17th Unniversary Suite

This Valentine’s Day we’re celebrating
Susan & John’s 17th Unniversary!

Recently, I was commissioned to write some original music for Susan & John’s 17th “Unniversary”. Susan (aka “Aunt Mickey”) is a dear friend of my partner Anne’s family (Anne is featured on viola!). Susan is a flutist with a great sense of humor who loves everything from Jazz to Experimental Improvisation to New Music and anything deemed whacky by ordinary standards!

Movement I the “Scorpio Serenade” (title suggested by Aunt Mickey) starts on a bit of a reflective note and somber tone. This waltz (again per the suggestion of Aunt Mickey) leaves some space to think back on how difficult a year 2020 was for most of us. Susan and John who had some especially terrifying, exciting & life threatening events transpire. On top of the fact that we are a bit stuck in the home and stuck in the moment, as represented by the flute’s continuing ostinato line… It is a bit somber because were are unable to be in each other’s physical presence to enjoy or celebrate life’s moments together. But as you will experience during the solo section, we are passionate none the less!

As we keep moving forward with hopeful energies, we find ourselves in Movement II, the “Joyous Dance”! Here the foreground cello and viola parts represent the two souls of our lovers, intertwined in a celebratory dance. The flute soloing in the background represents the pure energy of their joy radiating off of the dancing souls. Special thanks to Iva Ugrčić for her spirited flute contributions to this track!

In Movement III, a “Tapestry of Moments”, we find the friends and family who make up the small irreplaceable, separate moments of our lives sewn together into the single, unbroken, continuous, forward moving melody that is our existence here on this earth. Our life as a “tapestry of moments”. Aunt Mickey requested that I involve a number of good friends and so I reached to everyone to help me form the “17th Unniversary Unsemble”! If you listen closely, you can hear individual melody notes played by many separate players which have been carefully pieced together to form this single, minimalist melody line. There is also a surprise element to this musical, life collage.

Susan and John, we hope you enjoy it & can’t wait to debut it for you during the Zoom celebration this Valentine’s Day!

Happy 17th Unniversary to Susan and John,
And a big special thanks to everyone who contributed their musical talents to this project,
~ BCG 

performance credits listed on bandcamp: https://grimmusik.bandcamp.com/album/17th-unniversary-suite

9/20 | Musique Concrète élégie “They’re Still Here” by BC Grimm now available for download, honoring loved ones who’ve passed


They’re Still Here” Liner Notes

Composed, Recorded and Premiered in August of 2018 by BC Grimm (b 1986) for the 2018 Madison New Music Festival. All instruments performed by BC Grimm. Available for Download on September 20th, 2019 to mark one year since Grandma Joyce’s passing. This release is also in remembrance my Grandma Nerren who passed away this summer, her 97th birthday would have been on September 17th. Much love to both my Grimm and Nerren families.

[About the Work]
Those who have passed away continue to pop up in the everyday moments of our lives. This work explores the modern dichotomy of navigating grief and mourning whilst carrying on with your work day and life obligations. You’ll hear field recordings of my day-to-day experience fused with instrumental composition and sound design. These “scenes” reference and even recreate real life moments I had in 2018 while in the wake of a series of close friend and family deaths. Many scenes are embedded with inside jokes or nods to the loved ones who passed. In addition, some scenes imagine what may be taking place for the dying at the transition between this world and the next. I felt that I didn’t give myself permission to truly process my grief publicly when this was all happening – how many of us are quietly carrying around these feelings at the same time?

A month after the premier of this work, I felt like I’d had a chance to process and contextualize my feelings and was scheduled to perform the piece a second time on 9/20/2018. Ironically, that was the day my Grandma Joyce passed away and the themes of this piece played out in front of me once again, in real time. I received “the call” right before leaving for work in the morning and had 3 jobs to work that day… run to the next run to the next run to the next. But on that day, I told everyone of the news I’d just heard and what I was going through internally. It helped me to get through that day without breaking down. I just couldn’t believe it had happened again, like clockwork. I’d like to thank Taralie Peterson, who performed a set of free improvisation as a duet with me that night. It was the first time that whole day I was able to let out and explore my feelings about my Grandmother’s passing.

