My friends play music III! (April Newsletter)

April is here! The weather will start to warm up soon and it’s also recital season! This means that there’s going to be shows galore! Unfortunately I had to be a bit selective this month because I got a ton of submissions and the calendar is also packed enough as it is! Thanks again for all your continued support not just for this newsletter but also for one another! I’m planning to start adding other features to these posts like concert highlights, pics etc. but haven't quite figured it out yet so please feel free to make suggestions on stuff I could add/you'd like to see more of! 

4/2 – 8PM .QP Duo is back at Tomi Jazz playing two sets. Myself and Jeremy Corren have been hard at work refining our rep. Gearing up for a new project release later this year. These shows are always a total blast to play and I hope to share them with you all!

4/4 6:30PM Austin Zhang returns to bar next door this month with his trio featuring Andreu Pitarch Mach on Drums and Niklas Lukassen on Bass and Voice!

4/4 – MIDNIGHT Hattie Simon brings debuts her group to Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1 to debut some new music and showcase old music. Hattie is a really special singer who I’ve had the pleasure of hanging and playing with a lot this past year. Her band features Baptiste Horcholle on sax and synth, John Koozin on Bass, Chris “Stomp” Garriga on Drums, and Mike Sheelar on piano.

4/5 – 6:30PM Vaughn Stoffey Trio featuring Evan Gregor on bass and Alex Ritz on drums! They are also playing Bar Next Door. Vaughn is a recent friend of mine who has already blown me away with his passion for jazz, metal, and so much more!

4/5 7:30 & 9:30PM Song Yi Jeon album presents her release show at the Jazz Gallery! Song Yi is one of the most mind-blowing singers I’ve heard and her writing is just as amazing. I’ve been looking forward to seeing her play again, this time at my favorite venue in the city!

4/7 – 10PM Mughal Legion 4 featuring you guessed it, Mughal Muesli trio, double billing with the Anna Webber quartet! Mughal Muesli is a crazy NY based trio that plays a lot around town and Anna Webber is an amazing saxophonist and flautist. Her quartet will feature Jonathan Goldberger, Michael Bates, and Jeff Davis.

4/8 – 9PM Eyehear and Glassbath at Williamsburg Music Center. After releasing their album less than 2 months ago, Glassbath is already storming NYC with their great sounds. I highly recommend checking the album out on Bandcamp. Eyehear is a project led by David Acevedo featuring a good friend of mine Conner Duke, Sean Kim, Joe Freund and Daniel Mesko! WMC is a really great space to hang and hear music and I highly recommend checking this show out! 

4/9 – 7:30 & 9:30PM Minton’s Playhouse, Chris McCarthy with Eivind Opsvik and JK Kim. I’ve had the distinct pleasure but not quite enough of music making with Chris but I hope that changes soon because he sounds amazing! This trio is going to be truly special at Minton’s Playhouse. s

4/10 – 7:30 & 9:30PM Former teacher of mine and musical inspiration Walter Smith III brings his trio “TWIO” to the Jazz Standard. The recently released standards album has been one of my go-to picks for almost any situation. This show is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Greg Hutchinson on drums & Harish Raghavan on bass.

4/11 – 9:30PM Remy LeBoeuf forces Cornelia Street Café to yet again take from my wallet and hopefully yours by bringing a fantastic group of musicians to the venue. I try to keep my fanboying to a minimum with these “newsletters” but I can’t resist giving this a shoutout. Joining Remy will be Shai Maistro(Piano), Charles Altura(Guitar), Peter Kronreif (Drums) and Rick Rosato (Bass).

4/13 – 6PM Cole Davis Group plays at Cornelia Street Café featuring JK Kim, Vaughn Stoffey, and Lex Korten! This lineup is pretty incredible and I put it in my personal calendar as a must see. You should come hang out with me at this show so I have someone to cheer and woo with.

4/13 – 11PM Whaliens! I had the pleasure of seeing one of this group’s first concerts live and it’s really something special. The roster of influences for this group is vast. Ranging from Jazz and Funk to actual extraterrestrial creatures “the universe and beyond” they do not fail to live up to that standard at all! They will be playing at Greenpoint Gallery! Band members include Emily Sgouros on vibraphone, Jonathan Milberger on saxophone, Daniel Kim on guitar, Nico Sleator on keys, Dominic LaMorte on bass and Daniel Venz on drums.

4/13 – 7PM BA AKHU live at shapeshifter lab. Abdulrahman Amer is a phenomenal Trombonist joined by Brandon Woody on trumpet, Matthew Malanowski on piano, Hwansu Kang on bass, and Savannah Harris on drums.

4/14 – 9:30PM Dear friend Sasha Berliner brings a group to The Cell. Sasha’s a truly gifted vibraphonist, composer, and meme master who always puts on incredible performances. This group will feature Chris McCarthy, Ben Tiberio, and Jeremy Dutton on drums with a guest appearance by Giveton Gellin on trumpet.

