08.12.18Playing for a Living
It’s not an easy thing to do as countless musicians know...but thankfully I’ve come into a period of my life when things seem to come together, even when the outlook is uncertain.
The best advice I ever received from a professional drummer was from the great John Riley. He asked me, “How do you make it as a musician in New York?" Then he immediately answered his own rhetorical question: “You stay in New York." Packed into that nugget of wisdom is the truth that being here over time gradually pays dividends. You meet people. You work on your craft. You meet more people. You keep working on your craft. You get an opportunity here and there to show your stuff, and you try not to waste those opportunities. You keep building on the solid foundation that is your own musicianship. The first key is that foundation, the second key is the building, always building and improving and believing that it will work out. The process never ends!
02.12.182017 Recap and Looking ahead to 2018
2017 was a fantastic year, another successful year for The Midtown Men, the band I tour with that features the four original Jersey Boys from Broadway. We got to perform in many great venues throughout the country, including with the Boston Pops and the Salt Lake City Symphony. 2018 has more of that in store, performing with orchestras, with the live touring band, and hitting cities from coast to coast.
Another gratifying experience from 2017 was getting to perform in Quebec for the first time. I had the privilege to play with jazz vocalist Nancy Harms. If you don't know about her, check her out! Her records are terrific. We played in Quebec City and Montreal. I ate a Montreal bagel for the first time - it was a special moment.
Another great experience from 2017 that will spill over into 2018, is the making of Eugenia Choe's second trio album. I really feel privileged to play in this trio with her and the great Danny Weller on bass. We had an amazing tour in Korea in 2016 after the release of her first album, and I think this new one sounds even better. It will be released this year on the Steeplechase label. Look out for it!
Another thing I've have the pleasure of doing is continuing to work with many local artists and organizations in New York City, which I will continue to do this year. Shout out to Park Avenue Synagogue, St. Joseph's Church of Greenwich Village, Richard X Bennet, The Polka Brothers, Duane Park, Matt Parker, Story Pirates, New York Film Academy, and Common Quartet. I'm so lucky to get to work with all these wonderful groups and organizations. It's truly fulfilling to be able to make a living at what I do and to have such a diverse array of music in my life.
11.22.16Upcoming WYATT shows
I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about an exciting show coming up for WYATT. We will be performing at BAM Cafe, a wonderful venue in Brooklyn that showcases a wide range of current music. Here is a link to the show for info and tickets!
In addition to that, we have a couple of fun shows coming up at Rockwood Music Hall, one of our most frequent haunts to workshop and present new music. We are there tomorrow night, 11/23/16, at 9pm, and again on December 13, also at 9pm. Hope to see you!
10.20.16Korea Tour, two new albums
Eugenia Choe Trio had an amazing tour in South Korea! We performed at the 2016 Jarasum International Jazz Festival, along with such notable artists as Caetano Veloso, Manu Katche, and Spanish Harlem Orchestra! It was an honor and a thrill to be a part of such a prestigious festival. In addition to that concert, we had 3 other shows in Seoul, at All That Jazz, Changdong Paltform 61, and I Have a Dream. These were all great venues and our audiences were so supportive. It was a dream, and we hope to be back there next year! We were there promoting Eugenia Choe's debut trio album "Magic Light," for Steeplechase Recordings, a record of which I'm very proud to have been a part.
Speaking of records, "The Hive", by Common Quartet, has been released! We are thrilled to share the music with everyone. Hear one track from each of those albums on my "Listen" page. Hope you like it! Click the "Buy" link to find out more and purchase the entire thing!
In addition to all this, I've still been busy touring with The Midtown Men, all over the United States. Next stop is California in a couple weeks! I really enjoy playing with those guys - the music is classic and the show is super high energy!
Well that's all for now, cheers!
02.01.16New Year, new horizons
Wow, what a great year I had in 2015. Played all over the country with The Midtown Men, including the legendary Beacon Theater, recorded 2 new albums which will be released this year, and got engaged to my lovely girlfriend Eugenia!
2016 will be more good times, continuing to tour with The Midtown Men, getting married, and releasing the debut albums of Common Quartet and Eugenia Choe! Eugenia's album will be released in April on Steeplechase Records! We are very excited about that. I will keep you posted on the release of the Common Quartet album. Some fun things going on currently: I just played for the first time at 61 Local's Acoustic/Electric series, a great new jazz series curated by Brian Whiton. I had the pleasure of performing the music of Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus with the inimitable Cat Toren! Cat played Fender Rhodes, the great Michael Blake on tenor sax, and the wily Scott Colberg on bass.
