The Danny Green Trio recorded a new album of Green’s latest compositions at SpragueLand Recording Studio in February. Entitled After The Calm, this album features upright and electric bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm. The highly anticipated album releases November 18, 2014 on OA2 Records.
Last week, my trio had the honor of performing at TEDxUCSD 2014. I’ve been a huge fan of TED Talks for quite a while now, so it was so fun to get to be a part of them. Each speaker and performer was given 18 minutes to present, so we played three selections off of my upcoming release – End of the Block, Choro Pra Corrente, and After the Calm. We played for an audience of about 500, most of whom were UCSD students. One of the highlights was speaking with some of the students during the lunch break. Hopefully we’ll have a video of the performance to share soon. In the meantime, here’s a picture of us from back stage.
After our performances, the organizers presented us with this awesome picture of the trio:
We’ll look forward to doing this again hopefully soon! Many thanks to TEDxUCSD for having us!
One of the great things about being a teacher is the wonderful people you meet and get to know. This past week, I had the pleasure of bringing my trio to the home of one of my students (Ginny) for a house concert/conversation about improvisation. This turned out to be such an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. The gathering began with some delicious hors d’oeuvres, wine and chatting. It was great meeting people before we performed and they were very eager to talk about jazz and improvisation. The actual program began with a short talk by another piano student of mine, Arnold Mandell, who is the founding chairman and distinguished professor of psychiatry at UCSD, and a MacArthur Prize Fellow in theoretical neuroscience. His talk was about brain states that facilitate innovation. It was very interesting to hear his remarks and this helped us focus our attention on thinking about the process of improvisation.
Improvising is something I do on a daily basis, and while I put a lot of thought into how to get better at improvising, I don’t think too much about what is going on in my head as I am doing it. The attendees asked some great questions which led to Justin, Julien and me sharing some of the following ideas on the topic. On the surface, when we improvise, we are following some sort of guidelines for creating music in the moment. As a pianist, I work with the harmonic structure of a song, and use scales that are associated with each chord to create melodies. There are a lot of parameters that I can work with including varying rhythms, alterations of scales, enhancing scales with chromaticism, playing with intervals vs. linear lines, etc. We didn’t want to get too deep into the theories behind improvisation, but it was important to introduce the basic principles.
On of the ideas we arrived at in our discussion is that improvising on an instrument is much like having a conversation. In speaking, we rely on our vocabulary and our knowledge of how words are placed together to form sentences. We don’t preplan everything we say, but somehow we form coherent sentences as our thoughts are occurring. Improvising on instruments is exactly the same. Our vocabulary is scales, chords and rhythm. The grammar is how we put those scales, chords and rhythms together in a way that is musical.
So what about feelings? Do our emotions affect the way we improvise? Are we reacting to all five senses, or just a few of them? These were some of the more thought provoking questions. I think while it is possible to improvise without pouring any emotion into the music, it’s always much better to be approaching the music from a place of feeling. Sometimes, very challenging music gets in the way of musically channeling emotions, and we are more concerned with getting through the piece without “messing up.” That’s why we constantly have to practice – so that we can fully present in the music while we perform. Speaking about all this in between each of our songs had a great effect on how I performed. It constantly reminded me of what is most important in giving an emotionally compelling performance. Connecting with the audience through discussion and performance felt so good, and I hope to carry this on in future performances.
Thank you to all those who attended and shared this wonderful afternoon with us!
And thanks to Ginny and Bob for hosting, and we’ll look forward to next time!
San Diego based pianist and composer Danny Green brings his virtuosic talents to the Tapestry Label
A Thousand Ways Home, the virtuosic CD from pianist/composer Danny Green, will be released October 16 on the Tapestry label. As on his debut recording With You In Mind, “a brilliant musical statement” (Edward Blanco, ejazznews) which climbed the radio charts and won Best Jazz Album at the San Diego Music Awards, Green’s compositions incorporate Brazilian and Latin as well as jazz and classical influences. In Green’s words, “To me, A Thousand Ways Home is about taking various elements from each of these genres and blending them together in my own way.”
The core group consists of Green on piano, Justin Grinnell on bass. Julian Cantelm on drums and Tripp Sprague on soprano and lenor saxophone. Green also features an incredibly talented cast of guest artists that include mandolinist Eva Scow on four of the tracks, guitarist Peter Sprague on “Soggy Shoes,” world renowned Brazilian guilarist Chico Pinehiro and Brazilian vocalist Claudia Vìllela on “Quintal da Solidão” and guilarist Dusty Brough on “Dusly Road – Part II.” The camaraderie shared by the players is obvious. “We had a wonderful time inthe recording studio and I hope that joy translates in the music,” says Green.
