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Sweden: Coaching and Performance

I am just on my way home from ten days in Sweden. I was invited over by Thomas Olsson as part of the music education IB Expo. Also along for the journey were guitarist Henry Kaiser, drummer Morgan Ågren and the Swedish group Midaircondo.

We basically set up camp in Varberg in this fantastic hotel and traveled out to different cities each day. The hotel was probably the nicest place I have ever stayed. Not because it was a fancy place – it wasn’t. But it was just right. Small nice rooms, open buffet for breakfast 6-10am and for dinner 6-10pm. It had a wonderful open dining area around the entire main floor. There was a whiskey bar and smoking room. And the ‘special sauce’ on the place was a bathhouse on the first floor that was a remake of Lenin’s favorites bathhouse in St. Petersburg. More than a wee bit strange to have busts and photos of Lenin all over the place, but it was very, very nice being down there. See the photos:

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Travels in Russia with TU & KTU

Pat and I went completely around the planet on this tour. I don't think I have ever traveled so far and so fast. We were in Russia for 16 days and having been home for over a week now, my body's clock is still completely miswired. Fun, fun, fun!

Our first gig was in Vladivostok, which is basically right next to Japan and practically touching North Korea. Seven (that's right, SEVEN) time zones east of Moscow. So, being right next to Japan you would think I could just fly straight there from Seattle. But, no Mr. Wizard. Nyet, nyet. I left Seattle on Monday morning and flew overnight to Amsterdam. Then to Moscow, arriving on Tuesday. After about five hours in Moscow with my pal Pat, and our promoters <the Two Dmitry's>, we got on another plane and flew overnight to Validovostok. Arriving on Wednesday afternoon.


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Quodia in Mexico, Casa de Lago

This was the first Quodia performance in three years. If I were honest with myself, I didn’t think we would ever perform this piece, “The Arrow”, again. I had, somehow, envisioned reconfiguring and rethinking the whole project before another burst forward. Funnily, this is the project with which I have had the largest internal ‘Yes’ combined with the largest external ‘No’. Which is, clearly, a blessing and a curse.

So when Quodia was invited to come to this “Poesía en Voz Alta” (Poetry Out Loud) festival in Mexico, I took the position of:

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Ring Composition and Quodia

I have been putting the Quodia performance “The Arrow” back together these last two weeks. We have been offered a show in Mexico City at an international poetry festival called “Poetry Out Loud”.

Not having performed this piece for a few years means I have my work cut out for me. My shortlist:

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Shimon and I

I'll be playing a spontaneous gig at Seattle's Bumbershoot festival tomorrow night with Shimon the Marimba Playing Robot and Chris Brokaw of Come and Codeine.

Should be suitably strange. The Seattle Stranger says "come and see this!"

See The Colbert Report on this guy:

Shimon on Colbert from Georgia Tech on Vimeo.

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The Magnificent Jinn

Dr. Minz's video to The Magnificent Jinn, from "Music for Pictures."

The Magnificent Jinn


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Hari's Dream

Video by Bas van Huizer for Hari's Dream from Music for Pictures.

Hari's Dream from Bas van Huizen on Vimeo.


The Fifth Spin of the Sun

The Fifth Spin of the Sun from Music for Pictures. Video by Ste van Holm. (Greg Gilmore on Drums.)

Trey Gunn - 5th Spin of the Sun from Ste van Holm on Vimeo.


The Whinging Musician and Downloading: Part Two

Note: this post follows on from this earlier post. Go there first if you are just coming to this discussion.

Wow! So many great responses from everyone. I am super enlivened and encouraged, not just by the level of the dialogue in general, but in the depth to which everyone is willing to engage with these questions. My responses so far:

    ONE: Stop It or I will Make You

For those who think I am not aware of the cease and desist strategy of

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Free downloading and the Creative Process: Part One

It has now been just enough time since the release of Modulator that the free downloaders have ripped their files and are making the recording available for free. There are even some sites that make my entirely personal catalog available with one click! My life's work transmitted to you for free. Yikes. How would a plumber or a car mechanic feel about that??

There are many arguments in the debate regarding the goodness/e-vile-ness of this. Some have decent point and some are just plain uninformed and stupid. One of the silliest is that artists make all their money from touring and that is just the way it works nowadays. Not true. Touring and bringing money home is still extremely difficult, making it a dubious and crap way to support one's creative activities.

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Taking in and making images: Aikido and Relaxation

I spent two hours Saturday morning at a teacher’s training workshop at the Aikido Dojo. This is a monthly workshop that helps the black belt’s work on their teaching chops. The Sensei likes to have some less experienced folks there, as well, to be guinea pigs. What happens is that one of the black belts gets chosen to lead a 15-minute segment. They present a series of techniques and work with the group. Then afterwards we have a short period of feedback on what worked for us and what didn’t.

This is the second teacher workshop I have attended and they are quite different from the regular practices. For one, there are bucket loads of black belts in the room. Saturday had about 15+ with, maybe, four white belts. So the energy is quite different. The pacing in the room moves faster and there is clearly work going on at a deeper level than the classes with larger percentages of beginning practitioners.

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More Bass than you can shake a Bass to

A whole lotta bass going on....


L’Orchestre de Contrebasses

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Johann Johannsson

I was at the most wonderful performance last night. The Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson. The group consisted of piano, electronics and string quartet. As far as pure, rich musical sound goes, a string quartet is unsurpassable. And these folks played very, very well. Perfectly in tune, and with dynamics that leave most all music that hits our ears in the dust bin of flatness.

For some unknown reason the music was quite moving to me. Unknown because even after 4 decades of being directly involved in the life of music, I still have no idea why some things move and some things don't. Last night moved. And not just me -- I could feel lot's of empathy with the music in the room.

Two things made for a unique night for me. And the first one made it extraoardinary.

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Italian Improvisations

  --- thanks for Matt Chamberlain for this  ---


Ennio Morricone, Mario Bertoncini, Walter Branchi, Franco Evangelisti, John Heineman, Roland Kayn, Egisto Macchi,  Ivan Vandor 1967-1969


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Russian remix contest

My sometime musical collaborator Inna Zhelannaya has begun a remix contest with a track off her new cd "Cocoon." I played on this track as well as several other interesting Russian musicians.

"Cocoon" will be released in the US on my label, 7d Media, early this fall.

For the Russian speakers, here is the original remix link:
Inna remix track

For the non-Russian speakers, here is a translated version of the info page (have fun with the translation!):
Inna track info in English (if this link doesn't work see the translation below)

 Inna and I will be two of the judges in the contest. We look forward to checking out your entries!


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