Also, this Thursday I'm excited to be performing at B.B. King's Blues Club with the lovely Joelle Lurie. Joelle's voice is sultry yet powerful. Amazing band led by bassist Ben Gallina.
Also on the horizon, WYATT plans to record a new single! Keep an ear out!
That's all for now, more to come!
07.20.15Played at The Beacon!
Wow, what a thrill it was for me to play at the legendary Beacon Theater in New York, with The Midtown Men, on June 20, a month ago today. It was quite the busy spring and I'm just now having some time to reflect on that concert and other fun gigs I've recently played.
The Midtown Men finished their 5th national tour with that very special show, which featured special guests Petula Clark, who sang Downtown with us, Shirley Alston Reeves, who sang Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Lala Brooks, who sang Da Doo Ron Ron, and Gene Cornish of The Rascals, with whom we played Good Lovin'! What a treat it has been to play this historic music with such talented people.
In June I also got to bring my band, Alex Wyatt Group, to one of the coolest new jazz clubs in the West Village, Whynot Jazz Room. A great new addition to the already vibrant west village scene, Whynot has that classic intimate underground feel, just down the street from legendary clubs like The Village Vanguard and Smalls. The show was a lot fun and the turnout was great.
I've had some nice down time this week, and I'm gearing up for some more debut performances in August. August 2nd will be my first time performing at Cornelia Street Cafe, another Greenwich Village jazz institution! I'll be playing two sets with the lovely vocalist Julie Benko. Then, on August 9th, Alex Wyatt Group will make it's debut at Silvana, a great new uptown jazz and world music venue. Following that, on August 13, I'll be playing percussion with a fabulous new music group, Curtis Stewart Ensemble. We'll be performing at The Concert Space at Beethoven Pianos. Curtis plays violin and composes avant-garde music for violin, keyboards, live electronics, percussion and vocals. Very exciting stuff! Finally, on August 26, WYATT will perform at the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) outdoor concert series! This is a prestigious series which we are honored to take part in. Follow my Facebook page for updates on all these shows! Thanks for reading!!
05.12.15Three recordings in the can!!
I'm very please to announce that all three of the new records that I got to be a part of, that are being released hopefully this year, have been recorded and mixed. They all sound amazing and I'm so excited to eventually share them with you. Now they all just have to go through the final mastering process. Release dates are still up in the air, as the bandleaders figure out how and when they will be released. The first record is the new Glue Gun Optimism album, which promises to inspire thoughtful moshing. It is ambient jazz meets prog rock, with very intelligently thought out compositions by Ed Rosenberg, and rockin' playing by Ed as well as Simon Jermyn on bass, Justin Carroll on keys, and James Hirschfield on trombone. The next is the Common Quartet record! (We're keeping the name) This has been a little while in coming, as we have been a band for a few years now. Very excited to release this collective's collection of music! Seth Trachy on tenor, Nitzan Gavrieli on piano, Pablo Menares on bass. The last is Eugenia Choe's debut piano trio album, which was just mixed and mastered yesterday, and sounds fantastic. I love her compositions and playing, and I think we got a really strong band sound. Danny Weller did an amazing job on bass.
Please look and listen for these releases! More updates to come!
In other news, The Midtown Men have been going strong to say the least, touring all over the country! Next 3 stops: The Detroit Symphony, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and our touring band show in Austin, Texas.
I'm also very excited for the return of Alex Wyatt Group, my sextet! We are playing at Silvana on August 9. Details and invitations coming soon.
01.28.15UPCOMING RELEASES, SHOWS
Here are some projects about which I'm very excited.
Most recently, in my performing career, I've the great opportunity to tour with The Midtown Men, a band led by the original four members of Broadway's Jersey Boys! We've played in cities like Cincinnati, Napa, Honolulu, Philadelphia, New York, and many more. It has been a great experience, and we have many more shows coming up, in cities all over the country. Visit themidtownmen.com for the full tour list.
In terms of recording, I'm very proud of the three releases I was a part of in 2014. Those were Hyungjin Choi's Tales of A Dreamer, Double Down's Make Your Move, and WYATT's Here Comes Everybody. I felt I played a creative role in all three albums, in addition to laying down the drum tracks. Hyungjin's record is a beautiful scape of lush compositions and fantastic improvising. She is a great pianist and composer. Double Down's record has lots of blistering, soulful energy. A mix of big band-style swing, blues, and rock. Finally, the WYATT record is a carefully crafted indie-pop/rock e.p., with such strong song-writing and vocal harmony. Check those out on my Listen and Purchase page!
