For a long time I have felt that musicians (and other artists) are showing a way forward to the world. One of the reasons why I've loved jazz since I was a young child is how individual expression is balanced with collaboration in an ensemble and how the music absorbs influences from people & music all over the world. As the great drummer Art Blakey famously said, "Jazz is not African. Jazz developed in this country as a kind of stew of various social and musical ingredients thrown together in a pot." As I think about jazz in this way, it inspires me with a message of hope for the world.
I have been reflecting on the music that I had written before 1989. With a handful of exceptions, all of that work (handwritten scores and lead sheets) was lost due to one reason or another.
A number of pieces that I wrote in the late 1960's and early 70's come to mind. In particular, two pieces for concert band -- Four Haiku Sketches and Ten Events for Band -- and several works for experimental theater. I also remember an extended piece for double quartet (classical woodwinds and jazz ensemble). As I write these words, more originals and arrangements are coming back into my mind. I did A LOT of writing during those years!
At this stage in my life and in how my music has evolved, it is likely that I would no longer care for those earlier pieces. However, some of them might have stood the test of time and would be like meeting old friends again. Regardless, what's gone is gone. I am entirely happy to have all of the music that I have written since 1989...more than 30 years worth. When I think about the pieces that I no longer have, I can see how they served as a foundation for the music that came later. From this perspective, nothing is ever lost.
UPDATE 2/9/2021: I just discovered that the score for Four Haiku Sketches is in the University of North Texas library. It is part of the Source: Music of the Avant-Garde collection. The score is in Series 2: unpublished scores. oversize, Set 1; Box 1 Barcode 711602. I contacted the UNT music library to request a copy of the score and will post an update when there is a reply.
UPDATE 4/30/2021: Happily, I received a photocopy of Four Haiku Sketches from the UNT music library. It is mind boggling that after 52 years I am seeing this piece again. Now, as I review the score and hear it in my mind, I would say that it has stood the test of time...that it still sounds fresh. At this point, I have spoken with the Director of the Composers & Schools organization (of which I'm affiliated) and she is enthusiastic about it. Both of us see this score as being like a time capsule from 1969.
Out And About is a new page on my website. It has a series of blogs that describe experiences I am having with various kinds of energy practices.
A link to it is on the Home page and also in the navigation menu.
Seven digital albums of my originals are available at Bandcamp. Each one has its own character, styles, and moods. The complete collection has 54 recordings and is $37.50 (25% discount). Sold separately, an album is $7. As another option, individual tracks are $1. This enables one to select tracks from different albums. The music can be streamed with the free Bandcamp app or downloaded. Albums or tracks can also be sent as gifts.
This information has been added to the Store page.
Rich Pulin will have another one-hour interview with me on his Pulin 4 Jazz internet radio show. It will be streamed live from Las Vegas on Thursday, May 28, at 1:30 Eastern time.
We will feature recordings on my latest album Alternate Takes. Please join us.
Here is a link to Pulin 4 Jazz:
For those who are not familiar with Rich, see About Rich Pulin.
Archive recordings for some of my past shows are available on the Links page under Interviews.
Several days ago I discovered that 28 pieces of mine had somehow been taken from Sheet Music Plus and were being distributed (in violation of Copyright law) by two music sites. The sites are topmusicsheet.com and musicsheets.org. I sent DMCA Take Down Notices and, happily, both sites removed my music from their sites.
Here is a message that I received from Sheet Music Plus after I wrote to them about the situation:
Hal Leonard Legal is aware of this issue with this website. They seem to have only have the sample pages, not your full pdf.
For now, I recommend submitting a DMCA notice
Please submit it to the website owner, the website hosting company (If you know it) and CC us.
Based on this experience, it is prudent for composers to periodically do an internet search on several of their music titles and see what comes up. That is how I discovered that my music was at those two sites.
Over the weekend Nancy and I went to the Four Seasons Bookstore in Shepherdstown, WV. As I looked through the used book section, a particular book jumped out at me. It was Emergence by Steven Johnson (2001).
As Johnson describes, emergence is what happens when an interconnected system of relatively simple elements self-organizes to form more intelligent, more adaptive higher-level behavior. It is a bottom-up model rather than being engineered from top-down. Emergence begins at the ground level when agents residing on one level start producing behavior that lies on a scale above them.
This is exactly how I envision deep changes coming about in today's world. That is, largely through grassroots collaborative movements springing up as more people begin to remember who and what they are (as spiritual beings currently having a human life on Earth). As this happens, we will naturally outgrow deeply entrenched social divisions.
Interestingly, this is also one of my core music concepts in how I envision ensembles going beyond what is written on the page to create music collectively that is fresh and different each time it is performed. I have had this vision for many years and now there is a word for it.