Sunday, March 19, 2017

Post by me, the writer

Hello everyone out there. I know most of you are super busy running around and doing your work, your contribution to the world. I hope that no matter where you come from, you can understand the benefits that music and art have on the world. Not every body can make a living out of art or music, but everyone gets to benefit from it. This is why I love music and art so much, because no matter what, you can keep learning and keep benefiting from art or music. I hope that people will keep listening to music, because it is good for you! It activates all parts of your brain. Look it up! We can all dive a little deeper and learn about what kinds of music or art that we appreciate the most. Thank you for reading!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

(2-10-2017)Organ trio performs smooth styles of the 50's and 60's for Denverites

On the 10th of February, 2017, a “jazz organ trio” consisting of musicians Jeff Jenkins on electric organ, Todd Reid on drum set and Sean Mc Gowan on electric guitar performed for general recital students in attendance at the University of Colorado in Denver, Colorado. The group played songs that sounded like the music of organ jazz groups in the 1950’s and 60’s. The group opened by playing a couple smooth and sophisticated jazz style sets: with Latin style drums, signature “Hammond B3 organ’ sound, and light yet technical guitar style all combining to create a platform for seemingly ever-shifting improvisation and accompaniment. The group traded solos and the players all presented a highly cultivated precision with each upbeat (as well as each down beat, although this Latin rhythm style definitely accentuated the upbeats!)
Organist Jenkins talked about the old “Hammond B3” organs, that were created in the 1950’s and weighed around 500 pounds. The organ setup that he used is actually a digital emulation of the organ. This may be by use of a digital audio workstation and midi technology, or by use of new organ emulation technology. The original organs worked by using big “tone wheels” that you would have to keep oiled up every few months. The organs used drop bars that would trigger the sound of each note. The style and percussive nature of these drop bars were adjustable and could be used to sculpt the sound in certain ways. The original sound of these organs was said to be pioneered by Jimmy Smith, who embraced the percussive qualities of organs. This led to a more modern “Be-pop” sound that utilized an added bass element to the piano/organist’s sound.

 Jenkins also talked about his pedals which consisted of an expression pedal as well as a traditional organ bass pedal. He could control the volume with the expression pedal and play bass notes with the organ pedals. Jenkins explained how one could fuse these two pedals to physically emulate the sound of a plucked bass with one’s feet at the same time as playing organ with one’s hands. This technique was amazing and showed a certain virtuosity to Jenkin’s playing style. Drummer Todd Reid also commented on the importance of the correct level of attack for each bass drum note when accenting these plucked bass emulations. Jenkins also discussed the importance of the pairing of the125 pound “Lesley” speaker model with the Hammond B3 sound. This is important to achieving that deep bass sound. The organ trio was a revolutionary pairing of instruments at the time, and still brings joy to many players and jazz lovers alike. This trio was no different and the musicians brought a high level of technicality to their performance as well as professional etiquette while doing so. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Levitt Denver Pavilion Executive Director Speaks to CU Students



            On the 7th of February, 2017, Levitt Pavilion Denver founder and executive director Chris Zachar visited CU Denver students and talked about the new Denver concert pavilion that will open summer of 2017. Also accompanying him were partners Andy Thomas, (a Denver musician, Levitt partner and music journalist) as well as Chase Wessel, (a CU Alumni, Levitt Partner and former sound person at the Conan O’ Brien television show). The three gentlemen talked about new city plans for an all ages venue in Denver’s own Ruby Hill Park. The venue is projected to have 50 free shows and 30 plus paid concerts featuring touring acts as well as locals.
The venue is part of the Levitt foundation, which has similar venues around the nation. Levitt’s website states that “free Levitt concerts will be presented in 21 towns and cities. Each celebrates its own community and presents high caliber entertainment featuring a rich array of music genres.” (Levitt.com).  As Zachar discussed the future pavilion’s plans, he stated that the goal of Levitt Denver was to make arts more accessible to the surrounding area of Ruby Hill Park. The Levitt foundation funds cities and builds pavilions for music. They also help curate an art market or helps develop one that already exists. Ruby Hill Park in Denver is looking to be developed as an arts community with the help of Levitt.
The purpose for Denver’s Levitt project is to “Help make Denver feel like the place to be” (Zachar). Andy Thomas also talked about the importance of bringing music to communities that don’t normally get access to concerts and music events. He spoke on Levitt’s partnerships with Guitar Center to give instruments to kids in the community that couldn’t (without the help of Levitt) afford them. Chase Wessel, who graduated from CU in 2007 explained how he always wanted to own his own venue. Now he helps book for the Levitt pavilion in Denver and has already gotten busy booking for the summer 2017 concert season. The CU Denver students in attendance were exposed to the amazing new project for the music and concert industry that is Levitt Denver, as well as the chance to meet Zachar, Thomas and Wessel. The summer of 2017 looks to be a great first season for the pavilion, as the first show is confirmed to be on July 21st 2017 and will feature a free show by UB40 Legends Ali, Astro & Mickey with special guests Matisyahu and Raging Fyah.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Local Ableton brand manager and CU alumni speaks to students

