Garden of the Gods
After a music career that focused primarily on jazz, Garden of the Gods is my debut classical album. Though I studied classical orchestration, counterpoint, and composition at UC Berkeley in the late ‘90’s, the compositions that I’ve released on albums have all been jazz or funk/soul tunes. My first album, Shakin’ It Like a Blue Funk Monkey, has
After a music career that focused primarily on jazz, Garden of the Gods is my debut classical album. Though I studied classical orchestration, counterpoint, and composition at UC Berkeley in the late ‘90’s, the compositions that I’ve released on albums have all been jazz or funk/soul tunes. My first album, Shakin’ It Like a Blue Funk Monkey, has sections that are through-composed, but it is still a jazz album that is full of improvisation. And while my album Suite with the band Sugar Shack has pieces that are less improvisational, they are essentially funky pop songs that have nothing to do with classical music.
So where did this album come from? I have always loved listening to classical music and wrote some short pieces while studying at Berkeley. But as a performer my passion was improvisation, and that’s what drove me down my musical path. Practicing up to 8 hours a day was the only way to get where I wanted to be as a performer, and that left less time for composition. When I left the life of a professional musician to study medicine, my whole outlook on music changed. Gone was the pressure to succeed, the struggle to make enough money, and musical decisions guided by finances. Also gone were the hours of free time available to practice, and my playing certainly suffered. Since my medical training ended in 2020, I have returned to a more normal life where I can make time for music. In addition to getting back into playing shape, I decided that setting aside time for composing is extremely important to me.
Some of my favorite music in the world was written by Beethoven, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky, and despite the pressure in music school to be modern, I have always dreamed of writing in a similar style. I hope that this music provides joy to those who listen to it, and that it leads to future musical collaborations with people that I never would have otherwise met. This is my first classical album, but it will certainly not be my last. I would like to thank the Friction Quartet, Dann Thompson at Skywalker Sound, Judith Sherman, and Jeanne Velonis. This album could not sound as good as it does without them. The Friction Quartet was such a pleasure to work with and are the guys who turned the notes on the page into art. In the studio Dann dialed in the perfect tones, and Judy ran the session like the seasoned professional that she is. Afterwards I was so appreciative that Judy and Jeanne were as meticulous as I was, dissecting the recording note by note until it was perfect. Finally, I’d like to thank Mike Grittani of Grittani Creative. He documented the entire recording session on video and did some beautiful editing on each movement. Please search for and enjoy those videos on Youtube.