The Cherry Spoon Collective

This week I have the wonderful opportunity to play as one of the original members of a new improvising, new-music, ensemble in Minneapolis called The Cherry Spoon Collective. The “orchestra” consists of mostly traditional band and orchestra instruments: violin, cello, clarinet, bass, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, but also guitar, drum set, spoken word artist (“rapper” isn’t quite the right term in this context), and I play not just bassoon, but electrified bassoon. The members of the group are modular, with no set instrumentation for every performance, and everyone is an improviser at some level. We perform all new music, most of it commissioned for this ensemble. Many of the works are incredibly loose in structure, requiring the musicians to play in contemporary styles of rock, R&B, and hip hop, follow unusual road maps, unusual harmonic structures, solo over chord changes (or over no chord changes). It’s a far cry from Tchaikovsky, but just as listenable!

Cherry Spoon Collective, in rehearsal at Studio Z in St. Paul, MN

You can’t see it in this photo, but I’m using a series of effects pedals to create some extra sounds, as well as provide some basic sound support for my instrument in order to be heard while a drum set is playing. In order to access the effects easier I stand to play.

The Cherry Spoon Collective is performing this Friday, April 26, at Studio Z in St. Paul, MN. We’re performing the same set of music twice, at 7pm and at 9pm. It’s free, and all-ages.

Theater music for unaccompanied bassoon

In the spring of 2011 I performed the solo bassoon score to the one-man play on the life of Clarence Darrow by playwright Gary Anderson called “Naked Darrow”. The premier was held at Park Square Theater in St. Paul, MN. We recorded the musical figures at The Terrarium in Minneapolis in April 2013. These three excerpts from the play show the interaction between the text and the music written by Richard McKinney.
Naked Darrow will be performed off-Broadway in New York in 2013.

The first excerpt:
Darrow, after reminiscing about a past trial, is overcome with a bout of dementia.
The second excerpt:
Darrow remembers seeing a man executed in a public hanging as a child.
The third excerpt:
Darrow reacts to seeing a glimpse of humanity in two serial killer clients and worries about the consequences of public viewing of death penalty trials.

Recital announcement

I will be presenting my dissertation on Elements of Jazz in Bassoon Repertoire in final defense on Tuesday, November 30 at 9am in the music building at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Sitting committee members are Timothy McGovern, Gabriel Solis, Philipp Blume and Erik Lund.

On the following Saturday, December 4 at 5pm in Smith hall room 25 I will be presenting works from the paper in a recital.  The program is:

Alec Wilder, Sonata No. 2 for Bassoon and Piano

Andre Previn, Sonata for Bassoon and Piano

Bill Douglas, Raga Todi Blues from the Partita for Bassoon and Piano

Jui-Chen Huang, piano

Henry Mancini, Piece for Jazz Bassoon and Orchestra

arr. Trent Jacobs for bassoon and jazz quartet

Robert Branch, Guided Awakenings

Lara Driscoll, piano with the Bassoonarific Band

Magnetrons studio progress update

Lots of live drumming and a great deal of mixing (which I had no part of) and here’s what we have so far.


Old audio files are dead and this is old news, but as a long-overdue update, here’s the Magnetrons EP, if anyone sees this now years later.

Magnetrons first real night out

Played to a small crowd at Station 4 in Lowertown St. Paul last night.  We’ve made real progress since I first joined the group in July.  I feel like I add the formal musical sensibility and organizational brain to help Dave write the music, making things more concise from a classical/jazz theoretical background.  Anyway, the crowd seemed to dig what we were doing, and I got many comments on my electric bassoon playing.  Somebody took some pictures but I never found out who they were.  If they show up anywhere I’ll post them here.  We also got a room recording of the night, so if that came out well I’ll post some sound clips.

I left the venue a little after 1am, and found that 35W southbound was closed for a 4 mile stretch around where I live, so I couldn’t take my normal route home.  I had so much adrenaline that I didn’t really sleep last night either.  Very sleepy all through work.

We hopefully have another show at the same venue lined up for November 13.  Probably will do a similar set, maybe one or two things slightly different.

Really enjoyed the two other groups that played: Thought Thieves with their synthy goodness and Blood Root Mother with a classic bluesy and earthy rock sound.

Update: Pictures!

Desert Notes

February 22, 2009.  Casey Dierlam, piano; Angela Schmid, oboe

Some multimedia

I don’t know why I keep using this performance of these miniatures.  I guess because it’s unaccompanied, and since nobody knows it I can’t get too much flack for my interpretation (except from the composer!).  But anyway, I got the  DVD of this recital from my mom today, so I upped the video of this part to youtube.  In all it’s audio glory.

David Basden’s “Seven Miniatures for Bassoon”

I also got a bit of an idea to do a tango with my looping equipment, so I did Libertango a la electric bassoon.  It works well, although I haven’t figured out how to end it yet.  The ending on this was more or less a mistake that I just kinda ran with.