You may not believe it, but I was not always here. There were those who - long before me - pioneered the whole koncept of online kollaboration. One of the first such pioneers that I came across in my stumbling infancy on Kompoz was Marty "Sven-Martin" Keil. I have since come to the conclusion that he is indeed the only musical genius I know, and I think you all agree.
Not only is Marty (if I may call you that) a musical genius, he is also a man I am very proud to call my friend. His musicality is very unusual, ranging from very precise MIDI programming to extremely soulful and analog (mostly) horn playing. Usually, it's one or the other, with Marty it's all of it and then some.
I have had the big pleasure to do several collaborations with Marty (he operates under the alias MDK, but that is - of course - nonsense), and if you doubt his skills, just listen to the selection below where he provides saxphone, harmonica, electric piano, horns, castanetes, vocals... everything except bass actually (but he can do that too):
Marty has also mixed most of the songs on Alice' and my first CD and provided a lot of beautiful saxophone, arrangements and ideas that we are extremely grateful for.
So, today it is 5 years on the day since Marty entered Kompoz, and this is a gift to all of us that is definitely worth celebrating! We also celebrate - coincidentially - the invention of 37/17 time signature (copyright Sven-Martin) and the A minor demented chord (a very cheeky little chord).
Here's to you, Sven-Martin, for all projects past and for many many projects to come!
As you have noticed, I have dedicated my musical life to jazz. I feel like I have come home in the music I make with Alice and the Swingin' Boys in the Alice & Björn band. We have a fantastic horn section - Sven-Martin and Chuck, they can arrange and play anything, but up until our Christmas song I was missing a little piece - the trombone. I have since understood that Chuck actually plays this instrument, but before this dawned on me, I purchased this:
With my usual, slightly daft, attitude of "how hard can it be?", I have now attempted to play it, and hmmmm...
a) It is very LOUD
b) I have no clue how to play it :)
Do not invite me for trombone tracks quite yet, I will need maybe 10-15 years to be able to perform something decent :)
As you may have observed, December marked quite a few big things in my musical life. Alice and I released our first CD - Swingin With The Boys, and I had the pleasure to meet Alice & Ron in Manila and to have my first ever release party and play live with them. This in itself is a huge thing for me, I am so happy to make this music and to be able to present it LIVE.
However, Alice also brought me something wonderful as a Christmas gift - a new ukulele.
"Ukulele?", you think, "that little toy instrument you talk so much about?". No no no. This ukulele is something very very special.
Many of you may already know the very high quality of Indonesian instruments. Squier - as one example - have produced a number of guitars and basses in Indonesia (I owned one very good Jazz bass produced in that country), and they are not the only "big brand" who have discovered the skills in this country. However, this is a custom-made one-of-a-kind instrument which seriously moved me to tears when Alice gave it to me. I have never in my 30 years of music seen such high quality in an instrument build. Ever. As you see in the photos, it is beautifully decorated, but it is also a very very fine instrument. The body - I believe - is mahogany (correct me if I am wrong please, Alice) and the fretboard is rosewood. It sounds magnificent (I will post something recorded with it shortly, or you can buy our next CD to hear it ;)) and everything is top quality, from the intonation to the tuning pegs.
I really love this instrument, so much that I wrote a personal thank you-letter for Alice to bring to the instrument makers. I will never ever play another ukulele again.
I have ordered - from the same team of instrument makers - an upright bass in a similar style, and here is the amazing thing: it will be only slightly more expensive than my "bottom-of-the-line" plywood upright that I currently play. Suck on that. We are talking about a top quality instrument, put together with an attention to detail and a skill that I hardly think you find in the west anymore, using mahogany. The cost is ridiculously low. I believe that the guitar Ron has blogged about earlier is built by the same team? These guys are AMAZING and I would be prepared to buy a flight ticket to Jakarta just to shake their hand.
So, this blog has two purposes; to say my public THANK YOU to Alice for giving me this beautiful, wonderful instrument, and to call your attention to what wonderful instruments you can get from this team. I am sure Alice and Ron have details on how to order :).
I love this ukulele, it is the finest instrument I have ever owned. I am so touched to get it that I cant really express it.
Kompoz is a magical place. Here, things happen that you would never believe in your life could come true. Dreams are being created and dreams are being reached. In 2011, we fulfilled not only our dream to make a jazz CD, but also to play live together and to have the pleasure to work with this wonderful bunch of Swingin' Boys. Our small gift to this community is a song on which we managed to get all our Swingin' Boys playing:
Raul Rodriguez, Jr. - Drums, wisdom and a huge heart Lonnie Wilson - Bass, experience and a huge heart Mauro Clerici - Guitar, emotions and a huge heart Hernan Alizieri - Guitar, swing and a huge heart Ronggowisnu - Guitar, soul and a huge heart Fredrik Zetterberg - Piano, jazz cool and a huge heart Marty Keil - Saxophone, guru-ness and a huge heart Chuck McLaughlin - Trumpet, trombone, perfect feel and a huge heart Pascal Lopez - Piano, impossible mix, arrangement and a huge heart
Hold on now, they all play "huge heart"? What is this? Yes, it is based on the fact that whatever song we write in whatever style and with whatever impossible deadline, none of these boys have ever said "not my style", "sorry I don't have time" or "I don't like it". The only comment we have ever had is "OK, give me a day or two", followed by a brilliant piece of music played with a love and passion for the song that is absolutely breathtaking.
So, from all of us to Raf, and to all Kompoz members, wherever you may be:
For those of you who haven't yet decided on what to get grandma, your kids or that charming young man next door for Christmas, here it is:
On December 1st, after you have done the traditional sacrifice of 2 geet, just click your way to Alice & Björn and purchase your copy. The 100 first customers are not in a raffle to win anything. This CD features some of the most prominent Kompozarians in the world and you will not be disappointed :)
It is one month today until our debut CD - Swinging With The Boys - is released. We would like to take this opportunity to present to you the most talented bunch of musicians any of us have worked with, all of course to be found right here on Kompoz.com. We can not thank you all enough for your playing, your positive spirit and your SWING!
It has been pointed out to me that today, I have been addicted to Kompoz for 4 years. BUt who's counting? :). Anyway, this must be a great opportunity to thank Rap (Foil) for providing a place for my soul to get peace and for my creativity to blossom. Thank you, Raf!
There are (at my last count) around 200 kompozarians that I should thank personally for making my ideas real damn good songs, and for inviting me to play on their stuff. I think I will overload Raf's hosting center if I start expression all the gratitude I feel towards all of you, so I just say THANK YOU! and I won't be leaving until you drag me out kicking and screaming.
Being extremely clever and shrewd, I can of course not resist to combine nostalgia with a shameless attempt to get kollaborators... so, here is the very first song I posted on Kompoz:
on September 18, 2007. You are all invited, do something with the damn tune, will ya?
And now, all that remains to say is:
PS: A huge thanks to Alice for giving me a beautiful vocal track to celebrate my 4 years here:), thank you!!!