Archive for June, 2016

3Q2016

Posted: June 30, 2016 in Composing Insights, Press, Studio Buzz

Commissions

As the third quarter 2016 begins, work as a copyist with Origin has been pretty amazing. The constant work assignments keep my transcribing chops up, as well as my DAW to notational software acumen. Composing for major motion pictures, television, and video games couldn’t be any sweeter than this. I’m thankful to finally have some level of constant activity in the industry. “Big ting a come“, but that will be a surprise!

Thanks to the Sphinx Organization’s Mpower Artist Grant, Tami Lee Hughes (violin) has commissioned me to compose a violin suite honoring five (5) iconic women. I’ve begun my usual research process; studying and the like, which for me, constitutes the composing process. July and August will find me particularly busy at composing.

 

Business

I’ve also been quite busy soliciting my orchestral works to several orchestras. Below is a diplomatic approach to stating the problem and solution to achieving this goal, I think. Well, at least for me. Orchestras are pretty set in their ways, and one has to be a “pain in the ass” to really get their attention; regardless of one’s demographic. In that process, I’ve written this:

I love composing for orchestra!
My music is tonal and melodic!
I do not create soundscapes of bleeps and blurps that are forgotten,
and/or complained about by patrons and supporters.
For me, the orchestra is like an old wheel with no intentions of integrating new parts.
Can we work together to tweak this?
I’ve spent the past 16 years seeking to have a relationship with a professional orchestra,
but she’s not budging at all.
She teases me with encouragement, but no commitment to any sort of relationship.
Orchestra, how can we go on a date? How can we develop a relationship?
Let’s cut to the chase, “Orchestra, Will You Marry Me?”
Is there one orchestra interested in this composer? Hmnnnn…
Perhaps this can be the premise for a commissioned work?

Albums / Concerts

Spaceship Chronicles (album cover)

Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement released its 7th album, Spaceship Chronicles. It’s been doing exceptionally well, receiving great reviews internationally. This will be the last Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement studio album. I will be releasing a Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement Greatest Hits album for the 1Q2017.

I’ve recently posted videos for the last two concert premieres; Cry of the Queenless King, and Cellét.


 

 

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Spaceship Chronicles (album cover)It’s been almost 7 years since releasing the last Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement album. During that time, I completed both a bachelor and a master degree in music composition, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, studying with Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and Bobby Watson.

By no means did school prohibit the release of any album recordings. During that time, I managed to produce 9 albums, score a stage play, compose the theme music for two weekly television series, score independent films, and compose over 4 hours of music for the concert hall.

So, what was the cause of the hold-up? It was mere politics that held up any subsequent Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement releases. You know, people trying to stop my productivity. Where are those jerks now? They are off of the scene, like jazz on 52nd street. Adding to that, a series of crappy artist agreements that only an idiot would sign; so I’ve decided that I ought to do this myself. Kinda like when the Isley Brothers left Motown and cut It’s Your Thing. I see this as an identical moment. When you’re around bad business, you get the hell on….you get to steppin’…. I’ve never been one who waits on others to do for me, what I can do better; and do for myself. I enjoy working with others, but in this “I-Age”, comradery is scarce. And in business, especially the music business, jealousy and envy run rampant.

The forth coming lp, Spaceship Chronicles will be the seventh Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement album released since 2000. This also marks twenty-one years of Kasuf; since that first sonic encounter in 1995. As with Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement’s debut album, Blackopolis, this album also includes sides from the first Kasuf recording sessions in 1995.

Details? Hmnnnn…..there are 13 songs. This album is a soundtrack for the world! It’s got legs!! It will get around!! It’s everything that all the other albums weren’t. It’s what Bitches Brew was for Miles Davis. A new direction? Not necessarily, but it is a clear path!

Get Ready!! It’s landing on all 7 continents June 24th, 2016!

 

K

The month of May brought forth three premieres, including one documentary film (Full Court: The Spencer Haywood Story), and two concert premieres (Cry of the Queenless King and Cellét ). All were very successful! Cry of the Queenless King premiered at the annual Composers of Color Conference at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, performed by Dr. Carl Dupont (Bass-Baritone) and Qiao Zheng Goh (Piano). I was on hand for the concert via FaceTime; which was a first. The experience was awesome, the performance was amazing, and to have it premiere alongside other newly composed works by my peers and contemporaries was an honor.

Cellét! St. Louis! Wow! This was my first stay in St. Louis, aside from Greyhound Bus layovers, or airline transfers to/from Kansas City or Springfield. Catherine Lehr Ramos put together a wonderful cello fest. The musicianship was superior, and the hospitality was awesome. I had a great time.

Cellet Premiere Concert 1

Catherine Lehr Ramos seated, Moh & Ja Ghraiz at far right, Kerwin Young at far left

The program kicked off at the Webster University Community Music School on May 30th.  Cellét  featured two Palestinian pop-lock dancers (Moh and Ja Ghraiz). Cellét  was conducted by David Commanday.

Currently in the Works

With a commission from Tami Hughes, via a Sphinx Organization MPact Grant, I am composing an untitled suite for violin and piano, inspired by iconic African-American female vocalists from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Other work includes my duties as copyist/orchestrator with Origin-Creative, as we prepare for our initial launch with the Atlanta Film Score Orchestra. I’m currently preparing conductor scores and parts for our first studio recording session. I’m excited to be working in the motion picture and game industries! It’s taken me 22 years and a lot of b.s. to get this type of film work. But, persistence overcomes resistance. Next will be scoring those epic films and games, and having a score agent!