London…

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So I’ve made a big life change and moved to London, England with my excellent wife Steph.  It’s been almost 2 months and we’re loving it!

The city is endlessly full of things to do (needless to say) and the music scene is also really quite happening.  I’ve been checking it out little by little and am slowly networking, building connections, etc, a slow process in a new city!   However I am looking forward to getting involved in the great jazz and other music happening in London and across the UK.

Meanwhile I will be returning to the US for a couple weeks of busy activity in October with the release of the Ocular Concern album “Sister Cities” and at long last the debut of my new suite for the Kora Band that I’ve been writing for about a year!

Onward and upward!

Tunnel Six Tour!

I’m looking forward to another tour with the Canadian-American collective TUNNEL SIX, this will be our fourth annual tour of Canada and the NW U.S.!  We’re celebrating the release of our new album “Alive” recorded live last year on tour.  It’s always a pleasure to travel around with these fine musicians and friends and we’ve expanded our reach a bit this year to include several dates in Manitoba, where we haven’t been since our very first tour.  There’ll be blogging and photos at our site and at our Facebook page so stay tuned and we hope to see you soon!

Operation Northwoods out Today!

I’m really pleased with this new release on the PJCE Records label.  This is the fourth monthly release of new jazz from Portland on this new label that Dan Duval and I started this year.  This one features both of us alongside some NYC colleagues Douglas Detrick on trumpet and Hashem Assadullahi on sax.  Lots of great moments and it was really a pleasure to work with these great musicians in a super chamber-y setting with no bass or drums.  Challenging for sure but also rewarding.  Have a listen / have a download / buy a physical CD – enjoy!

New Tunnel Six Album!

I’m happy to announce a new album by Tunnel Six, the Canadian-American collective which was formed in 2009 at the Banff Centre Jazz Workshop.  This is our second release and it was recorded live on tour in 2012.  We’re excited about the vibe and energy of these performances and are looking forward to our upcoming tour in a few weeks (dates).

Meanwhile I hope you’ll have a listen and consider supporting the cause by purchasing this new record.  It’s up at our bandcamp page (and in the player below).  Enjoy!

New Trio Album out Today!

Well I’m very excited to release my first ever piano trio album today on my new label PJCE Records, which releases one album a month by Portland area jazz artists.

This one features Bill Athens on bass and Tyson Stubelek on drums.  Tyson and I have been playing together for over 10 years now and it was great to finally get to document our great musical connection on some new and old tunes by both me and Bill.

We recorded this one in December when Tyson was back from New York for Christmas in one long day.  Bill brought in some really fun tunes and I unearthed some very old tunes that I never really had the chance to record well (Standing Still Mountain, the Tea Suite) as well as writing some new ones for this occasion.

I’m really pleased with the results and with the progress of our little label so far.  We have the whole year of releases booked out so stay tuned at pjcerecords.org for a bunch of great music all year.  Meanwhile you can stream this one for free, download for $7, get the CD for $10.  Player below or click on the cover art above.  Happy Friday!

New Tango Remixes!

Alex Krebs and I have been working on a tango project for quite a while now, we released our first album last year featuring all new original tangos for dancing.  The last track, “Tango Mirage” was an “alternative” song we collaborated on with Maria Volonte, a great Argentine singer who was in town last year around this time.  There has recently been a little group of Portland tango dancers who have started dancing tango to dubstep music, which is surprisingly a great fit!  We decided to explore this idea and asked Halo Refuser and Kasata Sound to remix “Tango Mirage.”  Today we’re releasing the results in a little name-your-price EP.  Hope you enjoy!

New York / Conferences / Operation Northwoods

It’s always great to spend some time in New York City from time to time, and I’m here this and next week for several conferences and a gig, as well as the EXCELLENT Winter Jazz Fest which just finished up last night.

I attended the Jazz Connect Conference, an APAP-organized event, which was really interesting and gave some great insights into jazz programming and audience development for the new digital age.  Lots of great presentations by musicians, club owners, presenters, etc as well as time to hang a bit and meet folks.

