Posts Tagged ‘Brass’

Consoul Big Band is Going Live!

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

consoul-A

Stay tuned for a schedule of our performances in a venue near you!!!

Consoul rehearsal June 1 2016 004

Listen to our tracks on soundcloud:

Listen to our live Video Game Music / Chiptune Covers

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Lately I started covering VGM (Video Game Music), as I love gaming and i love the music so 1+1=10!! We are having a lot of fun doing it and open to feedback regrading what tunes to cover next! Please feel free to drop us a line on twitter, facebook or soundcloud!!

JOIN OUR REMIX CONTEST!

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

LogoFinal_gold_yellow

UNLEASH YOUR INNER BRASS!!
As you already know – our squad has recorded brass with the best. Kanye, Jay Z, Eminem, Frank Sinatra, Queen Latifah , Andreas Gabalier, Wily Bo Walker, TV shows, many many other indie artists. This is your chance to show us what you can do with our brass track!

What we have here is a naked live brass fanfare, with no backing track. The original BPM is 105.

Click on image to go to soundcloud page and download the file.

Anything goes – be creative – Speed it up, Slow it down, RAP to it, Trap it, make it reggae or EDM or hip-hop or classical, add lyrics, mash it up or down, chop slide and dice.
Example Remix:
https://soundcloud.com/newyorkbrass/gansta

Prize: $150. and a trombone. We will also actively promote it on the web, and shop it around to our major clients/producers worldwide.

Conditions:

  • Tracks are due by end of day Dec, 1st, 2015 EST.
  • At end of mix contest all the remixes will be ranked based on listens on soundcloud.com (non-fake listens. We can detect proxies, and cheaters will be disqualified).
  • We guarantee that we will listen the top 50 tracks.
  • We will determine the winner at our discretion.

Copyright, ownership etc: Anything (including lyrics) submitted (including source stems) would be considered a new composition and will be 55% owned by our record label, and 45% by the composer/mixer.
The tracks will be considered published by our record Label, and copyright for winning track will be registered with organizations such as Library of congress and BMI and/or others . We will also actively promote it on the web, and shop it around to our major clients/producers worldwide.

By submitting to the contest the submitter and/or composer agree to a 5 year non-re-record/non-compete agreement of any part of composition (including stems) unless there is consent from our label.

How to submit:

This brass is up to something good!

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

The Sunshine Collective’s latest ralease “She’s up to something good” really brings out the sunshine. This is not your usual kid’s song is either a grown-up-song kids like, or a kids song that has grown up. Its superhero-y vibe is great and the arrangement using live brass and strings brings out the retro vibe in the song. Highly recommended! You can also see shots from our studio in the song!

ZEDD ft. Selena Gomez “I Want You To Know” Star Wars Remix

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

lightsabre_trumpet

In a previous blog post we announced a new remix of “I want you to know”.

After a few suggestions we decided to attempt to combine the Star Wars Imperial March (A.K.A. The Darth Vader March) into the remix and came up with a completely mad new rendition of the whole thing. If you enjoy brass, Selina Gomez, Star Wars, and wacky videos – this one is for you!

New ZEDD ft Selena Gomez “I Want You To Know” remix

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

SelenaZedd

We created a really really cool new remix of Selena Gomez’s “I Want You To Know” (did I say really really Cool)
with a live brass band replacing the electronic backing.
Its six trombones, two bass trombones, eight trumpets, four cornets, four euphoniums, three tubas, two bass trumpets, four french horns, live snares, bass drums and cymbals.
I know there are other remixes out there, but I hope this one stands out, as I tried to give it a completely fresh angle. I think Selena’s voice meshes with the brass so nicely. Maybe we can do an original take of a new song one day!

LISTEN TO IT HERE

ENJOY!

