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"Piano Music of Mike Garson" is my first solo album in a decade, and it's been a labor of love for the past seven years.
"Piano Music of Mike Garson" is my first solo album in a decade, and it's been a labor of love for the past seven years.
78 backers pledged $6,528 to help bring this project to life.
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"Piano Music of Mike Garson" album release

$6,528

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UPDATE: SUNDAY, NOV. 10thLast night we crossed the finish line and met our fundraising goal. Thanks to all our backers! But if you'd like to support our project (and receive rewards) you can still contribute until 9pm Pacific Time today! We can put the additional funding toward the cost of promotional music videos, enhanced CD packaging, or other aspects of the project. There's always more to do and more ways to put your contributions to work to enhance the project.

Thanks for your support! -Danny & Mike

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Hi, I’m Danny Holt, and I'm recording an album of piano music by Mike Garson, my friend, mentor, and one of my musical heroes.

 Who is Mike Garson? 

Mike Garson is mostly known for being David Bowie's pianist. (If you haven't heard it, check out Mike's incredible, wild solo on the Bowie tune "Aladdin Sane".) Over the past several decades–while not touring and recording with rock/pop icons like David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.–Mike Garson has worked in a quiet but intense fervor at his home studio outside of Los Angeles, developing his signature compositional style.

Mike is a masterful improvisor, and most of his piano pieces begin as improvisations. Because of that, the written scores to his works are only partial clues to understanding the music. For over a decade I’ve spent thousands of hours studying, picking apart, and practicing Mike’s music–trying to get inside his head so I can really understand every nuance of each piece, and then also make it my own. Now I’m almost done recording an album of the pieces that I love the most.

Mike is kind of a musical chameleon, absorbing influences from classical, jazz, rock, and pop. Because he’s mostly known for his work in rock, pop, and jazz, he’s not well-known in the classical music world. I aim to change that, and that’s why I’m recording an album of his music.

Who is Danny Holt?

Chances are, if you're reading this, we're already acquainted. But for those of you I haven't met: Hello! :) You can learn about me and my work on my website: www.dannyholt.net

I've dedicated most of my musical life to championing works by living composers. My Fast Jump album (2009, Innova Recordings) featured the world premiere recording of Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang's memory pieces, alongside music by other composers I love: Graham Fitkin, Caleb Burhans, Jascha Narveson, and Lona Kozik. Soon after, I quietly released a very different album, as a sort of musical catharsis after the death of my father. That album, release (2010) explored the more quiet and contemplative side of my musical personality. My recordings since then have been collaborations: Skaller/Holt Duo: Music of Mark Dresser (pFMentum, 2010); 4handsLA: Paris 1913 (2013, Wide Bench Records); 4handsLA: Petrushka (2014, Wide Bench Records); and Trios for Two (2017, Innova Recordings). I'm excited to be releasing another solo album, and I think you'll like this music too!

Mike and I began working on the album in 2012, scheduling sessions in between all the different projects that we were both juggling. After a brief hiatus, last year I got back to work on the project and was about to finish recording. Then tragedy struck.

A bump in the road...

Our project hit an unexpected and very unwelcome road block just months before wrapping up recording: In November 2018, Mike’s home and studio were burned to the ground in a devastating wildfire. Among the items lost was an irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind prototype Yamaha concert grand piano (which we had been using for the recording.) It was a devastating loss, but we're ready to persevere, and we are determined to finish the album!

Now we’ve re-grouped and we’re finishing the recording at CalArts. We're working with Grammy-winning recording engineer John Baffa for these final recording sessions and to mix the album, so we can use all the available resources to give the album a consistent, unified sound, even though it was recorded at two different locations.

When can I see Danny perform Mike's music live? 

If you're in southern California in the next few weeks, check out Danny's concert calendar for a bunch of upcoming performances featuring Mike's music in the Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs areas.

And you can follow Danny on Facebook and Instagram to see videos and other updates over the next few weeks.

Who is Innova Recordings?

Innova is a loyal partner to the indie classical scene. Learn more about Innova here: http://www.innova.mu/. Go browse their catalogue while you're over there - they have some amazing CDs up right now! They’re awesome and fair in their pricing, but we, as the artists, need to hold up our end of the deal, too. That’s where our backers come in!

What are the rewards?

We  know our backers are generous and we want to acknowledge that. Check out the side bar for our rewards. You can make a difference just  by pre-ordering a digital download or a CD. Or make a larger contribution to get a special thank-you in the album liner notes, a short piece composed for you by Mike, or even a concert by Danny in your living room!

Thank you so much for supporting adventurous new music, and for being a part of this album that's been a labor of love for years!

Budget

I’m launching this Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs of releasing the album on Innova Recordings, the label of the non-profit American Composers Forum. The album will be finished in early 2020, and the official release will be that fall. I’ll be touring the U.S. extensively in 2020/21 to promote the album. Here's a breakdown of the budget:

  • $1200 for CD manufacturing
  • $500 for graphic design
  • $650 for promotional mailing costs
  • $3500 Innova administrative fee (for a detailed breakdown of the Innova fee: http://www.innova.mu/apply/label-costs)
  • $585 Kickstarter fee
  • Total: $6435

Risks and challenges

I've produced six commercially released CDs over the past decade, including "Fast Jump" (2009) and "Trios for Two" (2017) on Innova Recordings. So I'm experienced with navigating all the steps in the process. And since I've worked with Innova before, there's an ease of process that comes from an established rapport with the label.

The vast majority of the album has already been recorded and edited. One final recording session in December 2019 will wrap things up, and we'll swiftly edit those remaining tracks and move on to mixing the album.

The project has been approved by Innova Recordings, an established label with a proven track record. We're already working on album artwork, liner notes, and graphic design for the CD (which will be done in-house at Innova). We fully expect to have CDs in hand by the summer of 2020, with an expected release date in the fall of 2020.

While we do not anticipate any problems or delays, the only possible challenges we may encounter would be delays in these various steps, based on the busy schedules of all the different people involved–or possible delays with the schedule of releases at Innova. (However, we are on schedule and planning almost one full year in advance of the release date, so we are in great shape!) At the latest, we can reasonably expect to have CDs in hand by the end of 2020, with an official release date no later than early 2021.

In short, the risks of our project have been anticipated and carefully managed.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Digital download

    Get a digital download of the album before its official release

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Digital download + CD

    In addition to a digital download of the album, get a CD (featuring album artwork by Mike Garson) signed by Danny Holt & Mike Garson

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    All of the above + Danny's "release" CD

    In addition to the digital download and signed CD, receive a copy of Danny's 2009 solo album, "release", featuring works by Caleb Burhans, Nico Muhly, Ludovico Einaudi, Graham Fitkin, Mike Garson, and others.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All of the above + 'bootleg' bonus CD

    In addition to all of the above, receive an exclusive, limited edition, 'bootleg' CD-R featuring alternative takes, outtakes, and other tracks from Danny & Mike's collaboration. This music will never be released to the public: as Kickstarter backers you'll be the only ones to have access to this treasure trove...

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    All of the above + exclusive poster

    In addition to receiving all the above rewards, get a signed, limited edition "Piano Music of Mike Garson" poster.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All of the above + thanks in liner notes

    In addition to the digital album download, CDs, and limited edition poster, you can have your name(s) included in the liner notes of the CD!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    All of the above + concert/composition

    Your choice: In addition to all of the above rewards, you can have Danny present a concert at your home; or receive a recording of an original composition composed by Mike Garson specifically for YOU.

    For house concert: Danny's travel expenses would need to be covered if outside of southern CA. And a tuned grand piano is required, of course...! ;)

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Funding period

- (32 days)