

Gently arousing sax & rattles, gradually cornet and larger percussion. Flatfooted drumming - a study in the delicate sense of what together is.

May 12, 2011
Hockets (midi version B) - Keith Eisenbrey
Gradus 172 - Neal Meyer

The idea of a note - franctured
The idea of pitch-class - melted

Saturday, May 7, 2011



April 30, 2011
Rhapsody for Orchestra - Roger Sessions - Columbus SO/Christian Badea
Interruption No. 2 - Keith Eisenbrey
Up The Hill Backwards/Crystal Japan - David Bowie
Pastorale for Helena - Aaron Keyt

May 1, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 215 - Banned Rehearsal

Develops an interesting sense of what a groove can be - instead of a base upon which to build, a transparent medium through which to sound the room. Participants were Karen, Aaron, and myself.

Banned Rehearsal 560 - Banned Rehearsal

orchestral, tantric, immovable. Participants were Pete Comley, Karen, Aaron, Anna, Neal, and myself.

Hockets (midi version A) - Keith Eisenbrey
Zoo Penguins - Keith Eisenbrey

May 5, 2011
Scratch - Blue Ribbon Syncopaters

Early punk jazz.

Night Life - Mary Lou Williams
Smiles - Charlie LaVere
Concerto for Cootie - Duke Ellington
Waiting for the Train to Come Home - Peggy Lee

This is about as perfect as a song can be. Peggy Lee genius!

Body and Soul - Lester Young
Partita for Piano (midi) - Benjamin Boretz
Symphony No. 2 - William Walton - Cleveland Orchestra/George Szell

Transformation anchored by head rhyme, with more than a hint of Debussy and Bartok.


May 6, 2011 
Seattle Composers Salon - Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Double Play - Doug Palmer

Tony Rondolone played sax and David Mesler played piano. cheery and fun.

Selections for the Storm Sound Cycle - Steve Scribner

I'm looking forward to hearing as much as I can of this 9 hour epic on the 21st of this month. I'll be playing a couple of times, as will many others. Don't miss it!

Langsam - Yvonne Hoar

Jennifer Yu played piano. I was having trouble getting into this piece until about 2/3 of the way in. The register shifted up and the musical material started to consider itself more carefully. In my humble opinion the first part seemed to operate as a kind of creative scaffolding - necessary to have written in order to get where it got, but not necessary to keep once there. Removing it would leave a stronger piece.

Excerpts with discussion - Ben Hogue

Thinking about the behaviors of music in non-linear environments, and the possibility of music evoking images of non-linearity.