Rozumiesz Polski Muzyki

We have to start here. I promise I'll explain later:

ThisIsAmazing No.4: Music from Poland

A few weeks ago, I was in Warsaw, Poland playing, listening, and talking with people about music. I was excited to learn about some amazing musicians I hadn't heard. I've been listening since and I want to share. If you know about any great Polish musicians I should be checking out, please post them in the comments.

Rafal Sarnecki

When I was in Poland, every other jazz musician I met asked me if I knew Rafał Sarnecki. Rafał is an incredible composer and guitarist from Warsaw currently living in New York and writing and playing beautiful music.

Rafał recently made an recording called Cat's Dream with a hell of a band. Colin Stranahan, Lucas Pino, Glenn Zaleski, Rick Rosato, and Bogna Kicinska all play beautifully on the record.  It's heartening to hear with how much care Rafał builds his compositions. Each moment is considered. I really love this record.  Here's the EPK:

There are some incredible solos on this record. Yesterday I transcribed Rafał's solo on his song Czarna Porzeczka. Brilliant playing! Simple, but sophisticated.

Lado ABC

The Lado ABC Website

The Polish label, Lado ABC is one of those rare labels that has managed to bring together improvised and experimental music,  jazz, classical, electronic music, noise, punk and rock music into a single space.  You can check out Małgorzata Sarbak playing classical harspsichord, Marcin Masecki and 10-piece brass band playing new.old music, rock bands with two drummers like Hokei, Baaba's weird electronic music and a bunch of other things.  Here is their SoundCloud playlist and my new favorite way to find new music. Lado, everybody. It's cool. 

Marcin Masecki 

Ok! Remember the video of the blue suited people playing out, Polish band music. That was Marcin Masecki, a pianist and composer living in Poland and making music like nothing else I've ever heard. Marcin is an artist on Lado. I saw him play a solo piano concert in Poland that was really, very inspiring. This is his website. 

Marcin Masecki. Born in Warsaw in 1982. Pianist, composer, conductor, member of the independent label Lado ABC, leader and participant of an astounding variety of projects. Winner of many awards Masecki is widely recognized as a leading figure in the polish independent music scene. Among others he leads a jazz sextet “Profesjonalizm”, he is the director of WOR – Warsaw Orchestra of Recreation – and he is a member of the international band Paristetris. His latest project POLONEZY is a 10-piece brass band which plays a set of original Polonaises.
His parallel passion is classical music which he performs in highly unusual ways (unusual venues, unusual instruments, unusual interpretation). He is an advocate of treating classical music as a legitimate and fully integrated element of the modern musical landscape, not just as an elitist museum piece. If anyone treats classical music as an elitist museum piece, or even just does so much as apply a museumish-elitish discourse to it, he gets understandably filled with sadness.

This video is a great place to start to get sense of how he plays piano.

And this is Marcin playing Bossa Nova songs with Macio Moretti. Fun and funny and great.

Krzysztof Komeda 

Ok! Finally, we have to talk about Krzysztof Komeda, the great Polish pianist and composer. Americans know Komeda's music, because of his affiliation with director Roman Polanski. Komeda wrote the film score for Rosemary's Baby. His most famous record is called Astigmatic and features a young Tomasz Stanko. You can listen to both below. 

Polish music! Wow! Great stuff. If you have favorite Polish musicians, leave them in comments so I can check them out. Have a great day! Danny

This Machine Kills Time

This is the first #ThisIsAmazing.
Today, I'll talk about the late Peter Spear.
Listen to Caveat Emptor by Peter and Empty Chairs here.

The Music of Peter Spear

The great musician Peter Spear passed away recently. His memorial was held yesterday at the Bell House in NYC.

Peter was amazing. Countless musicians performed and many spoke about Peter, and they all said the same two things. 

1) Peter was a brilliant songwriter.
2) Peter was love. 

I grew up with Peter in Colorado playing jazz.  He was the first great bassist I ever met. After graduating high school, he went on to attend the prestigious Brubeck Institute as well as Berklee College of music in Boston before moving to New York. 

Peter loved music. He devoted his life to learning about a creating music. He was inspired and inspired the people around him. Peter was a brilliant songwriter. Peter was love. 

I want to take a moment to share with you some of my favorite music by Peter Spear. 

Hey, Strawberry Girl

This is one of my favorite songs of Peter's called Hey, Strawberry Girl. I've included a chart below so you can play it.

Here is a chart for Strawberry Girl. Play it! It's super fun. 

Empty Chairs

In 2013, Peter, Whitney Broadstreet, and Matthew O'Koren released the record Caveat Emptor under the band name "Empty Chairs" performing Peter's songs. It's a brilliant record. Check it out!!! This is a great interview with Peter about the record. 

Listen to Caveat Emptor by Empty Chairs here, and a video for the song Akira - a song is about the 2nd anniversary of  a robot and it's owner. 

Thank you, Peter for the years of wonderful music. 

#ThisIsAmazing Explained

I like to joke that, "I know people so good at music you've never heard of them!"

A friend was asking me the other day about developing their career in music. She said, "How can I play for big audiences? I want to play my music in front of thousands of people!"

I answered, "Brand recognition." 

And it's true! That's how it works. The music industry is no different than any other model functioning in capitalism. Money determines value in our society, and in order for something to be sustainable, it has to generate money. 

The number of hours spent learning about and creating music are not the bricks with which a career in music is built. Developing a career as a musician is a marketing problem, not a musical one. 

And that is why, many of the best musicians I know are "so good at music that you've never heard of them." They are simply much better musicians than marketers. 

I've found myself at 29 part of an incredible, international community of musicians and artists. Some of them are super famous !whoa!, but many of them are not known beyond our community. With #ThisIsAmazing, I'm going to try to talk about the good stuff. The stuff so good you've never heard about it.