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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Why we’re using Bandcamp

Posted by: admin on August 23, 2013 @ 2:06 pm
Filed under: Listening, Music, Music Technology

Bandcamp is a microsite storefront used by a lot of independent musicians to sell their music. They offer downloads in almost any format you can think of in a clean shopping cart, embeddable player widgets, and recently, the launch of new social engagement mechanisms has clearly shown how fervent the Bandcamp community is — a lot of folks say that it’s the place where true music consumers go to engage with the music. And over the past few months, we’ve been migrating our catalog over there.


The integration of GLM and Bandcamp comes because we feel those user-facing mechanisms help present our artists’ music in the way we want to. But also, our catalog has been growing — we’re doing more releases than ever before, and that’s all because of your continued support, especially our Subscriber community. Because we’re adding more and more titles, our server load continues to grow, and as we add more data, the site can slow down a bit. So moving our music from our server to theirs should help keep our site quick to your click — just an added bonus really.

We started our Bandcamp run with Dave’s album Be Still last year, then Time Travel, then we launched new music by Matt Ulery, Linda Oh, and Donny McCaslin on dedicated artist stores that we manage.

This past week, we did the big upload—the three comprehensive Download-Only titles by Dave’s first Quintet, Keystone, and Brass Ecstasy. We’re happy to say, these titles are now available not only in MP3 and FLAC, but also AIF, WAV, OGG, and lots more. Clear some space on your hard drive, and get downloading!

We still have album pages up and running at our site store, and that won’t change. We’ll present further information on each release alongside links to each Bandcamp album page, and keep our sorting mechanisms in place for you to use to sift through the ever-expanding catalog. More titles will be appearing on our artist Bandcamp pages through the end of the year, even a new Dave Douglas album we’ve been keeping hush-hush for awhile now. Check back soon.

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New music: Matt Ulery’s Loom, Wake An Echo

Posted by: admin on June 26, 2013 @ 5:28 am
Filed under: Music, Releases, Video

Wake An Echo by Matt Ulery’s Loom.
CD/digital available now for preorder.
Listen, buy, share.


With his 2012 release By A Little Light, Chicago bassist and composer Matt Ulery presented profoundly rich compositions for a large ensemble. The sprawling two-disc collection, lush with strings, winds, and vocals—care of the iconoclastic contemporary classical ensemble eighth blackbird, and Polish singer Grazyna Auguscik—was called “one of the most hauntingly beautiful recordings of [2012]” by Chicago Tribune, received ★★★★ ½ in Downbeat, and appeared on NPR’s Top 50 Albums of the Year across all genres. For his follow-up—his second for the Greenleaf Music label—Ulery sets aside the grandeur of the large ensemble without sacrificing the beauty inherent in his compositions, reimagining his long-standing Loom Quintet on Wake An Echo.

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[AUDIO] Stream Moonshine by Key Motion Quintet

Posted by: admin on December 19, 2011 @ 9:48 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas (News), Donny McCaslin (News), Listening, Music, Perpetual Motion

We have our ace team of engineers mixing some audio from the GPS celebration at Jazz Standard. The stream below was just too good to keep to ourselves while the others get finished. Moonshine—originally the title track on the 2006 release under Dave Douglas & Keystone—as performed by the Key Motion Quintet is now available to stream below. Subscribers can expect a high-res download of this and some other choice cuts.

Key Motion Quintet, Live at Jazz Standard 12/8/11
Dave Douglas, Donny McCaslin
Adam Benjamin, Tim Lefebvre, Mark Guiliana


John Zorn: 14 music links

Posted by: admin on October 3, 2011 @ 2:40 pm
Filed under: Music, Video

The internet is what you make of it, that’s for sure. But sometimes even seasoned browsers could use a helping hand. Luckily for all, there are sites like Network Awesome that weed through the pap and get you what you need. This Youtube playlist curated by John Zorn is the current feature over there. From Coltrane and Getz, to Serge Gainsborg and Link Wray, to Looney Toones, this is an incredibly entertaining set of vids.

