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Venezuela Tour, Grammy Voting & More: Nov ’14 newsletter

DSC_9247November 2014

Dear friends of Street Beat, Project Hansori and my other musical surfacings:

Below are two announcements of things where although local attendance isn’t possible, something major is happening. But first, I’ll start with something that folks around NYC certainly can attend.

A long-awaited Project Hansori performance happens this month at the Sounds of Arts Festival presented by Multicultural Sonic Evolution (MuSE). Project Hansori’s program “Land Bridge” –connecting East Asia and North America in a Jazz setting– kicks off the festival which encompasses eight performances over six days in Queens. This festival usually sells out so it’s wise to buy tickets now (link below).

Wednesday Nov 19 @8pm
The Secret Theatre (in the Big Theatre)
4402 23rd Street, Long Island City, NY 11101
Tickets: General Admission $15 advance / $20 at the door, Seniors & Students with ID $12
Purchase tickets at http://musesoaf2014.brownpapertickets.com/
For more info about the festival visit http://musefriends.org/MuSE/Festival.html

My arrangement of John “Dizzy” Gillespie’s Manteca for Dave Chamberlain’s Band of Bones’ latest record Caravan has made an initial step in the Grammy awards process. NARAS members have until this Wednesday 11/5 to vote to include it on the ballot for potential Grammy nominations. Here’s the official listing:

Field: Composing/Arranging
Category: Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella
Jeff Fairbanks, arranger (Dave Chamberlain’s Band Of Bones)

Parts of the album are also being considered in two other categories –  my friend Chris Rinaman’s arrangement of How Deep is the Ocean? (Best Arrangement Instruments and Vocals), and the album Caravan itself (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album).

What I hinted at last month is now official: Street Beat Brass will tour Venezuela this January, sponsored by the US State Department! Our tour runs Jan 14-21, and includes performances at the San Sebastian Cultural Festival and more, and teaching masterclasses for students including those of El Sistema (the iconic program that groomed LA Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel). I’m now working on setting up a NYC ‘send-off’ show (TBA) near the start of our tour. Links to our members:
Jason Wiseman www.facebook.com/jason.wiseman.9484?fref=ts
Mike Webster www.michaelwebstermusic.com
James Rogers www.facebook.com/james.rogers.79?fref=ts
Vin Scialla www.facebook.com/vin.scialla?fref=ts
Street Beat Brass Band www.streetbeatbrass.com

It’s worth briefly re-capping Street Beat’s October schedule, which was jam-packed with a dozen gigs, including our third-in-a-row appearance the annual All Nite Soul festival. We also had not-so-private birthday parades around Manhattan streets, stormed offices, and entertained crowds at various Oktoberfest events. A slightly disturbing Halloween event we were potentially asked to do luckily fell through. The photo above, from Shawna Ryan at Big Personality Media, is from our gig at LIC Landing which provided a great backdrop of the NYC skyline.

Thank you for your interest in my music. See you on 11/19, or at our TBA pre-tour send-off show!

Jeff Fairbanks
Composer, Performer, Bandleader

New Film and Concert of Project Hansori, and Other Announcements

Temple of Memories JF still shot

Dear Friends,

In the five months since my last newsletter I’ve racked up quite a few noteworthy announcements. I hope to re-connect with many of you when my big band, Project Hansori, saddles up for an entire evening of my brand new music in a beautiful setting in my own neighborhood (details below). But first, enjoy this newly-released video featuring yours truly, embedded above and linked here.

FEATURED IN FILM: I’m thrilled to announce the release of The Temple of Memories, a new documentary short film by Rene Sing and OwlSpring Media, about my experiences performing at the 2012 Locating the Sacred Festival. Entertaining and informative, it takes viewers behind the scenes of an epic and unlikely musical collaboration between Japanese Taiko and Big Band Jazz, set in NYC’s oldest Buddhist temple. We get up close to the Taiko group Soh Daiko and my Jazz band, Project Hansori, interwoven with my close, candid interviews. Link: https://vimeo.com/67056594.

Project Hansori and Soh Daiko performing at the Locating the Sacred Festival.
Project Hansori and Soh Daiko performing at the Locating the Sacred Festival.

