the obsidian animals
april 13, 2016
I am happy to announce a new project and band! We will be performing our debut concerts at the Jazz Station in Eugene, OR and the Old Stone Church in Bend, OR in early June. It's been quite a long process and I am also very excited to say that my upcoming album "Sound In-Sight" is in the mastering phase and will be sent off for printing in the next two weeks! We will be creating a limited edition release of 200 copies of double-vinyl. More information to come in the next week.
February 15, 2016
It has been wonderful to reconnect to one of my first jazz inspirations: the Keith Jarret Trio. I'll be performing alongside longtime friends Adam Carlson and Sean Peterson on April 28th, 2016 at the Jazz Station in Eugene, OR. We are doing our research, meeting weekly and dissecting how Keith's trio performed standards. I'm always amazed at how strong Keith's ideas are while not being overly complex and how the group keeps the energy on a high simmer for such a long time.
I've also really been enjoying time spent with the wonderful Halie Loren. We are playing a couple of shows this week including in Portland for an after-hours performance at the PDX Jazz Festival. I'm grateful for the opportunity to play these shows with her band and hope that a few new tunes I suggested turn out well!
victory and sorrow
october 12, 2015
Since the unimaginable happened to our neighbors at UCC in Roseburg I have been alternating between victory and sorrow daily. I've felt victory in the moment while making music on stage, in finishing a grant for the Sunday Jam and in generally getting on top of things in my life. Simultaneously, I am filled with the sorrow most of us have been feeling after such a horrible event and seeing some of the darker sides of humanity in the responses people have made to it.
On a lighter note.
This piece of music from Booker Little's 1961 recording Booker Little and Friend has made a big impact on me over the past year. The only cover tune on my upcoming record, it contrasts two strong moods: Victory and Sorrow. The piece is at times explosive and triumphant and at others very intimate and quiet. Favorite to me is the introduction where the three horns play simple triads in a very powerful manner. This tune has been the opener of a few of my sets in the last year because of this "fanfare".
Take a preview of the record and a peek into our recording session HERE and enjoy!
SUNday learners jam
september 26, 2015
The most exciting recent development for me has been the board approval of a new program I have collaborated to create at the Jazz Station. I have been on the board of the Willamette Jazz Society for the past three years and have finally found my voice and role in the team. Eugene is so very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of people volunteering their time to make something really spectacular come to life.
Below is part of a press release going out next week:
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Education Jams to Begin this October at the Jazz Station
A weekly Sunday “Learners” Jam will launch at the Jazz Station on the afternoon of October 4. The mission is to develop the jazz improvisational skills of youth and adult amateur musicians at all ability levels through the guidance of professional educators. Music educators will rotate to host one Sunday per month. Each host will have a different house band to promote a wider range of opportunities and learning experiences for participants. We are very fortunate to have an initial group of talented hosts including:
Torrey Newhart http://www.torreynewhart.com/ Experienced pianist, MM in Jazz Studies from the UO, current choral director at the A3 charter high school in Springfield, WJS Board member and Head of the Sunday Jam Team
Olem Alves http://www.olemalves.com/ Experienced guitarist, MM in Jazz Studies from the UO, current LCC instructor, deeply committed to jazz education
Andria Martin http://oregonchildrenschoir.com/choirs/52-2/ Experienced pianist and music educator, MA in Education from Antioch University, current elementary music teacher and youth choir conductor in Springfield, dedicated to new techniques in music education
Michael Radliff http://michaelradliff.com/ Experienced vocalist and guitarist, BS in Music Business from the University of Nebraska, instructor at Guitar Center Studios, well versed in vocal jazz standards
Sean Peterson http://www.seanpetersonmusic.com/ Experienced bassist and jam session host, MM in Jazz Studies from the UO, current UO doctoral student in Musicology
As an outreach program designed to engage the community through educational and “hands-on” learning activities, the Sunday Jam will be funded primarily through grants and sponsorships. Evaluations and regular feedback on the programs will be provided by participants and attendees.
Sundays 2-5 at: The Jazz Station - 124 W Broadway in Downtown Eugene, OR (This is a FREE all-ages event with no adult beverages being served on site)
Please encourage students to take advantage of the invaluable experience having a professional rhythm section accompanying them and competent jazz educators explaining how it all works and giving immediate feedback when appropriate!
*This program is designed for instrumentalists and vocalists alike! Choir directors - that means you! Our hosts are ready to support young singers who may be trying this for the first time.
I want to personally invite you and your students to our debut on October 4th!
WHAT WE REALLY NEED: some of you to bring your students to one of our sessions as our "FEATURED SCHOOL OF THE WEEK".
We already have Pleasant Hill HS lined up for October 18th and would love to have more schools represented.
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It makes me proud to be a part of something so dedicated to young musicians and musicians who wish to return to their instruments after perhaps many years. I am very hopeful that the jazz scene in Eugene will keep continuing on its current trajectory. Looking forward!
september 22, 2015
Today I launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo found HERE! We already have nearly $600 thanks to several very generous people from the community! The primary musicians from the recording session will be performing a show on Thursday as a way to kick off the campaign. For this show, the Torrey Newhart Septet will consist of Eddie Bond, Jessie Smith, Tony Glausi, Joshua Hettwer, Sean Peterson, Adam Carlson and myself. Check out this awesome poster the Jazz Station Marketing team created for it!
This show will feature nearly all of the tracks we recently recorded and there will be two friends of mine with iPads ready for anyone willing to make a contribution to the project! The bulk of the funds raised will initially go towards mastering the project at Sterling-Sound Studio in New York City. This will be followed by the manufacturing of the physical CDs and the distribution of the discs. Finally, any additional funding will be spent on a marketing campaign to help get the word out and spread the music across the country and overseas. I am offering perks in exchange for your support that range from digital downloads and copies of the album to honorable mentions in the liner notes and commissioned pieces of music.
