Thursday, November 30, 2006

X Factor - a new tune for small combo

I usually write out my tunes first, then record them, but with this particular tune, (entitled "X Factor") I decided to record a simple demo with some percussion, bass, guitar and Flugelhorn. Now that it's scored (and you can download the parts from the links below), I'm pretty happy with the form and chords - the melody is understated...and there's some room to grow (for example when it's arranged for a larger group)...and that's sort of nice I think. In my demo solo (my first real stab at playing through the changes) you can hear that I'm exploring a bit, testing the waters with some ideas, but it's "real" and but a mere moment of making music with the machines in my basement! Naturally, this musical setting will be much more fun to bring to life with the guys in the XTET! There's nothing particularly deep about the title "X Factor" - X is a pretty snazzy little letter (it marks the spot, so they say) and over the last three years I've enjoyed many-a-gig with the XTET guys...and that musical relationship is extremely meaningful and deep- so that's "X Factor" I suppose. Enjoy!

X Factor (MP3 Audio Demo) by Rob Birdwell

X Factor (Bb Flugelhorn Part) by Rob Birdwell

X Factor (Concert Lead Part) by Rob Birdwell

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Boogie Boogaloo - Score Demo

In the spirit of the blues, Boogie Boogaloo provides a unique chord progression to blow over with a melody that lays and plays right! Introduce this tune to your small group and get 'em dancing! I encourage public performances of my work...all I ask is that your keep me posted of when and where you perform my work. I'm always interested in live recordings of my tunes, so send me a link if you make a particular hot live recording. And do contact me if you have more "commercial" interests for any of these tunes - I encourage those too!

Boogie Boogaloo - B Flat / Flugelhorn Part, by Rob Birdwell
Boogie Boogaloo -Concert Part, by Rob Birdwell

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Blue In You - Score Demo

This tune is evocative of many of the 50's and 60's era Be-Bop and Hard Bop tunes I love. It's pretty fun to play and the chord changes are nice to blow/pluck/hammer over. Download the lead sheets (below) to "Blue In You" and try it out with your own group. The lead sheets are the latest version (revised from the cheesy flash bouncing ball demo), complete with a coda for an ending. Enjoy and let me know if you perform it or want to record it. (That's encouraged!)

Blue In You (Bb Trumpet Part) by Rob Birdwell
Blue In You (Concert Rhythm Section Lead Part) by Rob Birdwell

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rob Birdwell, Top of the Valley - Musician

Thank you Gazette-Times / Democrat Herald (a Corvallis and Albany, Oregon newspaper) and the voters...whoever you are! I'm honored to play with some truly great musicians in this area. There are numerous fantastic teachers, incredible performers, and sensational musicians in this area...I am sincerely humbled!

Rob Birdwell

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Valery Ponomarev's Big Break

This article should be of interest to fellow musicians, especially when traveling to Paris with your instrument. Here's my take:

Valery Ponomarev, a world class Jazz Trumpet player, attempted to board his Paris to New York flight with his precious 1961 Connstellation Trumpet as a carry on. However, French airport personnel insisted the instrument be stored in a place they call "l'hold," which when translated from the French means, roughly, "the place where all Trumpets get crushed."

Long story short: words were exchanged, wills were tested, passions flared, and Mr. Ponomarev's arm was broken in an apparent scuffle with airport security. The police actually claim Mr. Ponomarev broke his own arm by "rebelling" - interesting.

Mr. Ponomarev allegedly endured 6 hours without treatment, but fortunately survived to play another day - and that's some very good news. Still...

In a country that doesn't even put lane lines in their swimming pools so as not to impede an individual's personal freedom to swim wherever they want to ("Pourquoi avons-nous combattu la revolution ?") this recent airport fiasco in Paris underscores the challenges faced by airline passengers, especially musicians, who are merely seeking assurances that their valuables will be stowed as safely as possible.