UPCOMING SHOW: Thursday, December 19th at 7pm
Project Hansori performs “New Sounds of East and West All Saints Church 43-12 46th St Sunnyside, Queens NY 11104 Ph: 718-784-8031 Admission free (donation suggested).
Project Hansori will perform my brand new music in a grant-awarded program called “New Sounds of East and West”. It’s centered on new East Asian-infused Jazz, including our mind- warping take on an ancient ritual shrine ceremony piece — or as I like to call it, Americanized, Koreanized, Chinese music. The concert will feature Satoshi Takeishi on his unique array and style of Eastern percussion. It’s happening right in my neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens, in the handsome setting of a Gothic style Episcopal church. I’m proud to say “New Sounds of East and West” is funded in part by a competitive grant from the Queens Council on the Arts. Link: www.facebook.com/events/277163692408571/

Monday November 4th at 7:00 PM
Hora Decima Brass Ensemble performs a program including my composition Three Dances Christ & St. Stephen’s Church 120 West 69th Street, Manhattan, NY (bet. Bway & Columbus) Admission by Contribution ($20 requested)

Sunday November 24th at 7:00PM
“Now, Here”: a solo recital including my composition Duduk for solo piri (Korean double-reed instrument) Seoul Culture Station 284 in Seoul, South Korea Jin Yunkyong, soloist

ASCAP AWARD: I was just awarded a 2013 ASCAP Plus Award, for my artistic achievements during this year. This makes two years in a row of receiving this honor. Thanks, ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)!

ALBUM APPEARANCE: David Chamberlain’s Band of Bones recorded my arrangement of Manteca last month as part of a session for their next album. It has fully eight trombones, flute, and rhythm section with Latin percussion, set in a funky salsa groove. I got plenty of great comments from band members and I can’t wait to hear it myself. I’ll pass on any announcements about the album’s release.

SINCE LAST TIME: It’s been awhile since my last newsletter, written just before I left for my traditional music workshop in Korea over the Summer. There I was saturated in the world of Gugak (Korean traditional performing arts) for two weeks, learning from incredible world-class artists, meeting sixteen extremely motivated (and fun-loving) fellow participants from ten countries, and taking in the streets of Seoul as well as a side trip to the mystical, muse-full Jindo Island. –An amazing time that surely planted artistic seeds for years to come. …The day after returning to NYC I jumped, fully jet-lagged, right into an intense conference of the International Society for Improvised Music. The three-day event just happened to center on cross-cultural improvisation, with two Korean guest artists (go figure!). There I worked with globe-trotting piri soloist Gamin, and Shin Hyunsik, founder of Ensemble Sinawi; as well as Elliot Sharp, Jin Hi Kim, and other icons of this progressively broad improv scene …My world brass band Street Beat returned to the famous All Nite Soul 43rd annual(!) Jazz festival at St Peter’s Church in Manhattan. This band also did a string of off-the-wall private gigs over the Summer and Fall, such as leading a wedding procession march through Central Park and halfway down the length of the C train; and parading three-year-olds around a hedge fund manager’s estate on an island inaccessible by car (we attract these things). …I’m still laboring away at my commission for the USAF Airmen of Note, acquired by my winning the Sammy Nestico Composition Prize last year.

READ MY REVIEW: In a turn of the tables, I played the role of music critic, in authoring a review of Human Alien, the debut album of Ryan Pate released just last month. Read the review here, and check out Pate’s new album here.  …Incidentally, you’ll have a good chance to see him play live, too, as he’ll join us on Project Hansori’s upcoming concert.

Thank you for your continued interest. Please come say Hi and hear our new program on December 19th!