On the 3rd of February, 2017, Serafin Sanchez (of whom is the local brand manager for the music technology company Ableton Live) visited CU Denver students on the Auraria campus in Downtown Denver Colorado. Sanchez is an Alumni from the CU Boulder, and received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree on that campus. As local brand manager for Ableton Live, Sanchez oversees the region of Colorado as well as southwestern United States. Ableton live is a digital audio workstation much like Protools or Logic, but Sanchez explained how the “session view” in Ableton gives the user a non-linear timeline for music. This gives improvisers the chance to build a song as they play, merging both creating and performing. I think this is the best part of Ableton, and though Protools is important to have as well, Ableton live is a fun and important tool for musicians and producers that want to perform or design sound. The “studio in a box” has become an important part of music production with the invention of tools such as Logic, Protools and Ableton Live.
            CU Denver professor Todd Reid also had an impromptu duo performance with Sanchez, demonstrating the many capabilities of using Ableton live. Sanchez also talked about the Ableton push controllers, which are unique in the way that you can do anything that you can on the laptop, with a midi button pushing type of feel. The duo used live looping technology as well as recording grand piano tracks to manipulate on the spot with these push controllers. In addition to the live performance, Sanchez plays saxophone and performs jazz saxophone with Todd Reid on drums. Sanchez also works with the hip hop group “The Flobots” as well. Ableton is a way that these musicians connect, and transfer files and musical ideas. Ableton and Push are truly remarkable in the way that it combines on the fly production of audio and musical performance by the user together.

            Other Ableton features include a full visual program for plugins called Max for live, Rock vid (which is a way to create videos along with your live performance), and a vast multitude of plugins, EQ’s, midi instruments, and audio effects. Ableton is truly revolutionary for musicians… as it gives the user a limitless canvas of capabilities. The many different options can be overwhelming, but for musicians who are working to improve their craft…Ableton is an amazing tool for making music. If you are by yourself or working with others, Ableton gives the user a new way of producing as well as performing live. Sanchez explained the many capabilities that Ableton gives to users for the visitors on campus. In addition, he demonstrated the importance of technologic relevance in music education in Music colleges such as CU Denver. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

7th Circle Collective Venue Owner talks to Cam Students

7th Circle Collective Venue Owner talks to Cam Students

      
       On January 31st, 2017 Aaron Saye, owner of the Denver “DIY’ collective 7th Circle music venue came to visit students at the University of Colorado at Denver. He shared the history of the all ages venue (7th circle) that has become a hotspot nationally for underground artists in the United States. As a former student, he described how important it was for him to take music business classes at CU and learn what he could about booking live acts. Although he was a film major, his time learning about the music industry would prove indeed useful to him in his career. The story of the venue is important for Denver as 2016 has seen numerous collective venue shutdowns in Denver and in the U.S., following the deaths of more than 30 people at an Oakland, CA ‘DIY’ music venue that caught fire.  
            Saye described the past few months of shutdowns as a stressful time for him and his venue. He talked about how important it was for his space to have a current zoning permit that it had, as well as it being a formed LLC business that pays taxes. The 7th Circle collective was inspected by a fire Marshall following the Oakland incident and without these documents, it very well could have been shut down along with “The Glob” and “Rhinoceropolis”, which are the two “DIY” venues in Denver that were shut down in 2016.  Although the spaces were not safe and up to city standards, many music fans were devastated to hear of the closures. Saye called it “Dumb luck” that his venue didn’t get shut down as well, because he almost didn’t even have the zoning permit that he needed. Two years earlier, his venue’s zoning issue was brought to his attention by a city official. It is safe to say that if he would have disregarded the official’s warning, 7th Circle would not have passed the Fire Marshall’s inspection.
The tragedy in Oakland is tough to learn from, and brings much attention to the topic of underground all ages venues. Fire departments around the nation now have “DIY” venues under their radar, and for good reason. Saye’s venue is still a success story however… with the venue passing inspections and continuing to have over 100 shows a year. The space remains a spot for both local and touring bands of all sizes looking to grow their audience and hone their craft. Saye wrapped up his discussion by meeting many CU Students who were delighted to meet the man behind “7th Circle”, and get a chance to network with the growing music collective. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Music Industry Alumni Visits CU Denver to talk about beneficial career strategies for CAM students

