Relocation to Brooklyn, APA Competition, and Other News!

I’m fortunate to be able to make a number of announcements that I feel very proud of in a blog entry that is coming much sooner than my past patterns would predict.

Relocation to Brooklyn!

Thank you, Wikipedia.

Thank you, Wikipedia.

As of June 30, 2014, I am officially a resident of Brooklyn, NY. The neighborhood of Bushwick is now my home; if you search for it in Google Images, it suggests a search for “hipsters.” Not even kidding about that last part.

It has long been a dream of mine to live in New York City, a city tragically underserved by musicians, and where the demand for improvised music dramatically overshadows the supply. In seriousness, though, the last two weeks of seeing all kinds of music in all sorts of venues, meeting musicians, and reconnecting with tons of old musician friends have made it clear that this move was the best choice I could have made. I’m looking forward very much to all the wonderful music I’ll have the opportunity to make in this wonderful place.

It’s with great sadness that I’m saying goodbye to Indianapolis, for now — I’ll never forget all the amazing music that I’m saying goodbye to for now. I was very glad that I had the opportunity to play with the great Frank Glover two more times before I took off, as well as my awesome trio with Greg Artry (now of Chicago) and Nick Tucker. Thankfully, the CD we recorded this last Spring will make it necessary for us to play again.

American Pianists Association’s 2015 Cole Porter Jazz Fellowship!

I am extremely honored to be named one of the five finalists for the American Pianists Association’s 2015 Cole Porter Jazz Fellowship. I was a finalist back in 2011 as well, and as well as being an intense competition, it’s also a great opportunity to meet and learn from some really wonderful pianists and people. Congratulations to the other four as well, truly amazing pianists that I am completely honored to be on some kind of list with: Christian Sands, Sullivan Fortner, Emmet Cohen, and Kris Bowers.

the checkoutWe played a concert at the Rubin Museum that was broadcast on WBGO — we each played music inspired by a piece of art at the museum, as well as a piece by Cole Porter. Listen here! I play at about 25 minutes in, but do yourself a favor and listen to the whole thing! Everybody played very beautifully.

Skype Lessons

I’ve figured out how to finally get a great setup with webcam, piano, and microphone together to enable me to be able to teach lessons over Skype. This provides continued lessons for some of the students I am leaving behind in my move, but also has the unexpected side effect of providing access to students who want to study piano or improvisation and are too lazy to leave the comfort of their own home (and who can blame them). For all interested parties, please go to my contact page and send me a request; I look forward to working together!

News for Early 2014

Photo by Mark Sheldon

Photo by Mark Sheldon

It’s been a long time since May 2012 — it turns out that I don’t have the gift for regular blogging that I thought I possessed. In fact, I went exactly against my original mission laid out in my first post to provide regular, meaningful updates instead of a static, boring website. Well, I’m happy to return here to have some news actually worth reporting.

Debut Album
My trio has finally recorded its first album! We’ve recorded it at the beginning of February, and we haven’t finished mixing it yet, but I am extremely pleased with the results, and am looking forward to releasing a debut recording — a move that, like this post, is extremely overdue! It’s a trio recording with the wonderful bassist Nick Tucker and excellent drummer Greg Artry. We’ve been playing every Thursday night at the Chatterbox the past couple of years, developing a good rapport and developing a bunch of material. The album will largely feature my original music — mostly trio, with a couple of solo piano tracks — and a couple standards. More news will come as the album progresses!

Lone Prairie

I’ve also had the great opportunity to work with the guitarist Corey Christiansen. I played keyboards, piano, and even audio synthesis programs I wrote in SuperCollider, on his new album Lone Prairie, which came out on Origin Records July 2013. The album is composed of electric jazz covers of cowboy songs, which I think makes for a pretty standard jazz release. I got to play alongside musicians I very much admire — also playing keyboards on the album was Steve Allee, Jeremy Allen on bass, Michael Spiro on percussion, and Matt Jorgenson on drums. We basically made the jazz version of a Quentin Tarantino movie, but with fewer instances of gratuitous violence and references to Sonny Chiba movies. Getting to use SuperCollider was a blast as well — I never thought I’d use any of the stuff I do in my computer music experiments on a jazz album. On the album you can hear a pantheon of weird sounds I made, including recording the end of a burning cigarette and running it through a feedback delay line, which I believe may be the first time that that’s been done on a jazz album, at least intentionally. You can buy it on Origin’s Website, iTunes, Amazon, or anywhere else quality electric cowboy jazz is sold.


