DronePlayer for iOS releases!

I’m very happy to announce the release of DronePlayer for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch!

DronePlayer is a fun, interactive practice assistant for improvising musicians. Playing over extended tonalities is a great way to develop your ears as well as your musical ideas.

Long, sustained tones are generally known as drones. Drones have proven themselves quite useful for practicing. Many people use them to assist with intonation. Some enjoy playing scales over them. I personally have found them useful for practicing improvisation and improving my ears.

Muting one of the drone voices is a great way to play with just a fundamental pitch. You can then improvise over this and focus on hearing how what you are playing relates. Adding a second drone voice just adds to the fun.

Rotating DronePlayer to landscape orientation invokes a Drone Sequence mode where you can play evolving tonalities. These are excellent for challenging your improvising skills and having fun while doing so!

Full details with demo videos are at www.tingjing.com/apps/droneplayer. You can find DronePlayer at the App Store http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/droneplayer/id442007897?mt=8.

Odd-meter improvisation

Trumpeter David Cooper’s blog is really great. Even I, a lowly saxophonist, have enjoyed browsing his musings about trumpet and music. He recently wrote an article about how to approach odd-meter tunes. Since he played on my CD Carswell, he was kind enough to include some propers about that. You can read it here: http://www.allthingstrumpet.com/learning/technique/odd-meter-improv/.

I feel compelled to defend myself and this whole odd-meter “trend” in jazz. I’ve heard a lot of older cats, especially teachers, complaining that today’s students only want to play in odd meters. Basically, they’re saying that the young players aren’t interested in swinging or paying their dues.

I can respect that point of view. We all need to study the tradition. I certainly spent a long time living within the foundations of music by Bird, Diz, Monk, J.J., Sonny, Coltrane, etc.

For me, Carswell and other tunes on that recording are all about “escaping the bonds of Bebop” – specifically, trying to move beyond the musical language from that time.

When I got the gig with J.J. I quickly discovered that no matter how much I might study the Bebop tradition I would never play with the depth that people from that era do. That music evolved within their experience. We, as improvising musicians, must find the music of our time. For me, that’s what this is about.

Nice press for Carswell

Here’s a nice, brief writeup about the new CD, Carswell, from Jeff Berkwits over at the Illinois Entertainer. http://illinoisentertainer.com/2010/07/around-hear-july-2010/

“Imagine hanging out late one night at a smoke-stained jazz club like the Green Mill, listening to proficient players enjoying a fun jam session. That’s the intoxicating effect of Carswell, the latest 10-tune recording from sax-man Tom Gullion. While standout numbers include the energetically improvisational “Monkey’s Tale” and the evocative electric piano and flute of “Right On Time,” every cut is consistently captivating.”

Thanks Jeff for the great review. I know how difficult it is to condense thoughts into such a tight space but I think he did an excellent job.

I was also contacted by BRAVA magazine in Madison (a magazine for “women of style and substance”) that they’re recommending Carswell in their August issue. All right! All you “women of style and substance” need Carswell on your iPod. 🙂

Apr 23 and 24 at Magnus (Madison, WI) gig retrospective

Last weekend was incredible! We had a great time performing at Magnus in Madison. The crowd was really great, the staff at Magnus were really kind to us. All good. All very good. 🙂

I am so fortunate to be able to make music with these incredible musicians: Tim Whalen (piano), Mark Urness (bass) and Dane Richeson (drums). But you don’t have to just take my word for it, give these tracks a listen.

Excerpts from Apr 23, 2010:

Augn San Suu Kyi (Wayne Shorter, arr. Dave Douglas)

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (Rodgers/Hart, arr. Tom Gullion)

Excerpts from Apr 24, 2010

Carswell (Tom Gullion)

A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing (Billy Strayhorn, arr Tom Gullion)

Overflowing (Tom Gullion)

Ting Jing (Tom Gullion)

OW Oshkosh residency

I had a great time working with students at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh in December, 2009. Special thanks to professor Marty Robinson for the great hospitality and for building such a great jazz program. It was delightful to play with the band, chat with the music business class, teach a few lessons and hang with the cats after the concert! The only downside was the blizzard raging outside limited the audience. Those that did attend certainly earned their stripes!

concert photo

Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2009 MP3s

I had the great pleasure of performing with Ernie Adams at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2009, 3rd annual. It’s a really great festival worth attending. Great location, great music, really well organized.

Here are a few MP3s of our set. Musicians are Tom Gullion (saxophone), Tim Whalen (piano), Larry Gray (bass), Ernie Adams (drums) and Juan Picorelli (percussion).

Carswell (Tom Gullion)

For Chick (Tim Whalen)

One Look (Larry Gray)

Asiatic Raes (Kenny Dorham)

Carswell video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LmHqcMNDWY

Hyde Park Jazz Festival – Sat, Feb 26th, 3:30pm

This Saturday, Sep 26th, is the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. I’ll be performing with drummer Ernie Adams, pianist Tim Whalen and bassist Larry Gray at Experimental Station at 3:30pm. Please join us.

Experimental Station is here (map).

The rest of the festival is worth checking out. A great collection of Chicago musicians and it’s free. 🙂

More details are available at http://www.hydeparkjazzfestival.org/

While you’re there, be sure to tweet using #jazzlives and announce your support for live music!