Every solo concert is a learning opportunity, and this one was no different. I found myself going back to little motives over and over again – there was the allure of a certain dominant-to-tonic lick, an odd minor third in the upper register here and there, some fragments of old standards (maybe because it was Valentine’s Day) - and it helped anchor the structure of these improvisations.
Special thanks goes to Derek Beckvold and Andrew Hock for sharing the evening with me – they both did long-form solos which were totally amazing (you can listen to Andrew’s set here). Also, extra special thanks goes to Rob Chalfen for running the Outpost: its casual radicalism makes it one of my favorite places to play.
All compositions are by Randy Pingrey, except for Another Quiet Feeling, which is by Bill Dixon
Recording by James Wylie – Thanks James!
Lots of exciting things are going on here at Trombonist-At-Large headquarters. I’m very, very excited about an upcoming tour that my good friend Jacob Zimmerman has arranged – we will be playing in Cambridge, Manhattan, Philly, Hartford, Brooklyn, and Washington DC. More information is here, on Jacob’s website.
Also, two months from today – on September 18th, the Olson Pingrey Quartet will go into the Rotary Records Studio to record our very first CD. We are busy preparing the music and deciding what to record. We couldn’t have a better, more supporting, rhythm section (thanks Mark and Austin!), and we’re super excited to work with Warren at Rotary Records. Watch this space for more information…
And as a follow-up to the previous post on Dickie Wells, here’s clip on Wells’ later life:
Wells was a jazz giant, and he deserved better. That’s all I have to say about that…
Randy Pingrey – trombone
Ezra Weller – trumpet
Chris Veilleux – alto sax, flute
and special guest – Kathy Olson – flute
On March 7th, the Randy Pingrey Trio +1 opened for Shaw Pong Liu’s amazing Ligeti string quartet project. I couldn’t have been happier with the way the evening turned out – Ezra, Chris, and Kathy all played amazingly (check out the end of Short Notes for some pretty sick ensemble playing), and it was the first time I heard Ligeti’s first String Quartet (it was stunning). As always, thank you very much for listening!
For the past few months I’ve been working on solo trombone improvisations, but it’s been a while since I’ve thought about it much – I’ve been busy dealing with other issues. However, just recently my friend James Wylie put on a concert of solo saxophone improvisations, and that inspired me to revisit the subject.
The music of the first generations of jazz trombonists has interested me more recently. I’ve been checking out Miff Mole, Vic Dickenson, and Bill Harris in addition to the trombonists I was already into (viz. Teagarden, Dickey Wells, Lawrence Brown). It’s that spirit that has been influencing me more and more.
These are also the first recordings I have with my new equipment – a Conn 6H - and it’s a horn I love to play. It makes me feel much more connected to “the tradition”. Whatever that means.
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any solo work – the last time was in mid-June. I feel very different than that trombonist who recorded those tracks three months ago. I no longer have the time to be constantly obsessing about technique and virtuosity. I mourn the loss of that time, but the very lack of time that has made it seemingly impossible to work on trombone mechanics has also taught me something about the power of ideas over the allure of chops. Anyways, I think “Missing You” – which is dedicated to my sweetie, Kathy Olson - and “Decay” are two of the best solo pieces I’ve ever tried. I hope you enjoy the music.
No time to write right now, but I wanted to put up a sneak peak of my very new project with a trio of horns. These are the three tunes we’re going to play tomorrow night at Rutman’s. James was so kind as to bring his recording device to the rehearsal:
Working with James (the saxophonist) and Joe (the trumpeter) is a real pleasure – they are both so wonderful! Please come on 6/26 and check out how these pieces have developed since we recorded them a few days ago.
I’ve also continued to work on solo playing. Here are a few tracks I recorded on the 22nd or 23rd:
There is this tradition of solo trombone improvising. In Derek Bailey’s book on improvisation:
The most interesting soloists to my ears often turn out to be trombonists. Paul Rutherford and George Lewis, in their different ways, both seem to make improvisation the basis of their solo playing and also take advantage of the “singleness” of the solo situation; happy for the music to sound like one person, playing alone. pg.109
Well, that sounds like an interesting thing to explore! Today, on a whim, I recorded some solo improvisations.
I’m working on developing a solo language. I have to say, it’s challenging for me to improvise all by myself for any extended period of time – I think the longest track is two or three minutes, and most of them are closer to half that. There are stories about Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell really focusing on individual details of music in order to extend their improvisations, and I can totally understand why. My personal favorite is the fourth track, because it has that focus which is lacking in the other three.
I’ve also never quite wrapped my head around what Derek Bailey means by “singleness”, at least in the sense that, desipite working on solo playing for about a year, I have yet to be able to enjoy the emptiness.
Anyways, I’ll continue to work on it. One person, playing alone. Thanks for listening!