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!

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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!

The Bjorkestra “Live at the Jazz Standard” Kickstarter Project!

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I have an exciting announcement – a new Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra CD is in the works! In order to fund the completion  project, I’m asking friends, family, and fans (the 3 F’s, if you will) to donate whatever they can through this new and awesome website – Kickstarter.com.  Please read on!

In March of 2009, The Bjorkestra performed a two night engagement at the acclaimed New York City jazz club the Jazz Standard. Recording engineer Robert Olmsted came in to record both nights, resulting in over four hours worth fo recorded material. Rob and I have been working together closely over the past year to compile, edit, and mix this music for a full length live album. I’m excited to say that this part of the process is nearly complete, and I’m elated with the results. This recording captures the energy, intensity, and soul of twelve extraordinary jazz artists performing at their absolute best.

“Live at the Jazz Standard” will consist of nine tracks that include several brand new arrangements, as well as a few live versions of the arrangements from “Enjoy” – an excellent follow-up to the studio album where you can hear the band “throw it down” live. I’m self-releasing the CD with my own marketing and publicity campaign, and plan to obtain distribution in North America, Europe, and Japan.

Although this music has been recorded and mixed, there is still a long way to go before this project can be fully realized. The musicians need to paid their recording fees, the Jazz Standard needs to be paid so I can commercially release the CD, the CD itself needs to be mastered, packaged with artwork/liner notes, and duplicated, and a publicist needs to be hired (phew!).

Kickstarter.com is a great company that allows you to raise money for a project of your choice and it keeps everything very organized. For your generous donation you can get some really excellent rewards such as advance download and/or autograph copy of the CD, exclusive never-before-released content, autographed scores (by me), and even a live private performance with myself and Bjorkestra vocalist, Becca Stevens! Also with your contribution, you will receive my undying gratitude and the knowledge that you’re keeping new music alive!

You won’t be charged a cent (or receive the awesome rewards) unless the project goal of $4000 is raised by the deadline, so any contribution you can make will be greatly appreciated!

Please visit the Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra “Live at the Jazz Standard” CD Kickstarter site for more information and to donate today!

Thanks so much for your help and support!!!

Bjorkestra: The Lost Banff Tracks

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I attended the Banff Jazz Workshop for Improvised Music in spring 2008, and had the amazing opportunity to have my Bjorkestra arrangements performed and recorded by several of the students taking part in the workshop.  It’s been awhile, so I don’t exactly remember the names of everyone that took part in recording these tracks, but I do remember a few: Natalie John, vocals; Mark Nelson, drums; Chris van Voorst van Beest, bass; Dan Gassin, piano; Stan Killian, tenor sax (solo on “Pluto”).

The cool thing about these recordings is that none of these tunes have been recorded in the studio previously or since.  Everyone did an excellent job, pulling it together in just a couple of rehearsals, and everyone’s enthusiasm in making this music happen was absolutely special and beautiful!

Big Time Sensuality – This arrangement was inspired by Bjork’s live version on “Post Live” from her “Live Box” collection.  The intro and outro has a classic Ellingtonian vibe, and fully exploits the energy and impact of jazz big band with an intense slow shuffle feel. 

All is Full of Love – One of the few instrumental arrangements for The Bjorkestra, this arrangement is an alto saxophone feature that I wrote for myself to perform as the soloist with the band.  It has a Gershwin-esque introduction that gives way to a jazz ballad.  The saxophone solo section goes into double time for a medium swing feel, and there’s a nice (if I may say so myself) saxophone cadenza at the end. 

Pluto – This is one of my favorite arrangements for The Bjorkestra, because of the distinct contrast between it and the original version on Bjork’s “Homogenic.”  I had the idea from the first lyric of the song, “Excuse me, but I just have to explode” to contain the energy of the arrangement into a re-harmonized and sensuous bossa-nova that has a real inner tension and pathos.  The energy and tension slowly builds to the end, where the music “explodes” into a collective free improvisation.