The Making of Jay Z’s “Somewhere in America”

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Haven’t posted in a while, too many exciting musical projects. In this picture I am prepping to record the Trombone solo that can be heard on the song “Somewhere in America”. The final take was done on a rare 1960s conn 20H and dialed in with the (music genius and world’s foremost pop/loop/hiphop/younameit  producer/engineer) Ken Lewis. The pBone sounded quite good. It excels in getting that “dry jazz” sound, and for the final result we wanted something more “meaty”. The 1951 Conn 20H is one of the last small (shall we say tiny) bore horns made before everyone made the final switch to the medium and large bore horns. The pBone which is made of 99% plastic has a surprisingly good sound!

Twerk, yeah, ugh-huh
Twerk, Miley, Miley, Miley
Only in America

Two new holiday singles and a hurricane

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

A Merry Channuka to y’all!

 

 

 Laura Jeanne The Bells Ring Out

 

Los Angeles-based SUNSHINE COLLECTIVE have just released their contribution to the sonic holiday landscape with a new song called The City That Forgot to Snow. and is available on iTunes (get it here). It is a really lightweight bubbly and fun song full of many colors. I really hope people will like it. Multi-Talented songwriter Brian Arbuckle teamed up with wife Stephanie Richards to created a truly magical soundscape.  We suppose to start recording but then hurricane Sandy hit. The next day Erin and I decided to go out and see first hand the effects. Although at the time most of the devastated areas were closed, we managed to reach Amity Harbor and see first hand the destruction. Here is a picture of  what was left of a beach front house (click to enlarge):

Amity Harbor after Superstorm Sandy

 Ron Bertolet recorded the saxes on Thursday night from 1 to 3 a.m. due to gasoline shortage at the time.  At Brian’s request we also videoed the session, as he wanted to use it in the video. A few days later a huge Nor’easter struck and lemme tell ya, this city did remember to snow. Making the mandatory snowman with the kids, I had an inspirational moment. My son helped me drag the horns out into the snow, and we shot various snow videos to go along with the song, so check out the video!

 

LJ JumpsSome of you who follow this blog may remember talented Singer/songwrited Laura Jeanne.  Laura was discovered by Budweiser last year in the TV show The Big Time.  A few weeks ago we started experimenting with an idea she had for a holiday song. Originally intended to voice strings and piano, as a small offering for fans, it matured into a full fledged single named “Bells Ring Out (At Christmas Time)” which is now available through iTunes (get it here). I created the midi track and then recorded live strings and horns. We refined the vocal tracks, and the final tracks and vocals were further mixed and mastered by Mark Bishop of Universal music, UK. I think we captured the song spirit, with transparent strings, and glowing colors complementing Laura’s incredible voice. Visit her fan page on facebook!

 

 

 

Skyping-in on the recording session. With a spot of tea.

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Erin took this really snazzy (lets bring that word back) picture of Ron Bertolet blowing his selmer sax while Paul Bennet is sipping. Paul was the bassist of the 1970s English band MAZARIBA which disbanded in the late ’70s and has recently reunited and are working on releasing their reunion album. Although these days Paul lives on Long Island, NY, I hear drinking tea on whilst listening with studio headphones on Skype is a British passtime. Incidentally the saxophone is a rare “Low E” model alto which has a deeper tone due to it’s extra length. Most saxophones have two low note keys, this one has three.

www.ronbertolet.com/

Fun with Bashar Al-Assad

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012
Bashar is having fun by NewYorkBrass
Bashar is having fun, a photo by NewYorkBrass on Flickr.

Reading this post in the huffington post I realized that we are all left out of the wonderful fun of the SGPD (Syrian Government Photoshop Department). This is an attempt to rectify this. Included in this set is also a DIY version that allows you to join the fun, and create your own image!

Dubby, jazzy, housey, techy, indie, blues & funky … 2011 was all this and more

Friday, January 13th, 2012

There are so many occasions to show gratitude. And yet, there are millions of times when I do not express it enough. Thank you! Thank you all for a great year!

Thanks for a great 2011 everybody!

