Here is the story I was talking about during this week's Sunday session. Rock The Ronk was written during a period of creativity and inspiration due to what was going on around me. My friends, the musicians I was playing with at the time and the musicians whom I looked up to.
During a New Year's Eve (2001) I was at a friends party who happened to live on state street in Madison near the Orpheum theater. I met a girl I was interested in at the party and we went up to the roof to hang out. Little did we know that the doors locked behind us and we were stuck on the roof for a few hours. Everybody at the party left after the ball dropped so there was no one to let us down. Finally we found a fire escape and some football players helped us down. Anyway, that was the inspiration for this song. Enjoy. The original can be downloaded at https://ryanmeisel.bandcamp.com/track/rock-the-ronk
This week's session features Quiet Walk. It was recorded in November of 2016 at an monthly Open Mic that I host through the Schauer Center in Hartford WI. This particular week due to scheduling conflicts, we moved the session to the local ice cream shop, Scoop De Ville.
This tune is the 5th track on my Live Themes album. It is a slow meandering tune that focuses on the more sensitive improvisational possibilities. It has an odd phrase structure, being in AABA form, the A sections are 11 measures and the bridge is 9. The harmonic structure of the tune is pretty static with multiple "fake outs" where the harmonic resolution is delayed and than resolved at points later in the phrase.
This tune was inspired by the Soprano Sax playing of Lucky Thompson on Lucky Strikes and appears on future recordings of mine.
The title, Quiet Walk, is taking from the multiple times I would roam the UW Madison Campus at night while in the company of a significant other or person I would want to get to know better. These moments mixed with deep contemplation, offered me the time to reflect and enjoy that time of my life as a student and young musician.
Sunday Sessions S2:#4 is ready to go but before I release it I want to share a little reflection on my Sunday sessions.Last year during season one, I challenged myself to video record a new improvisation weekly on a different instrument or location in my community or life travels.I got good at scoping out new places to jam and new instruments to try.I learned a lot about myself as a musician and developed my philosophy for how to share my music with the world.
While planning Sunday sessions season two, i wanted to challenge myself to go back to where my career as an artist started, and breath new life into music that was very important to me.
Recording albums was always a way for me to mark my time as a musician. Starting in 2002 every year or so I would compile my music and record a album with whatever group of musicians I was playing with. All these recordings were done in livings rooms or live at different venues and at first were very raw in quality and of production. Some of the tunes we recorded were only played once or twice.
Regardless of expectation or production value, i treated each project as a work of art. I would copy about 100 albums to sell at shows and use for promotion. After they sold out I would move on to another project. I always kept the master for myself but once the original 100 were gone they were gone.
Now I have been putting my music as digital downloads on a site called bandcamp. These old recordings have new life and are available for purchase! At any time.
This has inspired me to go back into my catalogue and start playing these songs in my groups and as the material for Sunday sessions season two. I want to continue to develop my own voice through the music that represents who I was, am and will be as a musician. Thank you for continuing this journey with me! life into music that was very important to me.
This week's episode features the Andean Siku flutes. These native flutes are used during festivals and rituals that pertain to the dry season in that region. The Siku actually consists of two instrument halves which are traditionally played in a collective fashion by two people who alternate and interlock their notes to create a musical dialogue. One half (six pipes) is the Ira or the leader, and the other is the Arca (seven pipes) or follower. In many of today's pan-Andean musical ensembles, one person often plays both halves at the same time.
That was my intention with this session. I also wanted to play an instrument where I could simply play the notes for sound's sake and experience to joy of just "playing." My Sunday Sessions series affords me the opportunity to tap into that child-like wonder of just creating music without a specific goal in mind. To experience sound and rhythm like it was for the first time and explore the sonic possibilities. It is instruments like these, Skuduciai flues, native six hole flutes, and some of the other instruments that I have featured in theses that allow me to think about music in a different way, totally experiencing the sound.
