Thursday, January 05, 2012


Happy 2012.

I am still in the home stretch with my book, and in the interest of not allowing this blog to languish in the meantime, I thought I would try something I haven't before: sharing a bit of my written music.

As I mentioned in my last post, most of my time these days is either going toward the book or toward my new band, Proto-human, a six-piece Portland-based ensemble featuring alto and tenor sax, plus a four piece rhythm section (guitar, piano, drums, and bass).

With Proto-human, though I don't wish to analyze the aesthetic too much, I have nevertheless been trying to challenge myself to write using styles and approaches that I kind of got away from in the Industrial Jazz Group. In other words, I'm trying to step out of my comfort zone a bit.

For instance, in the IJG I eventually stopped writing at the piano, or with paper. With Proto-human, most everything I've written so far has been composed at the piano, and most of it has at least been sketched out on paper first.

As another example, most everything I have written for the IJG, and especially in the last five years or so, has been rather heavily and densely arranged, even in the way that improvisation was involved (in my most recent stuff, improvisation was often part of the arrangement, rather than an opportunity to showcase a given soloist). I am proud of the unique sound that resulted, but I knew when I started this new band that I wanted to try to write at least one simple single-page lead sheet type chart, that the group could arrange, and that offered extensive blowing opportunities. Just to hear what would happen.

"Brega" (see below--click to enlarge, and feel free to download) is what I came up with. The word "brega" is Portuguese for "tacky" or "in bad taste." You can decide for yourself whether the tune was aptly named.

If you're in Portland, Oregon, on March 11, 2011, you can hear this tune, and a bunch of my other new pieces, at the Blue Monk, when Scott Hall, David Valdez, Andrew Jones, Justin Morell, Todd Bishop and I premiere them as part of Mary-Sue Tobin's wonderful Sunday Night Jazz Series.

But in any case, by all means feel free to take it for a test drive yourself.