Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fred Stride's Birthday

Today is the birthday of the wonderful composer and educator, Fred Stride.

Fred was very important in my early development as a musician. In the summer before my grade eleven year at high school, I went to a summer music program at UBC and was playing first clarinet in Martin Berinbaum's wind ensemble.  After only a day or so of playing in that group I was not having fun playing that music and was beginning to think that all the work of preparing and auditioning for that group had been a waste of time and that being a musician was not such a great thing. I felt anonymous and unappreciated in that huge ensemble and felt no emotional connection to the music.

During a break I happened to wander from the Old Auditorium over to the music building and discovered that there was a jazz orchestra of other young musicians rehearsing there.  Fred was directing the band.  When I heard the music they were playing I felt what I can only describe as a call from the music, I felt a connection inside and I knew that I wanted to play in that band and to ditch the wind ensemble as soon as possible.

 At that time I was playing guitar with some competence in a jazz quartet with some friends and we had even played some gigs, but to that point my jazz playing had been almost entirely by ear. I really had no idea what the guitar was supposed to do in a jazz orchestra (still trying to figure that out in some ways!), my music reading on the guitar was terrible, and the music Fred's band was playing was much more difficult and demanding than the stuff we were playing at my school.  I have never been a timid sort and so I boldly approached Fred and told him I wanted to quit Marty's wind ensemble and join his group. I don't remember exactly what he said, though I had a sense that this sort of thing was not often done and what I was asking was not particularly appropriate.  I wanted to leave the group for which I had auditioned in the middle of rehearsals for a concert to join a band where there was really no space for me and for which I was not really musically prepared.

Fred must have somehow sensed my sincerity and desire to play jazz because he arranged things with Marty and later in the afternoon there I was sitting in the jazz orchestra, happy as could be.  I learned a whole lot in those next few days of playing and was in awe of Fred's knowledge of the music.  Many lessons were learned that have stayed with me over the years.

Tonight at the Len Aruliah Sextet gig at Presentation House Studio we'll be playing Len's arrangement of my tune, "For Fred Stride", and sending good vibrations his way.

Thanks for everything, Fred, and happy birthday!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Vibration Alters Consciousness

I have lately been corresponding via email with a number of very intelligent students.  I always have my best ideas while I'm teaching.  Somehow the desire to help or to respond to a query improves and focuses my thought patterns.  While writing a letter to Thomas today, the following idea (among others) emerged:

Don't forget that music is capable of bringing about much good in the world. The ancient writers of the Vedas understood thousands of years ago that vibration alters consciousness.  That is your true calling (and mine too of course) as a musical artist; to alter for the better the reality and consciousness of the people who hear you and to awaken them to a more profound understanding of their own worth and potential as living beings.  If you let it, this could become a tremendous motivating factor in your musical growth and development. 

I am pretty happy with that advice for Thomas and for me and will think about it (and try to DO it) some more this week while playing the string of cool gigs that start tomorrow night. See the previous blog entry for listings. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Music, music, music

I know, I know, I haven't blogged in ages....and I'm sorry to say this won't really mark the start of anything new in that direction.  Look for more interesting posts later in April.  The good news is that I have been incredibly busy working on musical projects that I enjoy with wonderful musicians.  The fruits of those labours will be available to the public as follows:

April 10
Recyclers @ Kozmik Zoo
8:30pm. 53 W. Broadway
Len Aruliah (saxes), Jared Burrows (guitar), Al Johnston (bass), Stan Taylor (drums). Inspired by Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz and associated musicians, the band plays new melodies on old tunes. Everything old is new again. Go green with the Recyclers!

April 11
Zapato Negro @ Capilano University
11:30am, North Van Campus, room Fir 113.
I'll be playing a few tunes with the hottest latin band in the city (maybe in the country!).  Allan Johnston (bass), Soto (drums), and Andre Carresquero (piano).

April 11
Burrows/Maskell/Reed/Taylor @ Presentation House Studio
8:00pm. 333 Chesterfield in North Van. $10 at the door, free tea and cookies.
Jared Burrows (guitar), Clyde Reed (bass), Colin Maskell (saxes), Stan Taylor (drums). An evening of free improvised music.

April 18
Len Aruliah Sextet @ Presentation House Studio 
8:00pm. 333 Chesterfield in North Van. $10 at the door, free tea and cookies.
Len Aruliah (saxes), Jared Burrows (guitar), Joe Poole (drums), Colin Maskell (saxes), Lorne Kellett (piano), Brent Gubbels (drums). The sextet plays a concert of Len's original tunes. The music is very much inspired by the work of Kenny Wheeler and features intricate contrpuntal melodies and beautiful harmonies.

April 20
Brad Muirhead Trio @ 1067 
1115b E Hastings (entrance is lower door on Glen)
Brad Muirhead (bass trombone), Jared Burrows (bass guitar) and Stan Taylor (drums). Free improv plus Brad's original music played by a trio with over 20 years of history on the bandstand.

May 15
Dave Robbins Electric Band @ Kozmik Zoo
8:30pm. 53 W. Broadway
Rocking electric jazz fusion with Dave Robbins(drums/compositions), Brad Turner (keys), Jared Burrows (guitar), Evan Arntzen (tenor sax) and Kerry Galloway (bass).

May 28
The Offering of Curtis Andrews @ Kozmik Zoo
8:30pm. 53 W. Broadway
Indo-Afro-Jazz-Rock music composed by drummer Curtis Andrews and performed by Curtis, Colin Maskell (tenor),  JP Carter (trumpet),  Jared Burrows (guitar),  Tommy Babin (guitar), and Russel Shumsky (percussion).

May 30
Dave Robbins Electric Band @ Cellar Jazz Club
Rocking electric jazz fusion with Dave Robbins(drums/compositions), Brad Turner (keys), Jared Burrows (guitar), Evan Arntzen (tenor sax) and Kerry Galloway (bass).

June 7
Dave Robbins Electric Band @ El Barrio
9pm.  2270 E Hastings
Rocking electric jazz fusion with Dave Robbins(drums/compositions), Brad Turner (keys), Jared Burrows (guitar), Evan Arntzen (tenor sax) and Kerry Galloway (bass).

June 29
Jared Burrows Trio @Vancouver International Jazz Festival
12-2pm at Canada Place stage.
Jared Burrows (guitar), Rob Kohler (bass), Stan Taylor (drums).  Orginal tunes, standards, and mprovised music from a trio that has been working together for over 10 years.

July 1
Len Aruliah Quartet @ El Barrio 
9pm.   2270 E Hastings.
Len Aruliah (saxes), Jared Burrows (guitar), Rob Kohler (bass), Stan Taylor (drums)

Noon-hour concerts every day at Lander Community Centre and other venues in Ladner and Tsawwassen.  Big evening show July 6 and final student concert at Delta Hospital grounds on July 7.  Featuring an international cast of great musicians:  Len Aruliah (saxes), Brad Muirhead (bass trombone), Bill Clark (trumpet), Stan Taylor (drums), Rob Kohler (bass), Stephen Robb (clarinet/piano), plus students of the south Delta Jazz Workshop and special guests.