Monday, December 21, 2009

A Year in Uccello Project

To put it simply, 2009 was an amazing year. I got to spend massive amounts of time with my lovely wife and quickly growing daughter. I also got to be part of some great recording projects, playing and engineering. There were many fun, beautiful shows I played as a bassist with various artists. I got to be a featured guest on bass at the 2009 Mandolin Symposium and hang out with David Grisman and Mike Marshal. The Jazz big band I play upright bass in, The Monterey Bay Jazz Orchestra, appeared at the 52nd Monterey Jazz Festival, at which I was a featured soloist. There’s too much information to include details about all these things here, but if you want to follow what I’m doing with music/life in more detail, please check in with me over at Twitter or Facebook. I am writing this post to commemorate some of the high points specifically pertaining to my original musical/visual art project: Uccello Project

Any year that starts out this good has got to turn out wonderfully! On January 22nd I co-hosted, w/ Nancy Cassidy, a house concert in Santa Cruz, CA with Steve and Lobelia Lawson. This was a total treat for me, meeting Steve and Lobelia was major fun! After becoming a huge fan of their music over the internet, hearing them play live in an intimate setting like a house concert was awesome. I even got to play upright bass on an improvised song with Steve, he's so fun to jam with! In short, they are two of the warmest, most talented people I have ever met and any time you can hear them play together live it will be a good day!

Around the time of the show with the Lawson's, through twittering w/ Steve and Lobelia, I met Gustaf Fjelstrom, an amazing ambient, live looping artist, and the phenominal Jazz guitarist Rob Michael of Atmos Trio. On April 10th, in Capitola, I co-hosted, with Juan Candaleria, another house concert. The show also featured my long time friend, the soulful songwriter/guitarist, Aaron Ford. It was quite a jam packed show. To start the evening out Juan's niece played guitar and sang a traditional Ranchera song! We did a first set of Aaron, Gustaf, and myself playing in the round, one song each for 3 songs. Then Atmos Trio played one long set, then we did this crazy free jam, it was a really fun night. Check out songs from that night: As Shards Descend by Gustaf, Armondo's Rhumba by Atmos Trio, Golden by Uccello Project, and of course the 'All star jam'.

Uccello Project also released 2 records this year: “Symmetria” in August and more recently, under the name "Clarified Birds" They released "The Forest That Hears And The Field That Sees in December.

Another high point was writing a guest post on the Bass Guitar Blog: "I Hate Bass Licks" about the challenge of surviving as an artist, and the specific issues bassists face. I also appeared on The HumperLust Blogtalk Radio Show, and got to do my first official interview and play live on the 'air'!

I was also featured in the bass related site's player spotlight in September, thanks to Corey Brown. In partnership with 'no treble' the online bass academy, Learn The Low End approached me about creating instructional videos for their site. I made four bass courses for Learn The Low End, two centering on songs from Symmetria, and two centering on rudimentary techniques. And I thank Evan Keppner for inviting me to be a part of this innovative new site for bassists.

The response to Symmetria has been really great, I got some really nice quotes about the album from some people I admire very much. Also, Symmetria got a wonderful review by the great bassist/educator/writer Damian Erskine in Bass Musician Magazine

Another high point for Uccello Project was playing a set at the Y2K9 International Live Looping Festival on Sunday October 18th. It was an amazing festival attended by a really cool group of ultra open minded folks. I felt a warm sense of community and it was nice to have such an attentive audience. I haven't yet got videos from the set, but you can watch my set on the Ustream archives, the Uccello Project set is about 11 minutes into this video segment.

The first full length Uccello Project show, a house concert in Seaside, CA at our midwife, Maggie Bennett’s house, was a fitting climax to such a great year. Kathy played a bit of mandolin and sang some great harmonies on the vocal tunes we did together, the rest was solo with live looping, it was a blast. It was the first time Magnetic Domain was played live!

Just for fun, even though it's not directly Uccello project related, here's a video of me playing bass with Mike Marshall's student ensemble at the Mandolin Symposium, it was such an honor to play a bit with him, as well as David Grisman.

Thanks to all who read this, I look forward to 2010 with much enthusiasm, hopefully we'll get to meet up someday soon!

Friday, December 4, 2009

There is a new release coming soon from Audio Centaur! It's called Clarified Birds: The Forest That Hears And The Field That Sees. It will mark the first release in our new packaging template, designed by J.F. Uccello. There will be letter pressed art/text, alchemical poetry and the audio is burned to high quality Tiayo Yuden CDR's. We're doing a limited run of 25-they will be available soon.

In the meantime please enjoy listening for FREE (and downloading for a limited time-SHHH!) to the whole album on the widget below and please stay tuned for the official release announcement! Oh, by the way, the wonderful site Sound Cloud, which seems to be the only site around cool enough to allow extended length songs to be uploaded to their site, is currently the 'web home' of these recordings, if you are an ambient artist looking for a place to put your extra long pieces, I would strongly recommend checking them out!