On a serious note, I just finished the Part Tracks for "Little Sunflower" last night. It was the first set of tracks that I put together by special request, and I'm happy to do more that way, since they've all got to get done at some point. Barring special requests like this one, though, I'll make the tracks in order of the popularity of the charts, which I've done with the other ten available track sets.
On a seriously less serious note, my VOTD is a great clip from my favorite show on television (and Julia's, as well) Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job: Josh Groban sings the music of Casey Tatum. If you're unfamiliar with Tim and Eric's show, and don't know about Casey, you won't totally get this clip, because it's pretty inside, but you'll be able to tell that something a little crazy is going on. Then, when you find a way to check it out (the show airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, although it's a live action show), perhaps by checking out the videos on adultswim.com or timanderic.com, you'll fully understand the brilliance.
A quick dedication to my Doctoral school of choice next year and a university for which I've long had an affection and close connection, even though I haven't attended yet: the University of Northern Colorado. I've picked today for this because one of our great Sac State vocal jazz grads is auditioning for the master's program in Jazz Studies today, and I want to send out good vibes. If he gets in today and decides to attend, we'll probably be classmates more than a couple times, which would be very cool.
I was hoping there would be more posted online from the Northern Colorado Voices, the top vocal jazz group at UNC, directed by Dana Landry, but there was only this one video. Still, it's a good one, and gives an impression of the professional vibe that the group puts out on stage. They appear self-directed in performance, as Dana doesn't make an appearance, and their banter with the audience is always more together and natural than I'm used to seeing from college groups. They sing with aggression and nuance, and they're always in this kind of small group format, doing lots of student and faculty arrangements. It's a very cool situation in that program, and I'm really looking forward to being a part of it next year.
Happy Valentine's Day!
I had a good time working with my wife yesterday at the Campana Jazz Festival, held at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton. We judged with one of our favorite co-judges ever, pianist Frank Sumares, who happens to also be a Director Participant in our ArtistShare project. He gave great clinics to the combos and vocal jazz groups we saw, and Julia and I both learned some really great stuff from him (and I hope the students and directors picked up on all of it, too!). Julia and I also gave a short workshop for vocal jazzers, and we were happy to have most of the singers that participated in the festival (from Amador Valley and Folsom) in attendance, and they asked great questions that got us on some good topics ("How do you sing 'outside' the changes?" "How do you sing 'inside' the changes?" "Which scat syllables should I use?").
We got a good night's sleep and are looking forward to a fun, relaxing Valentine's Day, starting with a brunch party with some good friends. I don't think it'll be a spoiler, in the next couple hours, if I write that Julia did a bunch of work to finish an earlier painting of hers to give our friend as a gift today. She'll be giving another of her recent paintings to our executive producer in a couple weeks. It's really cool to see her working on that stuff...sometimes I get to take part in the creative decisions (which is all kinds of intimidating, let me tell you).
Now, for a special VOTD featuring Paris Rutherford conducting last year's UNT Jazz Singers along with the Alumni Choir, including me, that gathered for his retirement celebration concert last May...it's "My Funny Valentine."
I didn't want to mar Valentine's Day with a sadly funny video of something being not very good for the purpose of our sick enjoyment, so Schadenfreude Sunday has been temporarily moved a day earlier. And it's a goodie...
I was hipped to this video by Sam Smith, Ben Folds' drummer. We had lots of time on the bus (with wi-fi...sweet!) to do the thing where you work furiously to catch one another up with the best cool and funny stuff on YouTube. I'm sure other contributions of his will wind up on the blog at some point, but, for now...feast your ears on "Hoogie Boogie Land!"
You're welcome, America.
Mika Pohjola has written some incredible music for Finnish and Swedish versions of a popular children's series about characters called "Moomins," and the result is truly otherworldly. Give the Video of the Day, below, at least a couple minutes so you can hear what I'm talking about. Complex, brilliantly composed, jazz-infused harmonic and rhythmic content, excellent solo and ensemble singing and cool instrumental orchestration...
Julia and I were exposed to this music because I went on iTunes one day before a road trip to see if we were missing any of Theo Bleckmann's discography (which would be unacceptable), and I found "Yuletide Voices," featuring Theo with Mika Pohjola and Rigmor Gustaffson. When we listened to it in the car, we were just mesmerized and speechless, giving each other these "Can you believe this?" looks, etc. It was an amazing experience, and the kind of thing that seems to happen relatively few times in life. That music had the characteristics I mentioned above, as well as other traits that I'm just not hip enough to describe.
When we came home, we bought everything we could find of both Rigmor and Mika, and this included "Moomin Voices," which then quickly became a new favorite as well.