Once In a While the Stars Line Up

August 31st, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


This stuff slips away from me.  A couple of years ago – on July 14, 2007, to be precise – I had a jam session at my house.  Steve Hiltner was in town from New Jersey, and we had a bit of a Lunar Glee Club reunion.  Present were Aron Kaufman, Dave Mason, myself, Steve Hiltner, and Steve Osburn.  At the end of the night we had a great improvisation – Oz was on bass, Aron on traps, Dave percussion, Steve on clarinet and I had a trumpet with a Harmon mute for a while and then my voice when the stars lined up.

About two minutes in, the groove is happening – Oz and Aron and Dave sound great in my living room, with the high ceiling – and then Steve and I get something going with the horns:

– Once In a While – Horns

» Read the rest of this entry «

Bottoms Up

October 12th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


Thursday was Song Night at Oz’s.  I walked in wondering if we might find our music attracted to the current economic flux, and was not disappointed.

Present at Oz’s Music were Dave Mason, Oz, and myself.

Actually, there were three worthy songs that night.  First Oz had a little thing he had written on Mischa Mischakoff‘s Balalaika.  Here’s a taste…

Next I found a bass line and gave it to Oz while I played the piano.  Dave, of course, was on bongos.

I think the last was best.  Oz started in pizzicato on a cello with a bass line, musicalizing the idea of a “bottom up” economy.  I played trumpet with Harmon mute and sang some.  Oz sang the “Bottoms Up” line.  Dave played bongos.

It worked.

The Gibson Girl

September 1st, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink


Earlier this summer Dave Mason brought me a lyric called The Gibson Girl. I liked it from the start, but had other things (FABLES, Mrs. Maloney) on my plate and so, though I immediately set the first few lines the first night, I didn’t really dig in with it until last week.

Here’s a little taste of where the tune is going, first two Thursdays ago with Oz on bass and Dave on bongos –

and then again earlier this evening, lots faster, with just me doing groove chemistry with the drum machine.

Though the singer is pretty rough here, it looks like we’ve got a live one. Here’s the first stanza:

The Gibson Girl went jogging – said she’d be home soon

Wound up Polar Dancing at the Cross-Eyed Bear Saloon

Way out in North Alaska – far from the Ad-man’s reach

Up to her ears in diamond rings -she waltzed a moonlight beach

She had everything she wanted – even more than she thought wise

It didn’t take her her long to see through any man’s disguise

Oh Danny Boy

June 9th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


A couple of Thursdays ago a few of the usual suspects were in the midst of a musical improv session. Towards the end of the night we were just talking and playing around with Kath Weider’s vocal effect gadget when this little exchange happened:

Oh Danny Boy

This was fun. It was a séance. The ghosts showed up.

What a pleasure.

Kath Weider – Vocals

Dan Bilich – Vocals, Bass, Trumpet

Dave Mason – Percussion

Sam Clark – Guitar, Vocals

N’faro Manaku

May 5th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

A couple of Thursdays ago, Dan Ladizinsky was in town from Oregon, and music happened at Oz’s. This particular session was doubly special, as Aron Kaufman was celebrating a milestone birthday that week, and Dan had composed a tune, N’faro Manaku (anagram of Aron Kaufman?) for the occasion. » Read the rest of this entry «

An Embarrassment of Riches

April 7th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

What happens at Song Night at my house?

A typical night was last April 12, 2007. Dave Mason and Steve Osburn came over. Dave played bongos and Oz picked up my fretless Fender Bass.

Then we improvised new songs, which I recorded and promptly forget about, as I’ve been too distracted to transcribe the discs. Here’s one tune:


It’s good – we should write a lyric. » Read the rest of this entry «

Song Night

March 23rd, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


A cold February night in Ann Arbor. It’s Song Night at my house, and we’re just getting warmed up.

On this night, February 21, 2008, I was very fortunate to have Oz – Steve Osburn – on bass, Dave Mason on bongos, Jeff Kupperman on violin. I played the piano and sang a bit.

Here’s what happened….


Is there a song in here? With this one, I don’t necessarily think so. It’s nice, but it doesn’t beg to be revisited.

Sometimes at these Song Night sessions, a Song is born. Sometimes, the Process IS the Product.

That’s OK too.

Jump the Spark

November 5th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink



General Chaos and the Natural Order has never been a “band” in any conventional sense. It was and remains more or less a non-binding protocol for a certain type of improvisational musical encounter in which train wrecks are always infinitely preferable to ruts, and a good time is had by all.

I suppose the one irreducible crucial factor from my point of view is the presence of Steve Osburn. I don’t know that I’m essential – I suppose that’s up to Oz. Tim Twiss has often been a factor.

These sessions have usually, but not always, happened in Oz’s Music Environment. Such was the case a few Thursdays ago on the night of October 11, 2007, when Oz and Dave Mason and I, along with some drum grooves from my computer, convened for a General Chaos session. (Somehow one does not tend to think of them as “Natural Order” sessions.)

What happens in such a session? » Read the rest of this entry «

Little Ears – Little Eyes

October 22nd, 2007 § 4 comments § permalink


Even paranoids sometimes really do have robotic dragonflies spying on them.

Last Thursday was Song Night at Oz’s.

When words are not expected to play a role in a given improvisation, I often just cast about until some musical motif begins to attract good energy. With words, I find it harder to just cast about. As a consequence, I’ve been thinking a bit about how best to kick start improvised Words with Music. » Read the rest of this entry «


August 8th, 2007 § 1 comment § permalink


Check this out. An eco oriented commercial contest. Got a 15 second spot? Well…Dave Mason and I just happened to have written this thing Anaconda which just happens to be very eco themed and also to have a 15 second chant.


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