April – July 2018
True to its name, The Inconstant Sun returns unannounced to your mailbox with tidings from the past third of the year (indeed, the last missive was exactly four months earlier).
In late March, I embarked on a week-long tour with guitarist Xiongguan Zhang across southern China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan to celebrate the release of his latest album, Struggles. Never had I traveled by air on so many consecutive days (I joined them partway through the tour, playing six cities in seven nights), and the experience was equal parts fun and exhausting. A full song from one of our shows in Taipei is here, and a half-hour mini-documentary by our fearless tour leader Voision Xi is here.
April and May saw the conclusion of the Trio release tour across Pittsburgh, Montreal, and Boston. After my first true international tour experience in March, the prospect of a couple long drives with Walter Stinson and Matt Honor wasn't so daunting, but I more or less laid low while I was in the city. I did have the immense pleasure of joining Walter for his first-ever performance as a leader in NYC (at The Jazz Gallery, no less), which was a thrilling musical adventure that I hope we'll have more chances to reprise in the coming months.
In late May, I also premiered a new musical venture: The Rigors of Love, an hour-long piece for quintet that I completed earlier that month and composed frantically over two weeks in late April, although fragments and source material for the piece came from some music I'd written over the past year. This is the longest and most ambitious composition I've written to date, and I'm looking forward to exploring it again next Wednesday, July 11, at the Cornelia Street Café in the West Village. It'll be on a double bill with the wonderful pianist Nick Sanders, whose trio performs before us at 8:00 p.m.
In June, I joined guitarist Juanma Trujillo for several shows in Brooklyn celebrating the release of his album El Vecino. Juanma's music has elements of Howling Wolf, Bill Frisell, and the jazz tradition, but it emerges in a way that embodies his dedication to sound and his patient attention to space and mood. We began playing a couple years ago, and I'm looking forward to playing more and more with him as he works on music for new projects.
Earprint also reunited in June for a series of shows in Boston and D.C., which culminated in a recording session last weekend for a new album. The last record came out in late 2016, so we're long overdue for a collection of the unrecorded music in the band book (over a dozen new songs).
I'm looking forward to a number of upcoming recording sessions in the coming months, including pianist Dana Saul's sextet next week and a Mute recording session tentatively scheduled for August.
I'm also pleased to announce that I'll be serving as Artistic Director for the Blue Note Beijing Jazz Orchestra for the remainder of 2018-19. The first show I'll be directing is in late August, which will celebrate two of my favorite musicians of all time—Lester Young and Charlie Parker (born two days apart in late August).
That's all I've got to share with you for now. Thanks for reading and thanks for listening.