2011 Rocked!

Thanks again to Jim Allchin Ron Abel Michael Amante Ruslan Agababayev Yitzy Bald Andreas Bärtels Amir Ben-Haim Johnny Berman Brenda Balasz-Beylek Amir Benhaim Dori Ben Ze’ev Ron Bertolet Yerachmiel Bigun Justin “Just Blaze” Smith Tal B.R. Yanki Briskman Yochi Briskman Suri Brody Walter & Blue tha Engineer at Brown Sugar Studios Jean Carter Teddy Charles Shlomi Cohen Shloime Saul Stern Dachs Dad Barry Dallman Nydia Davila Def Jam Phil DeGorter Don Downs David Eastman Yoni Eliav Nir Erez Marissa Famiglietti Mike Ficco & the Long Island Jazz Orchestra Freilach Orchestra Ian Freitor Avremi G. Jacob Garchik Linda Garrity Charlie Gordon Mark A. Gatz Brian Gelfand Gal Gershovsky Moshe Ginsberg Tony Gorruso Zino Groenewegen Cliff Haywood Mendy Hershkowitz Zuben Mehta & the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Brian J. of the Pimps of Joytime Laura Jeanne Joseph Kaminski Kris Kasanova Terry Keevil Karen Kelly Charles Kiger Ron Ben-Haim Ray Kilday Israel Lamm Eli Laufer Moshe Laufer Gideon Levine Gabriella Lewis Ken Lewis Lex à Her Majesty’s Sound Kjetil Linnes Shahar Livne Steve Lynch The Maccabeats Maybach Music Bonnie McAlvin Stone McEwan Jeremy Miloszewicz Marco Meister Miami Boys Choir Mom Tony Eli Lishinsky Tony Montalbo Gershy Moskowitz Danielle Morandini Bizu Riki Mullu Avi Newmark Shai Nissenboim OdessMama Marco Panascia Yehoshua Pasternak Yehuda Piamente Michael Pruzansky Kenny Rampton Leib Reigler Mathias Roska Mona Rosenblum Rick Ross Dalit Segal Yosef Chaim Shwekey Lipa Schmeltzer Naftali Schnitzler Jerry Sokolov Soulfarm StadiumRed Studios Stewart Taylor Yosi Teaberg Dave Trigg Vignir Vigfusson Murry R.Kahn and the West Islip Symphony Wily Bo Walker Kanye West and Avrum Zamist!

From all of us here at New York Brass!

 

Danny & Dalit February 2011Bathysphere tuesdayMarch 13, 2011 | The West Islip Symphony Orchestra paid homage to St. Patrick's DayTony Gorruso and his Foot LuteTemptationDIY - see-thru drums!Rick Ross, Self Made | Best horns in the city! @NewYorkBrassFour key metrics to a working orchestraProducer Mathias Roska & Co. at The Village UndergroundWith soprano Marissa FamigliettiProducer Justin "Just Blaze" Smith8 Channel Pye T.V.T. Recording/Summing ConsoleGot Sousaphone?An awesome wind is winded with New York BrassRecording Gabriella Lewis at homeWhich way to Sherwood Forest?TromboniumCover to a new singleUnits of FlamBison BurgersThanks Barry!"Hi Erin"Gal GershovskyArranger & Conductor Yoeli DikmanRehearsing with trumpeters (L to R) Joseph Kaminski, Tony Gorruso, Jerry Sokolov & Shlomi Cohen on Sax.Bizu Riki MulluReggie WattsSean FlanneryWorld Trade Center 1Harps!What happens when the percussion section isn't lookingDaniele Morandini - metal headSit. Stay.Bad to the Bone in the ITA!Happy FDT!Turning a 27 MHz or 49 MHz RC Car into a arduino controlled robotTa da!!With NolanMy niece5 Bar licks with Ron Bertolet and Dave TriggNew York Brass doing the final mixdown with Brian J.HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!

