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The New York Slideworkers Union

Brian Drye’s Scopa Trio- NYSWU performance 2009

Trombones in Stereo

Julian Priester

Recently, Destination Out sent up mad props to the trombone by listing a track by Julian Priester. This killing piece features Priester’s Marine Intrustion and is an amazing representation of his post Mwandishi musical exploits. Also, don’t forget to check out some of the other moments that Chilly Jay Chill and Prof. Drew LeDrew caught Priester sliding his way around a varied musical atmosphere by way of his work with SUNN O))).

While they were at it, D:O let the cat out of the bag on Trombone Hall of Fame, featuring such esteemed members as Grachan Moncur III, George Lewis and Roswell Rudd. Don’t let your vote go unheard. Give a shout out as to who you think should be charter members in their comments.

Trust in the Key of DG

Recently David Gibson brought his Organ 4tet featuring Jared Gold (organ), Julius Tolentino (alto sax) and Jakubu Griffin (drums)to NYSWU for an excellent night of music. We asked David for the secret behind such a cooking ensemble and here’s what he had to say:

I first played with Jared Gold around 10 years ago. It was a brief encounter, but memorable. It was several years before we were musically reacquainted. We began our musical relationship anew on a one-nighter at Fat Cat that has since turned into a steady gig. Jared’s creativity and unabashed sense of musical liberty was daunting at first, but has helped me to grow immensely and I’m consistently surprised by the destinations at which we arrive in our musical conversations.

Conversation is the consistent quality in the music and all of the guys on this performance are hip. Julius and Jakubu both offer a great deal of fire and intensity which balances out what I consider to be the softer side of Gibbo. Each of them inspires me to greater intensity, even if it’s expressed by alternative means.

The best thing about this group to me, the composer, is that “my” music always becomes “our” music…and I welcome that. I embrace their input, whether in the moment or in a rehearsal or at the bar on the break. I trust these guys.

Ergo is a Band

Ergo: Multitude, Solitude

At NYSWU’s recent Electronics and Trombone symposium, Brett Sroka graced our ears with the sweet stylings of his band Ergo, featuring Sam Harris on rhodes electric piano/synthesizer/piano and Shawn Baltazor on drums. Needless to say, the set was enchanting and the whole NYSWU audience was grateful for their musical contributions to the greater beauty of our world. Like all NYSWU events, both Ergo and the Rick Parker Trio’s set that night were recorded, and now I can’t wait to have them finished so we can share with the world, but to hold us over for the time being, here are some words from Brett about his approach to the trombone, to electronic, to Ergo and to the New York Slideworkers’ Union…

Trombone and electronics seem like an odd pairing, but when I think back on it my path to combining them feels rather organic. Like many trombonists I’ve had a conflicted relationship with the instrument, feeling inferior to slicker, more glamorous instruments, and marginalized in even the most marginal styles of music. At some point I began to think that any contribution I made on trombone would be largely ignored and irrelevant, so out of that frustration I started looking for other avenues of expression and got entranced by electronic music. However, as my understanding of electronic music developed my approach to the trombone began to change as well. To integrate the two seemingly disparate worlds, centuries apart in technology, I started thinking about the instrument in more textural, timbral and lyrical ways and in realizing it’s unique possibilities I found new fulfillment in playing it and in making music. At the performance we discussed the objective in making this music and my intuition is that the objective is less important than the experience. The best experiences of life are beyond words, even beyond thoughts, as with the experience of music (when it really gets you). Our experience making it might be something like being at the bottom of a well, and yours listening like being at the top. You may be able to draw water or not, we can do our best to play it, but that will largely depend on you, your perspective and your experience of life. While generally I make music for my own pleasure and my own experience, I also do it with the aspiration that it could be worthy of yours.

Learn more about Brett and Ergo:

Steve Swell on Music

Steve Swell

Recently Steve Swell spoke with Roulette about his continuing adventures with experimental media. Steve name checks a couple of great and goes on to answer the age old question of what exactly is music. Check out more from Steve online at http://www.steveswell.com/

NYSWU/Ibeam Trombone Festival 2010

IBeam and NYSWU presents the Second Annual Trombone Festival. The festival spans 5 nights throughout April 2010 and features a diverse roster of trombonists leading their original projects and bands in New York City. The trombonists presented here represent a wide range of approaches to the instrument each with a unique voice in both composition and improvisation.

The month of April is now officially (in the least official way possible) Trombone month in Brooklyn, and to celebrate, NYSWU is teaming up with Ibeam Music Studios to present their second annual Trombone Festival throughout the month. Most events will be held at Ibeam Music Studios, 168 7th Street in Brooklyn, but look out for the Alan Ferber Nonet and Ryan Keberle’s Double Quartet at 58 N6th Media Labs.

$10 Suggested Donation at all shows.