Thank you,

Jeff Fairbanks
Composer, Performer, Bandleader

Gangnam ‘Trial’, Major Award Announcement: JUNE 2013 NEWSLETTER

NGC pic 5

June 13, 2013

Dear Friends,

As I write I am preparing to embark on a two-and-a-half-week whirlwind ‘tour’ of sorts. First, tomorrow I fly to South Korea to attend two intense weeks of the International Gugak Workshop at the National Gugak Center (pictured above) in Seoul. (My hotel is in Seoul’s now-famous Gangnam district, hence the crude pun attempt in my title). As I blogged, fifteen foreigners were selected to come and learn Korean traditional music, sponsored by that government. Our group being composers and ethnomusicologists, mostly college professors, the program is intended for us to proliferate this music back in our various home countries through our professional work. It’s an example of the so-called Korean Wave phenomenon of cultural influence that that government wisely embraces.
At the IGW my daily schedule will include lectures on the theory and history of gugak (Korean traditional music), as well as training in various traditional instruments, with an emphasis on janggu (two-sided drum) and kayageum (12-string zither). Activities stretch into the evenings with concerts and other functions. I can’t promise, but I will attempt to blog about this experience in my News feed (http://fairbanksmusic.com/news/) as often as possible.
NGC logoIn the few moments I will attempt to carve out time away from the busy workshop, I’ve made plans to see a few colleagues in town, and my sister-in-law with her family. I also hope to catch a concert or two in town, and certainly to visit the famous Insadong district to browse traditional instrument shops and pick up piri reeds. Chances there are often that the shop owner may happen to be a master musician, or even an “Intangible Cultural Asset #[x]”, in a system where the government literally ranks (tangibly) elite artists according to their cultural value. Sure, it goes a bit far, but it does hint at the high value that this fascinating society places on the arts!


Skyline of Seoul, South Korea






isim logoThings won’t slow down after the workshop. Through the magic of overseas travel, on my return to NYC I will gain back the day I will have ‘lost’ during my flight to Asia. Since I will land in Queens at essentially the same time I took off from Incheon (I love that), I can still attend the conference of the International Society for Improvising Musicians that starts, well, before I return. Though it’s not wise for me to pack these two events one after another, these are two things that I simply had to say ‘Yes’ to. Not only is the ISIM conference theme “Cross-cultural improvisation” (already jumping out at me), but three of the leaders happen to be players of Korean instruments, and they include a renowned piri and taepyeongso artist – one I’ve been hoping to get a chance to study from (can’t say ‘No’).


In a last-minute announcement, I just learned this week that I was chosen for the 2013 Independent Music Award in the Best Jazz Song category!  Here’s my initial post about it.  The panel of Jazz judges included McCoy Tyner, Arturo Sandoval, John Medeski, and Chris Wood.  As detailed also in the link, you can still cast your vote for me via the separate, fan-determined-winner competition, called Vox Pop. See the official announcement here.  And here, just for giggles and grins, is a head-inflating nominees page with “winner” loudly stamped under my image.  By the way, click on my image to visit my IMA profile, where you can both listen to the entire winning song “Bi Bim Bop”, and read my Q&A interview on the same page while you listen.


8-10pm at Roulette: 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, NY 11217.  I finally got more info about this event from the ISIM. This culminating concert of the ISIM’s annual gathering will feature dozens of us participants improvising — together. We’ll be split into several improvising ensembles led alternately by notable special guests, including Korean instrumentalists Gamin and Shin Hyun-Sik.



Street Beat entertained the crowds at this Memorial Day Fair, strolling around New Orleans-style as well as putting on a stationary show. Their board gave us a glowing review on their recent newsletter.



6-1-13 concert poster 16/1/13 NY KOREAN AMERICAN CHORALE @ LEFRAK HALL
My wife, Choi, and I appeared together on stage for the first time since our previous performances in the Philippines and Korea in 2011. We were joined by our friend and stellar guitarist-composer Ryan Pate (whose debut album should be released later this year). It was very recharging as an artist to play in a beautiful hall in front of a large, enthusiastic audience. I was honored to appear as a special guest with the NYKAC, performing Korean songs arranged for this Jazz setting of guitar, trombone, and cello.



I joined Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra for the first time, as a sideman for this gig. He has arranged the music of Icelandic pop icon Bjork for Jazz big band, and enlisted a group of top NYC Jazz musicians to play it. Bands across Europe and in Asia have brought him over to lead their own bands in concerts of this music, too. The band includes an electronics artist whose effects included floor-shaking bass waves that pumped through the Highline’s sound system. Not your typical big band experience!

My artist profile on Reverbnation.com briefly broke into the top 100 national acts for World Music, and also ranked at #5 for NYC (linked blog post was written before while it was still ranked #6).

Thank you all for your continued support. Please check in this month to see any updates I hope to post from Korea!

Jeff Fairbanks
Composer, Performer, Bandleader

Vote, View, Visit 3 Shows: Spring ’13 Newsletter

View from Vin Scialla’s drumset during Street Beat’s March show at the Broolyn Bowl.  Photo: Vin Scialla.
View from Vin Scialla’s drumset during Street Beat’s March show at the Broolyn Bowl. Photo: Vin Scialla.