"L'hold" may be good enough for luggage and travel bags that can absorb a certain amount of impact, but maybe, just maybe, airlines will consider alternative storage space for les instruments extraordinaire. If these storage spaces exist, then airline personnel must be trained to assure passengers that their instruments will indeed be stowed accordingly. Maybe then there will be fewer crushed instruments and even fewer broken arms.

Rob Birdwell

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blue In You - new music for Jazz Combo

A few days ago this riff/tune was going through my head and seemed eternal. How could I ever forget it? But then my day got going and at some point I realized the tune was gone! Usually I write enough of my little ditties down so that I can expand on them (or toss them out!), but I got lazy on this one. Flash forward a few days: at 1 am my previously lost tune (or something close enough to it) comes back!! Yippee! I call this one "Blue In You" - it's just a little musical setting; something for the Jazz cats to blow over. Maybe someday I'll expand on the arrangement, but here it is in its simplified forgotten tune, remembered! Feel free to perform it with your own group (encouraged) and keep me posted on any live performances (highly encouraged) as I'm interested, and let me know if you record it on your next CD (also highly encouraged). Here are the links to audio and parts:

Blue in You (MP3 Rendition from Finale Score)

Note: these lead-sheets reflect the newly revised coda/ending section:
Blue In You (Bb Trumpet Part) by Rob Birdwell
Blue In You (Concert Rhythm Section Lead Part) by Rob Birdwell

Birdwell Music Gabcast #3 - Blue In You - small combo version - listen to me gab on my cell phone about my new tune, "Blue in You"

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Trumpetular Jamming

Birdwell Music Gabcast #2 - Trumpetular Jamming

A very brief improvisation with no clear agenda other than hearing how my new copper Jo Ral bubble mute sounds over a celular connection...oh, and of course seeing if I can convey a mere hint of musical meaning through these strange and wonderful technologies...but what do I know...I'm just a caveman trumpet player.

Rob's first Gabcast - XTET Jazz October 12, 2006 at Bombs Away

Birdwell Music Gabcast #1 - Rob's first Gabcast - XTET Jazz October 12, 2006 at Bombs Away

Just testing this feature out - yikes! Do I really sound that dorky?! Must be the cell phone - some of my golden tones get lost in the cellular transfer...wait, yes, I do sound that way normally...oh well. The XTET plays live Jazz in Corvallis: Bombs Away Cafe, Thurs., October 12, 7:30 - 10 PM. Come on out...should be fun!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rob Says Hello

So I finally give in and get a cell phone (again) with vague plans to do some audio blogging (and we all know how great a trumpet can sound through a cell phone, right folks!?), when audioblogger says they're calling it quits on their service!

Well, thanks to Gabcast, I'm still in the game! So now you can look forward to some insightful audio messages from this one (press to play - I just say "Hello", but with style and grace):


Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Week of Jazz

It was quite a busy week of music - a couple gigs in Portland and then Bombs Away here in Corvallis; all with the XTET of John (Guitar), Mike (Bass), Viking (Drums), with Lou Chavez subbing on one night on Drums, and myself (Flugelhorn/Trumpet). David Rosowsky sat in on Bass for a few, which was very nice. Among the usual corndogs of Blue Bossa and other brilliant (and some horrid) standards there were a smattering of originals offered up. And maybe I'm just gig weary, but a very few of the so-called "standard" tunes just aren't doing it for me these days - maybe I'll come round - but sometimes I feel like a select few of these chestnuts need to be taken behind the proverbial barn and "Old Yeller'ed". Or maybe just a fresh approach would be more civil - yes, I suppose that's the ticket. Anyway...

The gigs in Portland were for week long engineering convention where we performed on two separate evenings - a Monday evening at the Portland World Trade Center and a Wednesday performance at the Portland Art Museum, which I must visit with my family since in only five minutes of perusing I was able to see works of art by several artists whose works I'd actually studied - truly world class stuff! A work by Robert Rauschenberg - a layered transparent thingy under fluorescent light - caught my attention, although as you can tell by my description the art class I recently took did not exactly improve my powers of perception...but I was happy that I was at least aware of some of the works and artists and it will be fun to return and explore some more!

