A new section has been added to the About page. It has information about my interest in Qigong practices and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
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.
Rich Pulin and I will have a radio show on April 25 that is dedicated to David Arivett. David died on March 23. He was of great help to me in our music collaborations and as a friend. We will feature many of the recordings that David made of my originals.
An archive recording of the show can be heard here:
I just learned that David Arivett passed on. He was one of my closest music friends even though he lived in Arkansas and I only knew him on Facebook. For those who know my music, you will know David's name. For the past 5+ years he recorded many of my scores and tunes. Each recording is a gem. And, David was a person who would have been a great friend in real life. I will be forever grateful to him.
Here is a message that his son posted at the Jazz Arranging group that David started on Facebook:
"My name is Aaron Arivett and I am David Arivett’s son. On behalf of my dad I wanted to share that on March 23rd he passed away due to complications related to a heart attack. He was incredibly passionate about all music, but certainly had a great love of Jazz. It inspired him to found this group, along with others, as a means of sharing the creative and meaningful with fellow colleagues and friends.
He was my mentor, idol, father and friend. I’ll cherish that relationship for the rest of my life.
We are forever grateful for his love, indelible spirit, passion, sense of humor and musical genius that we will endeavor to continue through the lives we lead moving forward."
The last recording that David made for me was New Tango No. 7. He finished it in February. It occurred to me that it might be among the last recordings he created. Right off the bat, you will hear David's joy and sense of fun. He used only my lead sheet for the recording and put much of himself into the music.
In 1999 I received a BMI royalty check for one of my tunes that was recorded in the Czech Republic. The music was Smoke In The Hollow, a fiddle tune that I wrote in 1993. No information was given about who recorded it. This has been a mystery for 20 years. Several weeks ago I remembered the royalty check and, being curious, I tried to see if I could discover something about the recording.
Several musician friends in the U.S. and Europe were able to help me and I received the following information: My tune is on a Ladislav Vodicka album that was recorded in 1996. Looking up Ladislav Vodicka, I learned that he was known as the "Czech Johnny Cash". My title Smoke In The Hollow was translated as "Zakouřená Rokle" and the recording is track #5 on the album Starej Voda po dvaceti letech.
Thanks to Vojtech Pestuka, I received a recording of Zakourena Rokle and was finally able to listen to it. However, I was surprised by how the recording is completely different from my music. Yet, I have a composer's credit on the album. I wrote to the person who was the music director for Ladislav Vodicka to see if he can give me more information. No reply has been received so far. Thus, I still do not know how my music found its way to the Czech Republic in that time period and was changed in such a drastic way. For now, it is still a mystery.
Here is the recording of Zakourena Rokle and a scan of my original copy of Smoke In The Hollow.
According to Vojtech, the lyrics are about a tramp who comes to a county where they warn him not to go to a hollow with smoke in it, but he does, and he sees a girl appearing out of the smoke every night. He approaches her and then then song ends with the repeated phrase “he never had to walk alone in his life again”.
A link to my interview in the Winter 2018 edition of The Rookery has been added to the Links page on my site. This came about through David Arivett's recording of Eastern Neck Island. The staff at the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge liked the music so much that they asked Marty Hoover, a journalist living in Rock Hall, Maryland, to write an article about it.
When I woke up today memories of my graduate composition recital came to mind. It has been many years since I thought about it. The music was presented in an unconventional way. Each piece was performed in a different location. The audience walked from place to place and was led by actors from the drama department. The actors were in costumes and street theater was performed along the routes. A ragtime band led the audience to the last performance.
The compositions included a string quartet, a piece for flute and electronic tape, an instruction-based piece for 14 instruments that included staging, and an extended jazz piece. Most of the music had an avant-garde flavor. However, my concept for the event was for it to be fun and accessible. Afterwards, Dr. Tyrone (my composition professor) came up to me with a big smile. He loved it.
In 2012 I wanted to write a new piece that expressed the spirit of that earlier time in my musical life. Smaller Ups And Downs was the result. The piece came to me in a dream! Instead of hearing the music, I saw pages of a score. The dream also gave me ideas for an 11-tone harmonic complex based on intervallic relationships. Upon waking up I wrote down as much as I could remember from the dream. Then, as I worked on the score in the days that followed I used my intuition to fill in the gaps.
This piece is for 5 wind instruments (flexible instrumentation) and soloist. The role of the soloist is entirely improvised. In addition, the soloist does not have to be limited to one musician. It can be expanded to multiple musicians -- up to a small band (any genre). This music has a great amount of freedom. Any creative possibility can be explored.
Ensembles that are interested in playing Smaller Ups And Downs can write to me from the Contact page.