Hello friends,

I have tons of news bits and some new video to share since my last newsletter in January.  Also I’m preparing for an intense workshop in Korea just weeks away. First, though, I need to ask for your vote. Don’t worry, I’m not running for office. But I have been nominated for an Independent Music Award. See below:

My composition Bi Bim Bop, as recorded by Project Hansori, has been picked for the Jazz Song category. Along with an industry panel-determined winner, fans will also choose a Vox Pop (voice of the people) winner. So we need your vote! …Now, I’ve heard feedback from some folks who have had trouble voting. So I made it a real simple two steps here: First, go here. Follow instructions to register. Then go here. Scroll down to find me, and click on the stars to vote (5 is highest, 1 is lowest). Voting closes July 19th. Thanks in advance for your show of support!

Saturday May 25 at 12-2pm
Sunnyside Gardens Park in Queens. Free and open to the public. My 5-piece band Street Beat is the live entertainment for this park’s annual Memorial Day Fair, the overall event event that runs from 12-5pm. A great afternoon of family entertainment and food.
More info

Saturday June 1 at 8pm
LeFrak Auditorium at Queens College
Tickets $20. *(I have two free tickets to give away, first come, first served — reply to this email to request them) *.  I’ve been invited as a special guest to appear during a night of Korean music presented by the New York Korean American Chorale. A trio of my wife Choi on cello, Ryan Pate on guitar, and myself on trombone will play Jazz renditions of several Korean folk songs as part of the program. Incidentally, Ryan Pate has just recently finished production of his own debut recording. The coming album, Human/ Alien, should be slated for release in the next few months. I’ve had a sneak peek and highly recommend you get a copy when they become available (I’ll forward the release date when it’s announced).
More info

Monday July 1 at 7pm
8pm at Roulette, Brooklyn. Admission TBA. In a very unique event, I’ll perform in a large ‘improvising ensemble’, as the culmination of an intense weekend conference of the International Society for Improvised Music. See “ISIM CONFERENCE” below for more about the overall event.
Performance details

I’m getting very excited about attending the upcoming International Gugak Workshop at the National Gugak Center in Seoul, South Korea from June 16-29. Especially so now that things have apparently cooled off for now on the Korean peninsula. The Center invited me to attend along with 14 other composers and ethnomusicologists from around the globe. Detailed more in an earlier blog post, I’ll spend two weeks saturated in Korean traditional music, learning to play various instruments and styles with the guidance of master teachers. This promises to be an incredible experience.
Blog post

June 29-July 1 at York College, followed by the July 1 public performance at Roulette that I mentioned above. These several days of intense activity will probably blur as one memorable experience focused on high-level improvised music-making. And that’s not just because I’ll be jet-lagged from a 17-hour flight.  World-class improvisors, including several on Korean instruments, will be showcased. The theme is “cross-cultural improvisation”, so I’ll either work on piri, trombone, or both.
More info

Since my last comparable newsletter in January, I posted videos of my lecture-performance at Flushing Town Hall. This Composers Now! Festival event focused on my work on the Korean piri and taepyeongso, and culminated my time as a Con Edison resident composer at the venue. Those who know me as only a composer and/or trombonist (pretty much everybody) are in for a surprise! See the videos here.

Coinciding with the award nomination, IMA also interviewed me for their online artist spotlight. They prodded me on my thoughts over a range of topics I haven’t been asked before, so there’s plenty of new information for all readers.
Read the interview here.

For a brief moment in April my profile rose to #9 in Reverbnation.com’s ranks of New York Jazz artists. Of course with the ranks’ volatility (we’re very fluid, as  you can see!) it could have been a stock trading software-style glitch, but just in case, it’s worth mentioning. A few days in the top ten was nice.

The art funding group Creative Capital featured my project concept, Taco Trucks, on their website. They describe the project in “On Our Radar”, a new web portal designed to link curators and presenters with new projects and ideas.  …Any curators out there, don’t be shy! Maybe CC will take it a step further next funding round. More in my blog post.

