New Content for March and April 

Here it is the middle of April already, and I am playing catch up for March, although I did do some recordings of short classical pieces last month which are going up today.  You can find descriptions and click throughs on the "Links" page of this website.

I am encouraged by the arrival of spring and the possibility of starting to play live music again in 2021. I am the pianist with the Freese Brothers Big Band which will be rehearsing outdoors at Concord High School next month, and we have a number of concerts planned for the summer.  I will start posting those dates on my calendar for folks who want to get out and enjoy both the weather and some jazz in person!

Creating a useful website for 2021 

It's a familiar scenario; all of a sudden I have woken up out of the zone I have been in for the past year to realize that nothing of substance has taken place in my creative world outside of the necessary activity to stay alive and pay my mortgage.  All the plans of publishing arrangements, transcriptions, new tunes, recordings, etc. have been no more than a pipe dream and here I am again with a blank page and a new year, lots of ideas and zero organization.

I look around and see that some of my former students have cracked the nut and have established a successful presence in the online musical community.  One of them has not only a series of jazz education podcasts, but is also blogging about his visits to state parks and outdoor hiking activities.  Another markets his wide variety of recording projects, backed by his participation in touring with a popular band.  Another longtime friend and musical associate is a successful music educator offering a variety of improvisational methods and an impressive string of live recordings. They give me inspiration that I might possibly contribute positively to the ongoing musical dialogue that is gaining online momentum due to the oppressive limitations of the pandemic.

So now at the beginning of 2021, I have to ask the question: why not me, too?  I am realizing that if I spend time trying to figure out why I am NOT doing something useful in my online space, that's only going to distract from actually posting something, so this blog will also be accompanied by some postings, available in the "links" section of this site, of two activities i have been involved in recently.  One project is the first installment of a two part local history project sponsored by the Seacoast Jazz Society of New Hampshire and the Portsmouth, NH public library.  The other is a link to a recent saxophone concert offered to a local retirement community; it is unlisted, so you can only view it by access through this site.

To conclude these observations, I am once again publicly committing myself to publishing more useful musical content this year.  I will attempt to blog monthly, publish any new tunes or arrangements I have created, put up excerpts of the four books I am working on and print portions of the method books I am creating for saxophone and piano. No subscriptions are necessary to access the material, but if you would like to leave a comment in the guestbook, I would appreciate knowing you visited.

Charlie

 

Keeping up with the changes 

Here at the beginning of 2020, I am reflecting at the vast number of changes I have observed in the music business since my early days of playing cocktail piano in restaurants when I was still in high school.  At one point, musicians were at the mercy of recording studios and record companies and often careers rose and fell dependent on the vagaries of the marketplace.  Today, with the advent of the internet, enterprising artists can create their own marketing firms online and control the manufacturing and distribution of their creations from home over a cup of coffee.

I have to admit I have more or less been watching the entire scene unfold as though I were munching popcorn and viewing a Netflix movie, but I have resolved in the New Year to get my feet wet and start creating my own little domain online through which I cam market the educational materials and arrangements I have created over the past few decades of teaching.  Creating an online presence will undoubtedly assist my efforts in securing gigs for myself and hopefully some of the groups with whom I perform.  It remains to be seen - one thing is certain; if I don't try to create a killer website, nothing is going to happen anyway.

Seems like a steep learning curve, but on the other hand automation has replaced many of the odious coding tasks required for the early pioneers in the field, so it's time to start experimenting!  I would be interested in hearing from anyone reading this blog what kinds of efforts you have found successful in marketing your creative activities.  Send me links to your sites: if they complement what I am trying to accomplish, I will definitely post them.

 

Here's to a successful and profitable 2020!

 

Charlie

 

For musicians: Take photos on your gig! 

If you’re playing live, it’s a great opportunity to get photos of you and your music in action. You know that. I know that. So why do we always forget?

Honestly, it’s probably because we’re so focused on the task at hand – playing a quality show. But if you’re not already, it’s time to start thinking about making that show work for you, even after it’s done.

I am – ahem – a little older, so I’ve played gigs in the pre-cell-phone era, when, if you forgot your camera at home, you were most likely out of…

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New Year's Resolutions 

Hello again!

Another musical goal is to maintain this blog on a more regular basis.  I will start with monthly, then if successful, perhaps weekly around March or April when I get a break from classes.

In case anyone was wondering, I am still teaching private lessons in saxophone and jazz piano at Phillips Exeter Academy, performing with the Faculty Jazz Group three or four times a year, and overseeing the All State program for the PEA Music Department.

I am also currently planning a big band album…

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Getting back on the horse 

Wow - maintaining a blog is definitely not for the faint of heart!  Although I have been performing in New Hampshire on a fairly regular basis, I certainly have not been advertising the fact too effectively.  I know myself too well to make any promises that I will sit down on a regular basis, say at least once a week, but this brief message is my attempt to start making a regular effort to keep my fans (assuming I have any left) updated as to my recent musical activity.

One thing that is emerging from…

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The Big Band in Jazz 

The Big Band in Jazz - from a lecture to be delivered at the University of New England on Oct. 4th, 2016.

 

Questions about jazz in general?

Definitive sources of information(with thanks to Amazon.com)

 

“Early Jazz” by Gunther Schuller ISBN: 0-19-504043-0

Early Jazz is one of the seminal books on American jazz, ranging from the beginnings of jazz as a distinct musical style at the turn of the century to its first great flowering in the 1930s. Schuller explores the music of the great jazz soloists of the…

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Free educational content! 

This area of the website will be receiving more attention from now on, as I have decided to start posting excerpts from both my saxophone method book and a new set of jazz piano exercises I have been developing for my students.  Look for updates in early May.

Jazz All State Prevails 

If evidence of New England resilience is required, look no further than the New Hampshire Music Educator's Association (NHMEA).  When NEMO covered the Northeast with a blanket of white, the Festival had to be canceled because transportation and cafeteria services could not be guaranteed for the 100 plus students who were involved.  Some clinicians even flew to New Hampshire despite the weather, only to turn around and head home after the runways were cleared. 

Fortunately, the disappointment lasted only…

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