 

A Weird Ballad

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

When I was a wee 5th grade human puppy, my then trombone teacher Shemi Peri invited all of the students to a master class with a dude that had the biggest trombone I had ever seen; It was a bass trombone. Up to that point in my training I had never seen anything so gigantically brass. The dude’s name was Eliezer (Eli) Aharoni and he was there to show the class the latest techniques in breathing and playing trombone. Aharoni had also written some trombone books which impressed all of us. This particular afternoon meeting and listening to Eli Aharoni was the first push towards trombone playing

Eli was the driving force behind the Israeli Trombone Association. Around 1983 he brought the then-presiding president of the International Trombone Association Dr. Erving L. Wagner to give us a master class at the Jerusalem Music Center. The day was the holiday of Purim which is sort of a Jewish Mardi-gras and my hair was colored blue. (I always wonder if Prof Wagner remembers a little boy with blue hair… ). The master class was the first place I ever heard professional trombone playing on the highest level live. What a glorious sound. I knew trombone was the way to go for me.

People were playing duets and asking questions and Professor Wagner was giving advice. Suddenly there was a sudden hush. Someone next to me whispered “Micha is going to play something”, I had no clue who he was talking about. A young 24-year-old giant muscular guy walked in carrying a colossal bass trombone, although in his hands the trombone looked small. Then he played. The sound that came out was the deepest fullest sound I ever heard sort of like a trobonephonium. And I can say that to this day – all over the world – I never heard such a sound. His name was Micha Davis, and in my opinion stands in the front row of bass trombone players in the universe.

The bassest bone

Over the years I have played with Micha many times, and we pulled practical jokes and had lots of laughs. But putting aside the jokes and laughs, Micha inspired my playing and keeps on inspiring many others to this day. Eli and Micha’s influence shines on hundreds of talented trombone players and musicians who play in the best orchestras, bands and other music venues worldwide. I have been blessed by the opportunity to play with true giants. I have played and listened to countless trombone players since, some of the finest Orchestras in the world pass through New York, but the control and sound Micha produces is unique. When he plays Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite the storm section gets a new dimension, the bass trombone gives an 18″ sub-woofer a run for it’s money.

In the video Micha Davis is playing Etude #24 from from Eli Aharoni’s (2009) book “The Non-Classic Bass Trombone” titled “A Weird Balad”. Most players feel like they need an oxygen scuba tank or a pressurized diving bell to get through this fun exercise. Micha plays it with his usual nonchalant demeanor.

Time is a sort of river of passing events: Interlochen 1986 ♪♫

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

New Year’s a time to contemplate the past, But this one meant more to me than an average passing event. I came to the United States in 1986 as a fledgling brass-man. I had a summer scholarship to Interlochen Arts Academy in Traverse City Michigan.
You’ve heard it a million times already, but it really does take just a short time to make that all-important first impression. As you can probably tell by this group photo, I was completely in awe. There were hundreds of young people whose brains were wired the same as mine – who liked to do what I liked to do.  Before I came to Interlochen, the enterprise of making music had all the legitimacy of video-gaming or professional poker. 
Time is a sort of river of passing events: Interlochen 1986 ♪♫

By week three, composition and performance had become a tangible and authentic endeavor. I played every day at Interlochen as I had been doing since kindergarten, but here I wasn’t the guy with the trombone; I was a musician. There’s a big difference.  I don’t believe I would have had this experience at a place like Interlochen in a country other than the United States. There’s something weird and fantastic that happens to the brain just being here. Americans use the word “can” more than “can’t” and rarely do you hear Americans ask one another “why?” in a challenging manner. The attitude here is “Why not?”  It took a while, but we finally made the US our permanent home in 2005.

Young trombonist in the hubbub

Here comes trouble!

