Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Recrystallize" Released Today!

I'm happy to announce that NOOK's long-awaited second album is now available digitally on iTunes, CD Baby, and for one week only it will be available on a "name-your-price" basis on Bandcamp!

Since it's digital-only, I'm including a liner-notes-style essay about the band and album below.

Long ago, before Barnes and Noble developed an E-reader, even before Barack Obama became president, a band called NOOK roamed the earth, more specifically in Brooklyn, even more specifically rehearsing in our drummer's living room above a tire shop on 4th Ave.

NOOK was the first real band that I formed when I arrived in New York. Kenny Warren and I were inspired by seeing bands like YeahNo, AlasNoAxis and Kneebody play at Tonic we started writing music that was heavily rock-influenced, melodic, but also informed by the raw energy of improvisation. We were lucky enough to find other like-minded musicians (friends) who were willing to rehearse a lot, learn increasingly complicated arrangements, and bring the music to life. James Windsor-Wells, Jeff Ratner and Patrick Breiner are great improvisors and also have a very open concept about how different kinds of music could relate to each other.

The band recorded the album "Captain Momentum (Himself)" in 2008 in a Brooklyn basement. After that things got complicated, Patrick moved to Wisconsin and Jeff joined the band Langhorne Slim and was on the road all the time. It became difficult to maintain the "Momentum" promised by the first album.

Kenny, James and I decided to keep the band going with new musicians, saxophonist Jeremy Viner and bassist Ben Gallina. We began working on new material but hit many bumps in the road, by this point everyone in the band had gotten much busier with various other musical projects and it became increasingly difficult to play. Then Ben was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and had to undergo cancer treatment, including chemotherapy. We were all amazed at Ben's spirit during this difficult time, I remember how he would still make the long commute from Washington Heights to Crown Heights to rehearse. We were all so happy when he made a complete recovery.

Despite all these setbacks we finally recorded a batch of new music in 2012. The album has been in a state of limbo since then, and the band itself is no longer active, but I'm happy to see that it's finally out there in the world at least in a digital form.

Everyone in the band plays great on this record. Some of my favorite parts: Kenny's soulful delivery of every melody, as well as his amazing solo on the complex rhythms of "No Time For Science"; James' deep groove and Ben's subtle bass harmonies on the middle part of "Captain Marginal"; Jeremy's blistering solo at the end of "Nation of Bears", as well as special guest Andrew Smiley's unmistakeable frenzied guitar on the same track.

The album title I took from a passage in William James' "On the Varieties of Religious Experience". In a section of the book where he discusses how religions and spiritual beliefs necessarily change and evolve over time he wrote:

"All we know is that there are dead feelings, dead ideas, and cold beliefs, and there are hot and live ones; and when one grows hot and alive within us, everything has to re-crystallize about it."

We hope you enjoy the music!

Also, a big thanks to Jonathan Anderson for his great work recording and mixing the record at Motherbrain Studios; and to Jonathan Jetter for mastering the record.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Back up

I heard this story on New Tech City today about the use of pre-recorded backing tracks in live music. It caught my attention right away because the story begins with an audience member at the SXSW festival realizing that his favorite band is playing to a backing track. A very similar things happened to me when I went to SXSW years ago, and I wrote an essay about it when I got back from the tour. Interesting to hear some musicians' thoughts about playing to tracks in this story.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spring for Music Festival

I saw a nice performance at Carnegie Hall last week by the Seattle Symphony. It was John Luther Adams' piece "Become Ocean" that made me want to go, I've been wanting to hear his music live for a long time. The concert was great, and my ticket was only $12.50! I was saddened to hear that the Spring for Music festival is ending, I wish I had known about it earlier!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Performances this week at Korzo and Shapshifter Lab

Tonight, April 8th, Old Time Musketry will be playing the at the venerable Konceptions music series curated by James Carney. This series has been going strong for several years now, and is something of a cultural institution for the Brooklyn jazz and improv scene. We play at 10:30pm. At 9pm is Andrew D'Angelo, Aaron Parks, and Dan Weiss. I don't have to tell you that THAT's gonna be interesting.

667 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn
$10 donation (all goes to musicians)

10:30pm Old Time Musketry

JP Schlegelmilch - Accordion and piano
Adam Schneit - Saxophone and Clarinet
Phil Rowan - Bass
Max Goldman - Drums and Melodica



Waver is a project for piano and laptop with electronic sound artist Michael Clemow. We've been playing together on and off for a few years now and did a recording in 2012 which is finally seeing the light of day! The music, which is completely improvised, has developed a lot through consistent rehearsal and we're excited to finally do another show.

