Week 3 at IAR: The Casual Sextet

Leave a comment

Since 2000 I’ve written a number of pieces that aren’t the usual “lead sheet” type of jazz tune.  I formed The Casual Sextet to perform these compositions.  We’ve been playing off and on for about 10 years, and it’s always been with different personnel and instrumentation.  I’m finally going in a more concrete direction with the group, and back in March I organized a show for The Casual Sextet at Fat Cat that included myself on alto saxophone, Natalie John on vocals, Brad Mason on trumpet, Yoshi Waki on bass, Mike Eckroth on piano, and Brian Fishler on drums.  It was the first gig in 3 years with this band, with an almost completely different lineup of musicians, and it felt good to revisit these somewhat unusual works in the Travis lexicon. By the way…my first arrangement of a Bjork song was “Army of Me’ for the Casual Sextet, and it served as a prototype for the Bjorkestra arrangement!

It was a no-brainer then to bring this band into the studio to record for the IAR series. Yoshi wasn’t able to do it, but my friend and amazing bass player Sam Minaie (who also recorded the quartet stuff a couple of weeks prior) came it and tore it up!

In keeping with tradition, here are a few of the rough mixes:

Like Hermeto: This is dedicated to Hermeto Pascoal, one of my musical idols.  The chromatic eighth note line is inspired my his music.

Dreaming in Teflon: One of the first songs I wrote for The Casual Sextet, features a 7/8 ostinato figure, a chromatic melody, a blowing section, and a gospelly vocal solo.

Tyranny in Paradise: This is another extended composition that has an intro for saxophone and voice duet, which gives way to a more sinister melody (the tyranny, maybe?), followed by a more hopeful tune.

enjoy!

Advertisements

Kickstarter “Live at the Jazz Standard” update, and March happenings

Leave a comment

So far so good…$350 raised for the Bjorkestra’s “Live at the Jazz Standard” CD Project on Kickstarter.com! Thanks to all of those who have donated thus far. 

There’s a long way to go, but there’s plenty of time before the deadline to meet the fundraising goad of $4000.  If you have a moment, check out the site: http://kck.st/csMNi0 and please donate if you can spare a few buckaroos.  Every little bit helps!!! At the very least, try to check out the pitch video.  It’s my first foray into the video editing realm (using the incredibly limited Windows Live Movie Maker) but I’m very happy how it turned out!

Enough about me.  Let’s talk about me now.  🙂 This month I’ve got a few good things happening on the heels of the Blue Note show.  Going to Toronto with Rana Farhan for Nowrooz, and then bringing ye olde Casual Sextet (with a brand new lineup) for a show at Fat Cat in NYC! Also, I’ll be back at The Blue Note (twice in the same month, I must be doing something right) in NYC to perform with Gemma Genazanno, which I’m sure will be totally packed because of the Today Show appearance we did back in January. 

In between all of this activity, I will be catching up on episodes of Dexter (almost halfway through season 3!) and True Blood (about four episodes into season one), and reading Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian.” Ah, life is so full of riches (or diversions, depending on your perspective!).      

What happened to February, anyway? It’s almost like it never happened.  Oh well…onward and upward.  Can’t wait ’til spring!