4/15 – 9PM Wit and Daniel live at Williamsburg Music Center! Two of the actual sweetest people I know. Both of whom happen to be fantastic musicians as well. I had a pleasure of playing in a trio setting with these two guys a couple months ago at Bar Next Door and I’m super excited that they’re going to be playing a duo show. Warm vibes all around at this show for everyone to enjoy!

4/16 – 8:30PM KADAWA plays at Bar Lunatico! KADAWA has an unbelievably virtuosic yet unique sound and is comprised of three of my former New School Colleagues. Tal Yahalom, Almog Sharvit, and Ben Silashi.

4/16 – 11:59PM JKXCM is playing at Rockwood Stage 1 at midnight. The duo project featuring Chris McCarthy and JK Kim is something that will peak any creative person’s interest. I saw these guys play live at the Shrine the other night and was simply blown away. This dynamic duo brings the fire 11/10 times.

4/16 – 10:30PM Bassist and composer Kenneth Jimenez brings his trio to the Bushwick Improvised Music Series featuring Hery Paz on Sax and Satoshi Takeishi on drums. Kenneth writes some exciting music that will make your head turn in the best way! He makes sure to keep both the listeners and the performers on their toes at all times.

4/22 – 6PM Two of my favorite musicians are playing duo at the Downtown Music Gallery. Noah Becker who is both an amazing saxophonist and clarinetist will be joined by none other than Colin “Deeps” Hinton on drums! I’m super excited that this is happening and I’d highly recommend being there!

4/22 – 7PM Bassist and fellow New School Alumn Torge Goderstad brings his group to the Nuyorican Poets Café! The band features Baba Tang on voice/spoken word, Will Brown on soprano sax, Sunhyun Yoo on alto sax, Mike Sheelar on piano and Bryce Collins on drums. Torge is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and I there’s no better way to celebrate earth day than checking this show out!

4/23 – 10:30PM Colin Hinton has a series at the Branded Saloon that he will be performing at with Eivind Opsvik and other potential guests. Colin plays a ton around town in various configurations and with his group called Glassbath. He’s a unique character with a lot to contribute to the NYC creative music scene.

4/24, 26, 27, 27 – Noah Halpern is a fantastic trumpeter from Seattle who’s not only having a senior recital this month but also playing the late night set at Dizzy’s in NYC. This week he will be celebrating the music of one of my all time favorite musicians in history, Booker Little. Something to surely catch.

4/27 – 10:30PM Bassist Conner Duke plays a solo bass set at the mystical Postcrypt Coffeehouse on the campus of Columbia University. Conner is a unique cat who has quite the ear for the unknown and a super strong sense of musical awareness that can be appreciated for so many reasons. The venue also has excellent cookies.

 

- Senior Recitals

April means the end of the collegiate school year is approaching. This means that people are graduating. The following is a list of recitals that might blow you away.

Manhattan School of Music – (120 Claremont ave)

April 22nd –  7:30PM Andres Valbuena

Andres has made it onto every newsletter so far with the incredible band Secret Mall which will be playing one of the sets at his senior recital! The other set features Andres’ original music as well as standards. The recital will feature secret mall (Alfredo Colon, Ed Gavitt, Steve Williams, Santosh Sharma, Sam Towse and Chris Palmer)

April 6th – 8:30PM John Otten

Music by John Otten, Rashaan Roland Kirk, Tony Williams and Horace Silver. 7th floor of MSM (Pforzheimer's Hall) Featuring Xavier Del Castillo, Patrick McGee, Chris McCarthy, Adrian Moring and Fred Griggs

New School – (55 W 13TH street)

April 16th – John Koozin 7PM

One of my best friends and fellow member of Three Hunters Trio will be having his recital this month. John’s music is incredibly fun to play and his recital lineup is absurd! Adam O Farrill, Kalia Vandever and I will be playing horns, Hattie Simon, Mike Sheelar, Will Brown, and of course Chris Stomp Garriga will be involved as well along with other potential guests.

 

April 19th - Lucas Kadish 7PM

This guy is very good at the guitar. His music Is really cool and his lineup is golden. The performance will feature Nick Dunston, Connor Parks, Theo Walentiny, Kweku Sumbry, Daniel Berkey, and a special guests from Winnipeg Manitoba. (If you know who it is then you have no excuse not to be there)..

Juilliard Morse Hall – (155 W 65TH street)

April 2nd – Noah Halpern

Noah’s recital features a tremendous roster of cats playing the music of Tadd Dameron, Robert Schumann, Eric Dolphy, and Cole Porter as well as original music

 

April 10th – David Milazzo

David is one of the baddest alto players out here. His masters recital is going to be extremely lit. The concert will feature Adam Olszewski, Cameron MacIntosh, and Joel Wenhardt.

