a collaboration at SEEDS, April 9th 2014

Virelles, Weinrib, Gallagher, Macdonald at SEEDS in Brooklyn on Wednesday, April 9th 2014

Wednesday, April 9th at 10pm at SEEDS
617 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Playing selections composed by:

David Virelles, piano
Craig Weinrib, drums
Ross Gallagher, bass
and myself, alto saxophone.

($10 suggested donation)

Posted Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

In pursuit of magic…

In pursuit of magic… #nyc #streetart #ipmofficial #inpursuitofmagic @ipmofficial http://pursuitofmagic.com/ via Instagram

Posted Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Introducing Extended Saxophone Techniques

Mel Bay has published a book I authored, entitled “Introducing Extended Saxophone Techniques“.

Introducing Extended Saxophone Techniques by Curtis Macdonald

From the Preface of “Introducing Extended Saxophone Techniques”

“The saxophone, like all wind instruments, is inspired and influenced by the human voice. As such, there lies an enormous potential for the production of sound, and a great responsibility falls upon the instrumentalist to fully master the nuances of his or her instrument. By studying the extended techniques of the saxophone, we open ourselves to a very subtle and delicate process of fine-tuning our instrumental abilities, which results in the discovery of new resonances and sonic prowess.

It is not necessary to perform any extended techniques in order to benefit from them. Think of these techniques as a form of cross training for the saxophone. Most importantly, the practice of extended techniques is a practice of focus, balance and patience. These exercises are designed to help cultivate the subtle skills of refining saxophone sound, and do not exclude any particular musical style or aesthetic. The exercises do not come from any one particular methodology or school of thought. Instead, the ideas presented here are designed to help unlock a deeply unique and personal approach to saxophone practice. Therefore, these practices can be viewed as a holistic and yet a practical approach to developing an advanced instrumental proficiency, while at the same time building a very intimate, individualized sonic palette for creative use. Cultivating this internal, introspective practice is key to developing the highest musical expression through the saxophone.”

This book is designed to help intermediate saxophone students

- Gain greater nuance and control over saxophone sound and performance,
- Harness the subtle and expressive qualities of timbre and resonance, and;
- Develop a multifaceted practice that helps cultivate a unique instrumental proficiency.

Click Here to purchase the book online from Mel Bay.

Table of Contents

3 Preface
3 Prerequisites
4 Keep your chin up
4 The Secret
5 Breathing
6 The Chin Push-Up Exercise
7 Throat Shape, Tongue Positioning, and Sounding the Vowels
8 Portamento Exercise
8 Fingerings that Alter Pitch and Timbre
11 Rhythmic Vibrato
13 Articulation
15 The Sub-Tone Effect
16 Overtones, Part I
18 Multiphonics, Part I
19 Overtones, Part II
22 Multiphonics, Part II
24 Vocalizations
27 ‘Crow’ pitches
29 Rhythmic Key Clicks
30 Circular Breathing
32 Preparations
33 Low A
34 Epilogue
35 Blank Manuscript

Other Resources for Additional Study

“The Art of Saxophone Playing”
by Larry Teal

“Top Tones for the Saxophone”
by Sigurd Rascher

“Hello! Mr. Sax, or Parameters of the Saxophone”
by Jean-Marie Londeix

“Los Armonicos en el Saxophon” (The Harmonics of the Saxophone)
by Pedro Iturralde

“Les Sons Multiples Aux Saxophones” (Multiple Sounds in Saxophones)
by Daniel Kientzy

“Multiphonics for the Saxophone”
by John Gross

“Harmonic Experience”
by W.A. Mathieu

“The Music of Life”
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

“The Mysticism of Sound and Music”
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

“Techniques of Saxophone Playing”
by Marcus Weiss

“Syncopation for the Modern Drummer”
by Ted Reed

“23 Caprices” by S. Karg-Elert, Arranged for Saxophone
by Robert J. Ford

“48 Studies By Ferling For All Saxophones”
by Marcel Mule

“30 Great Exercises or Studies for All Saxophones”
by Marcel Mule

“Méthode Compléte pour tous les Saxophones” (Complete Method for All Saxophones)
by Hyacinthe Klosé

Also, this online store has many other great saxophone études and studies.

Posted Monday, January 13th, 2014

Henry Threadgill’s “Old Locks and Irregular Verbs”

Henry Threadgill's Old Locks and Irregular Verbs

Henry Threadgill’s “Old Locks and Irregular Verbs”  performed by Ensemble Double-Up In Remembrance of Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris.

Appearing on Saturday January 11th at Judson Church, 8:00pm and 10:00pm.

Henry Threadgill – Leader / Jason Moran – Piano / David Virelles – Piano / Curtis Macdonald – Alto Saxophone / Roman Filiu – Alto Saxophone / Christopher Hoffman – Cello / Jose Davila – Tuba / Craig Weinrib – Trap Drums

Henry Threadgill will be making his debut appearance at the 2014 NYC Winter Jazzfest (WJF10) with the world premiere of his “Ensemble Double-Up” on Saturday, January 11th at the historic Judson Church. Led by Threadgill, the ensemble features featuring pianists Jason Moran and David Virelles, Curtis Macdonald and Roman Filiu on altos, Christopher Hoffman on cello, Jose Davila on tuba and Craig Weinrib on trap drums. “Old Locks and Irregular Verbs”, the piece written specifically for this occasion, will honor Threadgill’s dear friend and WJF esteemed past festival participant, Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, who passed on January 29th, 2013.

