This grant is funding not only the performances of my new composition, “Algorithm,” but a portion of the Curtis Brothers recording of the project featuring the great Ralph Peterson, Brian Lynch and Donald Harrison.  – to be released (2018)

Here is something I wrote about the composition I was able to put together. Thanks to Chamber Music America and it’s supporters!

The name of my composition is Algorithm.”

I feel it’s best described with chapters.

While attempting to fuse mathematical ideas with the soul, Algorithmwas written with the sound of the Curtis Brothers band and individual musicians in mind. Algorithmcould be viewed as the sequel to “Completion of Proof.” Built in the spirit of the great Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, I continue to try and mold my music in the image of that greatness.

Each chapter is titled after a mathematical concept or term with exception to the chapters presented by the mentors of the Curtis Brothers. Those chapters are “narrated” by the great Donald Harrison, Brian Lynch and Ralph Peterson. Three musicians that helped make the Curtis Brothers who they are today.

“Three Points and a Sphere” the first chapter address the start of the Curtis Brothers in Hartford, paying homage to Jackie and Dollie McLean’s important contribution with a nod to the logo of the Artists Collective. The Artists Collective is one of the schools that the Curtis Brothers attended in their youth for their early musical development.

Chapter two, “Phi,” is a nod to the golden ratio, the program that many living things abide by in order to grow and develop. Many artists use this concept and math in their work to bring beauty into their composition. Rhythmically I use the New Orleanian rhythm that was made famous by Ahmad Jamal with the composition ‘Poinciana.’

Chapter three  is titled “Chief” features the Curtis Brothers earliest mentor and touring band leader, the Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr., who tells a story throughout the entire composition.

Chapter four is our ‘Latin Jazz’ composition which emphasizes a strong focus on rhythm with heavy bebop influences. It was titled “Parametrics” to address the parameters that confine us during our time in the physical world.

Chapter five, was written in 3/4 and is titled “Torus” which is an object that conceptually offers interesting ideas when its mathematics are addressed by the arts. Many artists like, M.C. Escher, have worked with mathematical concepts that bend the governing rules of our physical reality. His works influenced by the ‘mobius strip’ come to mind. Research on the Torus has always been fascinating to me.

Chapter six is titled “The Professor” and features our mentor Brian Lynch, who tells a story throughout the entire composition.

Chapter seven is the musical sequel to Manifest Destiny (a composition from our first Curtis Brothers recording, ‘Completion of Proof’). We use a musical concept we learned from the concept of the Art Blakey band where Reggie Workmans, non-walking bass line is combined with Blakey’s swing. Ralph Peterson has shaped this sound with us and we use it many times throughout the chapters in Algorithm. We named this “Undefined” because of the result you get in a calculator after dividing by zero.

Chapter eight is titled “Staircase of Mount Meru,” paying tribute to Indian mathematician Pingala for being the earliest source of reference for what is commonly known as ‘Pascal’s Triangle.’ Also the title of the Composition “Algorithm” is a nod to Algoritmi, the Persian(modern day Iran) mathematician, Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al’Khwārizmī. This up-tempo composition addresses the many elements of jazz communication between the rhythm section and the horn section.

Finally, chapter nine, is titled “Sensei” and features our mentor Ralph Peterson who tells a story throughout the entire composition.


Chamber Music America Announces Grants

Arts organization provides nearly $1 million in funding to artists and organizations

Chamber Music America (CMA) announced its annual grant recipients in four programs: New Jazz Works and Presenter Consortium for Jazz, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Classical Commissioning, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and the Residency Partnership Program, funded by Chamber Music America’s Residency Endowment Fund. The total amount of the grants is $951,545, with much of the funding going to support jazz artists and organizations.

A total of $447,000 was awarded to fifteen jazz ensembles through the New Jazz Works program, which “supports the creation of new works by professional U.S.-based jazz artists and helps assure that these compositions will be heard through live performances and recordings,” according to a press release from CMA.  Here are the ensembles which received those grants:

  • Alchemy Sound Project (Rosendale, NY) Composer: Erica Lindsay
  • Andrea Brachfeld Quartet (Jersey City, NJ) Composer: Andrea Brachfeld
  • Ben Wendel Group (Brooklyn, NY) Composer: Ben Wendel
  • Craig Handy and 2nd Line Smith (Weehawken, NJ) Composer: Craig Handy
  • The Curtis Brothers (Weehawken, NJ) Composer: Zaccai Curtis
  • Ian Carey Quintet + 1 (Richmond, CA) Composer: Ian Carey
  • Joshua Lawrence and Color Theory (New York, NY) Composer: Joshua Lawrence
  • Kendrick Scott Oracle (New York, NY) Composer: Kendrick Scott
  • Manuel Valera Trio (New York, NY) Composer: Manuel Valera
  • Martin Bejerano Trio (Miami, FL) Composer: Martin Bejerano
  • Mickey Bass and the New York Powerhouse Ensemble (New York, NY) Composer: Mickey Bass
  • Mike Holober and Balancing Act (Mount Kisco, NY) Composer: Mike Holober
  • Piano Iberico (Brooklyn, NY) Composer: Chano Dominguez
  • Samuel Torres Group (Long Island City, NY) Composer: Samuel Torres
  • Vardan Ovsepian Chamber Project (Glendale, CA) Composer: Vardan Ovsepian