Thank baby Jesus for Weirdo Records. And not just for the Monday concert series (called, unsentimentally, “The Series on Mondays”), although the December 16 installment was the occasion for this particular redemption. An unusually paltry three-person audience—Sawyer, Michael Rosenstein (another Boston-area modular synth guru), and an interloper, me—was transformed by the tight quarters into something respectable; the music made its own multitude.
Chicago-based composer Carolyn O’Brien’s path to becoming a composer wasn’t a typical one. She taught in public schools for ten years before she took her first composition lesson at 32, disappointed with the contemporary music repertoire for public school students and imagining she might create music for that medium. She’s now is a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University
This fall, Other Minds released Sarah Cahill’s recording of works that have come out of her A Sweeter Music commissioning project, developed as a response to the Iraq War. Innova released High Art, a collection of pieces that San Francisco-based percussion/electric guitar duo The Living Earth Show has been performing regularly which were written for them by a younger generation of composers than those represented on Cahill’s disc.
Since I loved the way Jim Hall played, I called him to set up a time for a lesson. The thing I loved about him was how relaxed he made me feel. There was no ego there, no “look how great I am.” He gave you just what you needed and that has been his approach to his improvisations: just the right amount of notes, no more no less, played with impeccable style and a tone that leaves you wanting more and more.
While mainstream media outlets have called attention to Jay Z’s nine nominations as well as contenders such as “Blurred Lines” (the Robin Thicke song and not the 10-minute microtonal violin and harpsichord duo by Canadian composer John Beckwith), there have been fewer reports about nominees in other categories and there are a total of 82 of them this time around.