BrassBowl…Street Beat played a big show March 24 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, as well as several shows at Les Enfants Terribles in Chinatown. …I gave a lecture and solo performance at Flushing Town Hall in February, as noted.  …In April I was nearly picked to fill a trombone opening in the Jazz Knights, the full-time Jazz big band at the West Point Military Academy. This followed an intense audition with three other top-notch trombonists from across the country, and a ridiculously thorough vetting process. Getting the job would have been quite life-altering, to say the least, but I’m happy to forge ahead on the exciting path I’m already on. …Check out Tim Wendt, lead trumpeter in Project Hansori, in his brief screen appearance as a background musician on the TV show “Smash” that aired 5/11/13 (“The Transfer”). I don’t know where in the episode he appears, but you can watch it here; I’ll congratulate in my next newsletter anyone who identifies and shares the spot!

Thanks for reading and …please don’t forget to vote!

Thank you,

Jeff Fairbanks
Composer, Performer, Bandleader

Grant, Great Gig, Grace, Gratitude: January/Winter 2013

SAMSUNG CSCDear Friends,

Happy New Year and a thank you for your continued interest in my music.  2013 is full of promise with both ongoing and new opportunities detailed below: the Composers Now Festival, my commission to compose for the Airmen of Note, and a grant award to fund an exciting new project. You’ll also find links to my recent interviews on WICB radio and Exploring the Metropolis, plus a short recap of the high points of 2012.  Pictured above, I share a break with Chang JaeHyo (at left), during an October rehearsal with his Sonagi

Sunday, February 17 at 5pm at Flushing Town Hall: 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11354 map.  Free.   In a first for me, my upcoming lecture offers my closest audience interaction to date. Part of the Composers Now Festival, this event will be a great
chance to meet any local readers (you!) and to open a window into what I actually do between newsletters!  Here’s a blurb about it:
Composer-in-Residence Lecture: Composing on Korean Wind Instruments
I’d like to invite you to a presentation I’m giving at Flushing Town Hall on Sunday, February 17 at 5pm. During the Fall I served as composer-in-residence at this venue, in an opportunity funded by Con Edison and administered by Exploring the Metropolis. To
culminate this residency, I will give a talk about my unique choice to compose during this time solely upon Korean wind instruments, the piri and taepyeongso — including teaching myself to play them. I will talk about this composing method, my findings, and briefly
demonstrate the work in progress on these instruments.
Many of you know me to date as a composer and trombonist. So I’m excited to share this new instrumental path and deeper study of Korean music that I’ve begun; a path I intend to continue long after the residency. I believe those of you who will be in the area on 2/17
will have a unique interest in attending. See event details and links below.

The Queens Council on the Arts has awarded my proposal for a new project I’m calling New Sounds of East and West. It’s still being  developed and I don’t have many details to share yet, but here is a little more info in my recent blog post:


Listen to my recent interview with WICB 91.7FM Jazz Impressions, where we spoke about the cultural background to Mulberry Street and some recent happenings:



A new international review! The Italian critic Maurizio Comandini reviewed Mulberry Street recently for All About Jazz Italia.  My link  includes the English translation and a link to the original article.

exploring_the_metropolis_logoETM INTERVIEW
Read my extensive interview published by Exploring the Metropolis, the organization that administered my composer residency funded by Con Edison:

What an eventful year 2012 was for me, both personally and professionally. My dental
implant procedure is now complete, ‘capping’ a 15-month journey since my career-altering injury. But truly teaching me about healing is my two year old son Kyle, whose miraculous recovery and progress since his traumatic fall in May has made my family is intensely grateful. (Pictured bottom-to-top are Kyle, his mom Choi, brother Teo, and Daddy — after Kyle’s return home in July from two months in the hospital).  Looking back, I thank God for this miracle, as well as for opening professional doors during the year. I find it important to reflect, appreciate, and share highlights of these opportunities here:
…launching and performing with Street Beat in Spring and Fall including being pictured in the NY Times, the alliance of Project Hansori and Soh Daiko at the Locating the Sacred Festival, the Sammy Nestico Award and performance with the USAF Airmen of Note, performance at the All Nite Soul Festival, my first radio interview, an extensive interview with Exploring the Metropolis, an ASCAP Plus Award, a thrilling collaboration with Sonagi Project, the Con Edison Composer Residency, the premiere of Cumberland Gap commissioned by West Point Band’s Jazz Knights, the premiere of Sanjo for Violin and Piano commissioned by JongEun Lee, and new international praise for my 2011 album Mulberry Street.

Best of health, happiness, and musical experiences to you in 2013.

Thank you,

Jeff Fairbanks
Composer, Performer, Bandleader