1. Andy Thiele writes good music...


    I'd been listening to Thiele's Lost Souls Club since it came out in 2008, so my Sink Eater project recorded a tune of his from that record called "As Sweet as Sweet Can Be". We overdubbed soprano and ran it through an old four track for some grit on the first half. I haven't been able to find his original version of the tune online, but here's a link to him performing "At Sunbeam Creek", inspired by a Henry Darger painting. How cool is that? Andy's living around Milwaukee and seems to be lying low for the time-being, but here's hoping he puts out some more music with better distribution soon - his stuff is great. 

    1. SINK EATER - "Dickie Dell's Dollhouse"


    I’m excited to share here a raw, unmixed track from a recent recording session with a few friends. This project, SINK EATER, has been a good reason to get together, write a few tunes, and take advantage of UCLA’s beautiful new recording studio. Looking forward to getting these tracks mixed and mastered in the coming weeks. 

    Here’s the unmixed “Dickey Dell’s Dollhouse” with me on tenor, Chili Corder on guitar, Anthony Lopez on drums, and Nashir Janmohamed on bass.

    photos | Eron Rauch

    engineered | Seth von Paulus

    asst engineer | Jose Carrilo

  • The Monk Institute and Foshay Learning Center

    The Monk Institute and Foshay Learning Center

    The last few months have found me working as a teaching artist for the Thelonious Monk Institute’s “Jazz in the Classroom” program. I’ve had the pleasure of working with band teachers and student combos at least six different schools around the Los Angeles area. My “home” school, though, has been Foshay Learning Center near Western Ave and 37th St in South Los Angeles. Though a self-professed California Distinguished School, my peregrinations though LA’s school districts has shown me that the distribution of resources in LA is wildly uneven. And Foshay is a shining example of teachers and administration squeezing as much as possible for their students out of less than many have to work with.

    That being said, I was so pleased to work with an eight-piece combo at Foshay for the last few months, introducing them to jazz history, lingo, theory and practices. Most of these 7th and 8th graders had little to no exposure to jazz music before our rehearsals, but now they’re confidently beginning to play on some classic standard tunes.

    But more than that, I’ve seen them have fun and grow in their confidence on their instruments, while being challenged to develop a voice in a group. The Monk Institute’s “Jazz in the Classroom” isn’t just teaching jazz - it’s introducing young people to a way of expressing themselves; encouraging them to explore history, their agency, and using music as a way to experiment with how to communicate and represent themselves. These kids have been awesome and I’m super thankful to have had the opportunity to work with them.

  • Carmina Escobar's "Fiesta Perpetua!"

    I was so happy to volunteer some time this morning to help realize experimental vocalist Carmina Escobar’s Fiesta Perpetua! I had to shake myself out of bed at 4:30am to get to the park and help tow a few rafts into the middle of the LA's Echo Park Lake so Carmina, butoh dancer Oguri, and the Banda Filarmónica Maqueos Music (with the support of Machine Project) could greet the sun. 

    The incorporation of the neighborhood and local community members not usually associated with the experimental music scene is, to me, a welcome intervention. As I read it, experimental music events that take place in the often embattled neighborhoods of a gentrifying Los Angeles can unwittingly contribute to a continuing logic of colonization.

    Hailing from Mexico City, Escobar’s carefully planned series of “interventions” incorporate, rather than alienate, differing cultural subjectivities in LA that might not usually interact with experimental works. It was great that the same people I overheard in the park asking “what the heck is this?” were also patiently hanging out and smiling ear to ear. Bringing an invented ritual to Echo Park, Escobar succeeded in folding those folks in the park for a morning jog or picnic into a kind of presencing of communal performance. As she told LA Weekly:

    “This project brings out the cross cultural aspect of Los Angeles by manifesting and representing a big part of its community in the form of the Oaxacan Brass Bands, Oguri (a magnificent Japanese dancer based in LA), all the people from Machine Project working on this project with very diverse backgrounds, and all the individuals at the park with their own heritage that will experience the interventions and are, as well, part of the performances.

    At the heart of Fiesta Perpertua! is this lack of distinction between the artists and the people who will fill the Echo Park on the day of the interventions. Both are equally important elements of the piece.

    Ritual is communal experience, there is no audience as the audience participates by being present so it becomes part of it all," Escobar says. "Ritual seeks to transform the space and bring a liminal experience of communitas."

    Escobar's works are consistently thoughtful, playful, and rigorous. I applaud her work to bring new works that bring the all-too-commonly parochial world of experimentalism to the people.