Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sustainable Jazz CD Available: "Until I Find the Words"

After years of playing, composing, and cogitating, Sustainable Jazz has given birth to a recording, and it's a sweetheart. Each tune has its own special feel, from ballad to bounce, tango to swing. These are the tunes Phil and I have been performing at parties and concerts, recorded in a studio with a gorgeous piano sound. Photographs are of my own taking, with bubbles trapped in ice on the cover, and the liquid mysteries of a vernal pool on the inside.

The music is available on spotify and other stream services, on Amazon music, or watch on youtube.

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Sustainable Jazz Interview on TV!

What a great pleasure it was to be interviewed on pianist Eric Mintel's TV show, "Talking Jazz!" In addition to being an excellent jazz pianist and highly successful bandleader, Eric is a gifted host and interviewer. His life's work is to sustain not only his own group but to promote jazz as an art form, and to that end he has undertaken to interview musicians like myself to document our lives and music. In a half hour, he had me telling not only of my life in jazz but also of my environmental work through my writings, nature walks, and the two nonprofits I founded. Thanks to Eric for this opportunity, and to the show's director Chuck McEnroe of Princeton Community TV for making Eric aware of Sustainable Jazz.

Talking Jazz, 17.18 from Princeton Community Television on Vimeo.

Check out other interviews on Talking Jazz.

Roundup of Recent Gigs for Environmental Nonprofits

Autumn leaves us with some good memories lending positive energy to events hosted by some of New Jersey's leading environmental nonprofits.

We played again for the Women in Wildlife Awards event put on each year by Conserve Wildlife Foundation,

a Black Friday event hosted by FOPOS in the wonderfully resonate living room of Mountain Lakes House in Princeton,

and a masquerade ball hosted by DR Greenway.

Then this past Sunday it was back to Mountain Lakes for another Friends of Princeton Open Space event, where we had a ball playing holiday music for kids from 1 to 92. I know how hard these organizations work to make the world a better place, and it's a great pleasure to be part of their gatherings together to celebrate.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Upcoming Performances for Conservation Organizations

One of our favorite things to do is to perform at events hosted by environmental organizations in the area. It's a chance to participate in the giving back to nature, whose endless beauty and creativity is a central inspiration for our music. Join us at these upcoming events. The first two are fundraising events; the third is an open house. More info at the links.

Saturday, October 27, 6-11pm: DR Greenway Masquerade Ball , Deer Run Farm in Pennington. Phil and I will perform from 6-8pm.

Wednesday, November 7, 6-8:30: Conserve Wildlife Foundation's 2018 Women in Wildlife Awards and Silent Auction, Duke Farms in Hillsborough

Friday, Nov. 23, 1-3pm: Friends of Princeton Open Space--open house at Mountain Lakes House. (not posted on their website yet, but this will be a free and informal event for people to stop in while taking a walk at Mountain Lakes in Princeton)

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sustainable Jazz Comes to South Brunswick October 5, 8-10

Graphic by Phil Orr

We're playing a two hour show of all original compositions this Friday, October 5, 15 minutes from Princeton, at the South Brunswick Municipal Complex. For those unfamiliar with South Brunswick, there's an address below, but here's a musical version of directions based on some of my compositions: It's not Lejos de Aqui (Far From Here) at all. Just take the Princetonian Thoroughfare over the Funky River (and Route 1), and you'll find yourself In the Company of Friends, with lots of Ruum to Rumba. For videos of Phil and me performing, one of my favorites is Cheery in Theory, along with Funky River.

Our duo of Phil Orr on keyboards and myself on sax and clarinet will have the added dimension of Lars Wendt, with his big sound on trumpet and trombone, and Jason Harris on upright bass. Should be a fun show featuring our newly recorded original jazz, latin, funk, tango, and a rumba thrown in for good measure. Copies of a new recording, Until I Find the Words, will be available at the performance.

