Posted by: Andrew | July 17, 2009

PJCE Spring Concert Wrapup

(photo by Maureen Oliver, more photos from the concert here)

Well it seems that the PJCE is taking up a lot of space on here recently, although I have some other posts in the works (as well as lots of projects, the list of which was rather frighteningly long when I read it out loud to someone!)

But, for now, a wrapup of last Friday’s PJCE concert.  We really had the best turnout and response thus far, which was gratifying – sans any decent press writeups or radio appearences, I feared for the worst but was pleasently surprised.

As always with a group this large (14), this many new compositions (9), and limited rehearsal time, there were some imperfections, and the Old Church’s acoustics were not helpful in that regard (as you will hear).  However, despite all of that, there were some great moments which I’d like to share with everyone.

1. Finished Products – as promised, a follow up on my previous post about my new mini-tunes.  They were really quite successful and basically accomplished my goals of writing pieces that would be playable with only one rehearsal but were still intriguing, were self-contained, dealt with one basic musical theme each, and would sound good in the Old Church.  This was a good move for me as a composer, as I tend to follow the youthful stereotype of trying to fit everything possible into each composition, and I was finally able to get outside of that significantly here.  Have a listen, each movement is about 2 minutes long:

I (Bass Solo: Bill Athens)


III (Trumpet Solo: Tree Palmedo, Soprano Solo: Mary Sue Tobin)

2. Fearless Frogs – There were some other highlights as well, co-director Gus Slayton write a rockin’ tune based on his recent camping experiences, “Fearless Frogs.”  I am always impressed with Gus’s fine big-band voicings and his willingness to write in whatever style he damn well pleases, eschewing whatever big band conventions are left in this day and age.  Part of why I love the PJCE as a project is this attitude of both experimentation and a lack of pretension, which I think most of the musicians and composers have picked up as we’ve moved along.  Here’s Gus’s tune:

(Alto Solo: Mary Sue Tobin, Keyboard Solo: Andrew Oliver)

3. Cave Dweller – And, along the same lines, Galen Clark wrote a funky number “Cave Dweller” a year or so ago that he re-arranged for us.  It will be featured on his band Trio Subtonic‘s upcoming CD, which, if you happen to be in Portland, will be celebrated with what will surely be a great show at Jimmy Mak’s on Aug. 7:

(Trumpet Solo: Levis Dragulin, Tenor Solo: Gus Slayon, Drum Solo: Kevin Van Geem)

4.  Grabby McGee – At the risk of this becoming rather lengthy, I will leave you with two more tunes to enjoy.  One of the PJCE’s newest friends and collaborators Andrew Durkin (of the Industrial Jazz Group) wrote a fine piece for us entitled “Grabby McGee,” which although in a post about the concert on the IJG blog he claims “stuck out like a sore thumb” was, in my opinion and in that of the audience as well, one of the highlights.  Andrew also exemplifies the nonconformist attitude I was talking about a few paragraphs ago, which I greatly appreciate.  And, his piece was the only one which featured people yelling “Cha-cha-cha”, which is not to be underrated!

(Bari Solo: Lee Elderton)

5. Caribbean Project – And finally, our friend Chance Hayden was in attendance and took a video of trumpeter Levis Dragulin’s tune “Caribbean Project”.  Levis is a great trumpeter but spends lots of time on cruise ships in exotic locations, so we were lucky to have him in town for this concert:

(Trumpet Solo: Levis Dragulin, Guitar Solo: Kyle Williams, Drum Solo: Kevin Van Geem)

All in all, a great evening.  I didn’t quite get to everything in the concert on this post but I want to keep it a manageable length, I will probably put some others up eventually.  Meanwhile, enjoy the music and any thoughts or, better yet, compositions for our forthcoming shows are always appreciated!



  1. Sounding good Andrew…a long list of projects is your friend. Jarrett supposedly has both a “long list” and a “short list” which I find hilarious. Keep up the good work.

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