The King Center in Denver, Colorado welcomed back CU Denver alumni and past faculty member Tyler Soifer for general recital class on January 27th, 2017, to talk to students about the importance of constantly adding to your skillset in the music industry. Soifer is a graduate of the Recording Arts program of the College of Arts and Media (CAM). He also worked at the ‘Core’ on Auraria campus, (a recording studio for CAM music students) and gained experience managing live sound for the King Center building early in his career. In addition to working for CU Denver, Soifer is presently an audio engineer who opened his own recording studio in Denver (Side 3 Studios.) Soifer has a plethora of live sound experience from working major industry concerts: including being the tour drum technician for Steve Smith (drummer for Journey).
            Soifer’s story is inspiring for CAM students looking and aspiring to become music industry professionals. After graduating from CAM, he explained how he solved a problem at an internship helped him stand out to Steve Smith, who eventually hired him full-time. At the time an album of Smith’s was deleted on a solid state hard drive. Soifer’s knowledge of forensics helped establish him a valuable music industry connection after he recovered the album in full for the drummer. Soifer explained how his Mentor Rich Sanders helped him as a CAM student.  He also was adamant about how sometimes luck is an important part of the industry. He was in the right place at the right time to solve a problem for Smith and create a door for a mutually beneficial relationship.            

Soifer’s attitude and way of looking at life has enabled him to meet as many people, and learn as much knowledge as he could while he was in College to the point where he was a valuable asset to industry professionals once he graduated. This lifestyle entails constantly learning, constantly working, and constantly getting away from being too comfortable in music jobs or ventures. In this way, Soifer was not only lucky to find the career opportunities he did, he was also continuously increasing his opportunities by working his tail off, and expanding his knowledge as he did it. He talked about how he was always “picking his teacher’s brains” and taking in as much information about audio as possible. This never ending search for knowledge is what has made Soifer stand out to industry professionals. CAM students benefitted from being able to meet and connect with Soifer as he offered valuable insights into realm of working in live sound, audio production, and the business of operating a recording studio. 

Denver Arts and Venues official pays visit to CU Denver music students

On Thursday, January 26th, 2017, CU Denver music students had the chance of meeting Lisa Gedgaudas, of whom works as Program Administrator for ‘Create Denver’, a sector of the Denver arts and Venues organization. As the lead of Create Denver, Lisa researches statistics about the economics of music in the City of Denver. She presents research statistics to government officials and as well as proposes grants for artistic community cultivation. Programs such as ‘Create Denver’ help sustain a vibrant Denver music scene.
Some of the goals of this organization are: facilitating affordable housing for artists, putting on community festivals for artists and listeners alike (such as the five points jazz festival or the Underground music showcase,) and allocating funding for further music cities research. Gedgaudas has already overseen that 1 % of all public development resources in Denver go towards non-profit arts and cultural organizations. This is helping programs such as Youth on Record, a non-profit organization that supplements musicians with employment: teaching music and other subjects to youth in the community. Gedgaudas explained that there are three teirs, or levels that Denver non-profit organizations are divided into. These go from one: largest venues such as the Denver Zoo, to three: small independent organizations that may just be getting started.

The visit to CU Denver was a valuable opportunity for student musicians and aspiring music industry professionals to meet Gedgaudas, and also learn about the many programs around Denver that benefit artists, musicians, and creative people alike. As well as being creative with their art, Gedgaudas explained that creative people are invaluable to city and local governments. This may be because musicians and artists can use their creative prolem solving strategies towards taking on problems in the community unrelated to art: such as (for example) affordable housing and work opportunities for citizens. 