After Erin dug up this picture and scanned – I remembered that my cabin mate Murry Dweck (Then trumpet player and Now obgyn) sent me a picture he took a few moments before the big picture above was taken. He made sure to circle my face with a pen just in case I miss it. I dug up that picture up too and here it is… Erin went to the same summer camp, and our paths parted for many many years… Although I am a mere spec in the dark area in the middle right, Erin is visible in the crowd – fourth from the left. Sometimes being late lands you a better spot in the picture.

P.S. I also dug up a picture of my cabin mates. I managed to stay in touch with a few over the years. Murry Dweck who sent me the picture is the guy in the blue sweatshirt trying to cover my face.

Cabin Mates - 1986 Interlochen, MI

My aimlessly ambitious cabin mates went on to do great things. Nana on my left is a plastic surgeon specializing in breast augmentation, liposuction, and tummy tuck. Murray who is flashing the full-palm gang sign to my right is a (drum roll) Gynecologist. Topher peeking from the back middle is a MD at Stanford

Bad to the Bone in the ITA!

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Grateful thanks to Diane Drexler and Taylor Hughey at the International Trombone Association Journal for allowing this group of goofballs to grace their pages!

In back from left to right artist & instrument: Shai Nissenboim – Bass Trombone, Nir Erez – Tenor Trombone, Maestro Zubin Mehta – Stick, Yehoshua Pasternak – Tenor Trombone, Shahar Livne – Contrabass Trombone in F, Daniele Morandini – Bass Trumpet Flugelbone, Tal B.R. – Bass Trombone Front: Danny Flam – Alto Trombone, Micha Davis – Bass Trombone.

www.ita-web.org/

Something new at the indie potluck – Laura Jeanne

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Meet multi-instrumentalist, UK singer-songwriter Laura Jeanne.

I know what you’re thinking – she really looks like a young Tammy Wynette. And wouldn’t it be great if she had a voice to match? Well fear not music fans– she does, and New York Brass was the lucky crew tasked with brassing-up her debut single Coincidence.

 

Not Laura

Laura

Coincidence is unquestionably indie pop; A romanticized hat-tip to the likes of Tori Amos and Jewel. However, I think you’ll agree that Laura Jeanne offers something very different from the usual twee-below-the-knee aesthetic. Yes you say, different but how? Here at the Brass Works we’ve been scratching our heads trying to identify the ingredient responsible for renovating the indie pop sound she puts out there. This is what we came up with: Laura Jeanne is happy, and her happiness is the spark. Yes – Coincidence is free from the expected later day indie melancholia. And by melancholia, I am referring to the powerfully despondent debut song Shadowboxer from Fiona Apple, Smashing Pumpkin’s 1979 and Belle & Sebastian’s I Want the World to Stop. There are plenty of other examples, but you get the point. We bounced this idea over to her side of the pond and were pleased that she agreed.

"Yes! Music makes me happy and I am a happy person generally.”

As was the case with the brass on Coincidence, first-timer brass customers often amend their original request after hearing the majestic potential of brass loops placed into their mixes. “Wow really?” they’ll say; “You can crank those trombones even more, add some bass trumpet and maybe you know, like, light it on fire?

Is this loud enough?

Each brass draft on Coincidence generated a request for more layers and on top of that, even more.  By the second week we had added a Chicago Hotdog’s worth of French horns, bass trumpet and trombone. Fun! But trying to make multiple brass audio layers work over Laura’s cool voice proved to be a problem. Too many tracks risked making it all sound overly coincidental. (Ha-ha. OK that’s twice.)

 

 

 

Her engineer’s superb final mix did tame these elephants allowing the song to shine.  Hear those Kung-Fu grip diminished 7th tremolos at 01:17?   Laura is channeling the Peter Buck/Michael Stype energy circa 1987′s The One I Love. Is it country or pop? Both? Or is it just a coincidence? (Three strikes! OK OK I’ll stop.)

