Thanks for your ongoing interest in my musical journey. My last letter was in December, and I like to write only when I have something truly newsworthy to say. So I’m sure you’ll be interested to read about my several upcoming world premieres and other events.
UPCOMING APPEARANCES/ PERFORMANCES
April 29: 2pm at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. Free. The West Point Jazz Knights (pictured) perform the world premiere of Cumberland Gap, the composition they commissioned me to write for them. It’s my foray into Bluegrass, rich with Americana, that I think dovetails with the diplomatic mission of this military band. Don’t expect anything like the Bluegrass you know, though! I’ll leave it at that. This smoking band is stacked full of alums of the top Jazz schools in the country. MORE INFO
May 1: 1:30pm at Stony Brook University, Long Island, NY. Limited public lecture/recital. Violinist JongEun Lee performs the world premier of my Sanjo for Violin and Piano, which she commissioned for her doctoral recital. The three-movement work is based on four different Korean traditional songs and mimics the virtuosic instrumental genre called sanjo. Often the violin is employed as a geomungo (zither) or haegeum (fiddle), and the piano as janggu (barrel drum). The piece also incorporates Western contemporary classical and Jazz elements. In a recent blog post I wrote in more detail about the experience of composing this. MORE INFO
May 13: 2pm at New York Presbyterian Church, Long Island City, NY. Free, open to public. I’m organizing and leading a new brass band in a Gospel music concert for this date. The band is trumpet (Jason Wiseman), sax (Mike Webster), sousaphone (James Rogers), drums (Vin Scialla), and of course, trombone (myself). We’ll play timeless hymns in the energetic brass shout band tradition that I closely identify with. I expect to write more about this exciting new band project as it develops. MORE INFO
A DAY OF ‘JUDGEMENT’
I had the pleasure of serving as an adjudicator for the Brass soloist finals competition at the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) national conference here in NYC in late March. It was an honor to share the panel with brass giants Jeff Scott and Raymond Stewart. For two days we listened to the most talented brass players in the US at the high school and college levels. Some of them had memorized their entire programs, up to 40 minutes – a feat in itself. The musicality of the college level winner, a tubist, was astonishing.
REVIEWED BY THE BRITS
I finally obtained a copy of the Mulberry Street review in the British magazine JazzWise. Giving the record 3 out of 4 (normally) stars, the editor adds, “East Asian music is among the fascinations of this US-based trombonist, big band composer, and arranger. Here he, subtly yet persuasively, draws from Korean/Chinese music for his contemporary jazz large ensemble writing.”
Speaking of this album, for any newcomers who haven’t yet checked out my big band Project Hansori or its debut album, here are links both to hear/see them at our band website, and to purchase the full or partial album on iTunes.
While we’re at it, old comers and newcomers alike will appreciate the new design of my personal website.
PROJECT HANSORI/OTHER COLLABORATORS’ NEWS
Check out these brand new records by trombonist John Yao (“In the Now”), his debut on the Innova label; and by now top-demand bassist Linda Oh (“Initial Here”), her second, on Dave Douglas’ label, Greenleaf. More veteran records are in the works by Francesca Han, Mike Webster, and a coming debut disc by Ryan Pate.
BRIDGING THE GAP (pun alert):
Chew on this… Many months after my mouth and face injury (given lip-service in my Sept-Oct newsletter), my trombone chops feel like 100% and I’m happily chompin’ at the bit. It turns out all my initial worries and teeth-gnashing of not being able to play again were all bark and no bite. We’ve silenced all that chatter. To be sure, though, it’s not all giggles and grins. Some scar tissue remains on my lip, probably permanently (somewhat biting news), and it’s still strange to play the horn with a “flipper” denture in my mouth. However, the latter will change, since on my 5/20 dental appointment my implant procedure will finally be done, nipped in the bud. On this date my wonderful dentist, a bona fide surgeon to whom I feel most indentured, will place a permanent pearly white on the titanium implant screw (a newfangled technology) that’s now sticking out of my 1-toothless gum. I should then be able to play freely, without distraction. So it is not I, but fate, who has the glass jaw, who bit off more than it could chew. And lest I forget my musical roots, the Philippines may be where I fell and tickled my ivory, but NYC is where I truly cut my teeth. And that makes me all smiles.
Thanks for reading,