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Celebration of Bill Dixon

Posted by: admin on May 12, 2011 @ 7:20 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (News), Music

Festival of New Trumpet Music returns for a short concert series in June. Concerts feature, among others, Wadada Leo Smith in a new commissioned work, Tomasz Stanko with a group of New York players, Ted Daniel explores King Oliver, Amir El Saffar, Stephanie Richards, Jonathan Finlayson, and much more.

Here’s a profile about the June 3 concert celebrating the life and music of Bill Dixon. Many of the players involved worked with Dixon for years. Should be an exciting night of music.

Bill Dixon

Honoring Bill Dixon at the Rubin Museum of Art

The Festival of New Trumpet Music celebrates the life and work of the late trumpet player Bill Dixon (1925-2010), who was an inspiration and a trailblazer.

With long-time Dixon collaborators Taylor Ho Bynum, Stephen Haynes, and Rob Mazurek (cornets, trumpets), William Parker (bass), Warren Smith (percussion), and special guests Stanton Davis and Wadada Leo Smith (trumpets)


Rubin Museum of Art | 150 West 17th St, NYC

$18 advance, $20 door, $5 students, includes a post-concert guided tour of museum

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It’s Up

Posted by: admin on May 11, 2011 @ 7:38 am
Filed under: Culture, Music

The National Jukebox

The Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox, which makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge. The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives.

Now streaming at the link above.

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It's Up

Posted by: admin on @ 7:38 am
Filed under: Culture, Music

The National Jukebox

The Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox, which makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge. The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives.

Now streaming at the link above.

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Jazz Trumpet Players Highlighted.

Posted by: admin on March 21, 2011 @ 3:04 pm
Filed under: Music

Curtis Davenport has a section of his blog devoted to “Obscure Trumpet Masters.” While many of them won’t be obscure to you savants out there, it’s worth a look for the videos and music clips.

Thanks you, Curtis.

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musings on nancarrow

Posted by: Curtis Macdonald on February 27, 2011 @ 3:00 pm
Filed under: Curtis Macdonald (news), Music, Music Technology

Authored by Curtis Macdonald:

Conlon Nancarrow among his Piano Rolls

After a long hiatus, I’ve delved into more of Conlon Nancarrow‘s work for player piano.  Inspired by an excerpt from Study No. 33, I’ve programmed a drum set improvisation to its rhythm.  Consider this track a long awaited sequel to this one which prompted Nancarrow expert Kyle Gann to post about it here.  The drum sounds are from my personal collection and seem to compliment the rawness of Nancarrow’s piano quite nicely.  Click Here to listen to the audio.

Here’s how I did it –

Each drum sound is a sample controlled by a MIDI note, which I synced to the piano’s audio.  I placed each sound on the timeline manually and by ear to ensure accurate placement without the reference of grids or quantization.  Working with MIDI in this way can be a very tedious process, but I believe it is in the same spirit as Nancarrow’s work where he meticulously punched small holes one-by-one onto a hardcopy piano roll.  In concept, I find the process quite similar to collage-art or the building of a mosaic.

Working in an environment absent of notation reminds me as a composer to seek out new ways to organize rhythm and frequency, and as an instrumentalist to pursue ways in which to broaden and ultimately strengthen my performance capabilities.

“Since our appreciation has been limited, for the most part, to the simplest rhythms, and since it is difficult to play accurately more complex ones, it is necessary to form rhythmic scales of the simplest possible ratios… we employ the simplest overtone ratios which can be found to approximate each interval… It would be interesting… to hear such rhythms cut on a player piano roll.”
-Conlon Nancarrow

In many ways Nancarrow was a pioneer of MIDI composition decades before computers and software became widely available to composers.  His music demands a complexity that far exceeded the abilities of the musicians of his time, which in turn has inspired new performance practices and compositional methods for subsequent generations.  Today, ensembles like Calefax have set to the task of adapting his music for live performance.

Related links:

For further study of Conlon’s player-piano études:
Electronic Realizations of Conlon Nancarrow’s Study No. 37 for Player Piano

“You claim that I write monstrosities which only the composer can play. What if they were meant only for the composer?”
Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji

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