I first fell in love with Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” as a high school student in Missouri. As a trombonist who also loved Star Wars, it was a perfect match. Little did I know how influential it would become for me. As I went through college and studied more classical music, I began to understand how it became such a groundbreaking work that spawned an entire genre of film music. After moving to Los Angeles, I began my career in orchestration and again and again “The Planets” was always a reference score for any musical situation. The harmony straddled romantic and jazz languages. It's massive scale showed the way forward for the largest of film orchestrations. When I had the opportunity to help write some additional music on the Star Wars: Battlefront videogames, I did an even deeper dive into Holst's harmony and textures. It was truly the musical equivalent of the bible. In 2017, I attended a performance of “The Planets” at the Hollywood Bowl. That night it all clicked. I was looking for material to adapt for a followup big band record, and I immediately knew what I had to do. Reimagine “The Planets” for modern jazz orchestra.
Mars - Demo
If you don't already know me, you may be wondering, "Why does this guy think he has the right to mess with Holst?" A bit about me: I'm currently a busy Hollywood orchestrator and arranger. I help other composers realize their scores on paper. My body of work can be found here. That's great and all, but why jazz? Well, that just happens to be my first love. I have a Masters Degree in jazz arranging and have been a prolific big band composer in Los Angeles since I moved here in 2007. "From There to Here," my first big band album by the Budman/Levy Orchestra (with co-leader Alex Budman) was released on OA2 Records in 2012. Also, as the former lead trombonist with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, I've paid my dues on the bandstand, as well. This project is the perfect fit for me, combining my extensive love and knowledge of the orchestral world, along with my first love of large ensemble jazz.
Here's the game plan:
Step 1 - Write 50 minutes of genre-expanding Classical/Jazz/Latin fusion. DONE!
Step 2 - Program a world premiere - DONE! I'll be performing the entire suite with the University of Miami's Frost Concert Jazz Band on March 5th, 2019. Big thanks to 3-time Grammy winner, John Daversa, for the invitation.
Step 3 - Put together a budget for the studio recording. That's where Kickstarter comes in.
Step 4 - Record my Los Angeles band in a professional studio.
Step 5 - Edit, mix, and master the record.
Step 6 - Release this project to the public!
Jupiter - Demo
Quite frankly, producing these types of recordings is very expensive. I have already self-produced my first record on OA2, "From There to Here." It took nearly two years from recording to release, mostly due to budget constraints from self financing between Alex and myself. I'm hoping I can speed up the process with your help. By the way, if you haven't heard my first record yet, please purchase it or listen on the major streaming services. I'm very proud of it, and the album received very positive reviews.
Please know that your donations will go directly into the recording budget to help pay the musicians on AFM Union contract, as well as the cost for studio time.
Risks and challenges
The budget for a project of this scope is very costly. I am only asking for $10K to help start the project, as the rest will come out of my own pocket. Anything over the initial request would go directly back into the budget. Due to the expense of this undertaking, please understand that the proposed timeline may take longer than stated. I hope to have the album finished by the end of the year, but I still have a baby to feed, and a mortgage to pay!
Here is how the costs will break down:
Studio costs for 2 days of lockout recording - $4000
Musician costs - 18 players - $8000
Mixing and Mastering - $4000
CD Reproduction and Record Label Costs - $2000
Publicity - $5000
- (58 days)