Step of two

TWO DAYS until Vertical Voices launches.  Julia and I will be performing at Sac State on the release day, Tuesday at 8pm, with Jazz Singers and C-Sus opening the show.  All about yesterday below, but here's the VOTD...Maria Schneider's "Pas de Deux," in honor of my little countdown thing, and, of course, in honor of the best composer on the planet...

Julia and I presented a clinic about our project at the California Music Educators Association conference yesterday. We sang "Sky Blue" and "Hang Gliding" in our 9am clinic (!) and talked about the project a bit.  Attendance at the conference seems to be down, in general, certainly due, in part, to the recession, so the room wasn't packed, but we got a great vibe from the 25 or so people who made it.  It was the first time for us to use the new computer setup in a live situation, and it didn't go off entirely without a hitch, as the tracks for "Sky Blue" cut out for a full second RIGHT at the climax of the piece...but we both sang the music about as well as we've ever done it live.  We hadn't gotten much sleep, as we've been working furiously on last minute major items for the CD release.  You'll surely see the products of that on Tuesday.

At 11:45, The CMEA High School All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble performed. under the direction of our great friend and colleague Greg Jasperse.  The all-staters were absolutely dynamite this year!  They're always great, of course, but it seems that this year's combination of elements just gelled extraordinarily well.  I hope even more California directors will encourage their students to submit auditions next year, because the level of the group's performance this year was extraordinary.  

Greg's programming was very strong with this set:  the group sang his "VoiceDance IV" and "Fields of Gold," Rosana Eckert's "Afro Blue" and "Virou Areia," Darmon Meader's "Charleston Alley" and Jennifer Barnes/Mervyn Warren's arrangement of "Confide in Me."  The amazing Christine Guter, director of one of the very top vocal jazz programs in the nation at CSU Long Beach, was the coordinator of the all-state group, in association with the California Alliance for Jazz.

I had a great time meeting all of the students in the ensembles, who were clearly on a high from their experience over the past few days.  It was also really great to meet Daniel Vu, the talented director of Orange Lutheran High School in SoCal, who had five students in the all-state group.   Finally, Julia and I enjoyed reconnecting with Holly Shaw-Slabbinck and her dad...some guy named Kirby.  You may have heard of him.

After a beautiful day reconnecting and sharing our project, we headed home and worked furiously on the CD release stuff.  More about that on Tuesday.  :)


I missed the four day mark in the countdown to the release of our CD, which may give you an idea of how busy things are around here.  It doesn't really take long to post a blog entry (I started this one 20 second ago), and I don't absolutely have to have a video of the day...but it didn't take long to find "Three Is a Magic Number" from Schoolhouse Rock by Bob Dorough, a sentimental favorite.

But I'm still running...Julia and I are performing our live Maria stuff for the first time in the new technical configuration, and we're doing it at the California Music Educators Association in downtown Sacramento this morning at 9am.  The CDs still haven't arrived yet, so we're absolutely counting on them showing up Monday...they just have to, period.  Pretty intense right now in a lot of ways.  

I'll be posting a major announcement here and on Facebook on Tuesday, along with the CD release celebration message and a mass email that will go out to everyone we know.  New promo vids for the CD, a press release, and much more to come.  It's just a huge time in our lives right now.  Gotta run!

We're FIVE days away from Vertical Voices!

Here to help with today's celebration...The Real Group!


SIX DAYS until our new CD drops!!

And here to help us celebrate...Take 6!

Go to to pre-order either your Limited Edition CD ($18.95) or the High Quality mp3 download offer ($12.95) to get the album as soon as possible!


"Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider" released in SEVEN DAYS!!

And here's how we feel about it....

The VOTD, by the way, is a clip from Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job, a big favorite for Julia and me at the moment.  You can check it out at if you're interested. 

Julia and I are both moving back into major ArtistShare project mode for at least the next seven days.  We've got some content to add to the site for the release, a new promo video (or two) to make, and a series of live performances of the music as well.  The live gigs start with a clinic at the CMEA conference in Sacramento, and that'll be the first time we do the music live with our current setup, which involves the use of Ableton on our new high-end laptop and other assorted fun gear. 

Then, the big event is Tuesday the 16th, which is the release date for the album and the CD release concert at Sac State at 8pm in the recital hall, along with Jazz Singers and C-Sus.  After that we've got a performance at the Salt Lake City Vocal Jazz Festival on Saturday the 27th and a clinic/performance at CSU Long Beach on April 7th and at the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival on April 22-24.  The last thing on the books, at the moment, is a clinic at the Jazzschool in Berkeley on June 6th. 

It's going to be a really exciting time, and I'll be putting some info in these blog entries, but we'll also be saving some of the details for our ArtistShare site, for the benefit of the people who purchase either the CD or the Download offer.  Take a minute and visit to check out the offers and consider a last-minute pre-order today!!