Here’s a video of Mary Halvorson talking about her compositional process. I think it’s really important when she says not to second guess yourself (especially in that fragile idea-generating stage) and not to throw any ideas away because you might use them down the road.
The DC Jazz Composers Collective will be performing new music in the Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery at the Schlesinger Performing Arts Center on Saturday, April 30th at 6:30pm. The compositions are designed to compliment the photography of the Small Collective, a group of photographers who met while studying photography at Northern Virginia Community College.
“Defining Spaces: Explorations of the surroundings that tell our stories”. Photography using platinum, silver gelatin, and inkjet printing methods. The exhibit runs April 29th-June 15th.
From the program notes to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival written by Martin Luther King Jr.
God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create—and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations.
Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life’s difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.
This is triumphant music.
Modern jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.
It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of racial identity as a problem for a multiracial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls.
Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.
And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith.
In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.
Here is an exciting recent project that Kevin Pace and Gene D’Andrea worked on in collaboration with visual artist Britt Conley:
The project involved Britt listening to some of our compositions, painting each of us a piece that visually represented that music and then us in turn composing a new piece interpreting her new paintings. Britt is a musician herself and her paintings are full of rhythmic ideas to be inspired by.
We performed the pieces at the Lorton Workhouse Arts center along with saxophonist John Kocur and drummer Andrew Hare. Britt’s other works can be seen on her blog brittconley.com
The Collective returns to Twins Jazz on Saturday, March 2nd after a great performance the previous evening with Brian Settles. Joining Kevin Pace and Bobby Muncy will be the fabulous Amy Bormet on piano and the always in-demand Mike Smirnoff on drums. Sets start at 8 & 10pm.