Happy New Year! New Dempsey/Ferguson CD in the works!
January 3, 2011
Happy New Year everyone, (and for all the Spinal Tap fans this should be a great year because it goes...to 11!)
2011 is starting off with some exciting events on the musical front for me. First the new CD that I recorded with the Tom Dempsey/Tim Ferguson Quartet, featuring Joel Frahm on saxophones and Eliot Zigmund on drums, is almost finished. This recording sounds really fantastic and I'm as excited as I've ever been about any album I've been involved with. The group plays beautifully together and I think the recording quality is stellar. Tom and I have been working diligently over the fall with our friend and engineer Sal Mormando at Kaleidoscope Sound and we've finally finished the mixing. The recording is now in the hands of Gene Paul and Jamie Polaski at G & J Audio for mastering, and we should have it back in the next week. We're in negotiations with various labels and hope to have a deal soon so that the CD can be released in the next couple of months. I'll keep you posted here and on Facebook when we know the date and have a live performance booked for the release. This recording is in the pre-release period that I like ti think of as "the calm before the calm".
I also made another recording recently with my trio Inside/Out which consists of me, Rob Henke on trumpet and Diane Moser on piano. This is a really interesting and adventurous group and I think the recording is very special. It's a combination of original compositions by the three of us, a few pieces by other jazz composers and a healthy dose of improvisation. I'm currently in the mixing stage with this one so it will be a little longer before it's released, but I'm hoping for a spring "street date". More to come on this as it develops.
July 5, 2010
I just got back from the IASJ meeting in The Hague, Holland. It was a great week of music and musicians. Dave Leibman is the artistic director and he has put together a great organization with the focus on music. The students there were musicians of an unbelievable level and the teachers were spectacular. To make the week particularly special the honored guest was Reggie Workman. I had met Reggie before but had not had the chance to really get to know him. He is a truly wonderful guy and a musician of incredible depth. I was honored to spend tiime with these wonderful musicians and inspired to work harder than ever to continue to learn and teach whatever I can about this music.
New trio CD! "Six"
June 9, 2010
Stevens, Siegle and Ferguson, the piano trio I have had the pleasure of playing with for the last 25 years has just released our 6th CD. Appropriately titled "Six" and released on Konnex records, it is a mix of our original tunes and our special de-rangements of standards. It is available at fine purveyors of recorded music everywhere or you can email me to get a copy direct from the source.
The Composers Big Band performs a benefit concert for its leader, Diane Moser, at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair NJ on May 11
April 14, 2009
My Dear friend and colleague Pianist, composer and bandleader Diane Moser has recently been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and undergone surgery to remove a tumor. Diane is a wonderful person and musician and has been a real inspiratinon to me and many other musicians. On May 11 I'll be honored to play with her band for a fundraiser to help defray the enormous costs of her treatment and recovery, (emphassis here on recovery!). Here is the information. I hope we can get a lot of people there. It will be a great evening musically and a real opportunity to do something good to help a fantastic person.
Here's the info:
Composer, pianist and bandleader Diane Moser has been a leading light in jazz and new music in the New York-New Jersey Area for nearly 20 years. As a writer, she has received acclaim for her compositions, including a prestigious grant by Chamber Music America and a fellowship with the MacDowell Artists Colony. As a pianist, she has appeared with numerous top-flight musicians, such as Charles McPherson, Mark Dresser, and Gerry Hemmingway among others, always lending her singular voice to the music. As a bandleader she has led numerous groups, most notably her Composers Big Band (see below).
Now she faces a new challenge, as she recovers from a rare form of cancer, in form of a gastrointestinal stromal tumor or GIST. Moser has always been the first to help out artists who need help in paying onerous medical expenses. Now her big band gets to return the favor, with a special benefit concert on May 11 at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair, NJ. The performance will reflect the many sides of Diane Moser, most notably the joy that is a trademark of her music and life
Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band is a17-piece big band formed for the purpose of developing and presenting new music for large ensembles. Presenting monthly concerts since January 1997, the CBB features the music of its resident composers along with guest composers and performers. The range of the featured artists collaborating with the band has been astonishing: Jim McNeely, Oliver Lake, Howard Johnson, Sy Johnson, Matt Wilson, Jackie Cain and Mark Dresser are but of few of the dozens to share the stage with the group. This breadth reflects the musical attitude of Diane Moser, whom the New York Times called “unfazable booster for improvised music.”
A Celebration and Fundraiser for Diane Moser, featuring her Composers Big Band
Monday, May 11th - 7:30 PM
Trumpets Jazz Club
6 Depot Sq. Montclair, NJ 07042
Cover charge $10, donations encouraged!
