Archive for March, 2014


Posted: March 9, 2014 in Composing Insights, Press

As I find myself in the last year of my master degree, I’m more concerned with personal research and composing than I am with regurgitating non-essential data. The research of which I speak pertains to the program associated with my second symphony. The work began in 2002; since then I’ve written much of the symphony prior to enrolling at UMKC, but this is one work that requires much patience. I’m writing an extensive research paper prior to engaging in any intense music composition pertaining to my second symphony.

I’m also sketching another work that originated back in 2002. It began as an orchestral work, but has since evolved into a work for concert band. I’ve learned much over the past two years. There was one hurdle that I had to get over. I was caught between writing what I prefer; while mixing it with what others prefer. Well, I’m not others! And, I should’ve been reminded from the experiences in my early record producing days whereby the opinions of others, when fused with my own creativity are a recipe for disaster. I’m not saying that I reject criticism; it’s not about criticism.  This is about other people telling you what you should or should not do; based on someone’s tradition or theory….which is foreign to you, and without any regard for your unique aesthetic. I don’t plan ever to write with that aesthetic again. As a result, I reject writing for reasons of appeasing someone’s taste. Unless I’m being commissioned to do so, I will bring my own experiences and lore to the fore. Is that alright?

So, both these works are quite lengthy and will take awhile to complete. I’d like to complete the wind band work before the year’s end. I’ve also got a stage play to score over the summer, which is hip-hop based; and I get to make some BEATS again!!!! I’m super, duper excited about that! Hell yeah!  What’s unique about the project is that I don’t have to do any notation……no mechanical pencil, no paper, no Sibelius. It’s strictly old school music production B-Boy Style. The play opens up in February 2015, in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s written by Cynthia Hardeman and entitled Truth Stands. It’s got a great story and it will definitely have a life.

I’ve completed the first of several works as part of my residency with the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project (Renee Baker). The premiere of Mis-Treatment of the Honorable will be April 23, 2014, at the South Shore Cultural Center. I’ve already begun working on the next piece the CMOP will premier in September.

Other works include collaborations with Jeff Nelsen (horn) and an original art-song for bass/baritone and piano.

It’s taken me exactly twenty years. That’s when I wrote my first notes on paper! The early months of 1994. Then in 2002, after hand-writing three, over-sized orchestral works, I began soliciting my work to be performed. Several acquaintances laughed at me, but my efforts weren’t wasted, and I’ve gained more breadth to my career. Those who were laughing saw the last grain of sand in the hour-glass of their career long ago. The journey has taught me much. Several extraordinary people have provided much encouragement and support through the years.

The saga continues………….


In Harmony/In Rhythm

Posted: March 4, 2014 in Press

The purpose of music is for raising one’s social and spiritual consciousness/awareness. I said RAISING! Raising; not lowering. Further, music serves as an educational tool for social awareness.

Why would anyone label his/herself a composer, a musician, a conductor, an artist if they do not practice or embrace this? The basic elements of music are rhythm and harmony. Social harmony is severely lacking among musicians, composers, and just about all those who consider themselves in the field of music. People who do not practice harmonious living or a rhythmic accord amongst others or within their own self should not practice music; neither should they be respected as decent human beings. The world would be a much peaceful existence without unharmonious activity exerting its core to the fore.

What made me write this? I’ve come across several recording and performing artists, composers, recording producers, conductors, etc… who all uphold the tenets of music whenever they speak. Yet in practice, their actions are out of tune. Rather than living a life whereby music allows them to act harmonious, many of these characters continue to practice segregation based on ethnicity, class, sex, and religion. How can you do any good when you practice evil?

Music is a high art form, so why not live your life; or attempt to live your life by higher standards. What’s the difficulty in that? Why must you not speak to someone else simply because he/she is having a little bit more success than you? Why must you not respond to an email, text, or phone call simply because you feel superior? Or, because the sender doesn’t have the same affiliations or credentials as you? What’s the logic in that? I’d like to know. Why must you inhibit the forward progression of someone simply because their cultural background is different than yours? Or that their musical language is different? Or that they studied with someone whom you lack a secure relationship with? Or, better yet, because they haven’t received any awards of significant prestige?

In practicing harmony, it is important that you speak to others and be honest in your communication. That’s what sharing is about; exchanging information……goods, knowledge.

There is no harmony within you if the only people you consider worthy of your space are your immediate friends and/or relatives. If you are unwilling to share with others, honestly, and not lying to oneself; then you are on the right course. However, don’t fake it…..because someone as I can readily notice your insincerity.

Yes, I continue the refusal of working with performing artists (vocalists) who have nothing positive to say. I also avoid anyone who does not embrace a harmonious lifestyle. I totally avoid someone/anyone who practices exclusion, jealousy, and negativity. You are a poison.

I just thought I’d write this. It’s certainly not personal, but it stems from my observation of those that I interact with on a daily basis, both near and far. After 20 years as a music publisher, and 25 years as a recording producer/composer, I’ve encountered a great number of interesting people. I come from a music community; whereby all shared and supported one another. It just seems that much of that has dissipated as more and more people prefer to practice individualism.