This weekend: The Calvosa Sullivan Project returns!!!

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Kat Calvosa, vocals

I’m pleased to announce that the pop/jazz collaboration “The Calvosa Sullivan Project” will be performing after a hiatus of over an entire year.  Yes…I know you missed us! I co-lead this project with fellow Manhattan School of Music alumnus – vocalist Kat Calvosa, and our collaboration over the past two years has resulted in a set of gorgeous original pop/jazz tunes. Here’s one of them!


For this performance we’ve also enlisted our extraordinary musician friends Perry Smith on guitar, Sam Minaie on bass, and Brian Fishler on drums.  This performance is also a rare opportunity to hear me perform on piano! So hope you can make it!!!


Liberace, piano


Week 2 at IAR: Recording with the Calvosa Sullivan Project

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I’ve been co-writing songs with my good friend and former Manhattan School of Music classmate Kat Calvosa for the past 2 years.   This has been an incredibly educational experience for me as a composer, because before we started working together, I had never collaborated with another composer.  Also, she writes lyrics, I don’t (at least not comfortably)! The result is about 10 really cool songs that were written with 3 different approaches: writing music and lyrics together, me writing music to her lyrics, and her writing music to my music.

Last year we started performing these songs around NYC with a band, which we call the Calvosa Sullivan Project (or CSP).  We also recorded a demo back in December 2009, and I think I posted some of those tracks on this very blog (yay!). It’s been a while since we performed live though, so I jumped at the opportunity to bring this group into the studio to record a few more tracks.  It was, once again, a lot of fun to record, and everyone did a great job: Kat on vocals, me on piano and sax, Paul Orbell on guitar, Brian Ladd on electric bass, and Brian Fishler on drums.  An awesome band!

Here are a couple of rough mixes:

Let Me Pretend – Our newest tune…Kat wrote the lyrics first and I wrote the music for this one.

Left Alone – This one was created entirely from putting ideas together in real time, so it’s really got elements of both of our musical approaches in there.

Next week I bring The Casual Sextet into the studio! Looking forward to recording the challenging music I’ve written for this band.

Calvosa Sullivan Project demo is almost ready!

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Back in late November 2009 I went into the studio with Kat Calvosa to record a demo for our ongoing collaboration, aptly titled the Calvosa Sullivan Project.  It’s a particularly fun project for me because I play mostly piano in this band, as well as being an outlet for the pop side of my brain.  We’ve been performing off and on in NYC (and also a very memorable house party in NH) for a little over a year now, and Kat and I have decided to take it up a notch with this demo – hopefully we can break some new ground in terms of performance spaces (Rockwood Music Hall is at the top of our list!).  Here is a track from the demo, which includes Kat Calvosa, vocals; Travis Sullivan, piano; Paul Orbell, guitar; Yoshi Waki, bass; Brian Fishler, drums, mixed by Sam Minae and recorded at Astoria Soundworks Studio:

Candy Store

One of the things I like about this collaboration with Kat is how varied our approach is to writing this music.  For almost every song there is a slightly different process.  For “Candy Store,” Kat already had the basic structure and lyrics set when she showed it to me – I assisted with tweaking a few chords and contributed some harmonic ideas for the chorus. 

Coming soon – The Official CSP MySpace Page! You can visit us on Facebook for the time being though!

Calvosa/Sullivan Project this week

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I don’t have that much time to write today.  New Year’s craziness!

A quick performance announcement…this Wednesday will be the first performance of 2010 with the Calvosa/Sullivan project, aka CSP (Facebook page and MP3’s coming soon!).  We’re at our usual haunt, Googie’s Lounge in the LES on Wednesday, January 18th at 9:30pm.  Kat Calvosa and I have been co-writing songs for almost 2 years now, and they represent a very unique direction for my writing.  I’ve always been influenced by pop music, and the songs we have are definitely in that vein.  On most of the songs I play piano, which is always a lot of fun.  Kat is also a phenomenal singer, and the band sounds great too…so come on out!

In other news, I just got booked for a quartet gig at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone in Times Square.  Not until April, so maybe by then the waitresses will be back to wearing bikinis by then!