Guest artists will include: Jim McNeely, Howard Johnson, Nicki Denner, Oliver Lake, Mike Kaplan, Russ Vines and others
What's Going On? chosen for best 100 Jazz releases of "08!
February 5, 2009
I'm excited to report that Jazz90.1 has voted our new album "What's Going On?" one of the top 100 jazz albums of 2008. We're on the list just above Chick Corea and Gary Burton for their 2008 release! You can see the whole list here: http://www.jazz901.org/top-100/
The response to this CD has been spectacular and we're really looking forward to getting to work on the next one. I'll post progress reports here to let you know how it goes.
Thanks to everyone who came out to hear us and/or bought the CD and special thanks to jazz90.1 for playing the disc and picking us for the top 100!
Happy New Year!
January 5, 2009
'09 began with a wonderful gig for me. I played with Tom Dempsey and our friend, (and one of the world's best drummers), Eliot Zigmund at The Bar Next Door in Greenwich Village. We had a great turn out, (thanks to all of you who made it), and the music was great. We'll be back there soon so watch for that and I'll try to be better about posting up-coming gigs here.
I'll be appearing on February 4 with my own quartet at Fat Cat here in the village and I hope to see some friendly faces. For those of you who don't know the club its a great listening room with a very affordable cover charge on Christopher Street neat 7th Ave.
Dennis Irwin 1951-2008
March 10, 2008
I just got word that my old friend and mentor Dennis Irwin passed away. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt such a deep loss from the passing of a colleague before. Dennis was a person of exquisite qualities. A consummate musician who understood not only the importance of the music but the importance of the musicians. He was a person with a deep respect for music and humanity, who lived that conviction with a grace and humility that I’ve never known in another person. He was a bassist’s bassist, with a beat and sound so perfect that they were easy to take for granted, his lines were so natural that it was like they were always there.
I thought I’d had a fairly unique experience in being lucky enough to get to know Dennis and to spend time with him and to have the benefit of his encouragement and deep knowledge of music and culture. It’s only in the last few months, since we all learned of his illness, that I realized how many bass players have similar stories, how many of us he touched. Dennis was a true and genuine friend to many people and gave of his knowledge and experience generously, without artifice or expectation. He was as much fun to be with as anyone I’ve ever known. Funny, erudite, (a word he undoubtedly would have found a way to riff on), well read, open minded and above all else humble. As a musician Dennis had a quality which is always in very short supply, he was generous to a fault. He was the guy in the back who made it easy for the guys out in front to do what they do. His knowledge of all types of music from classical to Brazilian folk music to jazz was encyclopedic and he brought a depth of understanding to every note he played that infused his lines with a musical meaning that very few bassists can approach.
Maybe most importantly to him, Dennis was a father to his son. in a business where all the cards are stacked against being able to “be there”, he was there. He may have been known to spend Friday in Tokyo, Saturday in New York and Sunday back in Tokyo, but somehow in spite of all of that, he also found time to be a father.
In my own small way I’ll always carry a part of Dennis inside of me and every time I play the bass I know that a lot of what will make me keep trying to make better music, is the inspiration I feel through having known Dennis Irwin. The world is poorer today for the loss of one of the good guys and the rest of the bass players of the world are all going to have to pitch in to try to pick up the enormous amount of slack left by his departure. I miss him already.
March 8, 2008
What's going on with 'What's Going On?"
March 2, 2008
Well the CD release at Cornelia Street Cafe was great! Thanks to all of you that came out to enjoy it. We'll be back at Cornelia Street sometime this spring. I'll be sure to let you know when we have a definite date.
Tom and I also did a live web-cast for WorkshopLive.com which is an educational web-site where we both teach lessons. It will be archived at the site and as soon as I have a link I'll put it up and you can check it out. It was a lot of fun with some playing and a lot of questions from the viewers. We're looking forward to doing more in the future.
If you are interested in getting on the email list for announcements of up-coming performances and other events of interest. please sign up on the mailing list here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll make sure your on it.
The new Duo CD "What's Going On"is out!
October 25, 2007
The duo CD I recorded with my old friend and colleague Tom Dempsey for Citytone Records is finally finished and will be officially released on Feb. 5, 2008. The CD release party will be on Sunday Feb.10 at The Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village. Click on the calendar page for details.
