Keystone Live at the Jazz Standard: User’s Guide and FAQ

There’s a lot of music here, roughly eight hours worth. (Click on Store above to hear and buy the collection). I put it all out because I truly think you’ll enjoy it. It’s a picture of this band in real time, mistakes and all, not after the fact months or years later, but right here right now. It was completed a few days ago as I write this.

Keystone is an exciting band to work with. We’re very often figuring out the way forward as we play, on the stage. The way I write for this band is to try to create environments that we can shape and reshape in every performance. What’s exciting about that is that we feel we’re pushing the envelope of what jazz (or whatever you prefer to call this music) can be. We’re questioning and re-questioning our assumptions in the doing, and finding new ways to say what we want to say. There’s a satisfaction in that, both for the individual player and for the band as a whole.

That’s why I feel like presenting eight hours of music is essential to what the vision is. We certainly had a lot of fun playing it. And we sincerely hope you’ll have a lot of fun listening to it. It’s really us playing for you.

Some statistics.

There are 8 sets, roughly an hour each.
Among the 50 tracks, there are 30 separate compositions.
12 pieces were played once.
16 pieces were played twice.
Apparent favorites: Moonshine (thrice) and Tough (four times).

Each Set is intended as a complete whole, but once you have all the files you can of course arrange them in any order you like.

The pieces are drawn from four main collections:

New, as yet Unreleased Pieces

Circus Peanuts
Mabel’s Wilful Way
The First Hundred years
Olive’s Big Mess
Love and Donuts
Pool Sharks

Pieces recorded on the recent Moonshine album

Married Life
Flood Plain
Dog Star
Silent Stars

Pieces from the band’s first album, Keystone

Famous Players
Butterfly Effect
Sapphire Sky Blue
Traveling Salesman
The Real Roscoe
Mabel Normand
A Noise From The Deep
Luke The Dog

Pieces originally recorded on the album Freak In

Black Rock Park
Eastern Parkway
Porto Alegre

For FAQs continue reading…

How did you record it and put it on line overnight?

Geoff Countryman and Tyler McDiarmid did a great job capturing the music in real time and translating it to the various formats. Jim Tuerk transformed the digital impulses into sound waves you can hear in your ear. He’s also on call to make the sounds arrive in your ear if there’s any impediment.

How do you write for the DJ?

Just as with writing for any instrument, you talk to the player and find out what the vocabulary is, what are the cans and cannots. Then you try to imaginatively incorporate that sound knowledge as you write. DJ Olive is a natural born improviser, so it goes against his instinct to play the same thing twice. For that reason he fits really well in this group of improvisers. The things we needed as fixed elements got chosen really carefully.

Why isn’t there any witty stage banter on the downloads?

My sister Susan thinks I should include my rambling stage introductions on the recordings. Obviously I beg to differ as you’ll hear I cut them all out… I guess the bottom line is I don’t want the words to distract from the music. I don’t want to break the flow. And I don’t prepare spoken remarks the way I prepare the music — I’m just making it up, sometimes to the detriment of any sort of sense or meaning… Playing the trumpet can really scramble your brain cells.

Why don’t you announce the names of the songs from the stage?

My feeling is that if there is a title that I really want the audience to know, I say it. Otherwise I try to go with the flow of the music. And I respect the audience enough to think that they’ll go with the flow too if the music’s grabbing them.

How does this music relate to silent films?

You can watch one example by going to the Greenleaf Music store page for Moonshine. The band is called Keystone because my inspiration for writing the music originally came from watching early silents from the teens and twenties of last century. I felt like the humor and humanity of these films could be better understood if there were a new score. More recently the pieces I am writing deal with that idea more abstractly — still inspired by the image, but not intended as sound tracks specifically.

What is Green Beat?

Glad you asked! Green Beat is an organic way of bringing electric instruments into acoustic situations for live performance. It’s the movement towards humanizing the machine to the point where it can interact with the supple flexibility of the finest musicians.

Can I get multi-track re-mixable versions of this music?

If you jump up and down, yes.

Can I get sheet music for the tunes on KLATJS?

See above.