This week I am reflecting on my Sunday Sessions series. I am am very excited each week to try something new and express my ideas through different instrumental mediums. About ten years ago I picked up this little instrument at wooden voices in Madison. I have carried it with me in my collection for many years and used it in many demonstrations that I give when doing children's creative music classes. As I was getting ready to prepare for my recording I thought that I should do a little research first. I always thought hat his was an African instrument but found out its proper name, history and technique. I also found some beautiful videos that showed is sonic range and beauty. This takes me to the point of this blog. Every instrument has a song and I feel inspired when I can bring that song out. It is my intention to experiment and express myself with sound whether that is with an instrument that I have been studying for 30 years or a new instrument being picked up for he first time. Inspiration comes in so many forms. You never know when the song is going to need to be released. http://youtu.be/UzVl9EnDLBU
This episode of Sunday sessions comes from the music series, unrehearsed Milwaukee. Paul Westfahl on drums, Bridgett Kallinger on French horn, and Allen Russell on violin. Video taken on the dimly lit stage at West End Conservatory. It was a pleasure to the stage with such creative musicians partaking in making beautiful music. Since this was completely improvised with absolutely no discussion prior as to musical direction, it fits well with my Sunday Sessions series. Enjoy.
This was an amazing morning to do a session. I was originally going to do something on soprano saxophone later in the day. That changed when I went out to enjoy the morning with a cup of coffee on my porch. It was so beautiful and the crickets and birds provided such a nice backdrop I thought that I needed to take advantage of this moment and practice with one of my flutes for a meditation that I am doing with Celia later on today. Well, the opportunity to record this week's session was too good to pass up. I particularly thought it was cool when a gust of wind activated the wind chimes at the end. How appropriate.
This is a video, live in studio, taken by our drummer Jake Polancich. It features footage from our recording session as well as introducing our guest artists. The video is synced to one of the recordings from the session. We hope to use some of the tracks at our next album project.
Feeling the spirit of nature with homemade turtle shell rattle and native six-hole flute in F# with bird accompaniment.
This was a very fun session to do today. I have been playing the bass recorder a lot lately and thought it a good idea to use for this weeks Sunday sessions. It has a time similar to hat of a native flute but this particular instrument is a lot darker and richer. The sonic possibilities are are a little more expansive with the bass. Every instrument shares its own unique voice with the player and the audience. No two instruments are alike.
Welcome to the Sunday Sessions, I have been inspired to create a new weekly YouTube video series featuring spontaneous improvisations with the intent to inspire creative playing by myself and others.
#1 features tenor saxophone.
Ryan and Celia Meisel + members of the Meisel Music Collective will remain hosts of the Jazz Jam Session on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at Milwaukee's Historic Jazz Gallery located in the historic Riverwest Neighborhood at 926 E. Center St.
This jam session is open to all level instrumentalists & vocalists of all ages. The focus of the jam is Jazz and its many forms and styles, be-bop, hard bop, swing, blues, avant guarde, etc.
The Nu-Saxtet is a saxophone quartet made up of former Northern Illinois University graduates, and Meisel Music Collective members, Celia Faye (tenor), Ryan Meisel (alto), James Matheson (bari), and Terry Brown (soprano). Last night August 14th marked their inaugural performance as they shared the band shell with the Hartford, WI community band at Woodlawn Park. The show was well attended although it was a little chilly. Thank you to the fans and friends who came out to support our community and hear some cool new music.
1. Sweet Betsy from Pike- (1st movement of the Gold Rush Suite) - A period piece written to commemorate the folk music popular during our country's western gold rush with a modern addition of mixed meter, poly tonality and rhythm.
2. Escapade- The groups feature piece. This song takes the listener on jaunty ride through complex rhythmic themes and various often changing time signatures.
3. Amazing Grace- Standard spiritual with a little improvising on the melody.
Band was in full gear with tons of energy and sound for their all original set Friday night playing along side the Nate Weiss Quartet.
