My father passed away in June. At the time, I had planned to move to New York in the fall but, in the aftermath, decided to stay in Seattle to regain my bearings and keep making music with the incredible musicians I love and am lucky enough to work with. I played with Joe Doria and Dan Heck the night he died and was immediately reminded of the healing strength of what I get to do. Playing served as one of the few things that made me present and pulled me out of the darkness, helping to slowly rebuild the drive and energy I lost in the weeks afterwards.
So I want to thank Joe, Dan, Tim Kennedy, Andy Coe, Skerik, Ian Sheridan, Thomas Marriott, RL Heyer, Kate Olson, Neil Welch, Tim Carey, Brad Gibson, the many others I’ve played with since, and the wonderful women of The Tiptons who I’m about to tour with and know will leave me feeling warm and full. I’m going to stay in Seattle for now, play with my friends, work on the Happy Orchestra record that’s sounding SO good (see below), and stay happy.
The Happy Orchestra record got its start in January with a day-long session of rhythm section tracks. We got foundations for about half of the record, a snippet of which you can hear at the successfully-funded Kickstarter Update Page. Check it!
Happy has also been nominated 2015 Alternative Jazz Group of the Year in the Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award poll. You can vote over at earshot.org until March 10th, and while you’re there read my Ask a Jazz Musician column from the January and February issues.
It’s been about a year of writing, rehearsing, and performing with Happy in its many sizes and flavors. Whether a trio in a tiny bar or the six-piece lineup on a venue stage, it’s been important to me that I’m surrounded with humans I love and respect both as musicians and people. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where that’s an easy reality to create, and now it’s time to document that reality and share it with all of you!
Over the next year I’m bringing these people together to make a record that paints a picture of the incredible musical landscape we live in. The record will feature the stellar musicians who have played with Happy so far including Skerik, Thomas Marriott, Andy Coe, Tim Kennedy, and Ian Sheridan, and a few who have yet to join the fold like Damian Erskine and Brian Haas.
Visit the Kickstarter Page to read more, check out the rewards, and support the music!
The seeds of 4Culture’s Arts Project Grant award are starting to take fruit. Two weeks ago I visited Kentridge and Kent Meridian High Schools along with Skerik, Tim Kennedy, and Evan Flory-Barnes for a workshop on artistry and emotion. We had an incredible conversation about what we all do and why, and brought a few brave volunteers up to make some music with us. We’ll be doing more and more of workshops in the future, so keep an eye out for how you can help make these happen.
I’ve also spent the last few weeks polishing the audio from Happy’s video recording and just released a few full-length tracks for streaming on Soundcloud. Check em out below and let me know what you think!
Writing for and rehearsing Happy Orchestra has been my main focus for the last few months and, after some solid progress, it was time to document the music and give the project its own internet home. Take a look at the video above to hear Skerik, Thomas Marriott, Andy Coe, Tim Kennedy, and Ian Sheridan play through my composition “The Dance” and visit happyorchestra.com to see and hear more.
Thanks to 4Culture for the financial support, and to all of you for coming out to hear the music! See Happy Orchestra at Nectar 9/10, Rhythm & Rye 9/11, and The Goodfoot 9/12.