Tuesday, May 28, 2013

June and July Gigs

Hi All

June and July are looking amazing with a lot of fun gigs to play.  I'll be celebrating my 40th birthday, then Vancouver Jazz Fest time will be upon us, followed immediately by South Delta Jazz Festival, my musical BFFs, Len Aruliah  and Rob Kohler will be in town....I'm positively buzzing with excitement about every one of these events.  Life is good!  Hope to see some of you blog readers out at these shows.

  • June 6 Lyle Hopkins String Trio. Propohouse CafĂ©, 8-10pm
  • June 8 Lyle Hopkins String Trio.  X-Cite Grill (El Barrio) 9:30- late
  • June 19 Jared’s 40th Birthday Party – Jared Burrows Quartet plus many guest musicians.  Presentation House Studio 8:00-10:30pm. $10 at the door.
  • June 22 Dave Robbins’ Electric Band.  Pat’s Pub. 3-7pm.
  • June 25 Dave Robbins Electric Band. (opening for John Scofield!!!) Vancouver Jazz Fest event at Vogue Theatre.  See http://www.coastaljazz.ca/ for details
  • June 29 Len Aruliah Sextet at Place Des Arts, Coquitlam. 7pm.
  • July 1 Jared Burrows SextetVancouver Jazz Fest. Event at  Ron Basford Park  at Granville Island. 5:30pm  See http://www.coastaljazz.ca/ for details
  • July 2-5 South Delta Jazz Festival – performances at noon every day with various bands.  Ladner Community Centre. See www.southdeltajazzfestival.com for details
  • July 5 Jazz Workshop Faculty Octet. St. John's Anglican Church, Ladner. 8pm. See www.southdeltajazzfestival.com for details
  • July 11 Len Aruliah Sextet at X-Cite Grill (El Barrio) 9:30- late

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Simulacrum: My Blog Post About a Blog

I spent the long weekend on holiday away from telephones and internet.  Mostly I paddled a canoe, chopped wood, and sat by a campfire. Coming back to 'civilization' was especially difficult this time for some reason.

In post-modern cultural theory, the term simulacrum refers to a copy of a copy where the relationship to the authentic and original has been lost or disconnected.   The distorted, disconnected copy becomes its own reality.  Is the internet the great simulacrum?  Are we living in it? It seems so to me at times, especially when I spend so much time updating websites, blogs, youtube channels, facebook etc.  It seems so much energy is poured into the virtual world that we often have little left for the real world, whatever that is.  What would Jean Baudrillard say if he were here?

Of course, all this talk is just an excuse to draw you deeper into the simulacrum of the blogosphere and invite you to visit the new Capilano U Jazz Studies Blog.  In my new gig as co-ordinator of the Jazz Studies Dept. at Capilano U, I am making an attempt to toot our horn (pun intended!) a little louder on social media and spread the word about the cool people who study and work at our school and the amazing (and very real and authentic) things they do.

And, in the event that you have not spent enough time in the simulacrum today, you can also visit our Cap Jazz youtube channel  or our facebook group.   Baudrillard does have a page on facebook and I did invite him to join, but he hasn't responded yet.  Don't worry, I hear facebook is working on a way to get status updates from the Great Beyond so I expect to hear from him any day now.

Meanwhile, I will hold on to what is left of my real life by drawing the line at tweeting or owning a cell phone.........

Friday, May 3, 2013


In early 2005 I got a phone call from Hari Pal, a tabla player who had just moved to town.  He asked if I was interested in playing music in an Indian classical style.  I was immediately interested as I had always been intrigued by Indian classical music, though I had no understanding of how it worked.  We had a short try-out session at SFU where I was a PhD student in Education at the time.  We played for about 30 minutes and Hari said, "You are very strong in rhythm.  This will work."  Very shortly after that, Hari contacted me to say he had found a sarode player by the name of Ken Wells and that we should try to make some music.  We hit it off very well and both Ken and Hari started showing me the rudiments of raga and tala - just enough to get me into real trouble!

Hari is a real go-getter and soon after that one rehearsal he set up a concert for us.  I have always been wont to jump in at the deep end. We quickly put together some traditional tunes by Ali Akbar Khan (Ken's guru), and I wrote a couple of original things.  The concert went extremely well and luckily someone had a video camera and some kind of audio recorder.  This video has been languishing in an outmoded file format on a broken DVD-R disc until today when I figured out how to extract the data and put the old video together with the audio from another source.  There are a few glitches in the video which have been filled in with still images, but the music is pretty good.  I must say that I am surprised listening to this eight years later at the fact that I did so well on my first time out. 

This show was the start of a long and very fruitful relationship with Hari and Ken in the band Ta Ki Ta and also the beginning (and I'm still just at the beginning 8 years later) of my study of Indian classical music and further collaborations with other musicians from the Hindustani and Karnatic traditions.

More video from this concert to follow if I can salvage it....

New Video - Lyle Hopkins String Trio

One of the really great things about teaching in the Jazz Studies Department at Capilano University is that I get to meet young students with outrageous amounts of talent and musicality.  Lyle Hopkins (bass) and Stefan Thordarson (violin) are two of those wonderful musicians.  Lyle graduated from our program last year and Stefan should graduate next year.  I have watched them develop from quite raw beginnings into mature players with a lot of depth, confidence, and vision.  While teaching Lyle in an ensemble class a few years ago, I had the pleasure of introducing him to the music of the Jimmy Giuffre Trio and showing him some notational ideas I had developed for structuring improvisations.  Based on his interest in the Giuffre material, Lyle wrote some new music and invited me to join his trio.

Fortunately, I was able to record the performance at Presentation House Studio last Wednesday with video and audio.  Unfortunately, a helicopter kept hovering over the venue and spoiling the sound.....you might hear a bit of that at the end of this clip.  At any rate, it was a fun gig and so much fun to play with these fine fellows.  Here we are playing Stef's tune, "You're Wearing My Shirt".

I am finally learning to edit video a little better these days. I am doing this because young people seem to be more interested in accessing music through youtube than by buying CDs.  That used to distress me to some degree, but I think I am getting used to it.  The video is just fine as is, but I do wish you could hear the sound as it was recorded in 24bit 96khz resolution. Here is Lyle's tune, "Little Bit".