Friday, October 24, 2014

New Composition for Dance

Me and the Thingamabloop in the Noiz Temple
I’ve been working hard on a score for choreographer Sasha Soreff for a dance entitled “Nerves.” The work is around 12 minutes, and will be danced by members of the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. in Dance Program. (The Ailey School of Dance is the official school of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.) We’re working long distance, Sasha is in New York City, and I’m in Houston, TX.

Sasha and I have worked previously together on her evening-length work “The Other Shoe.” For this piece, which incorporates movement from an earlier work of hers entitled “The Dancer Who Wore Sneakers,” I'm composing the score using a combination of Ableton Live and Sibelius, working from rehearsal videos and notes from Sasha. The score features performances by cellist Olive Chen of Houston’s Trio Oriens and SPIKE the Percussionist on drums, hand percussion and one big noizy gong.

Details are below for those of you in New York City. This will be a great program of dance by some very talented young dancers.

Choreography performed by each of the four classes of the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. in Dance Program
Ailey Citigroup Theater 
405 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 7:30pm
Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 7:30pm
Online Ticket Sales: 
Monday, November 10th at 12noon – Sunday, November 16th at 12 midnight

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tune in to Composer Talk: Drum Codes and More! Saturday, August 30, 2PM to 4PM CT, ktru.org


Tune in Saturday, August 30, 2PM to 4PM CT for "Composer Talk," with your hosts composer Hsin-Jung Tsai and Chris Becker. "Composer Talk" streams live at www.ktru.org

This time around we'll be playing tracks from percussionist Susie Ibarra's new album "Drum Codes," a powerful collection of music inspired by the coded drum and gong music of a Muslim matriarchal society in the Philippines called the Maguindanaon, music from trumpeter and composer Samantha Boshnack's new quintet album "Exploding Syndrome," music from Australian composer Jennifer Fowler, and composer Rebecca Oswald's "Aesop Fables."

Composer Talk is on Facebook! Give us a proverbial "like" and see what happens.

Just music and talk, you know, no big whoop.

"Composer Talk" streams LIVE at www.ktru.org and (if you have a HD radio receiver) on 90.1 HD-2.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New song and video collaboration with Meganoke



So in the midst of finishing a book and raising funds to help finish that book, I am reminded that I am also a musician, and receive this post-birthday surprise from my friend singer, lyricist, artist and dancer Meganoke. The song is one of several collaborations we've done this year, and there's more to come. The song title refers to bass line by Quincy Jones that you hear throughout. The production reflects my never ending love for dub music. Meganoke's voice sits perfectly within this world, and her melodies perfectly compliment the grooves, tones and atmosphere.

Meganoke and I will be creating more madness in the future. In the meantime, check out her website for more sounds, writings and photos.

Quincy
Director/Editor: Stephanie Chavez
Producer: Woven Feet
Makeup: Jennifer Lynn Larsen
Music by Chris Becker and Meganoke;
Lyrics by Meganoke

Friday, August 1, 2014

Indiegogo campaign to help publish my book "Freedom of Expression: Interviews With Women in Jazz"

Saxophonist Alisha Pattillo: photo by Pin Lim


I am raising funds to pay a copy editor and graphic designer to complete my book:
Freedom of Expression: Interviews With Women in Jazz.
You can make a donation on the campaign's Indiegogo page.


After nearly three years of work, I am self-publishing my book Freedom of Expression: Interviews With Women in Jazz. Given the subject matter of the book and its potential to reach a large and diverse audience, including students, educators, musicians and jazz music fans, I want the copy to be thoroughly and professionally edited and the cover and interior to look stunning.

My Story

My book Freedom of Expression: Interviews With Women in Jazz, a nearly three-year labor of love, is nearly done. The book is exactly what the title says: a collection of interviews with 37 female jazz musicians of all ages and ethnic backgrounds and representing just about every style of jazz one can imagine. The interviewees include Eliane Elias, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jane Ira Bloom, Jane Monheit, Sharel Cassity, Terri Lyne Carrington, Diane Schuur, Helen Sung, Connie Crothers, Ellen Seeling, Jan Leder, Sherrie Maricle, Cheryl Bentyne, Mindi Abair and many, many others.