[Dedications]
The 2018 composition, recording and performance of “They’re Still Here” is dedicated in loving memory to Patrick Kelly, Ross Sutherin & Brian White-Stout and to the Grimm, Sutherin, Kelly, Morrow, White-stout & Brethauer families. I’d like to dedicate the 2019 public releasing of this music to my Grandma Joyce & Grandma Nerren, and to my Nerren and Grimm families. Both grandmas passed away in the last year since the making of this piece. I miss you both very much and think of you often when I play cello now.

[Album Art]
A special heartfelt thank you to one of my Art heroines growing up, Aunt Jean (daughter of Grandma Joyce) who made the Album Art for this release. I’m so glad we were able to collaborate on this special project.

[On Listening]
“They’re Still Here” is meant to be listened to and contemplated in one continuous sitting. Therefore the movements haven’t been separated, to facilitate the best listening experience (as it was performed live).


PROGRAM NOTES

[00:00] SCENE I “Passing of a Friend, The Work Day Begins”
Tenor Viola da Gamba with field recording

[02:31] SCENE II “News Cycle On Fire: Rbt. Mueller’s Lonely Russia Probe”
Gaohu Cantonese fiddle with foley, field recording, 1940’s radio broadcast, singing bowls, violoncello, dizi flute, bawu flute, xiao flute, sheng mouth organ

[04:25] SCENE III “Do I Tell The Children? No, Teach On.”
Violoncello with field recording, pipa lute, tenor viola da gamba, contracello

[06:27] SCENE IV “Fluorescence Hums The Harmonic Order of Nature”
APC40 (electric hum in Just Intonation)

[10:31] SCENE V “Morning Routine, Scrambled Brains”
Field Recording with foley

[13:00] SCENE VI “A Call With My Brother, Wise Counsel”
*Sarangi-Cello in pipa tuning with claps, cajon, Tyler’s motorcycle

[14:55] SCENE VII “Ask The Corn Spirits”
Bawu flute with gaohu fiddle

[17:28] SCENE VIII “Hermie’s Chimes, They’re Still Here”
Guqin Zither (tuned to Hermie’s chimes) with pipa lute, gaohu fiddle, dizi flute

[21:07] SCENE IX “Funeral Grave”
solo Violoncello

[22:22] SCENE X “Temple of Ancestors”
Sarangi-Cello in pipa tuning with pipa lute, synthesis

[24:29] SCENE XI “Transfigurations”
Guqin zither with pipa lute, Russian folk harp, singing bowls

[27:27] SCENE XII “Schoolyard in Snow; Children Play On”
Tenor Viola da Gamba, APC40 (electric hum in equal temperament), field recordings,
foley

  • “sarangi-cello” (d, g, a, d’) is tenor-violin (normally G, d, a, e’ or G, d, a, d’) tuned in pipa lute tuning with alternating wound and plain gut strings. I use a Nakatani-Kobo bow to help create a ‘sarangi-style’ on cello. The bowed Sarangi of North India and Pakistan is normally tuned to Sa=E (e, b, e’). I have my cello modeled after this tuning but a wholestep lower where Sa=D, where my guruji pt. Sugato Nag tunes his sitar. The sarangi has 3 melodic strings and the cello has 4, so I have tried a number of different tuning schemes and have settled on the Pipa Chinese lute tuning – as it is the most settled and advantageous one I have tried: d wound gut, g plain gut, a wound gut, d’ plain gut or silk. Alternate tunings I have used: (1) d, a, g, d’ (2) d, g, g, d’ (3) d, a, a, d’

10/21 | “Emergence” CD Release Show w/ Invisible Guy Trio (SF)

Sat, 10/21 | No Cover 630-930p @ The Mason Lounge

416 S Park St, Madison, WI

INVISIBLE GUY TRIO (SF)

BRENNAN CONNORS & STRAY PASSAGE (Mad)

↑ CD Release via setola di maiale (Italy)

Brennan Connors & Stray Passage have a new CD “Emergence” coming out this October on Italian label, setola di maile!

http://www.setoladimaiale.net/catalogue/view/SM3300

“Their sets embrace plenty of sinuous melody and conversational interplay,
but can just as easily dive into minimalism and dissonance.” ~ Tone Madison

Experimental Jazz trio Brennan Connors & Stray Passage has been performing in Madison for the past 5 years, exciting listeners with a range of sonic capabilities.  Their improvised music is directly linked to the atmosphere in the room and energy of the audience.  The listener is such a crucial element in shaping the band’s sound that they recorded this album in front of a live studio audience – expertly captured by master engineer Steve Gotcher at Audio for the Arts.  Listeners will experience a jazz trio that embraces both free and structured improvisation, original compositions, groove based experiments, and sound exploration. The breadth of a performance ranges from focused minimalism to fiery high energy music, all while maintaining a sense of narrative organization and compelling ensemble interplay.

