MUSIC

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 1:28 AM

An overview of my current musical projects

Here's some information about the variety of settings
in which I have the good fortune of playing.
On any given night, you might catch me with any of
the following groups....
 

My Trio + Becca Stevens
 
I love integrating one of my favorite songwriters and vocalists, Becca Stevens, into my trio of Harish Raghavan and Eric Harland. Becca adds such clarity and excitement to the group, and it is amazing to work with her and learn from her as a songwriter. The live performances we have done have been some of my favorite all-time musical moments - I absolutely love playing with this new group. We released a new album, Daylight at Midnight, which is available everywhere and on iTunesHere is a link to a Press Release about this particular combination. Please check the "Calendar" section for info about upcoming gigs with this band.
 

FREE AGENCY
 
I have a group that is based around Becca Stevens and Gretchen Parlato on vocals, where the piano is essentially the third voice, performing collective originals. I am extremely excited about this band, which is inclusive of extra keyboards, percussion, and electric bass. On the "Videos" page, there is some footage of us performing with the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra last year. I can't wait to perform this music more often, and I am excited to embark on the long process of making this particular new record. It will be a crazy journey, but I look forward to taking on the challenge of making this record over the course of the next year....stay tuned!
Basically the idea of "Musical Free Agency", as I call it, is that different musical elements should be free to join whatever team they want. As in, being accessible but unpredictable. Or being vocal and having lyrics, but also being piano-led, and so forth. This also applies genre-wise, as the music is a direct combination of the rhythms of R&B and Rock music, the harmonic concept from influences ranging from Romantic-era Classical music to modern jazz harmony, the improvisation of jazz, and the layering mentality of electronic music. Definitely can't wait to get this music out there...
 

Gretchen Parlato Band 
 
I am so honored to play in the Gretchen Parlato Band. It feels like a great musical adventure amongst close friends - I love playing the music, and I am inspired by Gretchen's ultimate musicality. She is an incredible bandleader with a unique sense of phrasing and openness, and she always has some stellar musicians in her band - Alan Hampton on bass, who is a virtuosic composer and bassist. He also is an incredible singer, and is featured on Gretchen's new album "The Lost and Found", which also features Kendrick Scott on drums, one of my favorite drummers in the world. Derrick Hodge, the incredible bassist, is also featured on Gretchen's new record, as is tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens, who is one of my all-time favorites. He also wrote the title track to her new record, "The Lost & Found". Gretchen's new album has been the #1 Jazz Album on iTunes for some time now! Please pick up a copy. If you go to my "Calendar" page, you will see many concerts coming up in this group. I've had some of the most musical fun of my life playing in this band.
 

Duo with Julian Lage
 
Julian is one of the most important voices in modern music today. He was nominated for a GRAMMY award for his first new album as a leader on Emarcy Records called "Sounding Point", which is groundbreaking music within a genre that he has created for himself. His record is unique, exciting, emotional, and generally sounds like the soundtrack to whatever room you are in when you listen to it. It's an extremely innovative album, and he brings in cats like Béla Fleck and Chris Thile to support him. It also features Julian's working band, complete with acoustic bass, unconventional percussion, alto saxophone, and cello. I play on a couple tracks which represent our duo work together. At any rate, please check out JulianLage.com .... He is a bad ass. Always love getting to work with him.
 
 

My Trio and Quartet
 
I usually like to use a variety of different musicians (cause there are waaaay too many amazing musicians to only play with a select few - I dont believe in absolute musical monogamy anyways....). My working group is Eric Harland on drums and Harish Raghavan on bass, but those cats are always busy touring the world! So, fortunately I sometimes get the chance to play with a number of other incredible musicians as well. I always love playing with different people. Often times, when I do gigs as a quartet, this integrates Julian Lage on guitar.
 