Check out the events below for some mind blowing takes on what it means to make music with a slide and a bell:

CURHA- Tilling the Field Between Music and Anti-Music

This past Sunday, NYSWU was proud to present an evening of music as curated by sound farmer extraordinaire Curtis Hasselbring. Curtis can often be found all across the city bringing beautiful music to the people by way of groups like the New Mellow Edwards and the Curharchestra, and this night was no exception when he graced upon an eager audience the sounds of Decoupage featuring Mary Halverson on Guitar, Matt Moran on Vibes and Satoshi Takaishi on percussion. Described by the maestro as music the “tills the field between music and anti-music”, listeners were treated to a cornucopia of mid-winter flavors as the band breathed life into a very intriguing collection of compositions.

Curtis Hasselbring at the NY Slideworkers’ Union, Jan 17th 2010 by NYSWU

Joe Fiedler: Colorwork, difference tones and art of trio

CURHA’s evening curation was completed by a exploration of multi-phonic compositional strategies by the Joe Fiedler Trio with Sean Conley on upright bass and Satoshi Takaishi on dums. Joe and the band’s playing was not only artfully entertaining, but educational as well when he described between song some of the multi-phonic techniques he has been making a part of his compositions as of late. While you are checking out the recording of the show, read more after the break for some information from Joe about his work with multi-phonics.

Joe Fiedler at the NY Slideworkers’ Union, Jan 17th 2010 by NYSWU

When I first began exploring the world of multiphonics for the trombone (the technique of playing one note while singing another note simultaneously) I was totally consumed with the technique of it. What were the different intervallic possibilities? How could I strengthen my voice to achieve more balance with the “played” note? How could I better achieve a resulting overtone, thereby creating a true triad? These were all techniques that had already been mastered by the great German trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff. After many years of studying Mangelsdorff’s work, dealing with these different technical hurdles and assimilating these techniques into my compositions and improvisations, I feel that I have developed my own take on the fundamentals of this genre. As a result, currently I have been looking to expand the role of multiphonics within composition. Up to this point, the majority of compositions incorporating multiphonics have focused on using the “played” note at the root of the chord. Even when there is a departure from this, the intervals tend to be static 5ths or 10ths. Therefore I have taken on a more pianistic approach to multiphonics, using contrary motion, chromaticism and chordal planing. I have also incorporated more typically used intervals (5ths and 10ths) but with both the played note and sung note as chord tones/extensions–instead of one being the tonic. For example in the beginning of the song #11 the first three chords are Eb, G minor, and C7, with the bass playing the root on all three. Over the Eb I am playing G (3rd) and singing D above (7th), and interval of a 5th, over the Gm I am playing F (min 7th), singing C (11th)-also an interval of a 5th, and over the C7 I am playing E (3rd), singing Bb (dom 7th)-an interval of a tritone. After employing multiphonics in my playing for more than 20 years now, I feel that I am beginning to be able use them as a fully functional musical and chordal voice–moving fully away from the idea of multiphonics as a gimmick or parlor trick.

Please contact me with any questions or comments/joe@joefiedler.com

Tailgating Holiday Anthems

Roswell Rudd and Steven Bernstein tailgating true holiday anthems this eve, can't say how great it was to have them here.... Que Viva Ros.

Roswell Rudd and Steven Bernstein in Duo, 12/20/2009

midboggling tasty and useful.

NYSWUY event 5, curated by Josh Roseman

Low End Theory

Recently we were blessed to have the impeccable Dan Peck grace our continuing series of creative slidework creations. Before you say a tuba is not a slide instrument, I’m 100% sure there are at least five slides on the beast that Dan was wrangling, so it count pretty solidly in my book! He sent some thoughts on his DoomQuartet that performed, and here they are for your enlightenment:

I’ve recently rediscovered the initial reason that I was attracted to the tuba: the sound of the incredible low notes that come out of it’s bell. I think that, in an effort to improve technical facility and clarity of sound, the tuba playing community has been focused largely on controlling the middle and high registers of the instrument. And while I love any and all sounds that come out of the tuba, it seems to me that the low/pedal register is all but ignored in creative tuba playing today. This attitude has much to do with my interest in Doom metal, which is a very drone and low sonority based music. So, in my compositions as well as in my improvisations, I am curious to expand my limited knowledge of the depths of the tuba’s true range.

I want to thank Josh for starting this great series. I especially appreciate the open forum aspect of it; I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my ideas almost as much as I do playing them. It’s arguable to what degree creative music necessitates a closed-circle type of atmosphere in order to prosper; but as always, the creative spirit is universal, and comes from a place of collective curiosity. I hope that this series serves as a constant reminder to musicians/non-musicians alike that this curiosity is what keeps everything happening, and is vital to the survival of creative music.


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