the gift of shred

  
0:00
-2:33

Just a tune today, another instrumental sketch. It's been a slow week for me out in public. (Hell, it's been a slow year or a slow several years!)

[photo by kk]

I don't perform much lately, but last Wednesday I joined my friend Jim Caruso and played a song at his open mic event, Cast Party.

It's mostly Broadway show tunes but I can blend in everywhere, oddball that I am. I did my cover song (50 Ways To Leave Your Lover), accompanied on piano by the guy who also plays piano and directs for Tony Bennett and Liza Minelli.

I got to touch the sound in public, briefly once again and as usual it was all over too quickly.

(Same is true if I play for 90 minutes or 4 hours, btw.)

Why so little performing these days, Trev?

I've been re-calibrating my life after experiencing severe burnout on the road. I've invested in my mental health, re-evaluated some of my relationships and done what I could to become a better steward of my own sound.

Never did I ever imagine I'd go so long without performing, but here we are.

The world has been changing so much, but I am a witness to the power of music every day and I can see how people need it.

Music helps us make sense of our lives. It helps us inhabit our own bodies and connect with those around us. We all have to do it in our own way, but when we do it right a connection opens to a power much greater than ourselves.

It's given to us so that we can give it out further.

So I give this to you.

(Press play)

Love to your ears,

Trevor

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If you like my stuff, help it spread by sharing it!

creating headroom

  
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-1:38

Good evening!

In this post:

  1. a tune idea

  2. a hello

  3. a recommendation

"If you don't create you will destroy."

I don't know if this cliche is true, but it sure feels like it.

My sounds come to me at the most inopportune times, and sometimes I'll jump out of bed at 2am just to put something down on paper. I'm still usually at a loss for where to put them, but they come anyway.

Over time I have found a few different vessels for my music, but the transaction is always incomplete. Songs, bands, theater projects and films all have their strengths and flaws, but the feeling of being musically "emptied" never catches up. New sounds settle over me like so much dust and I have to begin again.

Maybe it'd be easier to just forget the whole thing, but music won't leave me alone.

I am still here, still craving, still blessed with the hunger for sound. The sound wants to reverberate, ripple and resonate.

Thank you all so much for your kind responses and encouraging notes about last week’s “Cinema Paradiso” track. I just love that tune so much, I had to orchestrate it for cellos. (if you missed it, you can listen here.)


Godfather of Harlem

A few years ago I got hooked by “Narcos” on Netflix. I guess I had too much spare time, but the quality of the writing was enough to win me over - despite the obvious brazilian-ness of the actor who played Pablo Escobar.

The same writers/showrunners are back with a totally homegrown tale now, and it’s jam-packed with legendary actors: Forest Whitaker, Vincent D’onofrio, Giancarlo Esposito… too many to count really. Take a look:

I’m only two episodes deep and thought you might like to check it out.

Love to your ears,

Trevor

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If you like my stuff, help it spread by sharing it!

Are you there, Ennio? It's me, Trevor

  
0:00
-2:17

Short and sweet this week. Press play.

I’m happy to say that the new studio is officially up and running.

In Topanga.

Sun is shining and the juice is flowing.

(And I told you I loved that Cinema Paradiso melody…)

Love to your ears,

Trevor

Ennio & John

workin... workin...

I just can’t get enough of this melody.

Listen:

I’m dating myself here (we all should!) but I remember when this movie first came out.

At the time, I was listening a lot to a CD by John Zorn called The Big Gundown. I had seen it advertised on the back page of Option Magazine, where Nonesuch records had bought the full page to show off the covers of their latest releases while broadcasting their slogan:

“Standing Apart From The Slagheap of Gutless Conformity”

Aah the good old days!

I had checked the CD out of the library and it was all music by Ennio Morricone, done by a who’s who of the downtown NYC crowd. This cast of characters became my muses forever after: Zorn, Arto Lindsay, Frisell, Diamanda Galás, Fred Frith, Joey Baron, Melvin Gibbs, Vernon Reid…

I was a restless kid. This record taught me that you can take a melody to all kinds of weird places and still stay true to it.

And then I saw Cinema Paradiso.

It was showing at the local independent cinema. And I went.

It said “music by Ennio Morricone”. In Italian.

And I heard this melody.

I had never yearned so much to be able to eat a melody. Such tension, such romance! (The movie isn’t bad either.)

Everything stopped in my head for a second. Everything was clear: the downtown cats and this Italian guy became the musical constellation by which I navigated to all kinds of places.

I totally skipped grunge and punk and hiphop, but went deep in classical, Brazilian and Argentine music. Never felt quite content to just “be an American” after that.

I got around to it much later. Meanwhile, Ennio’s done more movie scores than I’ve had meals.

The emotion in this melody sent me running to a lot of places.

But I’m home now.

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P.S. If you’d like to witness a full-on sonic squabble with the masters, grab your headphones and sit back with this. Musical xanax it is not, but it’s every bit as satisfying as one of those movies:

Sending BIG love to your ears,

Trevor

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If you like my stuff, help it spread by sharing it!

Accept the invitation

studio's up and running...

I have missed a couple of posts this summer, this move has been distracting!

But I would like to openly re-commit to writing to you each week.

(There, I did it.)


We can look back with nostalgia or regret, depending on a mood. But if I keep learning new things there's no need to look back at all.

So I press on: new rhythms, new fingerings, new songs... they will never end!

It's not just about creativity either, but connectivity. New ways to show up, take responsibility. These will never end either.

In weak moments I seek reassurance, that's one reason the music pursuit is pure medicine. Making these connections daily helps me find a way through uncertain times. Practice puts my mind in order.

Not necessarily "at ease" but in order, which is better. For "ease" won't get you to sleep at night, not with all our problems today.

[a peek at the new room]


I remember my first experiences of music, before the romance kicked in. These early experiences had no "carrot", no dangling invitation to the big time, no unworthiness. They were just sensations, medicinal.

They pointed to a higher order. Multiple layers of knowing and feeling, stuff that grownups knew.

They invited me into life.

We need to get back to that feeling and stay with it.

So forget anyone who ever told you you couldn't play or wouldn't amount to anyhing.

Forget your feelings of un-connection.

The music is within you. You can - must - sort it out for yourself.

For some this comes easily, they are happy with a simple beat and a one-chord jam. Others are called into more complexity.

Allow for it, whatever is true for you. But accept the invitation.

It’s for you.


PODCAST RECOMMEND: THE MOMENT

I tried to get some music out to you this week, I truly did. But it will have to wait because I have a quality standard I like to meet but I ran out of time. Soon! I promise.

In the meantime, I really enjoyed this chin-wag with Brian and Seth:

Sending BIG love to your ears. Hit me back!

Trevor

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If you like my stuff, help it spread by sharing it!

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