Below are some more great players, both rhythm section and otherwise that I love playing with in and out of my groups both frequently and sporadically. I feel blessed to play with such incredible musicians....I invite you to explore some of their own music
 
Greg Hutchinson Ben Wendel  Clarence Penn  Nate Smith Josh Crumbly  Gerald Clayton  Jamire Williams Mark Guilliana  Justin Brown   Marcus Gilmore  Aaron McLendon Terreon Gully    Larry Koonse   Nate Wood  Obed Calvaire Mike Moreno   Ben Williams     Evan Francis     Joe Sanders   Reuben Rogers   Alan Hampton   Luques Curtis Jason Lewis  John Shifflett    Victor Lin    Ben Wendel  The Brubeck Brothers
 
 

Eric Harland Band
 
One of the most unbelievable musicians on the planet, and I'm honored to play in his band, which includes Harish Raghavan on bass, Walter Smith III on Tenor Saxophone, and Julian Lage on guitar. It's music entirely build around emotion, and thus far the only band that I've played in where I have to stand up to play sometimes, because the music just does it to me.....He has just released a new record featuring all of us as well entitled "Voyager - Live by Night which is available on iTunes - check out his website atiHarland.com. He has a lot of nice meditative music playing as you click around the website too, which is nice....
 

Occasional Solo Piano Concerts
 
I rarely do these, but if its a cool setting with a good piano, then it can be a lot of fun and I usually use electronic effects (looping, harmonizing) on the piano. 
 
Orchestral Collaboration
 
Currently, I'm writing a lot of music for occasional collaborations with symphony orchestra. I have had a lot of fun this past year with the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, and the San José Chamber Orchestra, and I look forward to many future collaborations. I'll have some new video of some of my symphonic work very soon.
 
I also have the pleasure of playing with many other groups which I play in from time to time. It's always an honor to work with any of these musicians, and I cherish the opportunities when they happen.....
 
Nicholas Payton Group


I love the occasions when I get to perform with Nicholas Payton. He is a true innovator, and a bold voice in jazz music, and I have learned so much from playing with him sporadically. Here is a link to a full concert that we did at the Village Vanguard in NY, recorded by NPR. . Nick is coming out with a new multi-dimensionally fascinating record, which should be released soon. It's an exciting new direction, and I look forward to hearing lots of brand new music from his group.


Kendrick Scott Oracle


Kendrick Scott, in addition to being a killing drummer, is a great bandleader, composer, and arranger. I recently had the great honor to record on his newest album, "Conviction", produced by Derrick Hodge. His group includes Mike Moreno on guitar, John Ellis on sax, and Joe Sanders on bass. I have done some gigs recently with this group at the Saratoga Jazz Festival, and at Joe's Pub here in NY, and I have had a great time playing Kendrick's music. He is dynamically so fluid and always creates an immensely interesting landscape of sound. He also picks such memorable tunes to play...


Yosvany Terry Group


I have known Yosvany Terry for 14 years, and he is one of the most inspiring composers in the music scene. His music is listenable and exciting, yet so complex and innovative. He is a total bad ass and I learn SO much from him, and I'm honored to play with him from time to time.


Ambrose Akinmusire Group


I've known Ambrose since I was 11, and even back then he was an innovator. Now he continues to innovate, for Blue Note Records, and I'm always excited every now and then when I play in his group. His working group includes Sam Harris and  Gerald Clayton on piano - who are freaking incredible - Harish Raghavan on bass, Justin Brown on drums, and Walter Smith III on saxophone. Ambrose always has something new to say musically, and it is always fascinating and moving. He just released a new album called "The Heart Emerges Glistening" and it is a powerful statement - please check out his work!


Joe Sanders Infinity


Incredible bassist and bandleader, and my good friend and former roommate. His compositions are innovative, and I love playing his music. Check the calendar for some dates with the Joe Sanders Infinity. He uses Justin Brown on drums and Logan Richardson on saxophone, both of whom I am big fans. 


Dayna Stephens Group


No one in the world sounds like Dayna Stephens on tenor saxophone. Killing bassist as well. He is a true original, and one of my favorite musical personalities alive. I will simply never ever get tired of his music, ever. Check him out at DaynaStephens.com


Some more groups that I have a lot of fun playing in from time to time:


Donny McCaslin Group
Nate Smith: "A Wink and A Gun"
Duo with Janis Siegel
Duo with Gerald Clayton
Ben Wendel Group
Justin Brown Group
Brubeck Brothers
Sam Barsh / Taylor Eigsti 2P1C