Original Members of Bob Marley's Band: The Wailers Visit the Gothic in Denver

On the night of January 26th, The Gothic theatre was lively and nearly sold out as The Wailers made a stop to Denver on their International tour. The opening act was a 5-piece reggae band out of Denver called Rastasaurus, of whom brought a hometown Denver-style reggae sound to the Gothic Theatre. They played a mixture of reggae and rock, while singing songs that had catchy lyrics and quick melodic phrases repeated. Thanks to Rastasaurus, the crowd was warmed up, and ready to hear more reggae music. It was an appropriate opening band selection for the audience, as they had come to see original members of Bob Marley’s band and original Wailer songs.
  As the stage rotation took place, it was great to see the many stage hands that are needed, as well as the mass amounts of lighting and sound equipment that a professional live show uses. As the Wailers went on, they opened up with a Marley classic called ‘Natural Mystic.’ The Wailers Band consists of two original members of Bob Marley and the Wailers: Aston Barret on bass guitar and Junior Marvin on guitar and vocals. After Marley’s death in 1981, Barret and Marvin led the band to continue touring around the world, playing the timeless songs that fans still adored. The band has recently reunited after a 5-year hiatus that started in 2011. The newly reunited band is now an 8 to 9-piece group. Among these original members of Bob Marley’s band are 2 female vocalists (sometimes 1,) two rhythm guitarists, a keyboardist, a drummer and a lead vocalist. The lead singer, Josh David Barrett, Aston Barret’s son sung each song with passion and created an experience unlike any other for Bob Marley and the Wailer’s fans in Denver. The group played many classics such as ‘Three Little Birds,’ ‘Jammin’’ and ‘Waiting in Vain.’ It was clear that the Jamaican group came to play many of Marley’s songs, and the crowd loved it. The room filled with smoke, as the people danced and sang along.
It is worth nothing that each song had original keyboard, drum, bass and vocal layering that one would hear on a live Bob Marley Record. Each little melody line, each drum fill, and each vocal phrase: all of these elements of each song were accounted for by this group of musicians. It was evident that the band consisted of original band members, because the sound is extremely similar to the band that Bob Marley actually played with. Other songs played include ‘I Know a Place,’ ‘Positive Vibration,’ ‘Heathen’ and ‘Roots, Rock Reggae.’

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Legendary Live Concert Promoter Chuck Morris visit's CU Denver, 1/20/2017

On January 20th, the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts and Media had the honor of welcoming the CEO of AEG Live Rocky Mountains, Mr. Chuck Morris for an interview and discussion attended by staff and students. AEG Is a major concert promotion company with branches all over the world. Chuck Morris has an inspiring life story of working hard to establish a music community in Denver. The Denver area’s live concert scene is flourishing presently and AEG live is the largest concert promotion company in the city and surrounding metro area; putting on an average of 800 shows per year. Although sometimes the Denver concert scene’s history can seem pretty obscure, the truth is that Denver’s music scene wasn’t always as intensely promoted with live touring acts as it is today. Today’s concert network in Denver supports a large number of venues, small to large and welcomes national touring acts every weekend on average. Denver’s concert industry has become a hot spot for tourists and natives alike, bringing together people from all walks of life to enjoy music and entertainment. These venues all had to start somewhere, and Chuck Morris’s story is an integrated part of many of these venue’s history as well as Colorado’s live music history. Interviewed by Colorado music hall of fame member and music business Professor for the College of Arts and Media Chris Daniels, Chuck Morris was happy to share his story with those in attendance. Morris started his academic career by going to school for a political science degree. After two years in a master’s program, he hitchhiked to Boulder, Colorado where he turned to music and managed a small bar called ‘The Sink’ on ‘The Hill’ in Boulder, a popular college town hotspot. It was here that he learned some skills and knowledge in the music industry and partnered with Don Strasburg, all while keeping the juke box in the bar playing every night. Morris and Strasburg started an underground radio station that would eventually become Colorado’s major radio station named ‘KBCO’. At this point in his career, he met and helped promoted the future mega rock band ‘The Eagles’ among other large touring acts. He started his own club that was catching serious traction with huge acts performing regularly including ‘The Eagles’; and Morris started to establish himself and his name in the live music business. This caught attention of Live Nation promoter Barry Fay, of whom Morris had wanted to partner with previously. After partnering with Fay, Morris shifted his focus to managing live acts himself. Eventually, however, Fay started retiring and so Morris got back into promotion. After his partnership with Fay flourished with Morris eventually taking the reins of the business, Morris worked directly with Bill Graham of San Francisco’s concert promoter and pioneer as well to create a new concert promotion company. This company would be sold to Bob Silverman to become SFX, and eventually became Clear Channel Entertainment Group. This company is now known as Live nation. A short time into the Live Nation switch, Morris accepted an offer to work with Phil Anschutz and helped establish AEG Live Rocky Mountains. Since this move, Denver’s music scene has transformed with the majority of venues being owned by Anschutz. One thing Morris was adamant about in the interview is that “You just can’t replace live music.” (Morris) I think it is safe to say that he is right …the concert industry has grown to become a 9 billion dollar- a year business. The live music industry has become the lifeline of bands and artists amid the digital music sale meltdown of the 21st century and it is good to know that the music industry as a whole is still healthy, alive and well. Morris’s story has become a huge part of the history of live music in Colorado and his story demonstrates that anyone can start small and go on to do great things with enough hard work, vision and purpose.