I lost my saxophone. :(

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On Sunday I did something really stupid! I left my horn, a lovely Selmer Super Action 80 Serie II alto saxophone that I’ve had for 22 years, in the back of a van cab in NYC.  I’m currently trying to recover it, and I’m hoping that some honest soul out there picked it up and will return it to a lost and found.  It’s only an object, and definitely replaceable, but it still stinks…I’ve been through a lot with that hunk of metal.

There is a slight possibility that the taxi driver is still driving around with the instrument and it hasn’t even been noticed yet…it was between the two seats in the back.  The next time you’re in a van cab in NYC, check between the seats to see if it’s there!


Recording at The Institute of Audio Research, Week 1

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This past Monday I had the first of my four weeks worth of recording sessions at The Institute of Audio Research (IAR).  They have this really cool program that’s basically a barter: they provide free recording time for ensembles in exchange for being the “guinea pigs” for their recording engineering classes.  The classes are three hours, very relaxed, and I can bring in any group ranging from a quartet to a septet.  They get a really good sound there too, perfect for a demo or archival recording.

To kick everything off, I brought in my good friends Sam Minaie on bass, Brian Fishler on drums, and Sean Fitzpatrick on piano to play some new music for quartet that I’ve been writing.  We had a gig the same night a Spike Hill in Brooklyn (which was awesome, by the way!) so the recording session gave us an extra opportunity explore the material. We ended up recording 5 tunes, and here are a few of the rough mixes, for your listening pleasure!

Beard of Bees: I thought of this as a song title a while back, and the title finally found its tune.  I Googled “beard of bees” last night, and the results are pretty disgusting and bizarre. It’s a fun tune though, and includes one of the most angular basslines I’ve ever written.

Done and Done: A pretty waltz.  Sam is really doing some cool stuff (I wish you could hear him better on this mix!) that is making the song happen.

Melange: Sean suggested that we take the tempo slower on this one than I had originally conceived and it worked splendidly! This song has a Maiden Voyage-ish ostinato for the first 12 bars, followed by an 11 bar section with very Trav-like changes.

I’m excited about these three tunes in particular, because they were written just last week! That’s one of the things I love about NYC, you can write something new and hear it played (and in this case even get it recorded) by spectacular musicians in a very short span of time.  Where else in the world can that happen so easily?

Next week for the recording session I’ll be bringing in a group that I co-lead with vocalist and composer Kat Calvosa, The Calvosa-Sullivan Project (CSP!).  I’ll be definitely posting some of the results of that session as well!

The next Bjorkestra show…The Falcon, August 20

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I got my sights set on next month, with July rapidly coming to a close and no more performances until August (Next week at Spike Hill with my new trio August 2nd yo! You heard it here first).  I’m also looking forward to The Bjorkestra‘s next show at a great venue in upstate New York, The Falcon.  Here’s an excellent New York Times article about this space, and they have an amazing lineup of jazz musicians coming through there every week.  I’m looking forward to getting out of NYC for a minute to go up there and experience some trees and clean air!

Also…tonight I’m going to check out my friend Sunny Kim at the Douglass St. music collective, performing a tribute to the music of Steve Lacy.  Should be cool!

Saturday Night in NYC: Yutaka Uchida Quartet at Hirai Mong

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This evening I had the pleasure of checking out my friend and former Anti-Elevator Mission cohort Yutaka Uchida’s band at this great Korean restaurant on St. Mark’s in the East Village, Hirai Mong.  Awesome food and excellent jazz! The band had some other good friends as well: Sean Nowell on tenor sax, Eddy Khaimovich on bass, and George Dulin on keys.  Check out Yutaka’s website for more info too…he’s got some excellent stuff coming up worth checking out!

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

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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!

Sessions in the winter can be hazardous to your health!

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You may have to excuse the brevity of this post…I slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk last night and hurt my left wrist.  I don’tn think anything is broke – it’s just a little uncomfortable.  I have an ace bandage wrapped around it right now to rest it, I’m hoping that will do the trick.  Don’t worry everyone, I’ll still be able to play the piano and saxophone (if not, there’s always the nose flute!). 

Some dude playing the nose flute. I just love Google Image!

The reason why I was out and about lasr night is because I went to the session at Royale in Park Slope.  I hadn’t been in a while (like a year, time flies!).  It’s good to see the session there is still thriving.  Diego Voglino has been running it for a couple of years now and he always brings in great players for the house band – last night it was Chris Cheek on tenor sax, Matt Pavolka on bass, and Ben Monder on guitar.  Very cool! I sat in and played “It Could Happen to You.” It was a good time…except for the whole falling on my ass afterwards thing.

Travis (in Persian)

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Rana Farhan

Last year I had the amazing opportunity to travel to London for a live TV show and show taping for BBC Persia.  I performed with Rana Farhan, an Iranian born singer who co-writes jazzy blues settings of Rumi and Hafiz poems with her boyfriend and guitarist Steve Taub.  Rana has developed an underground following in Iran, since it’s completely illegal in that country for a woman to be singing in public.  It’s an interesting approach to world music as well.  She sings in Farsi (which is an amazingly beautiful language) but the style of the music is completely Western. 

Our performance and the taping of the BBC documentary show coincided with Nowruz, the Persian New Year, and our live show was preceded by Barack Obama’s Nowruz greeting to the Persian community at large.  By the way, after watching this video really fresh into his presidency I can really notice that  past year has aged Obama (as it would anyone I suppose!). 

Here is the full 20 minute (in 2 segments) show about Rana.  Another interesting “15 minutes of fame” for the T-Man. 

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8DdBspksAE

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOQ7HeZI608

I’ll be performing a free concert with Rana Farhan next month, February 12 at 9:30pm at Cafe Vivaldi in NYC.  Come on out!