In other news - new workout swimming times to report: 200 free: 2:08; 200 IM: 2:27 (from the wall, drag suit of course). That'll do for now pig...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Carmike Corporate Propoganda

The following is a minor rant I sent to Carmike Cinema's corporate site - will probably get lost in the mix. (Thank goodness for blogs!) I just found the pre-show spot to be so terrible I felt compelled to complain. If you were in attendance and saw Carmike's new "All Digital" promotional advertisement (or whatever it was called - see? The actual point of the promo didn't register with me!) then maybe you'll share some of my sentiments... my letter goes something like this:

Your new "Carmike" promotional spot, the one espousing the virtues of Carmike's various digital services, its digital projection capabilities, etc., is pure #$%@! The spot ran tonight before "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" and (I'm not kidding) nearly spoiled the entire evening for me and I'm certain many others in attendance! If there was anything funny, interesting or at all appealing about the piece it would almost be redeeming - but there is not! The marriage of music to visuals is most horrid - I wanted to escape the theater - it was absolutely maddening. But then, when the spot continued on and on for what seemed like five minutes, it seemed obvious to me that the team that put this thing together was clearly was out of their minds.

The spot, which was presumably produced to accentuate the virtues of Carmike (as if Carmike has some sort of lien on digital technology), does quite the opposite. It was insulting to me - after shelling out good money to be entertained - to have to sit through what seemed to me to be some sort of corporate sermon. What did we all do to deserve this? Are we not attending movies enough? With a pre-show prelude like this, it's no wonder.

Please pull the spot, fire the folks that put it together and realize that people go to movies to be entertained. Bag the propaganda and the mind-numbing self-indulgent corporate spots - your audience won't take it.

Rob Birdwell

Thursday, August 03, 2006

New Studio Tracks Coming - Someday

Just a post to get back to my musical roots - in addition to playing scores of Jazz gigs over the last year I've been chipping away at my own "produced" tracks. At first I thought I'd release a collection of purely "Jazz" tunes - nothing pop, country or disco! But it turns out that that is just too much of a restriction for me! And it's very challenging, for me at least, to write, produce and perform a purely Jazz CD (whatever that means in this day and age) with a band of one! Try as I might, I simply couldn't resist writing some tunes with vocals. I'm even experimenting with a story-telling, poetry thing with a jazzy/funk underscore. I'm shooting for about 8 tracks for the CD. No date projected for the release but I'm hoping to get something out by late 2006 or early 2007. I've got a few in the can already...well, sort of.

Possible titles on my yet-to-be named CD include:
  • Shameless
  • Aerostar
  • Ghost at the Gig (The Ballad of Frankie Templeton)
  • Lament
  • Listen To The Children
  • Homemade Movie
  • Incantation #1, #2, #3
  • ... ??

This will clearly be a "homemade" work - written and recorded in my basement studio! But I'm hopeful I will capture a little of what I had in my head to the tracks.

More to come I suspect...


Dog Days of Summer

Just saw "An Inconvenient Truth" - fantastic! Nice production, presentation, message, information...and as I'm into the music (hey, who isn't?) I must say that that part of the production was very effective...nothing over the top, mostly just mild dramatic underscore in certain places as if to provide an interlude to Al Gore's fine presentation, which stands on its own just fine. (The slick editing and variety of camera angles do spice things up - the display that he presents his charts with is gianormous!) I really like Melissa Etheridge's song, "I Need To Wake Up", written for the film and plays during the end credits - well done!

