The first review of American Voices has appeared on the august website Sequenza21. Here’s a sample: “American Voices is, without doubt, a CD you need. The performances by Mr. Sacawa are amazing and the music selected is equally so. This is music that every sax player you know needs to perform and that every music listener you know needs to hear.” Stop, stop! I’m blushing. Okay, go on!
Sounds Like NowA blog by saxophonist Brian Sacawa
Archive for May, 2007
- Headwind going out and coming back
- Bitch in SUV insists on passing me on a descent despite the fact I am traveling in excess of 50mph
- Gears keep slipping on steep climbs
- 90-degree heat plus humidity
- Bad pavement
For most people who don’t follow professional cycling, I imagine the sport seems like a very individual pursuit. But teamworkâ€”an often overlooked portion of professional cycle racingâ€”plays an incredibly important role. The only race that Americans pay ay attention to is the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong’s 7-year dominance of it before his retirement 2 years ago. But there’s no way that Lance could have won any of those Tour de France without the team that he handpicked for himself. CSC, who have had their share of scandal recently (first Basso, then Riis) built their successes on solid teamwork. That’s one thing I loved about racing for Team Aggress in Arizonaâ€”we were all in the race to help each other or the rider we’d designated as the contender for any particular race. When I crashed out of the crit last year, I was blocking for my teammate who was soloing off the front. This year, that same teammate set up our friend Brian for the AZ Crit Championship with a selfless move on the last lap. However, the award for best teammate has to go to Leonardo Piepoli at this year’s Giro. Sacrificing any individual glory, which he had rightly earned, he gave RiccÃ³ Stage 15 and allowed Gibo reclaim some of his past glory on Stage 17. What a guy.
While my lovely assistant and I were in Rome last week it appears that a couple of tracks from the new CD were featured on Rob Deemer’s The Composer Next Door radio program along with recent recordings by So Percussion and Duo46. Missed the show? Me too. But check back soon for an mp3 of the broadcast.
We’re off to Rome today, a trip which will include sightseeing, relaxation, merriment, and of course, a concert of some very hard music. (Sadly, though, the Giro will be nowhere near us.) Don’t know if blogging will be possible from our pensione, so in the event that it’s not, ciao for a week. In the meantime, here are some photos from the 4/25 show at An die Musik LIVE! courtesy of my lovely assistant.
And the winner is . . . The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross! Scott Spiegelberg’s semi-annual listing of the top 50 classical music blogs (top 53 this time) is out and it’s no surprise that Herr Ross tops that list. SLN is honored to be included amongst the best of the rest coming in tied for 49th position with Elaine Fine’s Musical Assumptions. Well, Elaine, you can safely assume that it is not fine with me. I am an only child and do not know how to share. Therefore, I claim 48th place as my own. Mine.
Every pursuit has its innovators, people who are synonomous with their field and without whom we couldn’t imagine that field existing the way it does today. This thought came to mind twice yesterday. The first time was while I was watching Dogtown and Z Boys, Stacey Peralta’s documentary about the birth of modern skateboarding. Would there have been a Tony Hawk without Tony Alva or Jay Adams? Similarly in jazz, would there have been a Michael Breckerâ€”an innovator himselfâ€”without John Coltrane? Michael Jordan changed basketball. Jackson Pollock. Zeami Motokiyo. Andy Warhol. The Beatles. And so on.
The second time the innovation thought came to mind was during Dilettante’s set at the Red Room last night, where they were the second act on a triple bill that included local laptopper Myo as well as the crack duo of super duper original instrument producer Neil Feather and violinist and microtonal mistress Katt Hernandez. Dilettante was tight, excelling at focused short form improvisations, which were unpredictably busy and anxious. Percussionist Andrew Eisenberg played tastefully eradically. There seemed to be nothing that bassist Ryan McGuire didn’t hear. And alto saxophonist/bass clarinetist Josh Jefferson had a firm grasp on extended instrumental vocabulary. It was actually Jefferson’s playing that got me thinking about innovation again, namely one of the biggest innovators in free improvisation on the saxophone: John Zorn. You couldn’t not think of Zorn when Jefferson played because he was so into his bag. I’ve always had a bit of admiration for players that can mimic so wellâ€”I’m secretly jealous (well, it’s not all that secret anymore) of all the Kenny Garrett and Michael Brecker clones out there nowâ€”but at the same time I wonder how much fulfillment one feels playing a vocabulary that is so singularly associated with another player. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I didn’t really have any problem at all with the Zorn tribute. In the pursuit of a distinctive individual voice it’s imperative that we investigate and learn the vocabulary and style of those who have blazed the trail for us. Yet I believe there comes a point when one needs to shed that skin and synthesize all those influences into a unique voice that one can call one’s own.
Okay, first let’s play a bit of catch up. I have to keep reminding myself that this happened just over 2 weeks ago since it already seems like last year, but I did in fact play a recital in Baltimore at An die Musik LIVE!, a cool little performance space upstairs from the best classical music record store in the city. We were fortunate to be graced by the presence of three of the composers featured on the programâ€”Alexandra Gardner, whose piece Tourmaline has easily become one of my favorites, Michael Dupstrom, whose piano playing prowess rivals his considerable compositional talent, and Erik Spangler appearing as his ultra-hip alter-ego DJ Dubble8, the dedicated turntablist of Hybrid Groove Project. I was also aided by the rock solid, yet sensitive, percussion playing of Phil Kiamie and three virtuoso crystal glass players on David T. Little’s descanso (after omega), another one of my all-time favs. Many thanks to everyone who came out the show and subsequent “unnofficial” CD release party, especially to those who travelled from far and wide just to be there.
I was able to get a little R & R in after the show and immediately fled to NYC, where I finally got to meet Jerry Bowles, the patriarch of Sequenza21 and the reason I write online today, live and in person. We had a splendid lunch at Ralph’s and Jerry shared many stories about the good ‘ol days. NYC-ness continued the following weekend in the form of a performance at the Look & Listen Festival, where I once again trotted out Alex’s wonderful work Tourmaline. And although the event’s come and gone, you can still read the really nice preview from Time Out NY.
Just last weekend I was up in Boston performing music of the microtonal variety as Non-Zero teamed up once again with the ensemble NotaRiotus to perform Hillary Zipper’s the time of insects at the Boston Microtonal Society’s spring concert.
This weekend will be spent practicing feverishly in anticipation of a week-long sojourn to Rome which will culminate with a performance of music by Rome Prize winners Ken Ueno and Andrew Norman at the American Academy. whatWALL? comes out of hiding for its Rome-debut, Non-Zero conjures Rasheid Ali and John Coltrane in WATT and Andrew Norman joins me on piano for a reading of his work The Garden of Follies. With all this music to have under my fingers I’m having trouble appreciating the fact that I’m going to Italy, but luckily I’m traveling with a companion who will no doubt remind me to relax, look around, and enjoy my surroundings.
A little birdie reminds me that on this day in 1846, Adolphe Sax was granted a patent for his saxophone. The rest, as they say, is history.
It’s common knowledge that obituaries of well known figures are written well in advance of their demise. It’s from that bureau that we have the following video obit for Andrew Lloyd Webber.