New Orleans and the JEN Conference

I spent the past weekend attending the JEN (Jazz Educators Conference) conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. As I’m sitting here stranded in the Atlanta airport thinking about it- it was one of those trips that seems to be ten times longer than it was because of how busy you were. It was only about 48 hours that I was in town, but I feel like I’ve sufficiently experienced New Orleans and met some great musicians in the process.

I performed Saturday morning as part of the Student Composer’s Showcase. The rhythm section consisted of top players from the North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band. We played my piece Fire Blossom and the band did really well (we only rehearsed it as we were warming up 15 minutes beforehand). I think the lack of rehearsal helped make the performance very spontaneous. I am very pleased with how it came across, and humbled by the musicianship displayed by the NT players.

This tune Fire Blossom I wrote this summer while in New York city. I began composing it while I was eating Grimaldi’s pizza on a bench in Hillside Park, Brooklyn. It started with a lyric that I wrote while at the park. During my drive back to Buffalo, I started putting music to the phrasing of the words. This gave the melody a deeper logic rather than just writing a lyricless piece.

I am very grateful to JEN for hosting me for the Composer’s Showcase. It was a great experience to meet and receive feedback from people like Steve Weist, John Clayton, Ruben Alverez, Paris Rutherford and many other great musicians. The thing that stood out for me was that the word competition was not being used and that each piece, accepted or rejected received feedback from four noted musicians and educators. I can’t really say enough about Saturday morning, It felt great to share my music with people who I’ve never met.

I absolutely love the city of New Orleans, the whole place just breathes culture. Another small reason why I might love New Orleans might be that there is all types of music but primarily jazz playing everywhere around the city. The food there was absolutely incredible. The first night I was there I had Seafood Jambalaya and greens (thank God I had a lot of it-it make my night on Burbon St. stomachable). After the Composer’s Showcase, I had a Beignet and coffee at Cafe Du Monde. It was tremendously tasty, and the long line made you exceedingly anxious and starved by the time you were served. I made the mistake in not changing from the performance, and I was wearing black dress pants. The beignets are caked in powdered sugar, and there is no way of eating them without getting it all over yourself. Needless to say, I had to walk home with white streaks of sugar all over my pants-looking like a pastry chef. Later that Evening, I had a fried oyster po-boy at Mother’s. It was fantastic, but as I was eating it I was witnessing the Seahawks eliminate the Saints from the playoffs.

Anyway, as I finish writing this I am in the process of writing and arranging new music for a few gigs coming up and for my recital on 2/12/11. I am currently planning to perform Stevie Wonder’s-Girl Blue, Nick Drake’s-Place To Be, Daft Punk’s-Something about us, Wayne Shorter’s-Speak No Evil, Duke Pearson’s- Is That So, and a few new originals.

Recent Recommendations: Joe Lovano Us Five-Bird Songs, Wayne Shorter Quartet-Beyond the Sound Barrier, Roy Hargrove Big Band- Emergence, Woody Herman-Giant Steps, Stanley Turrentine-More Than a Mood, Stan Getz-Serenity.

Jazz

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About danwhitemusic

Dan White is and artist whose music has two distinct, yet interwoven concepts: This logic is clearly displayed in Between The Lines (March 2011). White has a deep respect for acoustic Jazz, but he is also is driven to explore uncharted territory: Playing music that cannot be defined or pigeonholed. Both sides of his music create a synergy effect: the tradition of America's classical music helps build the foundation from which he explores and experiments, while the experimentation gives way to more individuality. Music has played a large part in Dan's life since he was young. The saxophonist comes from a musical family: his grandfather a jazz bassist and music teacher, his uncle a music teacher, and four of his cousins are currently studying music. He grew up just north of Buffalo, New York, where he started playing piano at age eight, and saxophone at age nine. A few years later he got his first real taste of improvisation and composition. After hearing Joshua Redman in concert with his father, White was instantly hooked on the link between composition and improvisation. White states, "My music is an extension of my personality. I am influenced by many, and my goal is to merge these influences into refreshing and creative music that acknowledges the tradition that came before and progresses the art form."
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One Response to New Orleans and the JEN Conference

  1. Gerald Ford says:

    Hi Dan.I ran across your blog somehow.And from what ive read.I can see and tell that you guys are pretty serious and busy musicians.On top of that,being stranded in Atlanta Airport is nothing nice.But i guess thats what really caught my attention.So as i read futher you mentioned writing and arranging new material for a recital 2-12-11.And went on to say you would be performing Duke Pearsons/Is That So ! Thats when i was totally blown away.How much of a coincidence is that.Atlanta Airport/Duke Pearson. I have enjoyed digging some of the music.As well as being an Atlanta native.I had the chance to know Duke Pearson very well.Its musicians like you who help keep his legacy alive.Hats off to you and your future endevours.

    Peace and Blessings/Gerald Ford
    (Nephew of the late Duke Pearson)

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