On another environmental note, we just purchased a used car that can run on E85 or "flex fuel" - naturally, there's no station nearby (that I'm aware of) that offers this type of fuel! I'm not sure it will make a difference in the whole scheme of things, but I'd like to think that a move away from fossil fuels (however small) is a good step.

I've received permission to display this logo in a generic letter to fuel stations that don't yet carry E85 - here's a simple letter that I will be handing out to gas attendants and station owners/managers when I attempt to fuel up with E85, but can't because they don't carry it:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Fuel Station Owner/Manager/Attendant,

I am the owner of an E85 or "“Flex-Fuel"” enabled vehicle. Presently, your station does not offer this particular fuel alternative; however, I am hopeful it will be offered in the very near future.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I know, I know...if that's not the most lame letter, I don't know what is! Not to defend this lame-assed-ness, but my point is to simply and clearly convey a request (let's get it on with the E85, bring on the hydrogen, yada, yada...) - there are just some many forces at work here and the person at the service station is not exactly making the call (in fact, they're probably marginalized enough, working for a pathetic minimum wage!) The station owner may in fact have no recourse for offering E85 - I'm actually not sure of this point though. The fact is that we've all dropped the ball. Our elected leaders were not held accountable and big oil companies and car manufacturers have been able to hold off on ubiquitous fossil fuel alternatives for a number of years and have cited numerous reasons why (probably even more lame than my letter!)...suffice it to say, the letter is just one part of the message, but a message that must get out. Let's bring on the change, one car, one house, one product, one day at a time. But let us start right now.

Our vehicle in a 2000 Chrysler Town and Country LX. Although there are literally millions of E85 flex-fuel vehicles on the road today (not just the new models), you would think that by the year 2006 we'd have a plethora of choices at the pump. That's just not the case in Corvallis, Oregon at this time. Maybe it's true in your town too. Hopefully positive changes will happen in 2007.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Swimming Musician

Okay, so this isn't a true musical post - but here's an sidebar about some of my swimming stuff, which, in a way, is very much related to music for me:

Over the past few months I've gotten back into a fairly regular swimming workout routine. I used to compete and was on a partial swimming scholarship at U of Idaho, coached for two years and taught swim lessons until I was about 24 years old! (By then I had my own kids to teach!). Over the years I've made some mild efforts to stay in the water, but never really "got back" - okay, so I'm not going to make the 2008 games, but I'm really enjoying it and hope I can find a way to keep swimming regularly forever. What's been fun for me is to see my times come down, nowhere near those "glory days" but good enough for me. I'm swimming about 3 to 4 times per week and usually go between 2500 and 3500 yards - in other words, I'm never far from my taper! (When I was competing it was normal to swim between 5000 and 10,000 yards per day, with two workouts a day - crazy! But it did keep me tired and out of trouble!)

These are my recent workout times, from the wall, and my best estimate - I'm guessing I'm going around 90% (but honestly, I'm not sure about the 10% I'm supposedly holding back on- so maybe these are 100%) - regardless, these times represent where I'm at today, where I hope to be in about 6 months, as well as the comparison with the 17 year-old me that used to haul ass in a size 28 Speedo - I'll probably never beat that kid but that doesn't matter since I think he'd be pretty happy to know I'm still chugging away:

500 Free: current: 6:06 goal: 5:20 best: 4:57
200 Free: current: 2:18 goal: 1:59 best: 1:52
100 Free: current: 1:00* goal: :55 best: :51
50 Free: current: ~:27 goal: :24 best: :24

400 IM: current: (Hey, I finished one!) goal: to keep finishing! best: 4:25 (?)
200 IM: current: 2:35 goal: 2:15 best: 2:06
100 IM: current: 1:08* goal: 1:05 best: :58

50 Fly: current: :31 goal: :27 best: :25
100 Fly: current: (I can finish one!) goal: :59 best: :56 (?)
200 Fly: current: (You've got to be kidding!) goal: to finish one! best: who knows!?