Details: Friday, October 5, 8-10pm, South Brunswick Municipal Complex
540 Route 522, Monmouth Junction

Admission $6 at the door - Light refreshments included
Doors open 7:30pm – No reservations, no advance ticket sales

Saturday, August 4, 2018

A California Tour

Love you, California. This past week, some of my compositions flew with me out to California and landed in the Portola Valley Vineyard, performed by a band I've been in for 35 years, the Lunar Octet. The group started as a composers' workshop and became a working band. Inspired by Aron Kaufman, Dan Ladizinski and other player/composers in the group, I began contributing tunes around 1984 and have been writing ever since. One thing learned: if the musicians love playing a tune, chances are the audience will love it as well.

The night before, our 9-piece group was packed onto the stage of a jazz club, the Cafe Pink House. If anyone asked why an Octet had 9 players, I explained that we're making up for all those times we only had 7. Here are the three percussionists in the band--congas, drums, and timbales--what I call "the joy factory."
Being a botanist, I took an interest in the trees framing the vineyard performance. There were redwoods in the background, and in the foreground, a massive stump where a bay tree with a tree house had stood. The tree's gone, but I bet there are a lot of kids who will carry memories all their lives of listening to music from up in a treehouse. Afterwards, the hosts treated us to a selection of wines grown at the vineyard. Incredible for an easterner, the summer weather is everyday the same, with cool nights and warm days, and never any rain. The trees must find water deep underground.

Our third performance was at Sol Treasures, a play on the words "soul" and "sol", the spanish word for sun. Their nonprofit came into being ten years ago, to teach music and art to kids after California stopped funding arts and music in the schools. California, we love you, but how could you? We received a standing ovation from people who treasure their kids and want them to learn art and music. That was a good feeling.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Free Performance at Princeton Public Library, June 17, 2pm

There was lots of confusion about the time of the gig, but it's settled. We'll be playing for an hour from 2-3pm, Sunday, June 17, either on Hinds Plaza or in the Community Room at the Princeton Public Library.

Phil Orr and I will play selections from our upcoming CD. Sax, clarinet, and keyboard. Come join us, and tell your friends.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Performing for a DR Greenway Feting of Ted Thomas

Note: Come by the Princeton Public Library on Sunday, June 17 at 2pm to hear Sustainable Jazz.

Recent doings include playing background music for a DR Greenway event in honor of Ted Thomas, one of the great local volunteers who has done so much to build and maintain trails in the Princeton area, while supporting open space in many other ways as well. I know Ted from my days working for Friends of Princeton Open Space, where he has been a longtime board member and leader of the trail committee.

Ted gave a speech with his accustomed soft-spoken charm. He grew up in Elizabeth, NJ, where there was very little open space and towns merged one into the other, then gained a love of the outdoors at summer camp in Vermont. Later, in Idaho, he learned trail construction techniques he has since applied to Princeton's open space, and worked to preserve a valley in the Rockies dear to his heart--an effort that ultimately achieved success during the Obama years.

Somebody must have known Ted was coming, because they baked him a cake.

Playing for this event was a kind of heaven, performing for people who love both nature and music. We played mostly my jazz and latin originals, but there were also some standards like All the Things You Are--one of Ted's favorites--and an impromptu jazz version of On the Trail, from Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Free Performance: Princeton's Communiversity, 1:40-2:10pm

Please note: Corrected time is 1:40 to 2:10pm

Sustainable Jazz takes to the street this coming Sunday, April 29, for a performance at the Arts Council of Princeton's Communiversity. As in previous years, we'll be on Witherspoon Street next to the public library.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Performance Dates: April 12 and 19, Hopewell Valley Bistro

Stop by the Hopewell Valley Bistro to hear the Sustainable Jazz trio perform our original jazz on April 12 and 19. Hopewell pianist Phil Orr has been hosting a Thursday night Jazz On Broad series at the Bistro that's been drawing crowds and filling a major gap in local jazz. Music's from 6-9 with food and drink served throughout. Phil on piano, Colt Morris on bass, and myself on sax/clarinet and compositions.

Scroll down for some sample videos.

The series of late has included some jazz greats like Houston Person and Warren Vache.