- Closing Comments -

As many of us know all too well, the NYC scene among young creative musicians is not monetarily self sustaining at all. This is one of the main motivators for this monthly post, to hopefully increase the amount of support within this community or at the very least, awareness about each others performances. Supporting other musicians in your age group is not only good karma but is incredibly inspiring. If we all do a bit more to support one another, the increase in turnout for our shows will be significant and better turnout = better pay. I plan on continuing these monthly posts for as long as I am based in this city but going to so many shows quickly drains my already underpaid musician's wallet. As far as the newsletter goes, I'd like to add more content as well as live media of the shows I go see and eventually have a page of band profiles that play around the city on an entirely separate website but alas, funding is an issue. If you feel like contributing to this cause, you can choose to give a donation! Contributions will be used to help facilitate cleaner organization of these posts as well as the adding of additional features to the monthly posts and calendar! Something even more valuable than donating though, is to see you share other people's shows in addition to your own! Even one new person going out of their way to help us all make "musician's facebook" a more selfless place means the world to me & I've already seen so many folks start doing this. Happy Listening!

"How much does it pay?"

A common theme at jazz school (and other art schools) is constantly being pressured by classmates to "be unique" or overly "distinguished" within a small, already exclusive field of music. This leads to elitist and entitled behaviors born of insecurity. Some examples of this include the refusal of young musicians to:

  1. play with certain people,
  2. play at venues that aren't "nice" enough
  3. play certain types of music
  4. play for too little pay

Beginning with the first point, this doesn't necessarily refer to people you've had exceedingly negative experiences with, but more to people who aren't "good enough" by your own 19 year old grammy-band making standards. Something to remember is that if you're someone who's got a head start on the music game, you sound good because of the circumstances of your early education which has consisted of 15 years at most. Other people who go to your "jazz school" haven't been as fortunate as you, but the thing you both (hopefully) have in common is that everyone is trying to improve. Do not be the talented young asshole in your fundamental classes that either doesn't ever come to class, or thinks everyone sucks because they're less <insert narcissistic adjective here> than you. The only person holding you back in your "Ear Training 2A" class is the person you see in the mirror everyday at your ever-so-early 10:00am jazz history lecture where you're probably gonna be on facebook the whole time anyways.. In conclusion, if someone who hasn't been as fortunate as you in their musical upbringing asks you to play a session, give them a chance or rather, give yourself a chance because in the long run, you'll probably learn more about life (and things that matter a lot more than nailing the changes to giant steps) from helping them improve than they will from you.

If you're still reading, then you probably already know what I'm going to say about the second point-- No venue is "below" you or unworthy of any note you'll ever play. I understand how badly certain venues treat their musicians but this isn't a rant on crappy venues. This is a rant about people who will turn down an opportunity to perform potentially inspiring music simply because they refuse to play at a venue that's not good enough. I promise you, a huge amount of your favorite musicians on this planet have played at the trashiest places you can imagine, and they're only as good as they are because they did those gigs. If you want to get a week at the vanguard, don't be too full of yourself to play at a sketchy uptown club every now and then. Part of being a musician is performing. If you're not grateful for every opportunity you get to perform, then you mind as well stop practicing and either become a composer or producer (both of which are perfectly valid career paths). Again, I'm well aware of how terribly some venues treat musicians but refusing to play at a venue when given an opportunity, is not a good way to get better opportunities down the road.

The third point (young musicians who refuse to play certain types of music) is perhaps the most ridiculous and unwarranted. If you're a music student, and someone offers you a chance to perform music that's out of your comfort zone or even musical preference, turning it down is only going to stop you from learning literally anything. I'm not referring to cases in which the music goes against your moral or religious beliefs. I'm referring to cases in which you're too uncreative to figure out how to play a solo-saxophone beatles cover for a $200 wedding gig. (Yes I've done that before).  In otherwords, give everything (especially yourself) a chance. You can learn a hell of a lot from playing music that you're not comfortable with or that you usually don't enjoy. You were called for a reason, it's not your responsibility to make them enjoy what you come up with based on their expectations especially if you've never done what they're looking for before. Side note: There's nothing wrong with recommending someone else you know for a gig you get called for that you sincerely think they'd be better equipped to handle.

Finally, the last point and perhaps the most important of them all is thinking about compensation. The way I like to think of this point is; determine what fair pay for a musical commitment is based on how humanized you will be for the commitment. In other words, if you're trying to build a reputation as a musician with a true voice rather than a <insert instrument name here> player, take every possible opportunity(regardless of pay) that gives you the necessary freedom to showcase that voice. I can say first hand that the level of certain bands (musically and otherwise) I've been asked to play in (for virtually no pay) has been far beyond anything I've ever been a part of. Moreover, I was likely the youngest member of both bands. This is because the leaders of both bands were fantastic human beings that humanized every single player they called. One of these band leaders said that the best players they've ever asked to play their music have never asked about pay, yet they keep coming back to play. That said, if you have the funds, ALWAYS pay your musicians for their time, but if you don't, reach out anyways because paying someone in respect is exceedingly more valuable. Most of the time, people will forget about money, but they won't forget the experience. Finally, I feel obligated to say that being called by other musicians (especially whom you respect) is a compliment and honor. Being called by weddings/parties/events/other non musicians is business. If someone compliments you, responding to them by asking for money isn't a very nice thing to do, and most definitely will not result in you receiving more compliments.