Ji Hye Jung Performs John Serry’s “Groundlines” (2010)

John Serry’s Night Rhapsody for solo marimba is one of the great early pieces in the contemporary marimba repertoire. While still clearly “Serry-esque”, his new work Groundlines deviates significantly from his masterwork of over 30 years ago. Featuring Dies Irae quotes and Sonata Form,Night Rhapsody features a clear connection to the Romantic Era of wester classical music. That connection seems to be missing entirely from Groundlines leaving us with pure compositional mechanics. Check out the video to formulate some reactions to this new work expertly performed by Ji Hye Jung.

What are your thoughts on Serry’s compositional shift with Groundlines? What are your impressions of the work as a whole?

Block Chords are our Friends

marimbarollHow many times have you stepped up to the marimba to work on a passage and it seems like you have never seen the music before even though you spent hours practicing the day before? Well guess what? This happens to everyone including me. It is frustrating and makes you want to throw your mallets across the room. If this sounds familiar, I want you to start incorporating block chords into your practice routine.

If you think about it, we use block chords in our warm up routine (or at least you should be). Block chords allow us to warm up our big muscle groups and work on accuracy. So why do we only use them in warm ups? Here’s are some tips on how to use them on your next difficult marimba and/or vibraphone piece. (more…)

Gordon Stout; Wellness, Adapting, and the Art of Being Frank

Gordon with "Big Bertha"

Gordon with “Big Bertha”


After spending several days hosting Gordon Stout at the 2014 Longhorn Marimba Intensive I couldn’t help but be impressed with his vigor and overall enthusiasm for playing and teaching. Gordon gave a marimba recital, clinic and master-class during his time at LHMI.
So how does he do it? He attributes losing weight (almost 20lbs!), a recent sabbatical, and more practice time; claiming he is currently playing his best. After his recital I can attest to that! I can only hope that in my 60’s I can be playing that well, and have as much zeal for playing and sharing my knowledge of the marimba.
Of course, In Gordon’s case, that knowledge is immense. The students (and yes, yours truly) constantly enjoyed many of Gordon’s stories and philosophies. After a serious update on the rosewood shortage Gordon made a statement saying “Breaking a marimba bar is a sin”. The students all laughed but, of course Gordon didn’t.
As someone who remembers earlier days for the modern marimba and it’s repertoire I find younger students don’t know enough about figures like Gordon Stout and what they’ve contributed to our art. To that end I know that Gordon is currently working on an iBook to help rectify this problem. We’ll keep you posted on that effort and be sure to let you know of it’s progress.
Gordon discussing his 2nd Mexican Dance

Gordon discussing his 2nd Mexican Dance


It’s refreshing to me to see how he has embraced technology. Gordon shared with me that along with his new ibook project he is also experimenting with video. Expect him to make the best use of the ibooks platform. You’ll also find Gordon on Twitter: @StoutGordon (I love his twitter profile pic). Gordon recently released a new CD entitled Welcome to Stoutland which will be released digitally soon. Hit the link above for more news and information about his new music and projects.
Want more Gordon? Be sure to check out our podcast interview from a few years back: Part I Part II.
Do you have any Gordon Stout impressions? If so, please share them below the post.

Gary Burton Resource Guide: Part One

GaryBurton_Katz__D8C0379 copy

BookChattr is starting soon. Come join the DrumChattr community and read Learning to Listen: The Jazz Journey of Gary Burton: An Autobiography by Gary Burton. I started the book last week and I am really enjoy it. The style of writing is conversational and the information is informative and insightful. As I was reading the first couple of chapters, I starting think about how I would like to listen to the pieces Gary talks about in the book. So I decided to put together a resource guide (similar to the Steve Schick Listening Guide Part 1 & Part 2 that I compiled when we read his book). While some of these recordings are probably not the exact recordings Mr. Burton heard, I wanted to familiarize you with the pieces. If there is something I missed or if there is another version we should listen to, please leave your comments below and I will add them to the post.

Intro

Unfortunately, the 1994 Fresh Air interview is not available. The only NPR interview was recorded on May 8, 2004. Gary Burton Steps Down, Out

Part 1: Early Years

Chapter 1: What is a Vibraphone?

Twelfth Street Rag (Performed by Pee Wee Hunt & his Orchestra 1948)
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l73jhrBHhaI

Way Down Yonder in New Orleans – Al Jolson (Played on a Victrola)
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOwQxZxruIs

Bye Bye Blues (Performed by Les Paul and Mary Ford)
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmMCzGKCeYo

Chapter 2: “After You’ve Gone”

After You’ve Gone (Benny Goodman Sextet 1945)
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_8xJ3RjF70

After You’ve Gone (Eddie Daniels & Gary Burton Quintet Live in Bern, May 1994)
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SREZzCbiO6k

Memories of You (Performed by Lionel Hampton 1939)
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBxgfefKBGw

Flying Home (Performed Live by Lionel Hampton 1957)
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_rTICMVXQQ

Kind of Blue Miles Davis 1959
httpvh://www.yo