I really want to make this project the best I possibly can. We are pulling out all the stops and I have been gathering as much information as I can to make this project successful and reach as many people as possible when it is released. We chose to go with a top-notch mastering studio because they have incredible reviews and we want the final product to really shine. This will not be possible without the help and support of our very generous community. Anything will help us get the sound we want and get the disks distributed to the places they need to go.
Please share this webpage with anyone you think would appreciate hearing some new music! Getting the word out is one of the most helpful things someone can do for a new project.
Lastly, I must express deep gratitude yet again to everyone who has been involved in this crazy project! Lance Miller and I have been digging into the mixes and making some great headway. Our most recent success: Andy Armer and Tony Glausi's stride piano with cornet duo track! It sounds great guys, you played my tune like you wrote it...and Andy's ability to stride the piano is impressive and intimidating. This track will definitely be something special to listen for when the album is finished!
July 21, 2015
This summer has been incredible! After much encouragement from the audience at my NewSextet show, I've decided to get into the studio again. This time we will be attempting to capture some improvised studio fun in addition to my composed music. I am fortunate to have such a talented horn section who are all into playing doubles and mutes to get the sounds we want! Jessika Smith will be playing Alto, Soprano and Flute; Josh Hettwer will be playing Tenor, Clarinet and possibly Soprano; Tony Glausi will be playing Flugel and Trumpet with lots of mutes.
Holding it down in the rhythm section will be I will be Sean Peterson on bass and Adam Carlson on drums. I will also be bringing back my friend Eddie Bond to lay down some crunchy guitar on a few numbers that will likely end up more as studio projects as opposed to our typical "live performance recreated" approach. There will be a good variety on this record from standard swing to grunge. Looking forward to sharing it with everyone late this year!
I'll be working closely with Lance Miller to develop the sound we want for this project...starting tonight!
April 15, 2015
Since the birth of my daughter Adamina, I have taken an unintentional hiatus from composing and putting together sets of music as a bandleader. With a concerted effort, I am proud to announce the return of my original music to the soundscape of Eugene, OR. I have reunited with my friends and bandmates Adam Carlson, Sean Peterson and Tony Glausi. For this new sound, I have asked Joshua Hettwer and Jessika Smith to join us on saxophones and far too many doubles!
I am trying to get a new sound out of this group with rearrangements of some of my large ensemble music and new original material with inspirations from the great feminist philosopher Simone De Beauvoir to the Oregon Jazz Ensemble's recent tour through Europe.
It is an incredible feeling to be able to reach such incredible musicians with a personal phone call and hang out on the side of our musical endeavors. I am thankful to live in Eugene at this time when so much great music is going on.
A Love supreme
April 10, 2015
Drummer Adam Carlson and I have been wanting to do this project for many years since we first heard Coltrane's iconic version during our high school years nearly a decade ago. Adam decided we were finally ready this past winter and we asked our good friend Sean Peterson to join us on bass and the talented Adam Harris to play the difficult role of one of jazz's greatest saxophonists.
About John Coltrane:
Born on September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina, tenor saxophonist John William Coltrane is widely considered one of the greatest musical artists of the twentieth century. His early successes included recording with two of the most important jazz icons of all time: Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. He was known for changing up the harmony of standards and frequently moved melodic motives in intervals other than the standard of fourths or fifths. This is clearly demonstrated in his iconic recording of Giant Steps which features harmonic and melodic movement by major thirds. While primarily a bebop and hard bop player, Coltrane later adopted a more modal approach to jazz. The ensemble that he famously recoded A Love Supreme with included Elvin Jones on drums, McCoy Tyner at the piano and Jimmy Garrison on bass. Through his life, Coltrane began to see his music as an extension of his religious beliefs and adopted a more universalist lens:
“…To be a musician is really something. It goes very, very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am - my faith, my knowledge, my being…When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups. I think music can make the world better and, if I’m qualified, I want to do it. I’d like to point out to people the divine in a musical language that transcends words. I want to speak to their souls.” -John Coltrane
About A Love Supreme:
Originally recorded on December 9, 1964 and released in February of 1965, this suite is carefully broken into four parts entitled “Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance,” and “Psalm”. According to biographer Lewis Porter, this “suggests a kind of pilgrim’s progress, in which the pilgrim acknowledges the divine, resolves to pursue it, searches, and, eventually, celebrates what has been attained in song.” Structurally, the piece is built upon a sequence of five notes. “Acknowledgement” introduces these pitches when the ensemble chants “A Love Supreme”. The two middle sections are variations of blues forms, a favorite of Trane’s. The final part of the suite “Psalm” is freely improvised in the dorian mode. In the liner notes of the original LP, Coltrane cryptically wrote “The last part is a musical narration of the theme, ‘A Love Supreme,’ which is written in the context.” Also in the liner notes, he published a poem that he had written entitled “A Love Supreme”. Upon a close listen to the original, his improvised notes line up to create a wordless “recitation” of that poem. It starts with the phrase “A Love Supreme” and ends with “Thank You God, Amen.” After his death Coltrane was made a saint by the African Orthodox Church.
We feel very fortunate to have received so much support for our efforts in our first two performances. We had 100 people show up to both our show at The Wildish Theater in Springfield, OR and my alma mater Mountain View High School in Bend, OR. We are also grateful for the coverage we received through various media outlets including The Bend Bulletin, The Eugene Weekly and The Register Guard