I have always enjoyed listening and learning from great musicians. Too often we listen to people we want to emulate on our own instrument when you can gain valuable insight from other musicians. Over the next couple of months, I am going to put together a series of blog posts of musicians, artists and other creatives that have inspired me. In his book, Steal Like an Artist, author Austin Kleon talks about the theory of picking one great artist and reading, listening and learning everything they did. Once you have learned from that artist, you pick three artists that inspired the first artist. Sounds like endless inspiration to me!
On October 6, 2018, I was fortunate to attend a day of xylophone at NYU hosted by Jonathan Haas and Jon Singer. The day was called Xylophone Now! and featured performances and clinics by Xylofolks, Shaun Tilburg, Ian Finkel, James Saporito, NYU Percussion Ensemble, SUNY Purchase Percussion Ensemble, and the Rutgers Youth Percussion Ensemble. The performances were absolutely amazing and I was so glad to finally have the opportunity to hear these great performers perform in a live setting.
This video features virtuoso xylophone soloist Bob Becker and NEXUS performing Valse Brillante (by George Hamilton Green/arr.Bob Becker) at a performance at the Sejong Culture Center in Seoul, Korea on May 19, 1984 as part of a NEXUS world tour. (The performers include Russell Hartenberger, Robin Engelman, Bill Cahn, John Wyre). Pay close attention to phrasing.
The Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion Group performed a NPR Tiny Desk Concert on May 29, 2018. NPR Tiny Desk Concerts are intimate concerts, recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. These concerts began in 2008 and have featured over 400 concerts including Adele, Tower of Power, Dan Deacon, Lake Street Dive and more.
Third Coast Percussion’s set list included a diverse collection of works for percussion including Niagara, Amazon River (Philip Glass) and Torched and Wrecked. If you enjoy this performance, be sure to check out So Percussion’s Tiny Desk Concert from 2012.
Third Coast Percussion is: David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, Sean Connors.
Libertango has always been one of my favorite arrangements on marimba. This composition was written by Astor Piazzolla in 1974 and has been covered by many ensembles since. In 2010, I featured Jasmin Kolberg performing Eric Sammut’s arrangement of Libertango. Today’s video features a performance by Japanese marimba virtuoso Kana Omori. Click here to purchase Kana Omori’s arrangement of Libertango.
Matt Penland and Jake Harpster performing “flowerpot music no. 1” by Elliot Cole. I saw this piece live at the 2018 Northwest Percussion Festival and I fell in love with it. This is just one of many great pieces by Elliot Cole.