My New Book!! – Free Jazz, Harmolodics and Ornette Coleman – Routledge


OUT THIS FALL ON ROUTLEDGE!!!!!!!!!! Book Parties in the fall: Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and New York (City)

(my tribute tune to Ornette: “Or Nutty: – on my “Jazz Piano Concerto with Graphic Scores” – out on ENVOI Records)


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Ulysses Grant: a Fluxkit Opera – In INDIANAPOLIS

Performing at the Indianapolis Fringe Festival:

Trombone Battle

show is under an hour….Concert Dates: August 13 (6p), 15 (6p), 16 (1:30p), 17 (9p), 21 (9pm) 22 (10:30pm)


Featuring Civil War songs, with texts by Grant and Gertrude Stein, this opera has action, design, and music, which are determined by playing a game designed by the composer. The result is musical theater featuring everything from Tango to Punk Rock. Bonus! – the audience helps re-enact civil war battles!

This opera is a result of the cast members playing a board game that decides text (either by U.S. Grant or Gertrude Stein), music (selected from Civil War Songs), Civil War Battles (fought with the audience) and “Grantecdotes” (anecdotes about U.S Grant aimed to surprise the viewer).

The game board is here: US Grant Game Board-2


The cast played the game in February, rehearsed in May (and August), and consists of professionals from New York to the West Coast. It’s a shockingly emotional piece, that wrestles with the horrors of the most seminal American war in a fresh way.  It also sheds a new light on a sincerely misunderstood president – one who served valiantly in the Mexican War as well as the Civil War, and in his two terms of presidency dealt with ostensibly the most torn-up mess this country has ever endured. The opera swings from ridiculous (U.S. Grant himself singing opera as “Ophelia”) to the extremely sincere (the last song of the piece is “Dixie”, set to a deeply thoughtful elegy from Gertrude Stein).  Nor does it pull any punches – Civil War statistics are displayed, descriptions of battle strategies are sung, and 8 Civil War battles are re-enacted as Generals Lee and Grant enlist audience members to join the fray.  Prepare to be moved, yes, to learn, sure, and definitely….to be entertained.  Audiences in New York, Washington, DC and Michigan have laughed, cried, and yes, fought their way through this work, which the composer describes as “possibly my weirdest piece, and my most accessible, all at the same time!”

January Concerts GALORE! What a month!

Naked Dance Record Release Party “Dark Matters”

- Jeremy Edwards (drums), Andrew Bishop (clarinets) and Stephen Rush (ahem) release VINYL and DVD of their Dark Matters Project involving music and visualization of Dark Energy!  Collaborators? YES! Jim Cogswell (visuals), Greg Tarlé, Brian Nord and Jason Eaton (physics researchers)  - 6 new pieces of music all designed to make you cry and see beauty!! They often swing too. Yes records/

January 23/Kerrytown Concert/8pm  Call ahead for tix if you like- there is VIP seating but mostly 10/5$

had enough?


Interior Castle (Symphony #2)

will be premiered by Ken Kiesler conducting the Grammy-Award winning University Symphony Orchestra in Hill Auditorium.  My homage to St. Theresa of Avila, the piece will be accompanied by beautiful and/or disturbing paintings by Vince Castagnacci – Penny Stamps Art School emeritus professor.

January 27/8pm/Hill Auditorium/free









Thursday-Friday, Aug. 14-15, Days 26-27

Independence Day in India!!!!

Well……”members” as we are called, are leaving.  Bit by bit the family that we so carefully nurtured and developed over the last month is being torn apart by “life” – also known as people going back to the US.  (Rushi is lingering one more week!).  It’s rough.  It’s hard to say good-bye, but then, it’s alot like having kids…sooner or later they DO grow up and leave…and as Bill Cosby says “Thats what’s supposed to happen! Just make sure you change the locks!”.

So…today we did have a very moving Independence Day, complete with flag unfurling in the Indian style, complete with Marigolds flying out of the flag!  We printed out (and rehearsed!) the National Anthem, written by India’s greatest poet – Tagore, and sang along with about 70-80 Indians.  I”m sure they found it inspiring (or weird) that we were singing – and singing well! We were bedecked with appropriate colors for the day – Orange and Green.  Stylish! Afterward…what is Independence Day without more speeches and a QUIZ! Fantastic.

The afternoon brought the sobering reality that some were leaving (Andrew and Noniko), so we huddled into a classroom and watched, with open hearts, the fantastic Ben Kingsley “Gandhi”.  Maybe my 8-9th time, but I cried like a baby.  It’s a tough movie – extremely violent – especially if you’re HERE, but important stuff all the way around…and a great way to end the program.

Poor Grace had a bad stomach thing and missed the concert last night, which was lovely and amazing.  Annick stole the show with a fast version of the local favorite Bhaghya Da Lakshmi, and Sam scared us all with a super-scary “Snake Dance” where she did the best Boa Constrictor impression I’ve ever seen.  What a talent!

We are tired, homesick and full of love and appreciation for India.  It’s truly “time to go”…and that’s a good thing, and a sad thing too.  Check in with this blog early next week…when I’ll finally add the photos you’ve been aching to see.  Send your complaints to WordPress!