Monday, April 25, 2005

NPR : Dave Holland, Working Some Big-Band 'Overtime'

NPR : Dave Holland, Working Some Big-Band 'Overtime'

I had the pleasure of listening to the Dave Holland Big Band perform. Wow! What an experience! This will definitely reverberate in my own arrangements...I loved hearing the fabulous execution of some really challenging but highly accessible (whatever that means) music. Was moved by the settings Dave creates for his players to express. Background lines and supporting elements added so much - a great deal of craft on all levels. So much invention...and those meters...funny thing was I didn't think about meter much at all while listening (just had a vague sense that what I was hearing was really being played well) - was mostly mesmorized by the harmonic lines and flow...and of course the terrific soloists.

At this particular gig (Eugene, Oregon...April 10, 2005 at The Shedd) Dave and band took the stage - he mentioned that it had been a rough day of travel (having to plead his case to bring his bass on the plane) but that seeing everyone in the audience made it all worth it. He also mentioned before that by the end of the evening we'd know each of the players much - and boy was that spot on! After the end of the night, each and every player had had a memorable moment (or two or three...) to shine in some extended context. I'd love to honor all the players with some affectionate note or two, but a line or two on a select few will have to suffice for now:

Robin Eubanks - for his solo work and composition Mental Images. What a treat.

Duane Eubanks - a fantastic solo on Mental Images! Really loved the pacing of his playing. Shows a great deal of thought even in a fast past spontaneous moment.

"Sasha" - (more on this once I get my liner notes) - beautiful solo work. He can do it all and then some!

Chris Potter - I really enjoy his work with Dave Douglas too...Chris' ability to take a solo to a "place" (don't know how else to describe it) is amazing to witness.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Random Jazz Musings

...and so the two Jazz men exited the trailer park, horns and cheat sheets hastily packed away, and drove west, into the sunset, leaving behind what would eventually come to be known as their definitive musical legacy.

Monday, April 18, 2005

A Cowboy Called Lightning - Composer Plug

A Cowboy Called Lightning - If you're a small theatre company looking for a fun & original musical play, consider "Cowboy" - I was presented with Dorinda Clifton's script in 2002 and got lazy. Then I got busy on it...then I got lazy again. But at some point I'd realized it was done - I'd finished the 39 or so short musical cues I set out to write. It was originally a play...the musical version retains the spirit of her play with the addition and integration of several musical numbers. It's truly a musical play.

After composing was completed (sometime in 2004) I put together a very quick demo (with me doing all of the voices; not ideal but it was usually late at night or very early in the morning when I did it - had to get it done!) - but ya know, it works. I could plead for you to "suspend belief" and hear beyond the raw composer demo, but I won't! (But please, please do!)

Anyway, if you are looking to do a show and don't have a lot of dough (ha! or especially if you do)...then (punch line please...) this is the show for you. Suitable for a diverse cast of beginners or pros, "A Cowboy Called Lightning" will be an entertaining show for all audiences.

Contact me for more information on obtaining a script and a complete CD of the musical numbers.

Production materials currently include:

* Complete Script/Lyrics
* Complete Vocal/Chorus score with Piano, Bass, Drum/Percussion parts.

Additional ensemble parts (Clarinet, Flute, Violin, Cello, French Horn) can be added provided performance dates are set at least 4 months in advance.

All materials herein (c) Rob Birdwell (Music) and Dorinda Clifton (Story, Script, Lyrics)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Blowholes - our first sounds

The Blowholes audio teaser: Frumpy (MP3 excerpt) - here's a brief sampling of our "Blowhole" sound, recorded live on April 11, 2005. Made up of talented musicians from the Corvallis, Albany, and Philomath, Oregon areas) and formed in early 2005, The Blowholes are (I think) something special. Most of us have and continue to gig together under various band names, yet the formation of The Blowholes gives us a unique outlet for original material (no fake book or head charts on our stands, thank 'e kindly) and showcases a great rhythm section as well as a "front down" horn section (rather than being relegated to relentless "backup" duties all the time).

The compositions and arrangements I've written are specifically for "The Blowholes" - these vehicles allow for a good deal of ensemble invention as well as ample opportunities for improvisation and stretching out. Naturally, I look forward to writing tunes that bring out the best in each of the players. All in good time.

We certainly look forward to performing for you in the near future.

The Blowholes are:

Rob Birdwell – Trumpet, Flugelhorn (Music Director)
Jim Guynn – Alto Sax
Andy Nelson – Tenor Sax
Mike Bevington – Trombone
Cheryl Leckie – Bass, Tuba
John Bliss – Guitar
Jeff "The Viking" Morre – Drums

For booking and/or additional information, contact:

Rob Birdwell