Greenleaf Artists Sound Off: Year End Observations & Music Thoughts

Year end thoughts from Dave Douglas, Grammy nominee Donny McCaslin, Michael Bates, Linda Oh, Kneebody, Matt Ulery


Dave Douglas

Henry Brant would be 100! After co-producing his 52 trumpet piece with Festival of New Trumpet Music, I discovered his book called “Textures and Timbres: An Orchestrator’s Handbook.” It is extraordinary, a great insight into what made that music so powerful. I will spend another 50 years trying to digest it. It’s still in print, and worth looking up.

Wayne Shorter turned 80. John Zorn turned 60. I turned 50. Joe Lovano and I were honored to have a small role in the Wayne Shorter events, playing with our quintet, Sound Prints, with Lawrence Fields, Linda Oh, and Joey Baron, at several celebrations. The Zorn at 60 marathons were some of the most inspiring days of music I have ever seen; definitely like playing on an all-star team. And traveling with my own quintet, with Jon Irabagon, Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh, and Rudy Royston, has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling musical experiences of my life. It is a profound pleasure developing the music with these good people. We still have about 15 states to go and I look forward to working on that! Stay warm and we will hope to see you in Hawaii in the cold season.


Miguel Zenon, Oye, Live in Puerto Rico
Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Defense, Moment & The Message
Mauro Ottolini Sousaphonix, Bix Factor


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RE: Kneebody Blog

Posted by: admin on March 13, 2008 @ 11:29 am
Filed under: Kneebody (Artist Thoughts), Kneebody (Updates), Music

While poking around on the interweb this morning, I saw a blog posting from Kaveh of Kneebody regarding the Krautrock band Gentle Giant on their website. I have been a fan of that 70’s psych/prog for sometime now–Gentle Giant, Amon Duul, Harmonium, Neu!, Can, etc. It reminded me of a couple youtube’s I stumbled on awhile back.

King Crimson does “Elephant Talk”

Faust & Koll the Polar Bear

Thanks for getting me back on the Prog/Psych wagon, Kaveh.

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Rasmussen on Benjamin : Post-Twardzik

Posted by: Dave Douglas on October 10, 2006 @ 3:56 pm
Filed under: Kneebody (Artist Thoughts), Music

The following is esteemed jazz critic and cultural savant Wayne Rasmussen’s review of Greenleaf friend Adam Benjamin’s newly released Garageband – MIDI – Jazz Standards album It’s a Standard, Standard, Standard, Standard World. For more information or to purchase the album, visit or

In the thirty-one years that I have manned the Jazz Desk for the prestigious transatlantic arts and culture rag Unadecbarvito (now the Infobahn – tastemaker, an inexhaustible amount of newly released media has passed under my purview. If jazz is indeed dead then someone should notify Nils in Mailroom / Distribution, as I am still greeted daily by an impressive stack of CDs, LPs, DVDs, books (anecdotal, biographical, ethnomusicological, predidactico-epistemological) and other media.

As such, it is rare for any of this art to leave me with a lasting impression, with odd moments of introspection on the treadmill or longer-than-usual pregnant pauses while selectively plucking and trimming my plentiful moustache hairs, lost in musical thought and recall while I confront my aging countenance in the bathroom mirror. Rarer still is such a result from perhaps the most well-explored territory in the genre, the standards album. Yet this is precisely the effect of the severely dislodging, but ultimately rewarding new effort from L.A.-based pianist and composer Adam Benjamin.


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My Summer Vacation, by Adam Benjamin

Posted by: adam on June 23, 2006 @ 2:05 pm
Filed under: Kneebody (Artist Thoughts)

Adam Benjamin is doing research for a book on jazz education and can be contacted at

I was fortunate enough to serve as a faculty member at the Banff Jazz Workshop this summer. Dave invited me up to see how the program works, as part of my ongoing research into approaches and possibilities in jazz education. It was an unbelievable experience, and I cannot recommend the program highly enough to prospective students – it’s a fantastic opportunity to spend extended, focused time with a diverse and talented student body and faculty, and I am completely sure that each and every student and teacher left enriched and inspired. (And this is without even mentioning the breathtaking setting in the Canadian Rockies.)


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Concept and Context : Nerdy Meditations on Freedom and Language in Jazz

Posted by: adam on April 10, 2006 @ 2:04 pm
Filed under: Kneebody (Artist Thoughts)

This last summer I was given the opportunity to design and implement a music theory curriculum for a new, forward-thinking summer music institute in Los Angeles that some friends of mine had started the previous year. I was going to be teaching upper-level, music-school bound high schoolers, and the idea was to combine the open-minded, experimental approach of this institute with something that prepared them for the conservatory music theory education that awaited them.


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Kneebody Winter Tour wrap-up

Posted by: adam on December 23, 2005 @ 1:32 pm
Filed under: Kneebody (Artist Thoughts)

Season’s Greetings Greenleafies + a big thank you from me and the rest of the Kneebuddies to all those who assisted in the recently completed Kneebody Winter Tour 2005. It was a rewarding and successful trip thanks to all of you. We played some new places (Fergie’s in Philly, BAM Cafe in New York, Hot House in Chicago, Brew + View in Rock Island IL, and Metropol in LA), and had our most successful shows yet in some of our home bases (Tonic in NY, Dazzle in Denver and the Temple Bar in LA). We had a blast playing loads of new music which is really coming together, and despite complex travel plans, busy schedules and near-absolute-zero temperatures that followed us across America, we are enjoying the experience more than ever.

And we’re looking forward to 2006 which will feature our first tour in Europe and lots of US shows as well, to be announced soon after the New Year. Happy Holidays everyone and again a big thank you from the band to Mike Dave Jim and Will at Greenleaf and our friends and colleagues who helped ensure the success of our most ambitious tour yet. Best wishes from Kneebody.

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Keystone Tour Happened: Yay

Posted by: adam on November 29, 2005 @ 6:38 am
Filed under: Kneebody (Artist Thoughts)

In my inaugural blogging I would like to commemorate the occurrence of Dave Douglas and Keystone Fall Tour 2005. I played keyboards on this tour, and it was a rewarding and edifying experience. In terms of mileage, schedule and quality of souffle it surpassed all tours I had done thus far in my young career, thus graduating me from the level of Jazz Rookie and setting me on the course toward Touring Pro. This is great because now I can Talk Shop with other Touring Pros, but moreover because I return to Los Angeles with the knowledge that there are gigs out there where you go to beautiful places and play great music with nice people and no one tries to screw you, something that at times can seem doubtful to a young person trying to build a career in music.

Next on tap is Kneebody Winter Tour 2005, in which we visit several major metropolitan areas of USA in succession from East to West — see how far you will have to drag yourself to see our fantastic band on our most ambitious tour yet. I hope to see many familiar faces on this trip as the Massive Headless Corporate Juggernaut that is the Greenleaf Music Touring Division goes into action yet again!

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