The group is led by Brennan Connors on tenor and soprano saxophones.  Geoff Brady orchestrates drum and percussion textures, while Brian Grimm rounds out the trio bowing cello, contra-cello, and electric bass.

We are ecstatic and grateful to setola di maiale records in Italy for officially releasing our first album!


We’ll be joined by a fantastic drummer & friend of mine, Hamir Atwal (San Francisco), with his trio Invisible Guy.  The group features Michael Coleman on keyboard & Ben Goldberg on clarinet.  We are very glad to share our CD release show bill with another trio that explores the dynamics of free-improv in full range!

“Mr. Goldberg is a clarinetist of range and curiosity.” – The New York Times

Ben Goldberg’s Bay Area-based trio looks forward and backward at the same time, creating both nostalgic reveries and modern statements. Goldberg is known for drawing on his Jewish roots and radical versions of Klezmer music and his clarinet work is always focused with an endearing lyrical quality. Pianist Michael Coleman leaps between stride riffs and electronic splatter. Drummer Hamir Atwall provides everything from a swinging undercurrent to a clattery rush.

As a trio, Ben, Michael, and Hamir are in strict pursuit of beautiful melody. Michael Coleman says: “Melody is the knife that cuts through to truth. Then there is the importance of breath, and personal expression.” Reviewing a 2014 concert, Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune said the group is “an unusually focused ensemble inventing a musical syntax for itself.”

From 1992, when his group New Klezmer Trio released Masks and Faces and “kicked open the door for radical experiments with Ashkenazi roots music” (SF Chronicle) to 2013’s simultaneous release of Subatomic Particle Homesick Blues (featuring Joshua Redman) and Unfold Ordinary Mind (featuring Nels Cline), which the New York Times noted for “a feeling of joyous research into the basics of polyphony and collective improvising,” clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg has shaped a career through relentless pursuit of musical truth across many genres and styles, resulting in the Downbeat Critics’ Poll naming him the #1 Rising Star Clarinetist in both 2011 and 2013. In 2015 Ben released a recording of his songcycle Orphic Machine , sung by Carla Kihlstedt and performed by an allstar nine piece band including Nels Cline, Greg Cohen, and Ches Smith. The LA Times called Orphic Machine “knotted and occasionally spooky composition marked by dazzling interplay.” All Music Guide says “Orphic Machine is wildly ambitious and sophisticated, but also graceful, emotionally honest, and accessible. It makes the profound embraceable and, as a result, is a masterpiece.” Ben currently composes for and leads the following groups:
Unfold Ordinary Mind ; Go Home ; Ben Goldberg School ; and Ben Goldberg Trio with Greg Cohen and Kenny Wollesen.

Drummer/Percussionist Hamir Atwal is a Berklee College of Music graduate who
has taught at Music Academy International, and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Hamir is an active endorser of DREAM Cymbals. Hamir has played with saxophonists Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, and Grant Stewart; Bassist/Producer Bill Laswell; and clarinetist Ben Goldberg.

Michael Coleman is a pianist, improviser and composer currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. He has had the pleasure of playing with many great musicians and recording with some of his favorite bands and people. Apart from leading his own groups (Beep!, CavityFang, Young Nudist), Michael has toured the world with Chris Cohen, tUnEyArDs,
Sean Hayes, Miles Kurosky and Jug Free America.


 

8/4 | Brennan Connors & Stray Passage @ Cafe Coda

Madison Jazz trio Brennan Connors & Stray Passage will perform tonight at Cafe Coda from 8-11pm.  The cover is $10.  We’re very excited to play a club which is specifically meant for listening to Jazz!  If you are free, come hang with us.

Cafe Coda
113 W Dayton St., Madison, Wisconsin 53703

 ** Keep an ear out for our upcoming CD, “Emergence”, coming out this fall on Italian labelsetola di maile |http://www.setoladimaiale.net/catalogue/view/SM3300