I’ll just come out and say it…I love Italy!

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Greetings from Rome.  Ian Cook, Shayna Steele, and I have been here since Monday after an amazing performance with the full 17 piece Bjorkestra with Dave Douglas in Milan.  We played a sold out show for about 900 people and I sold 70 CD’s!!! We were also treated amazingly well by the show’s promoters – the hotel was incredible, and we had two beautiful Italian meals (although maybe a little too much grappa!).  I’m posting a YouTube video of one of the tracks from the concert as we speak, so that’ll be up soon.

I’ll also be posting photos from the trip very soon.  Tonight we’re performing with the 7 piece Bjorkestra with 4 Italian musicians in Torre del Greco in Naples.  It’s on the side of Mt. Vesuvius, so barring any volcanic eruption I’m sure we’re going to have an amazing show!

 

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The Bjorkestra with Dave Douglas in Milan, Italy, December 5, and Italy tour

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m up here in NH having a respite from NYC craziness and spending time with my family and New England friends.  Nothing says Thanksgiving like a good ol’ blog too, so I’d like to share with you a very exciting concert coming up that has been a year in the making. 

Aperitivo in Concerto has invited the full 18 piece Bjorkestra to perform at the Teatro Manzoni in Milan, Italy on December 5th.  Also, joining us for this concert as a special guest is world-renowned trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas.  It’s going to be quite an adventure, and the first time that I’ve been able to bring the entire band overseas. 

I’ve also written a new arrangement for the concert, Bjork’s “Unison” is a trumpet feature for Dave.  I’ve also resurrected/refurbished Sean Nowell’s arrangement of “Undo.”  So we’re going to have a Vespertine-heavy concert!

Also, the 7-piece Bjorkestra has 2 additional dates currently booked in Pescara and Naples on December 7 & 8, respectively.  More info about those shows very soon!!!

NH Concert and Radio Show today!

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Greetings from New Hampshire.  I’m up here to visit my parents, get out of NYC for a second, and to do a radio show and concert with singer/songwriter (and fantastic pianist) Anna Dagmar.  You can hear us on WSCA 106.1 FM today from 3pm-4pm for a live interview and in-studio performance.  Also, if you’re in Manchester, NH tonight, come and check us out at The Jewell and the Beanstalk from 7pm-9pm. They have music there once a month, and they don’t advertise the music on their website 😦 .  But we’ll be there.  Should be fun, Anna writes beautiful songs that are fun to listen to, and to play!

NYFA Boot Camp Festival Dates Announced

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As some of you know, I participated in an amazing workshop this past summer, the New York Foundation for the Arts Artists as Entrepreneurs Boot Camp.  By the end of the five weeks, it was decided that there should be a special event in NYC that would allow the 50 entrepreneurial artists involved in this program to showcase their work.  Through the extensive efforts of NYFA and several of the participating artists, the first annual NYFA Boot Camp is happening from November 4 – 20, in a number of locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

NYFA has started a blog that gives a rundown of the schedule of the events for the festival:

http://nyfabootcampfestival.wordpress.com/schedule/

I highly recommend checking out these events.  All of the artists are incredible at what they do.  Here are a couple of festival events that will involve yours truly too:

Artist Talk: Ambitious Art Projects and How to Make Them Happen: Four Artists Stories
November 10, 2010 at 7pm
NYFA
20 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

For this program, four Boot Camp artists, each in a different discipline, will present a significant project that they have either realized or are in the process of realizing utilizing various funding and business approaches, including fiscal sponsorship, grants, alternative funding platforms like Kickstarter, collaborations, etc. In doing so, attendees will not only be provided with some important practical information, but they will also be inspired to dream big and realize their own large-scale projects.  Panelists include Michelle Jaffe, Isabel Sadurni, Rachel Somerstein, and Travis Sullivan.  Moderated by Rachel Selekman.  This event is open to the public.

and…

The Bjorkestra
November 18, 2010 at 10:30pm
Iridium ( http://www.iridiumjazzclub.com/ )
1650 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

 

 

An endorsement deal and (another) new saxophone!

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In a very amazing turn of events, I was fortunate enough to become an endorser for a company that is making some amazing saxophones – RS Berkeley.  A few weeks ago while I was in L.A. I got a message from Christian Fabian, an old friend of mine, who let me know that this company was looking for endorsers.  They already have some great horn players using their instruments, including Erica von Kleist, Mike DiRubbo, and Sharel Cassity, so I decided to give it a whirl.  I went out to RS Berkeley’s office in New Jersey and tried out five different horns from their “Virtuoso” series: a regular lacquer, a black nickel plated, a matte finished, a silver plated, and a dark lacquer.  I fell in love with the dark lacquered one.  It feels sort of like a Mark VI and has a beautiful clear tone. So I was able to sell my “old” horn (thanks again Sean!) for what I paid for it and purchase the new one at cost.  Phew! Two horns in two months after having the same saxophone for 22 years.  I think I’ll be with this one for a while though.