1. Being There- Introspective opening by James on Bass. Took a chance starting the night with a bass solo but it paid off by setting a good mood.
2. Straight On Till Morning- Anna's rollicking tune inspired by her time with the Dead Man's Carnival.
3. Blues for Ramsey- Anna and Ryan took awesome solos on this one. One of our best songs eliciting a "Bravo" from one member of the audience.
4. Sem Mais- A tune seldom played over the last year, this tune provided an interlude for Jake to explore the capacity of sound and timbre capable from his drum set on the small stage and close quarters. He commanded the attention of the audience through out.
5. River of My Soul- Celia's vocal crafting of the song takes the listener on a journey through the tide of her heart, and the peace of her being and spirit.
6. Summer's Lust- First ever live performance of a Madison WI singer Susan Hofer's poem about the end of a season. Music by Ryan and sung by Celia, the band is only approaching the limitless possibilities of what this tune has to offer.
7. Something Wicked This Way Comes- Another Ryan composition being performed live for the first time. Looking forward to many more playings of this deep cut.
8. Synergy- The band's primal feature never disappoints to enliven the crowd and send the band on its way.
Being There, Sem Mais, Synergy - from the 2012 release, "Synergy." Straight on Til Morning, Blues for Ramsey, River of My Soul, Summer's Lust, Something Wicked This Way Comes- To be included on the next album by MMC, 2014.
Come check out the Meisel Music Collective playing for the first time with the Nate Weiss Quartet at Kochanski's Concertina and Beer Hall at 1920 S 37th St Milwaukee, WI 53215.
Show starts with the MMC at 9:00 p.m. followed by the Nate Weiss Quartet and group jam to follow.
Thank you to all of the patrons of the North Lake library and to all those attending our 3rd annual spot in its summer concert series! We had a blast, enjoyed the weather, and look forward to our next time together.
1. Pass it On- Composition by Dave Holland
2. Jordu- Cover of 1950's hard-bop standard with vocalize by Karrin Allyson
3. Moanin'- (Same as Jordu)
4. My Love- Standard duet between bassist James Galasinski and vocalist Celia Faye
5. Lucky So and So- Cover of Duke Ellington standard.
6. Mississippi Momma- Standard Celia Faye composition
7. Alone With You- Ryan Meisel Standard
8. A Look to the East/Greensleeves
9. Little By Little- Blues in A.
10. Synergy- Title of MMC's first album and group jam feature.
11. Goin' Down South/Bobby McFerrin inspired blues sing-a-long with audience.
12. Summertime- Summer concert standerd featuring the bari sax.
1. Stutter- Alto Sax and Drums
2. Fat Chase- Bari Sax and Drums
3. A Look to the East- Soprano Sax and Drums
4. Sin Lead- Named after the electronic effect that accompanies the Tenor Sax
5. Overdrive- Conceived as a reaction to the school shootings in Connecticut in December 2012, "Overdrive" features the aggressive playing of the tenor sax and percussion as it resembles Peter Brotzmann's "Machine Gun" album. Half way through the tune the tenor flips on a distortion effect that is named Vulgar.
1. Bells- Cymbals with Soprano Sax accompaniment.
2. Alone With You- Standard Ryan Meisel composition featuring Meisel Music Collective Bassist, James Galasinski.
3. Greensleeves- Staple of Meisel and Galasinski's since their early days of performing together.
4. Reverse- Solo Tenor Saxophone named for the electronic effect.
5. Blues For My Baby Girl- Theremin feature with Bari Sax.
6. 22-4 Arp. 3 Jam- Improvisation based on the arpeggio effect it is named for.
The inaugural performance of the Montauk Project, albeit light in Audience attendance, has embarked on a sonic journey of sound exploration. More to come from this due...
Looking forward to the first ever live performance with Montauk Project on August 3rd 2013. The all improvised duet with Meisel Music Collective drummer Jake Polancich and Ryan Meisel. Set lists and reactions to follow: