"Penmanship" is a recording project that was started in 2008 to showcase my writing for low brass choir in a variety of styles (jazz and concert settings). Since it's inception four of the most highly regarded jazz trombonists in North America have added their immense talents to the project.
It's time to release the 'bones and share their wonderful work with the world!!
- Dave Steinmeyer
- Ian McDougall
- Andy Martin
- Bob McChesney
Even if you don't recognize them by name I'm sure you've heard their incredible work on films, television, and jazz recordings. In addition to being unbelievably talented musicians these gentlemen are great, generous people. These are my idols. It's an honor to work alongside them.
Dave Steinmeyer has been an idol for years. His range, lyrical improvisations, and relaxed, swinging phrasing have been the inspiration for my own approach to the trombone.
On this project Dave solos on "Petrichor" and "Stonebridge".
Ian McDougall is my wife's favorite trombone player. I've reminded her, pointedly at times, that I, too, play the trombone. Apparently that doesn't carry any weight with her. Ian's work with Rob McConnell's Boss Brass and his own combo recordings featuring his warm, lyrical stylings are constantly on the Bann family playlist. Ian's great writing skills are well represented in the Stan Bann's Big Bone Band library is well.
Ian solos here on "Fata Morgana".
I first came across Andy Martin's playing on a recording he did with the legendary Carl Fontana in the late '90s. I've been an ardent, avid fan ever since. So, apparently, is most of the world. His command of the horn is amazing and his solos are a treat to hear.
Andy's is the first solo you'll hear on "Fait Accompli"
Whenever I've played Bob McChesney's virtuoso mult-tracked arrangement of "I Love You" for people ranging from my own trombone students to professionals the first reaction is disbelief. No one can play that fast, that cleanly, that melodically on the trombone let alone do it in four part harmony! His is a master technician. He weaves gorgeous melodic solos and counter melodies for any ballad he touches. I am in constant awe when listening to him play.
Bob's solo is the second solo on "Fait Accompli"
"Penmanship" contains eight original pieces for a low brass choir consisting of tenor and bass trombones, euphoniums, tubas, and rhythm section.
Two pieces, "All Who've Gone Before" and "Violet Morning", are concert works and do not use rhythm section.
"All Who've Gone Before" was the first concert piece I did for the Minneapolis Trombone Choir. The title reflects my having gone through a prolonged time of personal loss.
There are several Latin flavored pieces on the project. "Duende", "Fata Morgana", and "Petrichor". "Fait Accompli" is the lone blues.
"Stonebridge" explores a more contemporary flavor for the most part. I had been playing around with "Ode to Joy" at the piano and started wandering further and further afield until "Stonebridge" came to be. The only way to end the piece was with a little bit of quodlibet.
"Morning, Beautiful!" depicts a day in the life of a certain Eden Prairie, Minnesota based couple (ya think?). From the unaccompanied trombone opening (still in the pre-alarm clock twilight) through an ever busier day it comes full circle to just the two of us in the end.
The ensemble and solo parts are in the can. There is still work to do (approximately 20 hours) in mixing, mastering, fixing, and sweetening the pieces into a uniform album. We'll be working in the same studio with the original recordings that we started in back in 2008.
Thanks to technical advances we're able to accomplish in hours what took days if not weeks to do in the past. Truly amazing.
My deepest, sincerest thanks to Steve Wiese and his people at Creation Audio. Recordings can be extremely stressful but with Steve at the controls we could relax knowing that whatever we did or wanted to be done would be captured flawlessly. There are none finer.
Risks and challenges
When I commandeered the players for the ensemble sessions in early 2008 I fully anticipated releasing the completed project by the end of the year.
As my son would say, "False".
Life stepped in or I stepped in life.
I was dealing with a myriad of health issues including depression at the time. Finances dried up. Schedules and priorities changed from pouring energy and resources into the recording to more pragmatic and immediate needs.
In some ways the delay was good. I was able to enlist the soloists who grace the project today. I'm over the moon having these individuals on the recording!
My health has improved and I've gotten four wheels back on the road. Life is better.
Scheduling remains a potential issue.
I spent thirty years as a project manager so rest assured I can navigate a GANTT chart or a score pad with equal ease.
Steve Wiese and Creation Audio are in constant demand and we are more low rent than some others. I have worked out the timeline with Steve's input so I feel confident that should this campaign be successful we will accomplish our goal by the end of the summer.
Finances are the key to starting the dash to the finish line. That's where your gracious contributions play a vital role. I literally could not be doing this without you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)