Coming up in 2015, I am very excited about the impending release of the first Common Quartet record! We will be changing the name of the band, but have not settled on a name yet. Also, Glue Gun Optimism will be releasing a new album of Ed Rosenberg's awesome compositions. Google "Glue Gun Optimism" to find out more, and visit my Purchase page to buy our first record, The Warming. Finally, I'm thrilled to be going into the studio soon with Eugenia Choe, to record her debut trio album, with Danny Weller on bass.
I will try to update these news posts more often, to keep you informed of shows and releases. As always, you can find me almost every Monday night at Vodou Bar for the jazz jam session, and 2-3 times a month at Duane Park, the east village\'s premier burlesque jazz and supper club.
01.22.14New Year News
Happy New Year! 2013 was action packed, and laid the groundwork for some exciting results this year. In the fall, I went into the studio with 3 different groups, WYATT, Hyung-Jin Choi Group, and Double Down! All 3 of these recording projects are being mixed and mastered as I speak, and they are all set to be released in 2014. Very excited about all 3. This winter brought my first gig playing drums for a full run at a reputable Off-Broadway theater, the York Theatre Company. It was a great show about the life of Mrs. Cole Porter, Linda Porter. The story was told through her eyes and all of the music was comprised of Cole Porter songs, arranged by Gary William Friedman. The star and co-creator of the show was Stevie Holland. It was a great experience and I hope to work at the York again.
This year, I hope to have many more playing opportunities, especially with WYATT and the Alex Wyatt Group. Already, I have some exciting shows coming up, including my debut at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2, with a group I love, called SALO. Come check it out, on February 9! See my gigs page for more details on upcoming shows. That's all for now, thanks, and I hope you are enjoying the site and 2014 so far!
07.04.13Independence Day Update
So far this year has brought many rewarding opportunities to make music with my friends and colleagues. On Friday nights, I've still been playing at Duane Park for their burlesque show, which includes such talented dancers and singers, and a killer band.
Recently I've had the opportunity to record with a good friend, Hyung Jin Choi, a brilliant pianist and composer. We played as a trio with Pablo Menares on bass, and as a quartet with Yacine Boulares on soprano saxophone. The initial recordings sound great, but it is still a work in progress. We are due to go back into the studio soon to record more songs. Hyung Jin is currently raising money to complete the album, and if you wish to help out, you can donate any amount at this website: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-my-debut-album-tales-of-a-dreamer.
The band WYATT that I play in with my brother and sister also has had a great year. We recently played a packed, exciting show at BAM Cafe, on June 8. June also brought us many other fun gigs; Union Hall, L.I.C. Bar, Bar Matchless, as well as two shows upstate with our friends The Sharrows.
Another musician that I'm excited to be collaborating with is trumpeter Josh Deutsch, in whose new quintet I play, with Danny Fox, Peter Brendler, and Dylan Heaney. We got to share a bill in April at Launchpad in Brooklyn, with my sextet, which was so much fun. WYATT also shared a bill with the quintet, at L.I.C. Bar's outdoor summer series. Good times, good vibes!
Looking ahead to the rest of this summer, I'm excited to be playing for the first time at Brooklyn's great new jazz and contemporary music venue Shapeshifter Lab, with the Hyung Jin Choi Group. Later this month, I'm excited to be drumming for Volleygirls, the new musical by my friend Eli Bolin, as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. In August I'll have two shows at Joe's Pub, one of my favorite venues. The first is with my long time friend, music director/keyboardist Mark Fifer, and the second is with singer-songwriter Blake Whyte. Both should be great fun. Then, at the end of August, it's vacation time! France! With my amazing girlfriend Eugenia and my loving family!
Well that's about all the news I've got right now, thanks for reading!
01.06.13Happy New Year, lots going on!!
It's a new year and I have a lot to look forward this year, and a lot to be thankful for in 2012. The most recent development that I'm very proud of is the release of a new record called "The Warming," by a band I play in called Glue Gun Optimism. GGO, for short, is led by saxophonist and composer Ed Rosenberg, whom I met in the band Salo. Ed has created a series of compositions based on specific scales. All the melodies are within that scale, and as a rule, all improvisation uses only the notes from that scale. It creates a sound that is refreshingly cohesive for a jazz ensemble. As for the grooves, they are a mix of free ambient improvisation, and hardcore progressive rock. It's an exciting and intense sound which is made enjoyable by the strength of the melody and the fun of the unexpected. You can link to the album for preview and purchase on my Purchase page!
