So I started directing the Rice University Big Band this fall. Our first concert of the year will be on November 2nd, 6:30 pm at the RMC Grand Hall on Rice University campus. We’ll be playing arrangements from the Count Basie library, as well as arrangements of songs by Oliver Nelson, Rodgers/Hart, and Nat King Cole. Come on out!
My band Etched In The Eye has just released a new record. The personnel of the group is me on alto and baritone saxes, Robert Pearson on keyboards, and Sandy Ewen on guitar. This group is a bit hard to categorize, as it is all improvised but does not fall into the usual genres of free jazz, improvised music or avant garde. However, I’m very proud of this record, and its blistering intensity. You can listen to it at this link:https://sandyewen.bandcamp.com/album/etched-in-the-eye
I’m happy to announce that I am the new director of the Rice University big band. I’ll be taking the position over from one of my former teachers, the great Larry Slezak. We will be playing music from big bands such as Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Rob McConnell, and more. We have 4 concerts during the school year, and the first one will be on November 2nd.
I’m excited to say that I’m playing a touring Broadway Musical, A Night With Janis Joplin, at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX. The show is basically a retrospective of Janis Joplin’s life, and features some of her most popular songs such as “Ball and Chain” and “Piece of my Heart”. It runs from from August 21nd to September 18th. Come on out, it’s going to be a great show!
2016 has been good to me so far. January was mostly teaching, focusing on UIL solo and ensemble. In February, I had a series of performances playing jazz standards at the Menil Art Museum accompanying an exhibition of works by the artist William Copley. I also went to Dallas to play some gigs with Etched In The Eye, a trio of mine with guitarist Sandy Ewen and pianist Robert Pearson. In March, I was a soloist with the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra when they played Pictures At An Exhibition, the Mussorgsky/Ravel masterpiece. And at the beginning of April, I had a very exciting recording session with three masterful musicians: bassist Damon Smith, NYC based drummer Joe Hertenstein, and veteran AACM drummer Alvin Fielder. I’m excited for what 2016 has yet to offer!
2015 was a fun year for me. It was a good amount of teaching, as well as performing. In May I was the guest artist for the Spring Jazz Festival at Klein Collins High School, where I did some masterclasses and a performance with the band. Over the summer, I played at a music festival in Austin called NMASS (New Music Art and Sound Summit) with Damon Smith, Sandy Ewen, and Steve Parker. I also played duo with Sandy Ewen at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin that was a lot of fun. In August, I went down to Pearland High School and did some summer clinics/masterclasses with the saxophones in the band. In September I expanded my teaching to 30 students, and started as the saxophone teacher at Cypress Woods High School. I worked heavily with my students on music for the Region/Allstate band competitions, as well as UIL Solo and Ensemble. Overall, it was a diverse collection of musical activities that made me stronger as both a teacher and musician.
The Danny Kamins festival is happening tonight at the AvantGarden in Houston. Big thanks to Damon Smith and Sandy Ewen for putting this on. I’ll be playing a duo with pianist Robert Pearson, and a trio with Sandy on guitar and Rebecca Novak on trumpet. Starts at 7:30, $5 cover.