Well, that's a snapshot for now - I'm mostly just setting some goals for fun and fitness. The main things I'm working on in swimming (and there are many parallels with my trumpet playing and composition work) are technique and enjoyment. When I enjoy something, I usually do pretty well at it. Like music, I'm not interested in having it feel like "work" - the health benefits alone are great regardless of times and goals, but the goals do add a bit of incentive.

I try to get creative with my workouts and mix things up - today's, for example, will be one of my longer ones and go like this:

1000 Free - mostly very easy, work on technique, bi-lateral breathing
6 x 50s kick - choice, with about 15 seconds rest between
200 choice - technique/drill
8 x 200's (odd=Free, even=IM - descend 1-4, 5-8)
8 x 50's on the :45 (pace - all < 35)
100 warm down

Total: 3600 yards

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Portland Jazz Jams - Day After

A fun way to spend a Tuesday night - jamming at the Mississippi Pizza Parlor in Portland, Oregon with some terrific players! Pictured are Dan Presley (Bass & terrifically tall on talent!), Rob Birdwell (Trumpet/Flugelhorn), and Duncan Branom (Drums - also teaches privately); Darren Littlejohn (host and founder of Portland Jazz Jams) played guitar, along with Vince Frates on keys (who made that old spinet sing!) - they were all generous enough to read some of my originals: El Camino, TV Buddha, and Buddy Collette. My parents (Bob and Christine) came down from Vancouver (very special!) - Jeff and Mary from Portland too -- cool! ("The Thing II" - a future song title?) It was great to play - and perhaps even better: to listen to many of the outstanding players who showed their stuff - big time! There were many players of note on this particular night, but, because I'm a Trumpet player I simply must announce a radar alert for Trumpet/Flugelhorn player Russell Scott who demonstrates exceptional talent and fluidity on both horns - he's a treat to hear! (DL mentioned that Russell also plays Sax very well too....Mercy!) And the various "Sax men" (no sax women on this night... Naturally I forgot all their names - except for "Shoehorn" who has a memorable handle and nice style of playing - so I'll refer to these folks with random-associative-trait-handles) - especially liked the a liked the arc of "musical engraver dude's" Alto solos - great energy, as well as the cool Tenor lines of "tenor guy who also played a bit of piano after the jam". All in all, such a variety of styles, voices - everyone has a story...and some nice ones were told. I'm definitely inspired. Thanks again to Darren Littlejohn for hosting the Portland Jazz Jams series of events.

Hungry? Want to hear some great Jazz and support upcoming and established Jazz artists? Check out the Tuesday feature at Mississippi Pizza Parlor or any of the many other jams sponsored by Portland Jazz Jams.

Now...enough shameless blogging. Time to get back to the "shed"!


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Portland Jazz Jams - Featured Artist

I'll be the "Featured Artist" at the Portland Jazz Jams at Mississippi Pizza on Tuesday, April 18, starting at 8 PM. With Dan Presley (Bass), Duncan Branom (Drums) and who knows on Piano and/or Guitar, it will be an honor to play and I look forward to making some great music!

Portland Jazz Jams brings together many players who love making music - many thanks to Darren Littlejohn (director/founder/host of the program) for all he does.

Along with some yet-to-be-decided Jazz standards, maybe (if the players are willing) we'll sprinkle in some of my tunes:

Buddy Collette - Concert Lead (PDF)
Blackberry Blues - Concert Lead (PDF)
El Camino - Concert Lead (PDF)
TV Buddha - Concert Lead (PDF)

If I'm really lucky, Fred Berman (who works in Portland on Tuesdays) will drop on by and join me and grace everyone with his fine clarinet and/or Sax.

See you at the Jam!

Rob Birdwell

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Thataway for Early Bird Jazz Band

Here's a demo of a chart composed especially for the Early Bird Jazz Band (Linus Pauling Middle School in Corvallis, OR). We don't have any trombones this year in the band (what's up with that?!), so I tried to make the most of the terrific rhythm, trumpet, and sax sections we do have!