The book’s subject, the contributions of women to the art of jazz music, has resonated not only with the interviewees, but with a growing audience of fans of this project who welcome a more thoughtful and inclusive attitude toward women musicians in what is still widely perceived as a male-dominated art form.

Given the range and diversity of perspectives presented, I believe the book will appeal to a wide audience, including high school and college-aged music students, seasoned jazz musicians and educators, both casual and “serious” fans of creative music and persons interested in women’s issues and gender studies.

The interviews are presented in a straightforward Q and A format. The book also includes a 24-page introduction with notes, as well as a short profile of each interviewee.

What I Need

After a great deal of research and conversations with several fellow writers, I have decided to self-publish the book using amazon.com’s CreateSpace platform. This campaign is to raise funds to pay my copy editor and graphic designer. I have both a copy editor and graphic designer on board with the project and ready to go, but I need to be sure I can pay them both a fair rate for their services.

$5,125 will cover the cost of copy editing and graphic design, including designing the book’s cover, interior text, typesetting and art preparation.

Thank you for your support. I do not take it for granted.
 
To make a donation and see a complete list of the musicians interviewed in my book,
visit the campaign's page on Indiegogo.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tune in to Composer Talk, June 28, 2PM to 4PM CT

Tune in Saturday, June 28, 2PM to 4PM CT for "Composer Talk," with your hosts composer Hsin-Jung Tsai and Chris Becker. "Composer Talk" streams lives at www.ktru.org

"Tonality and rhythm as such did not concern him. His aim was to create a vague, floating...atmosphere...a nongoal-oriented music, a music that is simply there, a kind of quasi-religous 'furniture music' before the fact." (Erik Satie biographer Alan Gillmor)

On this edition of "Composer Talk," we'll be featuring the music of Erik Satie. We'll be playing works by other composers as well. Stay tuned to this blog for updates as the air date approaches.

"Composer Talk" is on Facebook! Give us a proverbial "like" and see what happens.

Just music and talk, you know, no big whoop.

"Composer Talk" streams LIVE at www.ktru.org and (if you have a HD radio receiver) on 90.1 HD-2.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tune in to Composer Talk, April 26, 2PM to 4PM CT, at KTRU.ORG

Tune in Saturday, April 19, 2PM to 4PM CT for "Composer Talk," with your intrepid, super-creative and genuinely kind hosts Hsin-Jung Tsai and Chris Becker.

On this edition of "Composer Talk," we'll be featuring music for big band by Mehmet Sanlikol, a classic track by the one and only Gil Evans, a short piece for toy piano by Derek Hurst, Mix Tape (for solo double bass) by Armando Bayolo, and works by Elizabeth Alexander and Roumi Petrova.

Just music and talk, you know, no big whoop.

"Composer Talk" streams LIVE at www.ktru.org and (if you have a HD radio receiver) on 90.1 HD-2.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Widow" screens at [FAT] Arts & Fashion Week, Toronto April 24, 2014



"Widow" will screen April 24, 2014, during Toronto's Arts and Fashion week. The video was enthusiastically well-received at February's Dance on Camera Film Festival (NYC) and I'm very pleased its being screened again this year. "Widow" will also be part of an upcoming "Dance On Camera" tour, a streaming compilation of films screened at art institutions and universities.

"Widow" was created by filmmaker, performer and visual artist Jil Guyon and features a nearly continuous score I created out of my own collection of sounds and samples along with performances on percussion and analog electronics by SPIKE the percussionist and vocals by Lainie Diamond.

Jil offered clear ideas as to what she needed the music to do moment to moment, and the resulting score is one of my favorite things I've ever done. I am a huge fan of avant-garde films and have improvised several times to works by Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, and Ron Rice to name just a few. I feel I shine when I'm working with filmmakers who push the medium in decidedly unconventional directions.

I asked Douglas Henderson to master two versions of the soundtrack, one for computer speakers and one for the typical movie-theater sound system. I was unable to attend the screening at the Dance on Camera Film Festival but look forward to hearing and seeing "Widow" in a theater one day in the future!

Widow
Created and performed by Jil Guyon
Cinematography: Valerie Barnes
Original Score: Chris Becker
Electronics and percussion: SPIKE the percussionist
Vocals: Lainie Diamond