Listening Log: Week 4 (Bandcamp Friday Edition)

This week, I am going to write two Listening Logs, this first one being dedicated to the great music I picked up on Bandcamp Friday in recent months. On the first Friday of each month, Bandcamp has been waiving their revenue share to help artists during the COVID pandemic. Each month, I make sure to purchase music from artists I admire, many of whom I am fortunate to call friends, colleagues, and teachers. For this Listening Log entry, I will share some of my favorite Bandcamp Friday finds.


She Moves Just Like the River — Henry Godfrey

Henry Godfrey is a near-and-dear person in my life, in addition to being a frequent musical collaborator. He released the LP version of his Love Finds Everyone on a Bandcamp Friday. I am fascinated by the concept of having both a studio and live version of the same piece. On She Moves Just Like the River, Henry takes us on a journey through lush orchestrations, backdrops for compelling solos, and driving rhythmic pulses.

Mr. Con Edisons Conspiracy — Takuma Matsui

Takuma Matsui is one of my good friends in the Berklee Jazz Composition program. In his first EP 47|48, Takuma does an incredible job synthesizing all the rich musical traditions he has studied into these heartfelt, inventive, lyrical pieces. During this unprecedented time in history, the fourth track entitled Mr. Con Edisons Conspiracy speaks to me.

Bebopper — Frank Carlberg & Ran Blake

Gray Moon is an exciting album that, while containing familiar songs, adds a new dimension to them. I particularly enjoyed Bebopper for its playfulness, the seamless interplay between Frank Carlberg and Ran Blake, and their refreshing take on and expansion of the bebop tradition.

Abracadabras — Lolivone De La Rosa

Lolivone De La Rosa is another Berklee friend who is putting out wonderful music. In her single Abracadabras, she showcases her prowess on the guitar and her incredibly expressive voice — the first time she has recorded herself singing. I look forward to hearing her continue to explore her voice as a guitarist and vocalist.

Call It — Jacob Moore

Jacob Moore and I met during the Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency in 2018. Much like my EP The New Groove, Jacob released his project The Trap somewhat impulsively as a testament to being able to create meaningful music in a short amount of time with the relatively limited equipment available at home. While Jacob refers to the project as “really janky,” I hear a compelling artistic voice that drew me in from the first track, Call It, immediately. These songs really speak to this moment in American history.

What have been your favorite Bandcamp Friday purchases this year? Who’s music is keeping you motivated during this time? Let me know in the comments!

June 2020 Newsletter

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Dear friends,

My heart is so heavy for this country. I am horrified by the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the continued oppression and brutality our black brothers and sisters continue to face. We need to do better.

It is not lost on me that I owe a great debt to black artists for their contributions to American music. I must credit my late mentor Bobby Jackson for teaching me that “jazz” (this is not a unanimously accepted word to describe the music) was not created in a vacuum. It is of its time, reflecting the conditions under which it was created. Because of Bobby’s teachings, I began prioritized learning the history (they don’t teach you in school) surrounding the creation and development of “jazz” and reading the memoirs of its innovators. I still have much to learn.

I encourage you to find a way to take action. I have started each morning finding a new petition to sign and a new elected official’s email or phone number to voice my concerns. Here are some causes I have supported and the resources I have been using to learn more about the history of racism in the United States.

After some soul searching, I decided to follow through with releasing my EP, The New Groove, on Bandcamp tomorrow as planned. It is an uncomfortable time to be promoting and releasing new music. I do not want my music to detract from the important work that needs to be done to make this country live up to its ideals for all who live here. I already announced the wrong release date once and I feel strange about postponing the release again. Also, I want to be able to move forward from this project and start working on new music for you all. I hope The New Groove brings you comfort during this uncertain time.

I am thinking of you all during these trying times. Let’s build a better future with compassion and music.

With hope,
Sam


Featured Sounds

The Henry Godfrey Jazz Orchestra performs Snarky Puppy’s “Bad Kids To The Back” (arr. Henry Godfrey)

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