Those who would like to get their playing out to the most people possible should look no further than hitching their wagon to an internet-famous cat. I am the pianist on internet-cat-phenomenon Lil BUB’s Big Show, where you can hear me play synthesizer on the theme song, as well as improvise on Lil BUB’s theme song in a variety of different styles, a different one featured in each episode with guests like Steve Albini and Whoopi Goldberg. I also am playing on her Animal Planet special. In fact, Andrew W.K. is miming my piano part, banged out on the semi-tuned piano in Bloomington’s Russian Recording.

Other Gigs

I’ve had the excellent fortune to play with a number of musicians touring through the Midwest the past two years — these include Wycliffe Gordon, Tessa Souter, Nicole Henry, Alexis Cole, and even ELZHI of Slum Village.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more news!

New website! And plans for the future…

In a move that’s long overdue, I decided to make myself a blog and website, and join the rest of the 21st century, as it looks like “this whole Internet thing” is not going to blow over. I’ve made websites for other projects and groups I’ve worked with, but have never taken the time to make one for my own endeavors — the task seemed huge and forbidding, and I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of content I really wanted to offer and put out there.

One of the main reasons I hesitated to publish anything on the internet is that I despise static content; I didn’t want a monolithic website that merely served as an electronic business card, with a bio and some recordings. I myself only really go to websites like that once, as they don’t really tend to give you much of a reason to return. I also didn’t see myself as much of a blogger — although I frequent several blogs online, I always thought that any effort I made in that direction would be pretty self-indulgent, unless I figured out a lot of meaningful and prescient things to say. And, as you’re quickly discovering, I’m not exactly the world’s most thrilling writer.

I’m also not a big social media dork. I never really got the point of Twitter or Facebook, pretty shy, not terribly comfortable with self promotion, and quite recalcitrant about following trends…especially ones that I (then) mistakenly saw as frivolous and self-aggrandizing. As I saw it, “I play the piano, I compose, I make computer music, I teach. That’s all the realm of the real, non-internet world.” (RL, for those of you who have completely fallen off. I thought I would be the last person to ever make a website. The plot thinnens….

Over the past year, many people have asked why I don’t have a website — they want to come to a show, but don’t know when I’m playing, or they don’t know how to hear recordings, or they don’t know the best way to contact me, or perhaps they just wanted to make fun of whatever website I had, and were disappointed to have missed the opportunity. The badgering of two excellent pianists (and good friends!), Jeremy Siskind and Emmet Cohen, was relentless. I was feeling like perhaps the only musician in the world who didn’t have a website. I was running into musicians who could not tie their shoes, had no electricity in their homes, and had never used a computer before — and they all had websites. Well, the internet can finally collectively exhale their bated breath. Here it is.

As I see it, a my site will serve multiple purposes — one is promotional: my site will document my music making, keep people up to date on all of the shows, albums, and projects that I am involved with, and make my music more available, all in one location. With more avenues to distribute my music, I’m interested in making more music, creating more projects, and taking more creative chances.

And that’s where the other purpose of the site comes in — sharing information. I try to discover and listen avidly to as much as I can, and I’d like to discuss it and share it. I also do some transcriptions, arrangements, and analysis of music, and I’d greatly enjoy an avenue to share that with anybody interested. Since I also do a lot of music synthesis programming in SuperCollider, I’ll also do a lot of writing about that. I’ve also kept comments enabled because this site is a blog, and I’d love the discussion and interaction to go in both directions.

What’s coming up:

  • New Bands — In the past month, I’ve worked to get all kinds of new groups together. I have a new trio, a new incarnation of my electro-acoustic ensemble, and a new duo with Sophie Faught, all of which I’m really enjoying writing for…which brings me to the next category:
  • Shows Calendar — I’m just getting the site off the ground, and I’m adding new shows, one by one, to the site. I’m planning to book a bunch of new shows, some in Indianapolis, Louisville, Bloomington, and environs. Because this site is so new, I won’t have everything updated for a few days. I’m only going to add shows that you can actually attend, so there’ll be none of that lame business where people add private parties and such to their event calendar.
  • Show and Workshop at Midwest Electro-Music Experience — Marauder Octobot will be performing at MEME this year, and I’ll also be giving a workshop on SuperCollider, synthesis programming, and algorithmic music. There is a lot of very interesting music coming from all over the country slated to perform. More details will follow.
  • Teaching at Indy Arts and Music Festival — Put on by the Suzuki Institute in Indianapolis, I will be teaching daily classes on improvisation, from July 28th through August 3rd.

And that’s long enough that I’ve talked your ear off. Thanks for visiting.