The other recent event was my tour with Rudy Linka in Europe in November. It was mostly in the Czech Republic, as well as a show in Croatia, another in Italy, and one more in Austria. It was a good professional experience. All I had to worry about was trying to make good music every night for three weeks. I found that with the same band, playing the same music for that many nights in a row, a sense of freedom and relaxed control seep in that is unlike anything I can get in New York, playing with a different band every other night. That was the best thing I took from the tour. The beer was the second best.
This year will begin for me with a series of gigs across genres. Two musicals, a handful of jazz gigs, a show with my family indie band Wyatt, and most importantly for me, two shows with my jazz group! January 23rd and February 25th, first at The Garage, and second at Sycamore. I'm really looking forward to these shows. I'm hoping I can keep a momentum up with this band, stay inspired to compose, and get more attention for my debut record. Well, if you're still with me, thanks for reading! Ciao!
11.04.12Nice review from Brent Black
This review, while spotted with grammatical errors, in the most positive one I've received.
In other news, Hurrican Sandy wiped out our Sycamore show, but we shall return anew in February. Stay tuned. Thanks!
I'm so excited to finally be releasing this album of which I'm so proud! The official "street date" is Tuesday, September 4, but the CD and digital album is currently available for sale through my label's website. See the link. This has been such an incredibly time-consuming, rewarding, learning process for me. To be steering the ship as bandleader for an album from start to finish was a new experience for me. I feel very blessed to have this wonderful band and to have 3 shows coming up, including the album release concert Thursday, September 6! Thanks to all my supporters, listeners, friends, family, and fans! 'Twill be a great night on Thursday!
11.23.11New Tracks Up From My New Record
Visit my Listen page to hear two full tracks from my new album which is not released yet. You can also click the link to my electronic press kit to hear the full album and learn more about the band. Thanks! I couldn't be more excited to get this out to the public. Working with these musicians and the wonderful engineers and photographer and artist has been such a blessing. You can also visit my Links page for some video footage of the recording session.
06.28.11Busy recording month
Just finished 3 recording sessions, the first that of Nitzan Gavrieli, which may or may not be released. It was a trio recording with Chris Tordini at the bass. You can hear much of it on Nitzan's website which you can get to from my links page. I'm very happy with it! The 2nd was that of Masa Yamamoto, who sadly will be moving back to Japan soon. But the session went great, and I hope Masa will release this in Japan!! The third is my own record, which was recorded less than two weeks ago! It hasn't been mixed yet, but I'm really excited about what has been recorded, and I can't wait to get it into the hands of you listeners! Stay tuned.
06.28.11WYATT EP IS OUT
Here it is folks. It's been out for a month, so this is behind, but be sure to check out the site and the music! Really proud of this record!
04.23.11New Recording for Sale
Thanks so much, first of all, for helping WYATT reach and even exceed our financial goal for Kickstarter! We will be able to fund the rest of our costs for our new album!
Also, a great band of which I am a former member, has just released two EP's, on which I played drums. They are called My Cousin, The Emperor, and although I'm no longer with them, I want to share this album with everyone because I'm really proud of how it sounds and I want the band to have crazy success! This link and two more are also listed on my Purchase page. Thanks!
03.18.11WYATT kickstarter page, and more!
HELLO OUT THERE! THIS IS MY NEW SITE!! HAHAHAHA!!!!
First, thanks for visiting, second, go ahead and click the link at the bottom right to the WYATT fundraiser page. The one that says launch related site. All the details are there, but basically our new EP is coming out soon and we need a little dough to finish things up. Give if you can, but check out the page either way, and thanks!
In other news, I'm very excited to play the rock musical Tommy next week, and I have some exciting jazz gigs in early April. Check my gig page for details.
Also, I'm in the midst of a contest of sorts with a singer I play with, Blake Whyte. We're trying to win a Gibson song competition. We have been in the studio for the last month off and on, and if we win this contest, we get 4 days of a fantasy camp at the Gibson Showroom, where industry people will work with us and what not. Oh, and we'll get prize money. Here's the url so that you can "like" us for this! You have to copy and paste this. Thanks!