Thataway - Score Demo (MP3)

There's ample room to open up for solos - my own Saturday morning offering on this demo is a bit restrained, but hopefully conveys a sense that a little might actually go a long way. (I'll make a CD mix without the solo for practicing too!)

For you Early Bird Jazz members: listen to the audio demo, then cue it up again and play along!

Have fun!


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Meaning of Music - Corvallis Art Center

On Saturday March 18 and Sunday March 19, I took part in a really neat performance - a melange of story and music performed on the Corvallis Art Center stage. The program on Saturday night went so well I video taped the Sunday performance, which also went quite well. Bach, Bartok, spoken word, poetry and free Jazz were the order for the day. John Bliss and I performed a free Jazz piece that segued into a All The Things You are - fun stuff!

"Free Association" and "All the Things You Are" performed by Rob Birdwell and John Bliss.

Although we didn't do a piece with all five of us together, to my "audio montage" of all five of us performing. Bach, Bartok, spoken word and Free Jazz all re-mixed together! Maybe someday we'll actually do something like this live!

Kathleen Dean Moore (Author), Rachelle McCabe (Piano), Anne Ridlington (Cello), John Bliss (Guitar), Rob Birdwell (Trumpet/Flugelhorn)

A listing of the works performed:
  • Prelude from Suite #3 for Unaccompanied Cello, J.S. Bach
  • Maria, Leonard Bernstein
  • “The Augmented Fourth” - Kathleen Dean Moore
  • Intermezzo from Opus 26, Robert Schumann
  • Sarabande from Suite #3 for Unaccompanied Cello J.S. Bach
  • "The Testimony of the Marsh, Kathleen Dean Moore
  • Improvisations from Opus 20, Béla Bartok
  • Gigue from Suite #3 for Unaccompanied Cello, J.S. Bach
  • "In Endless Song" - Kathleen Dean Moore
  • How Can I Keep From Singing? - Folk hymn
  • Valse Sentimentale, Tchaikovsky
  • Free Association / All the Things You Are- Jerome Kern/John Bliss/Rob Birdwell
  • "To Music" - Ranier Maria Rilke

Sunday, March 26, 2006

9 Year Old's Reaction to Receiving an Xbox

My son recently turned 9. For his birthday he received an Xbox (the "classic" model). We suspected he'd be happy and excited - it's a pretty cool device...but when his happiness spilled into tears of joy, well...that just begs for a movie! A take-off on the Visa commercials, it's about 16 seconds long - enjoy!

Frey's Xbox Movie 2006

Photo's by Christel Birdwell, Music by Rob Birdwell

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rob Birdwell's Jazz Performances

Well, 2006 is certainly turning out to be a Jazzy one - many great gigs and shows coming up. I'm constantly reminded at how special each opportunity to perform is ("...blow like there's no tomorrow!") I'm enjoying playing so much and especially love making music with so many great players. We're beginning to explore new territory and the discovery is always fun. I'm penning and hoping to sprinkle in more of my ORIGINALS of course. This schedule is fairly solid, especially for the next couple months, with more to come in May. Hope to see you out and about! (Rob Birdwell)

Tues., Feb. 28, 8:00 PM - Fat Tuesday

Bombs Away Cafe Corvallis, OR

Fri., March 3, 7:30 PM - Hill Top Big Band
Old World Deli Corvallis, OR

Sat., March 4, 4:00 PM - XTET
Sibling Revelry Corvallis, OR

Thu., March 9, 7:30 PM - XTET
Bombs Away Cafe Corvallis, OR

Sat., March 18, 7:00* PM - Birdwell/Bliss Duo
Benefit for Corvallis Art Center Corvallis, OR

Sun., March 19, 12:30* PM - Birdwell/Bliss Duo
Benefit for Corvallis Art Center Corvallis, OR

