Call me brass player road kill. I admit it. For nine years of my precious youth I practiced religiously, first attempting to conquer the trumpet, and then as the god of high range did not answer my prayers, I jumped ship and swam to the trombone row boat. I made it as far as college jazz ensemble, but finally, at age 22, I was done. I accepted that I wrestled with the plumbing for the better part of a decade, and the plumbing won.
It was painful going. I had been dedicated, practiced hard—in other words, performed the requisite sacrifice—and expected the gods to do their part. But they only modestly responded. Yet they bestowed their graces liberally on other boys I met along the way, and some of these I know did not practice as hard as me. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t understand why I was being marginalized from something I wanted so badly. Eventually I watched myself veering away from the center lane towards the brass highway shoulder, and I took the next exit. I sold the horn the following year.
I know I’m not the only jilted lover to be blown out the brass players’ spit valve. Continue reading →
MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013 / SOhO RESTAURANT AND MUSIC CLUB
Kristin Korb finds her life moving in double time these days. The gifted jazz singer and bass player, who married in 2011 and moved to Denmark, is President-elect of the International Society of Bassists, and is frantically coordinating their annual conference next month. Plus, Korb has just released a new album, What’s Your Story?—her sixth since her auspicious debut in 1996 with the Ray Brown Trio. A West Coast tour brings her, and her new material, to SOhO next Monday.
Your first album since your move to Denmark teams you with some powerful company: former Ray Brown Trio drummer Jeff Hamilton and USC faculty guitar wizard Bruce Forman.
The whole reason that I wanted to record with them is because they’ve been mentors of mine. I’ve known Jeff for the last 20 years, and Bruce for about the last 10 years. I think as we change in our lives, and as we make some major shifts, I found I was going back to my iPod and listening to the things that I fell in love with. I fell in love with jazz in the first place with the stuff that had grooves and a sense of fun and play and interaction between the musicians, and that’s the stuff that I really gravitated towards during my first year living in Denmark. One of the first things I did with Ray Brown was a vocalise for [the Count Basie tune] ‘Whirlybird’. I found myself going back in to the vocalise thing again, going back into these songs that rely on the interplay, fun, friendship and trust that people have when they’re good friends. Continue reading →
According to some critics the classical concert hall for decades has come to resemble a church or museum, a glass-case sanctuary for the ritualization of the yesterday’s revelations. According to composer, vocalist and songwriter, Gabriel Kahane, this is all a passing phase, an anomaly in the time-line of Western music, a “dark moment of the kind of High Modernism of the 1950s where the academy kind of strangled populism,” he explained to me by phone in January 2014. “If you take that aberration out of the narrative, there’s always been a connection between the vernacular and what’s in the concert hall.”
Photo by Jen Snow
Connection is what Kahane is all about, with his broad association between genres, artists and styles. He is representative of a new breed of the classically-conversant who are jumping ship, taking advantage of breakthroughs in the categorical hull by earlier daring cross-over artists, and navigating entirely new vessels and routes. The son of concert pianist and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Music Director, Jeffrey Kahane, Gabriel’s mélange of projects have included orchestral and chamber compositions, pop songs and musical theater. A pianist, guitarist and banjo player, he gained a kind of cult status for his witty song-cycle, Craigslistlieder, which set actual texts from the eponymous classified ad web site. At the same time, his compositional prowess has earned him commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Kronos Quartet. Last seen in Santa Barbara at Hahn Hall in 2011 with premier cellist Alisa Weilerstein, Kahane returned on February 4, 2014, courtesy of UCSB Arts & Lectures, to rock SOhO Music Club with like-minded chamber group, yMusic.
We spoke of Kahane’s signing on to Sony Masterworks, and his new release, “The Ambassador,” an album inspired by Los Angeles Architecture.