Tag Archives: ryan pate

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

My Review of Ryan Pate album, Human/ Alien

Human Alien coverHUMAN/ ALIEN
Ryan Pate- gtr, Dov Manski- pno, Noah Garabedian- bs, Devin Gray- dm
71’30”  8 tracks, all original


Into the eight original tracks of Human/ Alien, leader Ryan Pate packs over seventy minutes of creative thought, a statement unto itself. In his debut as a leader, the quickly- emerging Brooklyn guitarist proves his skills as both a composer and player, bringing a fresh approach to each.

Compositional input beyond that of typical small group outings is immediately evident in the involved bass and piano counter-lines under the melody of the opening Simple Song #3, as well as in its unfolding through-composed form and further polyphony. Pate’s skills as a guitarist also shine right from this track, first soloing convincingly over drummer Devin Gray’s thrashing groove, and later blending tastefully in a more subdued collective improvisation with pianist Dov Manski.

The contrast implied in the album title surfaces often in tension between warm, longing melodies against more abrasive harmonies and unsettling textures. Where this comes out in the segmented form of the title track, it’s best captured in what could be a Stephen King-inspired dream scape (or nightmare scape) called Growth Cycles. Here an especially earthy and organic guitar melody rests over a cascade of expressionistic piano arpeggios. Frequent minor ninths reinforce the colder side of the equation, and Pate wastes no time setting the chilly tone with the opening three chords separated by deep, dark space.
To See One Through captures the album concept perhaps even more, where the contrast equation flips over. After a funky drum intro, six strings become tentacles that slither down the walls to disturbing effect, later returning in more subtle ways. But at two key moments a reassuring chorale progression of earth tones emerges, blossoming beneath an upper pedal. Now human scenery overtakes an alien foreground.

Extraterrestrials prevail, however, in Circulation Adjustment Machine, as all four band members now probe an atmosphere of blips, clicks and pings. From here, motivic amoeba gradually bud into human-discernable life forms, eventually crystallizing into a full organism as the ensemble coalesces into tempo and tutti. However, the parasitic sound swarm that opened the piece never fully recedes, and in fact reveals itself through the host’s skin at times, suggesting a careful self-examination in all of us.

The title track encapsulates much of the composer’s traits found in the album: long, slow-developing forms, occasional quirky passages, subtle color shifts, and multiple episodes that reinforce the piece’s through-composed nature. Here a bass habañera establishes time, shifting colors between ominous and comforting. About midway through the piece, a feeling of human resilience emerges via a lingering three-chord vamp over which Pate and Manski pour convincing, energetic figures.

It’s worth speaking about Pate’s potent palette for a moment. Peppered through the album are his hidden experiments in tambre, from the shimmering piano in the slow unison melody of Pen and Sword, to sitar-like meditative background strumming in To See One Through, to mining a single sonority with staggered brush strokes in E.S., to name a few (and there are many more). The variety of sound heard is significant considering what Pate is able to extract from four instruments. Harmonically, one notices a trait towards chord qualities shifting under a common tone, another example of the leader’s ability to draw more out of less.

Overall one gets a sense of what may be Pate’s style, as both a guitarist and composer: a masterful use of color, a playful quirkiness amid otherwise dark backdrops, and a heartfelt honesty captured in melodies and improvisations that speak fluidly to the listener. But perhaps the greatest offering from Human/Alien is the leader’s unique imagination and his ability to clearly project it. In a field where this isn’t always the case, this deserves a closer and wider look.

Listen to Human/ Alien at http://ryanpate.bandcamp.com/

Jeff Fairbanks

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