I'm really pleased with this project and while it turned out to be one of the most challenging recordings I've ever done, it also turned out to be one of the best. After almost 20 years of playing together in various formats, including our 2002 Quartet CD "Perspectives", (available for purchase on this and many other fine web-sites), Tom and I finally found time to record the duo CD we've been planning for so long. It is a mix of various original tunes from both of us and jazz standards, and other tunes from many of our favorite composers, including the title cut by Marvin Gaye and tunes by Billy Strayhorn,Thad Jones, Hank Jones, Barry Harris, Hoagy Charmichael, Charlie Haden, Mal Waldron and a beautiful traditional Spiritual. All in all this is a disc that I can recommend wholeheartedly, and I do! The publicity and radio campaigns will begin soon, so watch your favorite magazines, newspapers and online jazz blogs and keep your ear to your favorite jazz radio station.
You'll be able to buy a copy of the CD here after the 2/5 release date. Just go to the CDs tab, and click on the button next to the CD cover. It will also be available at many of you favorite on-line sources and on behalf of Tom and myself (and our landlords), thank you.
Great tour in Europe
April 23, 2007
The Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson tour in Europe was a lot of fun. We played 11 concerts in 12 days and went to Germany, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland. The audiences were wonderful and the music was really satisfying. We played a concert at a wonderful venue in Brugge, Belgium called DeWerf which was video taped and you can see a piece of it on Youtube. I posted the link on the site here. Just go to the links page and click on it. There's also a video of me playing a solo blues on the electric bass that was made in the WorkshopLive studio when I was video taping my bass lessons for that site. Those lessons should be up and available for your edification shortly. I'll be sure to let you know.
New recordings, new book and recent tour
February 4, 2007
Well, it was a busy fall and holiday season. Aside from a busy schedule of side-man work in the NYC area there were some nice highlights.
Two new recordings were released and in October I did a tour in Tennessee, Texas and Arkansas with the Stevens, Siegel and Ferguson trio.
The new CDs are "Sensory Perception" with the Gary Fogel Trio and "Get Out of Town", the new SS&F release. I'm really pleased with the way they both came out.
The new recordings are both with piano trios, but they're each a little different. The Gary Fogel CD is really open playing on a collection of interesting tunes Gary wrote and it features Gary on drums and David Bryant on piano. Gary is a very creative composer and a strong drummer with a wonderful sense of ensemble interaction. David is a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory's jazz program and gets my new talent deserving wider recognition award. He plays beautifully on this recording and I think the ensemble playing is great.
The SS&F recording is our best to date in my opinion. I've been pleased with the others to varying degrees, but this one has a nice relaxed ensemble feel and some of the best individual playing we've recorded. The session was good from start to finish. Sometimes things just work, (not always as often as I'd like...), this was one of those times. Maybe playing together for more than 16 years is paying off.
I also just played a great concert at Trumpets in Montclair, NJ with Diane Moser's Composers Big Band. I've played with them on and off for years and the band is always great, but this concert featured the music of my old friend, trumpeter Rob Henke and he out-did himself. Rob's music is wonderful and his musical personality is creative, funny, exciting and surprising. You can read a review of the gig from the NJ Star Ledger, there is a link to it on the links page of this site. The band plays at Trumpets on the last Wednesday of each month. Check with the Trumpets schedule if you are in the area and check it out, it's worth it.
Finally I've been writing a jazz bass method book together with my old friend Dave Overthrow for Workshop Arts Publishing. We're just putting the finishing touches on it and it should be out in the spring or summer. It will be humbly titled "The Total Jazz Bassist". Workshop Arts is the publishing branch of the National Guitar Workshop where I have taught on and off for about 20 years, (I currently do a 1 week jazz bass "summit" every summer in Connecticut). They have also started a web-site for on-line music lessons for which I have video-taped a number of lessons. The site is called WorkshopLive and my lessons, on beginning jazz bass, should be up starting in the spring. I'll keep you posted.
Well, that's the up-date for now. Thanks as always for paying attention. I hope to see you soon at a gig.
My new site
October 22, 2006
I'm glad to have the site up finally. I know I'm a little late to the web-site table, but now that I'm on it I'm planning to really keep in touch with all of you who are interested in the music. It's still a work in progress so it should be more interesting as time goes on. Please sign up for the mailing list and sign the guest book. I'm eager to hear your thoughts on the site and the music.
Don't forget to register and vote. We need all of our votes to keep this democracy working, (or get it working again). I would never presume to tell you how to vote, (but I will suggest you not to vote for incumbent Republicans), just be sure to do your part for democracy.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by. Try not to think about the things you should have been doing while you were messing around with your computer.