Monday, February 8, 2010

For Your Ears Only

John's lecture today about professional brass ensembles, in addition to opening the door for a new collection of Rolf anecdotes, reminded me of an excellent candidate for my blog: Proteus 7.

Proteus 7 is a septet consisting of two trumpets, two trombones, tuba, a woodwind multi-instrumentalist, and a percussionist. To understand just what sort of band Proteus 7 is, we should examine their name. Proteus, for those unfamiliar with Greek mythology, is the sea - not the god of the sea (Poseidon) but an incarnation of the sea itself (the counterpart to Gaia, the earth). Just as the sea is constantly churning and re-ordering itself, Proteus was a tremendous shape-shifter. The ensemble that now bears his name is similarly a shape-shifter. Proteus 7 play a great deal of custom arrangements from a variety of musical styles. Their recorded oeuvre includes spy themes, Latin standards, the greatest works of Bernstein, and established classical works.

I can't find any of their live performances to include here, but feel free to peruse their website.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Seis Pies Abajo

La cultura de latón no ha limitado al mundo íngleshablante. En Mexico, bandas, como mi favorito Banda El Recodo, están como las estrellas de pop están en los Estados Unidos. Es común para cantates populares a tocar o grabar con bandas, especialmente si los canciones son románticos. Típicamente, bandas tienen trompetas, trombones, clarinetas, cornos altos, una tuba y una baterista. En Mexico, la tuba se llamo bajo, como la palabra bass en ingles. Para mis oidos, Banda El Recodo tiene el mejor bajo en todo el estilo. Aquí hay un vídeo de Banda El Recodo con el cancion Parece Mentira. ¡Espero que le gusta!

Lo siento para algunos errores en mi español. Mi facilidad ha se deterió sin oportunidades para practicar.

High Storm Cannons

For those of you who doubt the influence of Drums and Tuba, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the world's foremost Drums and Tuba tribute band, Triple Architecture Mind Party. TAMP, as insiders call the Boston-based group, is composed of guitarist/composer Tim Pence, drummer Shawn Hennessey, and tubist Jobey Wilson.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Concert Poster

Oh How I'll Ramble

The Olympia Brass Band, so named for New Orleans' Olympia Street where the group first began performing, is synonymous with the street style of New Orleans brass playing. Also, with left-handed sousaphone playing.

The city of New Orleans has numerous musical traditions that incorporate brass playing (I'll detail others later in the semester) and street playing stands out as a style that has not been intellectualized. Standard repertoire includes spirituals, hymns, marches, funeral dirges (!) and other colloquial (dare I say folk) music that is part of the aural collective. Aesthetically, the music defies the Western fixation on tone (blending isn't really an area of concern) and incorporates primitive jazz rhythms and energetic zeal.

Famous tubists who have played in the Olympia Band include Allan Jaffe (expect him and his son to reappear in a post about Dixieland) and Tuba Fats Lacen (he'll be back in the funk section). Here's a video of the group playing a dirge in "Live and Let Die" alongside Bond. James Bond.