Monday, December 28, 2009

Time management (part I)

2010 is set to start off with a bang.

Wednesday, January 6 will witness the premiere of Mandigone, a mashup of Indigone and Mandala, at Casa del Popolo (4873 St-Laurent). Saxophonist/composer Joel Miller is an artist I've admired for a long time, whose writing has been highly influential on my own. Since we did a gig together with drummer Karl Schwonik a while ago, the idea of Joel and I sharing a band and playing each other's music was planted in my head. With bassist Seb Pellerin (Indigone) and drummer Martin Auguste (Mandala), we'll split the repertoire exactly in half.

Saturday, January 9 I get my infrequent accordion practice in with singer-songwriter-guitarist Michael Reinhart and bassist Jeremi Roy at The Yellow Door (3625 Aylmer).

Friday January 15 & Saturday January 16 is the premiere of another very exciting project. Guitarist Gary Schwartz has spearheaded a project called LettingO, revisiting the music of Ornette Coleman. An outgrowth of repertoire for his Concordia University combo, it's become a fierce little big band (or big small group) with some very heavy players. The arrangements are courtesy of Gary, Alex Cote, Christopher Smith and yours truly. We invade the Theatre La Chapelle (3700 Ste-Dominique) for a week of rehearsals leading up to the shows.

LettingO: Ron DiLauro - trumpet; Alex Cote - soprano & tenor saxes; Erik Hove - alto sax; Frank Lozano - tenor sax & bass clarinet; Josh Zubot - violin; Joe Grass - pedal steel; DRR - keyboards; Gary Schwartz - guitar; Nicolas Caloia - bass; Thom Gossage & Claude Lavergne - drums.

From January 25-February 6 I have the privilege of returning to the Banff Centre for the Arts for the inaugural TD Winter Jazz Residency. It's a miniature (and much colder!) of the Jazz and Creative Music Workshop, with Uri Caine, Peter Apfelbaum, Dafnis Prieto and Phil Dwyer on faculty. What's most thrilling is that it coincides with the three-month winter residency, which means all sorts of artists will be in residence at that time. I look forward to interdisciplinary collaborations.

The other TD Jazz Fellows are no slouches either: the Montreal Jazz Fest Grand Prix laureates in the Amanda Tosoff Quartet will be out there, as well as my boys of the Parc-X Trio. Bloggers Curtis Macdonald and Jon McCaslin will be there, as well as saxophonist Greg Sinibaldi, trumpeter Patrick Boyle, and bassist Chris Jennings. I'm excited to be working with all of them - I haven't seen Chris in probably close to a decade, since he moved to Paris and I moved to Montreal.

2009 in review

2009 has been my least-blogged year. Certainly not for lack of events, although the death of my computer at the beginning of December didn't help matters either. I don't feel qualified this year to do a Top Whatever of the Year post because there were so many big releases I haven't yet heard. Nate Chinen's roundtable at The Gig and Patrick J's link dumps at A Blog Supreme should more than pick up my slack.

The progress (or lack thereof) of the decade is interesting to reflect upon. At its opening, artists like Dave Douglas and Kurt Rosenwinkel were on major labels. By its close, both of them had taken the distribution of their music into their own hands. The majority of Warner Bros. jazz arm moved to Nonesuch, and Maria Schneider's releases on ArtistShare announced a paradigm shift for much of the creative music industry. Who knows what the next decade will hold in terms of distribution and dissemination of music. Vinyl sales are up and have been since 2007, and small record stores seem to be thriving (at least in Montreal) while the big chain stores have either folded or increased drastically in their suckitude.

So farewell to 2009, and may the onset of 2010 be filled with health, happiness and creativity.