  • Director: Ben Simister
  • Cameraman: Colin Nuttall
  • Assistant: Julia Bobbin
  • Editor: (BAFTA award winner) Stephen Moore
  • Make-up Artist: Julie Kendrick
  • Guitarist: Tom Moon

About the video, Laura explained “The director Ben & I came up with the idea together and we shot the ‘Coincidence’ video over 2 full days in central London, at The Cumberland Hotel (Marble Arch), The Hard Rock Cafe, and the famous Wellington Arch. We were able to film in a Cumberland Hotel Suite and also inside London’s Hard Rock Cafe, where I have done a couple of gigs. The whole thing was just incredible – a DIY dream come true.”  If you like Coincidence and want to hear more from this admirable lady with the alabaster voice, the best and easiest thing you can do is to simply share this link with your friends and neighbors on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, whatever, and encourage more independent artists to get their stuff out there. 


The Future is Now with Teddy Charles

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Vibraphone Grandmaster Teddy Charles has been in retirement from jazz recording and performance for more years than he was active. Even so, he remains one of the very best vibraphonists in the world. I have to suppose this is the essence of what it means means to be a legend, and also what it means to be very old which Teddy is at age 86.

But let me back up  and explain how I came to meet Teddy Charles. For musician this is hard to admit – I knew very little about Mr. Charles or jazz itself until late last summer.

To be honest I did not know who Teddy Charles was until Steve Witthoft, happened to invite me to a Wednesday night jam at Teddy’s house. I met Steve while playing in a local big band. He is an excellent trombone player and more about him in a future post. If it weren’t for his invitation, I would still be “jazz ignorant” about Teddy.

When I mentioned the name to Bo he flipped out. Turns out Bo heard about Teddy and was a great fan.

The real inspiration for YDKWLI happened when my two sons and I were over at Teddy’s house helping him archive his life’s work.

We cleaned the piano!!

A job well done!

The Strut, by Benny Golson
The original music for The Strut, by composer and saxophonist Benny Golson, who is a year younger than Teddy. The number eventually debuted as “Strut Time” on the 1958 album The Other Side of Benny Golson.

“Unburying the piano” would be another accurate way to describe that afternoon. Anyway, at some point the four of us came upon an unmarked cardboard box. Inside? Pure treasure.

1955 Screen Blues

Original folio for 1955 Screen Blues

Now some words about seeing the music in the box, and how holding the original paper and seeing the pencil marks brought you closer to feeling. Closer to understanding the nature of Jazz. You passed your inspiration on in a follow-up phone call to Bo

Jazz Hall of fame vibraphonist Teddy Charles played with Charlie Parker 60 years ago. He wrote the arrangement to Miles Davis’s “Nature Boy”, and the list of people he recorded with sounds like a “who’s-who” of Jazz and Blues hall of fame. Coltrane, Mingus, Roach, Cannonball Adderly… drop a name any name…  In 1964 he played with Aretha Franklin on “Unforgettable: A Tribute to Dinah Washington”, that is close to 50 years ago!  His biggest album was going to be “Russia Goes Jazz (Teddy Charles)“, United Artists UAL 3365. He hired the best of the best musicians of the time for this project: Zoot Sims, Pepper Adams, Eric Dolphy, Hall Overton to name a few. Alas, in an a unfortunate turn of events an unknown group released its debut album the same day he released this album. Under the same label, no less. Their name? “The beatles” (!)

For many years he was first on call for playing the vibes here in New York. This fell out of favor when synthesizers went big during the late 70’s and early 80’s. He was also busy sailing his historic scooner, the “Mary E”  – a 75 foot authentic clipper built in 1906. In 2008 he began a come-back with help from many friends and colleagues  including Chris Byars and many others. Apparently he outlived all the people he thought would go before him, such as his manager and many of his friends. I suspect that it is his sense of humor that keeps him going strong at 83 years old.