“Old Locks and Irregular Verbs” will be making its WORLDWIDE debut at the Winter Jazzfest, we are honored to host this incredible event in homage to the relenting and unstoppable maestro who left us too soon, LAWRENCE D. “BUTCH” MORRIS, an internationally recognized principal theorist and practitioner in the evolution of Conduction®, and a leading innovator in the confluence of jazz, new music, improvisation and contemporary classical music. Mr. Morris’s work redefined the roles of composer, conductor, arranger and performer, and bridges the gap between the composer, interpreter and improviser. Since 1974 his career is distinguished by unique and outstanding international contributions to television, film, theater, dance, radio, interdisciplinary collaborations, concerts and recordings.

Morris’ notable collaborations include: Musicians/composers: Alice Coltrane, Gil Evans, Philly Jo Jones, Cecil Taylor, Steve Lacy, David Murray, Don Pullen, Reggie Workman, Agusti Fernandez; Choreographers: Min Tanaka, Fred Holland, Dianne McIntyre, Sally Silvers, Donna Uchizono, Kazuo Ohno, Blondell Cummings, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Meg Stuart; Visual Artists: Alison Saar, David Hammons, A.R. Penck, Markus Luperts, Jorg Immendorf; Theater/Film: Avery Brooks, Harold Scott, Christoph Marthaler, Michael Kahn, Alessandro Cassin, Robert Altman, The Wooster Group. Writers; Allan Graubard, Greg Tate, Jessica Hagedorn, Ntozake Shange, Javier Barreiro, Sekou Sundiata.

HENRY THREADGILL is both a composer and multi-instrumentalist and leader whose career spans over forty years. He has been described as “the champion of the unorthodox, the quintessential outsider and one of America’s best-kept cultural secrets.” In the words of critic Derk Richardson, “Threadgill’s music is alive and visionary, embodying the spirit of past innovations without replicating reir forms, creating cognitive and cultural dissonances, and resolving them on deeper, more universal levels of meaning.”

Threadgill studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago majoring in piano and flute, along with composition. His long-lasting ensembles include the trio Air, the seven-piece Sextet, Very Very Circus, the Society Situation Dance Band, X-75, Make a Move, Aggregation Orb, and currently Zooid. Threagill’s critically acclaimed albums appear on various labels: Arista Novus, About Time, Axiom, Black Saint, Sony/Columbia and Pi.

Threadgill has had numerous commissions for theatre, orchestra, solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and dance companies. Two works for large orchestras, Run Silent, Run Deep, Run Loud, Run High and Mix for Orchestra, premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Other commissions include Mordine Dance Company, Carnegie Hall, New York Shakespeare Festival, Bang on a Can All-Stars and Talujon Percussion Ensemble. Recent works of note include Peroxide performed by Aggregation Orb, for Miller Teater, Columbia University; McGuffins, premiered by Zooid at the Biennale Festival in Italy; Fly Fliegen Volar. Premiered at the Saalfelden Jazz Festival with the Junge Philharmonic Salzburg Orchestra. Threadgill was voted Best Composer by Downbeat in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1995. He was also named Composer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2002. He is also a recipient of awards such as the Asian Improv Arts Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship and is a United States Artists fellow and was composer-in-residence at UC Berkeley and Atlantic Center of the Arts.

From the NYC Winter JazzFest website.

Posted Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Aszure Barton’s LIFT, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Aszure Bartons' LIFT

Aszure Bartons' LIFT

Developing the Original Music for Aszure Barton’s LIFT

In 2013 I had the honor of composing the original music for LIFT, choreographed by Aszure Barton for The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. It’s quite rare for the Alvin Ailey company to commission an original score, and I loved working closely with Aszure, the dancers, and the entire creative team: Jonathan Alsberry, assistant to the choreographer; William Penelope Briscoe, assistant to the choreographer; Fritz Masten, costume design; and Burke Brown lighting design in developing the scope of the piece.

‘Wild: Choreographing LIFT’ by Aszure Barton

“Now, here I am two decades later, making a dance for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. While Curtis, William, and Charissa I ventured into the mountains to gather field recordings for the score, we were acutely aware that the irritable elk mamas just might mistake us for kidnappers. In this moment, I experienced that familiar apex of excitement and fear — the thrill of possibility, the anticipation of adventure. It’s a similar rush dancers experience every night before they step on stage, and it’s how I feel when I enter the studio for the first time to create a piece. Of course there is fear of the unknown, of something uncomfortable to come, but moving through that fear, and doubt and unknown, is part of the process.”

Read the full article here.

About LIFT

“This propulsive world premiere by in-demand choreographer Aszure Barton accentuates the vitality and physical prowess of the Ailey company. Driven by the dancers’ passion, skill and collective power, the work was created over a 5-week developmental process with the entire Company.  The percussive score, composed by Curtis Macdonald, is infused with the infectious energy and heart that she observed in her initial encounters with the Ailey dancers.

“Barton’s exhilarating new work, her first commission for Ailey, celebrates and challenges the dancers with its markedly intricate rhythmic patterns and mercurial structure. A much sought-after dance maker whose choreography ranges from Baryshnikov to Broadway, Barton has a style that is “vulnerable and feisty, brightly adept yet peculiar, witty and impetuously wild” (Dance magazine).

“‘LIFT embodies an atmosphere and energy created by our time spent together in collaboration. I feel very welcomed by the Ailey family and am honored to be working with such a wonderful group of artists.’ -Aszure Barton”

LIFT on the Alvin Ailey website.

Posted Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

TWICE THROUGH THE WALL – 2013

SELECTED SKETCHES 2009 – 2012

COMMUNITY IMMUNITY – 2011


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