Last year I started adding cello to my compositions because the flute and cello voices sing dramatically together.
For years I have kept an online journal to aid my development. The program periodically sends me random posts from the past. They are always interesting to revisit, and aid personal and professional growth. Today I received a past entry that recalled the first time I wrote parts for cello for the second Ladder To The Moon concert at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in August last year.
Composing and performing that concert helped stimulate my love affair with cello. The instrument has such a beautiful sound and broad range – often sounding like a human voice. You can hear the harmony and contrast of cello and flute in my album, Dialogue.
When I started to compose for my current project, Butterfly Zone, I tried different combinations of instruments in my composing software and nothing seemed so right as flute and cello. I finally settled on an ensemble of flute, cello, electrified classical guitar and upright bass. I am calling the group The Pikes Peak Chamber Jazz Quartet. Chamber jazz can be described as a fusion of orchestral sounds with the creative improvisation of jazz.
This morning I awakened at 4 AM with the sounds of the next development section of Butterfly Zone in my head and rushed downstairs to write. I love this part of creation when I am bursting with fresh ideas and sounds. I am trying to be patient and deliberate but I am already getting so excited to perform this music.
Have a happy creative day!
Butterfly Zone is the name of new music I am writing for chamber jazz quartet.
Butterfly zone is new music for chamber jazz quartet. My muse has come again and new compositions are beginning to flow. At these times, I usually awake around 4 AM with a melody and rhythm in my mind. Sometimes there is also a memory or connection to a life event or scene from nature. Then I quickly arise, get to my office and start writing music while it is fresh in me.
When I awakened with Butterfly Zone in mind, I recalled a place I used to hike in the Sangre De Christo mountains. About a mile up the trail into the forest, there was a place in the trail that had a section of thick dark mud. In the summer that was home to a ‘Kaleidoscope’ of butterflies. (A collective name for a group of butterflies, and how very appropriate.) The butterflies in this group were quite small, a lovely shade of periwinkle and friendly. It was a mesmerizing sight and a summertime treat.
The piece that I am composing captures for me the sight and feeling of those moments. The instrumentation for the piece is: flute, cello, guitar and upright bass. The group will play chamber jazz – a fusion of orchestral sounds with the excitement of jazz improvisation. I love the sound and feel of the music and am considering making Butterfly Zone the name of a concert of new, original music I am writing and will perform in Fall/Winter of 2016.
I am thrilled to be busy composing. I think Butterfly Zone is a new evolution in my work and I am so looking forward to performing it for you.
I play better music with love instead of fear!
“Don’t ever touch me again,” he hissed at me with violence in his eyes. I had just arrived to set up at a venue where I was performing for the first time. I was met by a surly owner who was was way past “he must have got up on the wrong side of the bed,” to aggressively hostile and abusive.
I am a touch person and I laid a friendly hand on his shoulder to calm as I tried to assure him everything was going to be fine. My mistake. He got even nastier. I had tickets sold and people coming from other cities so I could not just walk out. I had to deal with it. I can’t stand conflict and I got very stressed and anguished.I tried to calm myself, but I really struggled to play anything musical as we began the first song.
My daughter had arrived just before the show and had come up to the stage to give me a hug. Somehow, before I started the second song, I focused on how much I loved her and what that felt like in my body. I relaxed into the song and for the rest of the night I put my attention into just playing as much love into each song as I could. The result was perhaps the best night of performing I have ever had. In retrospect I observe that my music that night was simple, pretty, interesting and very satisfying to me.
As I reflect now, I realize that I have frequently played from fear instead of love. Fear of failure, fear of not getting approval, of not doing it good enough and more. I also noticed that it was easier for me to be overcome by fear, as in my reaction to the owner, than let in love, as in the delayed effect of my daughter’s hug.
Life gives us lots of opportunities to learn. What I intend to do with this lesson is to focus on love in my music! Thanks for listening.
I have been considering what is next in my musical life.
Bang on more doors looking for gigs? Compose a new show and album? Push harder? Take a break?
October 2 will mark seven years for me as a full time musician. In that time, I have improved in every way – chops, theory, composing and performing. I am playing my best ever and yet I have hit a lull in gigs.
I got off to a slow start while recovering from knee surgery Christmas eve. And, I did compose and record an album of relaxation music for flute and cello. I know I could just let that be enough and wait for what’s next to appear, but I am still anxious and yearning.
I found some kind of new freedom with the album. I did not seek approval but wrote what I felt and am totally OK with people liking it or not.
I am about to play a small concert and I am approaching it with the same attitude – perhaps the first time ever. I think the experience will help point the way to what might be next. Meanwhile I am practicing harder and more intelligently and I am writing music daily while looking for clarity! Stay tuned for the next chapter. Dum da dum dum.
My Dialogue album was a dinner party surprise…for me!
Sunday in the early evening my wife Carol and I were guests at a Garden/Dinner party with friends. The party started outdoors for relaxing with drinks in a beautiful garden. Then we were called indoors for dinner.
As I walked through the door I heard some lovely music playing softly in the background. It was my music! My first, and recently released album Dialogue for flute and cello. I was thrilled! OK, I know you old pros at composing and recording would just take this in stride, but for a newbie like me it was a kick. In my descriptions of the album I had described it as good dinner music and these folks took me at my word. The album continued to play throughout dinner and the last song played just as desert was served.
That little look into how people might enjoy my music was very empowering, made it real for me and inspired me to plunge into my new project with fresh spirit and purpose.
What a concept! Serving through my music. Somewhere in the world right now, someone may be enjoying a great dinner experience in an ambiance I helped to create.
Here’s a free track from the album.
Here’s where to sample the 16 other tunes in Dialogue.
Be well and happy!