“One of the things I love about music is that you can always keep aiming higher, and the effort is always worth it,” notes Green. This is obvious from the results of the 13 compositions heard on this recording.
A San Diego native, Danny Green is equally versed injazz, Latin and classical music. He received his BA in piano performance at UCSD, from which he graduated with honors and won the Jimmy Cheatham Jazz Award. He received his Masters Degree in Music (Jazz Studies) from SDSU in 2011 and was awarded Outstanding Graduate Student and earned several scholarships. He has studied jazz with Kamau Kenyatta , Rick Helzer, Anthony Davis, Marcos Siiva, Chico Pinheiro, and others. His expertise in Brazilian music was also honed at the CA Brazil Camp. – See more at: http://www.dannygreen.net/newsblog/#sthash.dC77wwpi.dpuf
With You In Mind, Green’s Debut Solo Release, named “Best Jazz Album of the Year” by the San Diego Music Foundation
San Diego, CA – September 11, 2009 – San Diego-based independent record label, Pacific Coast Jazz (PCJ), is proud to report its artist, Danny Green, won “Best Jazz Album of the Year” from the San Diego Music Foundation in their 19th annual awards ceremony, last night at Viejas Concerts in the Park, San Diego, CA. With You in Mind is Green’s debut solo release and it received extensive airplay in stations around the globe beginning in January 2009. With You In Mind was co-produced with Allan Phillips and features Justin Grinnell (bass), Dylan Savage (drums), Allan Phillips (percussion) and Tripp Sprague (soprano saxophone). With ten original compositions and one cover, Green combines both Brazilian and Latin influences, cradled in mainstream jazz and classical nuances.
“While other PCJ artists have been nominated in the past, this is our first win. We are extremely proud of all of our artists and this demonstrates our ongoing commitment to high quality independent artists,” says Donna Nichols, founder and president of Pacific Coast Jazz. Nichols’s label along with publicist Joy Foster of SV Media Relations and radio promoter Neal Sapper at New World N’ Jazz were the team to bring Green’s music to the marketplace in 2009. Another PCJ artist, Bradley Leighton, was also in the running in the same category for his 2008 release Soul Collective, the third Leighton release to receive a nomination from the same organization.
“PCJ is thrilled to have this kind of talent on our roster,” said Nichols. The annual Awards show has raised over $500,000 since its inception in 1991. These funds have been used to assist Handicapped Teen Centers, to fund arts programs within the San Diego Unified School District and to fund the placement of music equipment into schools within San Diego County.
With You In Mind has been nominated for Best Jazz Album at the San Diego Music Awards. The event is to take place at the Viejas Concerts in the Park on Thursday September 10, 7PM. For more information, visit www.sandiegomusicawards.com.
Called “a brilliant musical statement” by jazz critics nationally, pianist Danny Green celebrates his debut release, With You In Mind, and brings his unique blend of jazz and world music rhythms music to Anthology on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 7:30 PM.
The band features Justin Grinnell (bass), Dylan Savage (drums), Tripp Sprague (sax) and special guest guitarist, Peter Sprague.
Tickets start at $11 and can be purchased online or through the box office at 619-595-0300.
Anthology is located at 1337 India Street, San Diego, CA 92101.
Pacific Coast Jazz recording artist Danny Green’s new debut release With You In Mind is now available in retail outlets worldwide!
The album features Justin Grinnell on bass, Dylan Savage on drums, Tripp Sprague on Soprano Sax, and Allan Phillips on percussion. Consisting of 10 originals and one cover by Danilo Perez, this album provides a great mix of Brazilian and Latin Jazz. With You In Mind is getting quite the attention. Green’s first week of radio airplay put him at #18 on Jazz Week charts and his reviews have been praising this new young talent.
San Diego, CA – October 9, 2008 – San Diego-based independent record label, Pacific Coast Jazz (PCJ), announces the addition of San Diego-based Brazilian jazz pianist, Danny Green, to their roster of distinctive artists. Green’s own independent label, Alante Recordings, will now be an associate label under the Pacific Coast Jazz umbrella. This affiliation anticipates the release of Green’s first solo release With You In Mind, slated for a street date of January 20, 2009.