Winter Jazz Fest was an amazing value, $45 for two nights each comprising 6 clubs featuring 6 bands over the course of the evening!  Friday we started out with a group featuring Ralph Alessi and Tom Rainey which was really interesting, then moved into an underground club to hear the Debo Band, an amazing Ethopian-Afrobeat type thing with SUPERB grooves.  Following that were sets at a cool indie-theatre by George Garzone and the Fringe, a long-standing Post-Coltrane sax trio from Boston, and then some great music from Nasheet Waits‘ group featuring Vijay Iyer.

Saturday night kicked off with an INCREDIBLE performance at Le Poisson Rouge of Rudresh Mahanthappa’s  new project Gamak featuring the otherwordly guitar playing of David Fiuczyinski who plays a bizarre double-necked guitar one of which is fretless, and the equally amazing drumming of Dan Weiss.  Francois Moutin held down the incredibly complicated basslines and Rudresh provided his trademark fast and super-exciting odd meter Indian-inspired alto sax lines on top.  I’m really looking forward to this new record coming out in a couple weeks.  More at Rudresh’s website.  The evening continued with some great work from guitarist Rez Abbasi and his new trio, who also have a new record out!  We finished it off with some really out sounds from Andrew D’Angelo and his group again featuring Nasheet Waits.

It was a crazy marathon of amazing music listening and now I’m looking forward to playing with Operation Northwoods at the Branded Saloon in Brooklyn tomorrow night.  This chamber-y outfit features NY trumpeter Doug Detrick and saxophonist Hashem Assadullahi as well as my Portland compatriot Dan Duval on guitar.  Here’s a little preview for that one, full details in the bar to the right:

Operation Northwoods – The Bureau of Fiction

Nasheet Waits' Equality

Rudresh Mahanthappa's Gamak

Debo Band

“Grand Piano Series” performance

I was recently featured on KMHD (Portland’s jazz radio) for an episode of Lynn Darroch’s “Grand Piano Series” which we recorded a couple of months ago at Jonathan Swanson’s studio in SW Portland.  One of the pieces I played was a new original, “Columbia”, which was originally written for a project that Darrell Grant commissioned from a bunch of Portland-area jazz composers to take to and perform in Siberia as part of a cultural exchange project he spearheaded last year.  I re-wrote and re-arranged the piece for this year’s Tunnel Six tour and performed a solo piano version of it which Lynn has graciously put up on YouTube.  Hope you enjoy!

Tango Quartet and other Summer Gigs

Well I’m back in Portland after a great tour with Tunnel Six through B.C., Alberta, Washington, and Oregon.  Stay tuned at our site for news on our upcoming live record and some audio from the tour, etc.  It’s always a pleasure to play with that great collection of unique individuals and we’re looking forward to another tour next year if all goes well!

Meanwhile I’m also looking forward to a summer full of activity, especially on the tango scene.  Alex Krebs and I have been collaborating on a bunch of original tangos for dancing for about a year, and our quartet will be performing quite a bit this summer, both at tango dances and concerts in Portland as well as a couple of really exciting out of town gigs at Seattle’s Tango Festival and at the Tango Element festival in Baltimore, where we’ll be joined by Alberto Podesta, one of the last living tango singers from the Golden Age of tango dance music in the 40′s.  Portland has a thriving tango dance scene, one of the best in the country in fact, and we’ve been working hard to write new tangos for dancing with many of the elements that making dancing to tangos from the golden age so compelling.  It’s rare these days to have a band creating new tango music for dancing rather than listening, and we’re attempting to fill the void.  Our debut album will be released in the next few weeks in time for our Seattle gig on July 14 and I’ll post a link when it’s up online.  Meanwhile you can hear some stuff at our Reverbnation page. Enjoy!

Other than the tango band, I’ll be around Portland with Bridgetown Sextet this weekend at the PPAA Swing Dance (Thurs) and Tony Starlight’s (Fri) and at the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival (July 22).  I’ll be appearing with Devin Phillips July 19 at the Mission Theater and July 8 at the Waterfront Blues Festival, and the Kora Band will be performing in Seattle at the Bellevue Arts Fair July 28 and the Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Garden August 16.