You can check out my endorser page on the RS Berkeley site here.

Some photos (and hopefully some audio samples!) real soon.

New Bjorkestra show announced! November 18 @ The Iridium

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Save the date! Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra will be performing 2 sets at The Iridium in NYC on November 18th.  This performance will be featuring the 12 piece ensemble once again, and I’ve written a new arrangement for the band – “I Miss You” from Bjork’s amazing album, Post.  I’m still working out some of the details, but I’m very happy with the way this arrangement is turning out, and it’s going to be a lovely laptop/drum feature.

This performance is also going to be under the umbrella of the New York Foundation for the Arts Boot Camp Arts Festival, which evolved out of the NYFA Artists as Entrepreneurs Boot Camp seminar that I took this past summer.  I’ll be blogging more about this Festival in the weeks to come, which will begin in early November in venues all over the city, and will feature extraordinary artists from all types of media that will be showcasing their work.  I’ll keep you posted!

The L.A. Excursion, Days 1-3

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It’s been a fun, relaxing, and productive past few days here in Los Angeles. I need to get one story out of the way first though before everything else.  I was only in L.A. for about 5 hours and who do I run into? Leonardo DiCaprio. I walked into this cigar shop to meet up with my buddy Nick, and DiCaprio was standing there at the counter wearing shades and a baseball cap.  It took me a second to process who he was, as well as a pregnant stare.  I walked back to meet Nick in the humidor and I was probably a little too loud when I told Nick who I had just seen, because we noticed that he disappeared into a back room.  Nick thinks that maybe he thought we might have been Paparazzi or something.  Anyway, I blew my chance to find out what the hell was really going on in “Inception”!

Yesterday we finished mixing the new CD for Posi-tone Records, which will be coming out in late winter next year.  I’m incredibly pleased with how this album has turned out.  The sound and performances are uniformly awesome, and the entire mixing process went quickly and smoothly.  It’s a lot easier to mix a quartet album than it is to mix a big band album! It’s also been nice to hang with Marc Free and Nick O’Toole, the “Posi-tone Guys.”  They’re very dedicated to putting out a quality product and are realistic about running a jazz label in the twenty first century.

Last night I performed my first of the three shows I’ll be playing in L.A. – Sangria in Hermosa Beach. It was fantastic to play with my old friend and vibraphonist Nick Mancini once again.  He moved out to L.A. from NYC a few years back and has really made a name for himself here. We were received warmly by the audience and the venue, playing 3 sets of all standards.  Sangria is right next to the famous Lighthouse Cafe, as in Elvin Jones’ “Live at the Lighthouse,” and they’re owned by the same people too.  So it was cool to be right next to a great part of jazz history.  The booker for the Lighthouse and Sangria is Gloria Cadena, who is a hip and bubble 85 year old woman who has an interesting connection to jazz history.  I found this blurb on www.jazzblues.org:

Cadena is the widow of legendary jazz and gospel producer Ozzie Cadena who passed away in 2008 at the age of 83.  Mr. Cadena was an in-house producer for Herman Lubinski’s Savoy record label and was involved in recordings by Charles Mingus, Little Jimmy Scott, Yusef Lateef, Milt Jackson, Marion Williams and Shirley Ceasar, Donald Byrd, Dexter Gordon, and Ornette Coleman. He worked with drummer Kenny Clarke on a series of one-shot recording dates for Savoy at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in New Jersey, and he produced the first albums by Cannonball Adderley, and the J.J. Johnson-Kai Winding double trombone group.  In 1962 Cadena moved to the Prestige label where he worked with Shirley Scott, Jack McDuff and Red Holloway. He also started his own label, “Choice”, where he released recordings by Charles Earland and the duo of Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry.

Tonight the quartet is going to be performing at The Blue Whale,  which I’ve heard a lot of great things about, and I’m looking forward to delving into my original music with the band.  And tomorrow…Venice Beach for some serious R&R!!!!

I haven’t taken too many photos yet, but here are a few…

View from the plane flying into Burbank!

Nick's girlfriend's dog "Izzy." She barked at me at first, but then we were friends.

I must have a thing for dogs. Marc Free's dog "Milo."

Food Porn: I forgot how awesome the Mexican food is here in L.A.!

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