Runaway Blues is live! If you haven't seen the video or heard the song... watch it now.
For the past couple years I have had the pleasure of arranging all of the music for Sasha's Bloc. The band, brainchild of leader Alex Gershman, is a cabaret-style jazz band. Gershman, a Seder Sinai urologist by trade, writes the songs. In the case of Runaway Blues, Bob McChesney (probably the greatest living jazz trombonist) and Alvin Chea (bass vocalist of Take 6) both had their hand at reharmonizing the song and revising the lyric. I had the wonderful job of arranging their flawless work for the 9-piece ensemble.
To top it off, I got to conduct the session at Capitol Studio A. Take 6 was a dream to work with. I have been a fan of their music since I first heard them in college (circa 2001). Not in my wildest dreams would I be standing in front of the world-class ensemble only 15 years later.
On June 28 at the Vittoria Jazz Festival in Sicily, Italy, famed saxophonist Francesco Cafiso will premier his nine-piece jazz band. His entire set of music, 10 original jazz tunes penned by Cafiso, have been arranged by yours truly. It was a unique pleasure to arrange Cafiso's music. Those familiar with Cafiso's writing know how dissimilar the two of us are in terms of musical vocabulary. I like to think of my own music as having simple melodies backed by loud exciting orchestration. Cafiso's music pairs cyclical harmony with Thad Jones-like melodies that dance around in the upper chord extensions. Working with his music has been an enlightening process that, while challenging to my conventions, has opened my ears to new musical ideas.
If you are lucky enough to me in Italy for the concert, please hold up your phone and proudly catch a video of the performance because I would love to see and hear how it goes!