Sat., March. 25, 8:00 PM - XTET
Sahalie Wine Cellars Corvallis, OR

Thu., April 13, 7:30 PM - XTET
Bombs Away Cafe Corvallis, OR

Tues., April 18, 8:00 PM - Portland Jazz Jams
Mississippi Pizza Jazz Jam Portland, OR

Fri., April 21, 7:30 PM - XTET in Portland
World Forestry Center Portland, OR

Thu., May 11, 7:30 PM - XTET
Bombs Away Cafe Corvallis, OR

Thu., June 15, 7:30 PM - XTET (All Swedish Show!)
Bombs Away Cafe Corvallis, OR

Wed., August 9th, 7:00 PM - XTET
Portland Art Museum Portland, OR

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

One For The Road - Glenn Tilbrook DVD

I'm a big fan of Glenn Tilbrook's work, solo and with Squeeze. He really puts a great deal of craft into his songs and production - he's quite an amazing singer/songwriter and I always enjoy and appreciate his work.

Years ago, I had the opportunity to hear him (along with fellow Squeeze writing partner, Chris Difford) perform an "unplugged" set in a small music shop in Los Angeles - it was spectacular! What a performer - what a rapport with the audience. Naturally, I was very interested to read film maker/Director Amy Pickard's posts a couple years ago saying she'd filmed a portion of Glenn's RV tour of the U.S. After much hard work and quite a bit of help from many talented folks, the DVD is complete and available on!

This DVD is a must-have for Glenn/Squeeze affectionados. And believe it or not, I'm actually listed in the end credits on the DVD! Go figure! I made a very modest donation to help out with production costs (per Director Amy Pickard's request - hey, this is, after all, Glenn Tilbrook...his movie, story - well worth it!) - and because she's clearly amazingly organized and super generous herself, Amy listed my name (along with about 20 other "Financial Contributor" folks) in the credits at the end of the movie. Sweet!

Now if I (Rob Birdwell- musician and performer himself...hint, hint), can somehow get invited to play, for example, a bit of Flugelhorn on a new Glenn Tilbrook track - now that would be very cool! (There, I said it - but alas, I won't hold my breath for Glenn's RV to honk in front of my driveway!) But, hey, what would life be without a pipe dream or two? Well, here's one that's certainly no pipe-dream:

Glenn and Willie Nelson - yes, I do believe this collaboration will bear fruit. Somehow, some way, we're going to hear Glenn Tilbrook and Willie Nelson performing together. (Like Kate Bush sings: "just saying it can even make it happen...") - so I'm saying it here and now.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Early Bird Jazz and Jam 2005

Here's a really nice track - this is an improvised Jazz "jam" by the students of the Linus Pauling Early Bird Jazz Band for which I'm honored to direct. They're terrific kids and they get up a little early twice a week to take part in this ensemble. It's a great joy for me to work with these students and I look forward to each and every meeting.

On this particular Friday in December 2005 (just before the holiday break) I asked the kids (whose ages range from 12 to 14) to compose and perform something as a group and I would record it. (Some of the students have done this before - for others it was something new.) Other than provide a bit of guidance in the beginning while getting started, the kids came up with all of this on their own: riffs, melody, stylings, solos - they worked together. It was give and take (what isn't?) - it was a collaboration...all in a matter of a few minutes. Wow!

Play the track - Jam/Blues Tune the Early Bird Jazz Students Composed and Performed

(There were a couple better titles suggested - but at this hour I can't recall what they were!)

Not every member of the band was attendance on the day we record this jam, but it was a good showing and we'll definitely be doing similar stuff throughout the year - meanwhile, we're hunkering down on some of our more structured charts for our concert in January - possibly at CHS (Jan 25?)...who knows, maybe we'll program a jam tune in the mix!?

I hear some really wonderful things beginning to emerge here - so much creativity and promise ...and much, much more to come of course!


Rob Birdwell