Computers and Music
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Another site with an incredible number of jazz-related interviews is Jerry Jazz.
I found an interview with legendary blues pianist Henry Gray. It's a fascinating interview with lots of little stories, such as how he worked with harmonica player Henry Strong, of which Gray says, "he was very good. His girl friend killed him with scissors by accident. She didn't intend to kill him." The same interviewer has some other interviews on his web page.
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Merry Christmas!
The Gypsy Hombres are a strings-based jazz trio as described in this article. You can listen to their music on their music page. My favorite is Gumshoe Boogie, which they describe as "kind of like our take on a “Harlem Nocturne,” or something." They are David Sebring (guitar), Peter Hyrka (violin), and Dan Immel (bass). According to his bio, David Sebring is "a virtual musical encyclopedia of American music, and can play and sing over 5,000 songs from memory." Peter Hyrka was signed to Columbia Records in 1989 with his rock group, “Human Radio", - "in 1995, he created “The Gypsy Hombres”, a new acoustic trio featuring violin, guitar, and string bass, which is now his full time vocation." Dan Immel also plays in bluegrass band Daybreak (listen to some of Daybreak's music here).
Saturday, December 20, 2003
"Playing a custom-built eight-string instrument that allows him to cover both bass and guitar parts -- when utilizing certain effects, it can also sound uncannily like a Hammond B-3 organ - Hunter has developed the kind of unique virtuoso playing style that makes jaws drop." - from an interview with jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter. Hunter unfortunately doesn't say much in this interview (the interviewer does most of the talking). He talks a bit more in this other interview.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
From an interview with legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock:

Herbie Hancock: I started playing piano when I was 7. And I started with classical lessons. Then I really got exposed to jazz. Although my parents were playing jazz for me when I was a kid, I didn’t pay much attention until I saw someone my age improvising, playing jazz. That was when I was about 13 or 14. That was at Hyde Park High School in Chicago.

And I said, “I want to learn how to do that, ‘cause this is my instrument and this guy can do something on my instrument that I can’t do.” So that’s when I first started getting exposed to jazz. It opened up like a floodgate of interest in my soul for music in a whole ‘nother way. It pulled me like a magnet, jazz did, because it was a way that I could express myself.

It’s very different from classical music. In classical music, you are playing something that is written by someone else. But in jazz, the song may be written by somebody else, but how you treat it is entirely with your notes and your expression. And so that pulled me into jazz.
A collection of some jazz links. One interesting link is the site of John Adams, a jazz bassist and prof at University of North Texas. He writes some interesting articles , like tips on how to improvise jazz music and play great solos, how to get gigs, and humorous stories of being a musician. Another part of his site contains his demo recordings, which demonstrate his skills in several different groups and instrumentations.
Saturday, December 13, 2003
I was fortunate to attend the Michael Brecker concert on Wednesday. His performance really expanded my mind - what struck me most was the incredible range of colours and tones that he wields expertly like a master painter uses a palette. He puts such huge contrasts into the techniques that he uses - within a single tune he ranges from pitiful moaning to strident, ripping flurries of runs, jaw dropping altissimo, and out-of-this-world juxtapositions of jazz idioms. Read this interview with Michael Brecker from a few years ago.
Friday, December 12, 2003
I just made scalloped potatoes! I put in some anchovies, red and yellow peppers, onion, and a mixture of milk, paprika, salt and dry mustard. Yum yum!
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Thought the piano trio was dead? Wrong! The Bad Plus is an example of a jazz piano trio that is hitting the big time in the USA (they're playing at the Village Vanguard). They're loud, pop inspired, but definitely jazz. Their site has a bunch of samples to listen to as well. Of course, while we're on the subject there's my own jazz trio which is currently working on recording a CD (samples will be posted on the web by end of January).
Monday, December 08, 2003
Benjamin Moussay, a 29 year old French pianist and composer, is performing tonight at the Sheraton Hotel in Bahrain. In case you can't make it to this performance (I know, it's such short notice, and how do you get to Bahrain anyways?), you can check out Moussay's trio's CD, entitled Mobile. High quality samples from three tracks on this album are: Billy The Kid, Fleur Bleue, and Les Mouches. From an interview with Moussay: "J'étais par ailleurs un grand lecteur de comics, ces bandes dessinées américaines mettant en scène des super-héros, et amateur de cinéma et de culture américaine et ma passion pour le jazz n'est peut-être que le prolongement logique de ces rêves d'enfant." More samples from his album can be found here (scroll down the page to see the sound files).
I've updated my Gender Guesser site to include a report of the Top 200 Most Popular Male Names and the Top 100 Most Feminine Names. Have fun!
Saturday, December 06, 2003
An excellent article on designing colour schemes for web pages. This is especially helpful for good old colour-blind me!! (well, only red-green, but I had a general problem with inventing colour schemes, until now.) The idea is that you take a photograph you like, and use an eyedropper tool in a graphics program to grab out some colours from the photo to use on your web page. A good source of excellent photos is PhotoBlink.
Friday, December 05, 2003
At the recent SFU Choir Concert, we were honoured to have a great guest group, Realtime, a male acappella quartet. Another acappella quartet of note is the Australian group Idea of North, which is probably one of the best acappella quartets in Australia. Listen to a sample of Idea of North's "It's Alright With Me" which I found on this CD sampler site. Apparently Idea of North is playing in Kuala Lumpur at the Philips International Jazz Festival in Malaysia (see the festival web site here).
Thursday, December 04, 2003
I found some sites with jazz transcriptions. This one has piano transcriptions. This one has various other instruments. I'll post some of my own transcriptions soon.
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
George Brooks is a saxophonist and composer whose "original compositions combine elegant melodies with the rich harmonies of modern jazz and the driving rhythms of North India." I like his composition The Esio Trot from his CD Night Spinner. Read a review of a recent concert he gave in India. It's interesting how composers like Brooks blend jazz with the music of other cultures and nations, which gives jazz more depth and relevance as a universal genre. Another example is Charito, a Filipino jazz singer and composer who has made her career in Japan.
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Alan Barnes, a saxophone player and composer from the UK, has written a "Sherlock Holmes Suite", which includes tunes such as Watson’s Women- (Portrait Of Mary Morstan) - "A jazz waltz look at Watson’s wives, M.M in particular and his 'experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate continents'". Check out Alan's biography and web site.
Thoughts of an aspiring jazz musician and computer programmer.

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