I have been playing and learning a heck of a lot from him for a while now. While producing “You don’t know what love is” for English blues phenomenon Wily Bo Walker and his quintet, I thought that it would be an opportunity for Teddy to shine again with the magic touch of a true vibraphone master. These with fake B3, fake pianos, fake brass, fake strings, and fake slide whistles, I thought it could really be great if we used a real vibraphone.  Bo was excited to play with a true giant, and this turned out as a huge success! As of now (3/2/2011),  The track, is now topping the US, UK and Global Jazz download charts on MySpace.com.

For nostalgia’s sake, here is Teddy playing the vibes with Aretha Franklin’s 1964 recording of “Unforgettable”. The song was recorded as part of her tribute to Diana Washington. After the release of this tribute album, Columbia drifted away from their early jazz dreams for Aretha:

Tony Gorruso with Buddy Rich

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Ah… Those were the days… Roaming around on YouTube I found this clip, posted by saxmac. Tony Gorruso plays a mighty solo at the end. Tony is one of our lead players here at NewYorkBrass.com. You got to admit that he has nerves of steel to stand in front of  Buddy, Phil Colins and such a crowd. Or perhaps it is the invincibility of young people… Anyway, Nostalgia!

I was enjoying it so much that here is another random one with Phil Colins.(Remember him? Sic transit gloria mundi…) Tony isn’t playing on this one. But the big band sound is great.

What’s a 2 X 4?

Monday, January 17th, 2011

What's a 2 X 4?

It’s like a 4 X 8 … but smaller.

Most people, including brass players use the words Sousaphone and Tuba interchangeably. But let’s face it, Sousaphones are just so  – epic.  They are so large that you have to stand and “wear” it while playing.  The care and storage of a Sousaphone can be a challenge for the unprepared. My Sousaphone resides on an old store mannequin at home.  This garden hose reel is also a quality choice for break time.

Pipes

"Off Duty"

I drove three hours upstate to get my Sousaphone from an exasperated guy who didn’t want it in his garage. “Come up here as fast as possible” he said, “I can’t stand to look at it anymore and it takes up too much room.” When I got there the instrument was lying on its side in the driveway; the first valve had been wound with duct tape. It seemed that this poor guy probably enjoyed playing it at some point in his past. Anyway, I fixed that valve and re-welded a few other trouble spots.

All-in-all this SousaPalooza is holding up very well.


Do Whatcha Wanna – Rebirth Brass Band at Martyrs’ in Chicago

Friday, October 29th, 2010

I saw Rebirth Brass Band in Chicago recently (10/9/2010). What a night!  RBB’s brass wailed with abandon within the framework of the Keith Frazier/ Derrick Tabb tight backline. Before tonight I’d never witnessed a New Orleans rhythm backline doing its thing at a club. Every single person in the place secured their own little bubble of space to stomp and dance.

Check out the rest of the photo set here.

Slide walking

Slide Walking

Undeniably danceable gumbo

Undeniably danceable!

Turning ears and shaking hips wherever they perform

Turning ears and shaking hips wherever they perform

C-town Stomp Down

C-town Stomp Down

Who doesn't love a stage full of horns?

Who doesn't love a stage full of horns?


Do Whatcha Wanna

Meeting bass drummer Keith Frazier after the show

Greatest pickup line ever – “Is that an alto horn?”

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

A few months back I was complaining about the lack of women in brass. It’s true – most professional brass players are dudes. Since the birth of my daughter, I’ve begun to notice these things. This week however, I traveled to Buckinghamshire to work with blues musician Bo Walker on his latest project. The train ride was unseasonably warm, and I was hoping for something to distract me.

Alto Horn Girl

Exhibit A: "Is that an alto horn?"

I know what you are thinking – the young woman in Exhibit A caught my eye.  Sort of.  Look at what she has parked at her feet.  I suspected an alto horn case!  Its not often you see people traveling with the lesser-played brass instruments (I bet you do not even know what a Alto horn is), and a female brass musician to boot. I am always asked if I my trombone is a bag of golf clubs…

Intrigued, I very politely (this being England) turned  and asked her about it. Turns out her name is Wendy, and she was on the way to Chesham to visit family. (more…)