Clark Media Productions

Clark Media Productions is a place for me to share my love of audio production, music, trombone, and music technology. Subscribe to my email list for late breaking blog posts, videos, and educational content!

Filtering by Category: creativity

Summer, and a very personal recording project

29 year ago, I spent the first of 3 unforgettable summers at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan.  That summer, I met a young trumpet player that completely knocked me out with his positive attitude, musicianship, fearlessness, and friendship.  I seem to find large projects to take on in the summer, these days.  With my boys home from school, and many hours spent parenting, and learning how to be a better father and husband (and that is an ONGOING thing!), I have taken to the example set by an author whose book I read a couple of years ago, Jocko Willink, and I find myself getting up many mornings (not all, still working on it) at 0430 to get a couple of hours of work in before the house stirs itself awake and the needs of my young ones overtake my own.  

Many of you are very familiar with Valor Brass, and the work this fabulous group of musicians has done over the past 13 years.  Our recording, Inaugural, in 2014, really changed a lot of things in life for me.  It was the first time I had really been an integral part of a creative process to make something lasting, throughout every stage of the process.  Specifically, the process of recording an album, and seeing it through to completion, absolutely fascinated me.  Our audio engineer, Ed Kelly, really captured what I felt was the true essence of our quintet.  That was the beginning of my interest in recording, and my exploration of that art, and what I could bring to my own recordings.  Needless to say, I took to it with a lot of focus and motivation, and began looking for every way that I could learn more about it, and put my skills into practice.

This June that trumpet player, Jack Sutte, and I reunited in Cleveland, to record two complete etude books, written by a young composer in Texas, Nathan Ost.  Jack and I have remained in constant contact since that summer of 1988, rooming together at Curtis, and again in New York while we worked on our masters degrees at Juilliard.  Jack has spent the last 18 years as 2nd trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra, and continues to push the bounds of new music as a trumpet soloist and with his brass trio, Factory Seconds, in his spare time.  

The three days of recording we had in June were just fantastic.  Jack has the ability to get to the heart of a piece of music like few people I have ever known, and he showed up to the sessions ready to make music.  Juggling a tough week of work performing the complete West Side Story film score in evening concerts, we recorded, during the day, all 42 of Nathan’s etudes at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, where Jack is a faculty member.  I am very excited about the recording, and the fantastic musicianship it portrays.  I hope you’ll take a listen.  

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Nathan Ost has written two collections of etudes that I have no doubt will become a well-used and familiar resource to trumpet players around the world.  Modeled after the characteristic studies of Arban, and lyrical studies of Bordogni, his Lyrical Studies and Characteristic Studies are a fresh and interesting musical approach to developing technical facility, but most of all, musicianship.  I am so glad I had the opportunity to put Jack’s playing to “tape” and give budding trumpet players a beautiful reference with which to explore these new compositions.  

Nathan has a great deal going on his website... If you buy either book in PDF delivery format, you receive the recordings of Jack playing all the etudes, for free!  Cheers!

As you may now suspect, producing personal, musical recordings is a passion of mine.  Check out clarkmediaproductions.com for more examples of what I’ve been up to lately.

Gary Vee hits the nail on the head again for us 40 and over folks!

I started reading some of Gary Vaynerchuk's writing (and Youtube videos) this year, and some have been hit or miss for me.  He's a pretty in your face kind of guy, but cleary very motivated and a super smart businessman... This video really hits the nail on the head for me.  I highly suggest anyone that feels you might be approaching that "too old" feeling watch it...

 

David Bowie and brass quintets...

No not really, sorry!  But I am embarrassed to say that it took David Bowie's death for me to discover his music.  And wow, have I been missing out!  His new album, Blackstar, is amazing, and due to my wife's amazing Christmas gift to me of a new turntable, I did order it on vinyl!  

Tonight, I watched a great video produced by the BBC, with producer Tony Visconti, about the recording of another seminal Bowie album, Heroes.  The video was posted by one of my favorite writers, Austin Kleon, and it's well worth the 20 minutes you'll spend watching...

http://bbc.in/1QqfRTZ

I think one of the most interesting things about insights like this is the debunking of the myth that great creations spring from some fully formed vision of the artist, and that it all comes out in one clear and finished product.  Just like one of my favorite podcasts of late, Song Exploder, you see that that is most often not the case...

So, what does David Bowie have to do with brass quintets?  Well, nothing yet... maybe we can get our good friend Tom Holtz, who has arranged so many great tunes for Valor Brass to arrange something cool...???  Tonight, we had the chance to perform on a recital of the Composers' Society of Montgomery County in Bethesda, Maryland.  We played a new piece by composer Jeffrey H. Bauer, titled Danse Macabre.  Jeff is a conservatory trained (Peabody Institute) pianist and trombonist, and he contacted Valor Brass a few months ago about working together.  We really enjoyed his new work, and it just reinforced the fact that relationships between creators (composers) and musicians (performers) are such a rewarding experience.  Check out Jeff's scores at Balquhhider Music.

Here's a rehearsal recording from a few days ago of Danse Macabre...

 

I love this quote from Brian Eno... (via Austin Kleon)

If you've followed my site for any length of time, you know my fondness for Austin Kleon and his wonderful books, Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work.  Kleon writes a lot about music and all things arts-related, and his Tumblr and Twitter feed are great resources to add to your daily social media feed.  He posted this quote by Brian Eno this year, and it really hits home when I relate it to my own feelings while being on US Marine Band tours, and shorter tours with Valor Brass... Great insight from the life of a rock star!

 I noticed that touring — which is wonderful in some ways — is absolutely confining in other ways.  It’s so difficult… you just can’t think about anything else. You try your hardest: You take books with you and word processors, and you’re definitely going to do something with the time. And you never do. It’s so easy for it to become your exclusive life, this one and a half hours every evening that you play. And I just thought, “I’m losing touch with what I really like doing.” What I really like doing is what I call Import and Export. I like taking ideas from one place and putting them into another place and seeing what happens when you do that. I think you could probably sum up nearly everything I’ve done under that umbrella. Understanding something that’s happening in painting, say, and then seeing how that applies to music. Or understanding something that’s happening in experimental music and seeing what that could be like if you used it as a base for popular music. It’s a research job, a lot of it. You spend a lot of time sitting around, fiddling around with things, quite undramatically, and finally something clicks into place and you think, ”Oh, thats really worth doing.” The time spent researching is a big part of it. I never imagined a pop star life that would’ve permitted that. 

Brian Eno

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