Shapeshifter Lab
18 Whitwell Pl, Brooklyn
$8 cover, $12 with CD

8:00pm Waver

JP Schlegelmilch - piano
Michael Clemow - Laptop

9:30pm Live Footage

Mike Thies - Drums and Keyboards
Topu Lyo - 5-string electric cello + electronics

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Some solo shows coming up!

I'm excited to be doing some solo piano shows next week:

Tuesday March 25th at IBeam at 9:30pm, Greg Chudzik plays a solo electric bass set at 8:30pm.

Sunday March 30th at Centerport Methodist Church at 3pm in Centerport, NY.

I'll be playing some classical repertoire in my set for the first time, as well as some new original music and a few standards. I've been working on Schumann's Kinderszenen on and off for about a year, and I feel like I've developed a real emotional connection to this collection of pieces. Kinderszenen, or "Scenes From Childhood" consists of thirteen short pieces depicting an adult's reminiscence of childhood, each with a descriptive title. Schumann added the titles after the pieces were completed describing them as "nothing more than delicate hints for execution and interpretation".

My pianist heroes for this work are Martha Argerich and Vladimir Horowitz, and also the immortal Alfred Cortot, who brings out the strangest and most unexpected nuances in the music. Here is Cortot giving a masterclass on the profound final piece in the cycle, "The Poet Speaks". The best piano lesson ever.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

5049 Records Podcast

Over the past few weeks I've been listening to musician interviews on Jeremiah Cymerman's 5049 Records website. They are informative, inspiring, and very entertaining. Jeremiah talks to his guests about their personal histories, creative processes, and also the difficulties and frustrations involved with being an improvising musician in the 21st century, especially in New York. So far I've listened to Ellery Eskelin, Nate Wooley, Jessica Pavone, Matt Bauder, Ted Reichman, Mary Halvorson, and I can't wait to hear the Jim Black interview that he just posted! Check this stuff out. And check out Jeremiah's music, too.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Old Time Musketry performs at Spectrum tonight!

Looking forward to playing tonight with Old Time Musketry at Flin van Hemmen's Canyons concert series at Spectrum in the lower east side.

At 9:30 will be Shirts & Skins

Kenny Warren, trumpet
Will McEvoy, bass
Flin van Hemmen, drums
Patrick Breiner, Tenor saxophone & clarinet

10:30, Old Time Musketry

Adam Schneit, Saxophone & clarinet
JP Schlegelmilch, piano & accordion
Phil Rowan, bass
Max Goldman, drums

Should be a great night! Looking forward to playing the amazing Steinway D they have there.

Monday, February 17, 2014

You give experimental music a bad name (bad name)

The NY Times ran a brief profile on the Stone recently titled "In the Church of Difficult Music." Whew, that's sure to drum up some more business for the last bastion of experimental music in Manhattan! It's true that a lot of the music played at the Stone is not for everyone, but I really take issue with typecasting it all as "difficult", a word too often thrown at contemporary music. Why can't they try a word like "adventurous"? Also, there's such a wide variety of music at the Stone, they make it sound like every night there's some crazy unlistenable avant garde ceremony taking place.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hello blog my old friend, I've come to write on you again.

Denizens of the interweb, witness my triumphant return to the blog-o-sphere!

So what's been going on since my last post in.....September 2013???

First and most importantly: I GOT MARRIED!

Secondly: I MOVED! Alas, the sweetheart deal I had on my Greenpoint apartment couldn't last forever, especially with the neighborhood becoming more and more Williamsburg-ized. We're now living happily in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. So many musicians in this hood! Adam and Phil from Old Time Musketry live blocks away, Jesse Stacken lives down the street, and I bump into more people on a daily basis all the time.

But some musical activity has also been percolating! I have a recording coming out soon with a new project called Waver, a collaboration with sound artist Michael Clemow. We've been working on an improvisational project for piano and live-sampling electronics on and off for a year or so. Mike samples what I play in real time and manipulates the sound through his computer and sonic adventures ensue. The music ranges from cinematic ambient soundscapes to intense bursts of fractured electronic sound. Stay tuned for news about a CD release show!

Old Time Musketry went into the studio in November to record our second album, the long awaited follow up to our critically acclaimed first album, Different Times.

I'm also planning to start doing some solo piano shows again, and for the first time ever I'm going to include some classical pieces!