Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Tribute to Phyllis Marchand -- Oct. 17

The Sustainable Jazz duo will be performing at
A Tribute to Phyllis Marchand on Sunday, October 17. Hosted by DR Greenway and the family of Phyllis Marchand, this will be an (outdoor) open house to honor her and her legacy as an environmentalist and former mayor. Phil Orr and I will be performing songs from the American songbook that Phyllis loved, along with a few of our originals. 

Come to the Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, Princeton, NJ, any time Sunday between noon and 3pm. The event is free, but please rsvp (rsvp@drgreenway.org)
to help the hosts with planning. 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Lunar Octet to Perform Nov. 3 at the Blue Llama in Ann Arbor, MI

If you happen to be in Ann Arbor, MI on Wednesday, Nov. 3, come by the Blue Llama to hear the Lunar Octet, a latin/jazz band I've been in since 1983. We'll be converging from north, south, east and west to play original music from our 2021 Convergence release on Summit Records, plus one or two new compositions of mine.

The Convergence recording has frequently been in the top 50 on the jazz charts since its release in May.

The Blue Llama has great food, and its beautiful, mid-century style comes from the design of Dizzy's Club in NY.

Performance is from 7:00 to 10:15 pm.

The Lunar Octet's "Convergence" Tops the Charts for Hot New Latin Jazz

Through much of the summer, our 2021 Lunar Octet release, Convergence, was at or near the top of Amazon's "Hot New Releases in Latin Jazz." The many positive reviews and airplay around the world are documented on the Lunar Octet website. Though the band is a collective with no designated leader, I took on the informal role of musical director soon after the band formed in 1983, writing out charts and contributing compositions. It's a close-knit group, still based in Ann Arbor, MI. We love performing together, spreading the joy and feeding off the audience's response. Except for a couple covers of Tito Puente tunes, the music is all of our own creation. It's very exciting to see the music now getting heard around the world.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Lunar Octet Interview on "Alternative Venues for Jazz"

Our jazz/latin band, the Lunar Octet, was recently invited to be on Alternative Venues for Jazz, a facebook group started by Gail Boyd. Gail's a manager of artists, and each day she features jazz artists who talk about their lives and recent recordings. It's a great program and we were thrilled to be invited on. Drummer Jon Krosnick, bassist Jeff Dalton, and I spoke about our lives and the recent release of our album, Convergence, which is getting positive reviews and airplay around the world. 

During our 30 minute self-interview, Jon and Jeff asked me to talk about the genesis of my life as a jazz musician and composer. To have a listen to all or part, click on the link above, not the photo.

3:14 -- How I began composing music
14:18 -- How I started to improvise

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Our Lunar Octet "Convergence" CD Reviewed in Downbeat!

We were thrilled to see our newly released Lunar Octet recording reviewed in Downbeat Magazine. It's also been praised in Jazz Is, Jazz Thing, JazzWise, Jazz Weekly, El Chino, PhilsPicks, and in publications in Germany, France, and Japan. There are some nice quotes, like in Downbeat how the compositions "spur the impulse to dance and encourage intellectual engagement at the same time." That's definitely what we're going for. ​A review in German starts by saying, in translation, "Great stuff that we seldom get to hear these days. Perhaps because music that is not cutting edge is undervalued?" That's another characteristic of the band. Our compositions and performances go by Ellington's mantra: "If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good." 

CDs and downloads can be purchased on the Summit Records site, at Amazon, and elsewhere. Quick listens and streaming are available at Spotify and elsewhere.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

My Piano Talk Videos on Youtube

Over the years, I've written hundreds of small compositions for piano. Some I used in my teaching of kids and adults, others have sat patiently in files over the decades, awaiting some time in the sun. In these recordings on a piano with a special history, I play the compositions and talk about their personal, musical and sometimes political meaning. 

The videos are gathered on this playlist on youtube, with names like "Why am I so happy?," "Carefree in Three," "Con-tin-u-ing," "Palindrome," and "Steve's Delight."