The New York Philharmonic calls me a “Composer, musicologist and freelance critic.” Fair enough! Not just for them, though, I write extensively about jazz (and vote in all the major jazz critic’s annual polls), pop, and have a special sideline in the avant-garde.
While this blog officially began in early 2008, primarily as something to do to keep myself from going insane, I’ve been writing about music off and on, in print and on-line, since I published a review of Steve Lacy’s great album, The Window, in the now defunct Arete magazine, in 1988. That hints at a background in jazz, and I do have one, and even as a soprano saxophonist, which was indeed my main horn while playing jazz and, especially, improvised music in New York City and San Francisco from the late-1980s to the mid-1990s, when I had to choose between spending precious free time on practicing or on writing contemporary Western Classical music, especially opera, and working in computer music languages. I chose the latter, in no small part because I had sunk my own money into a MM from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
My music-making life has included pit orchestras, marching bands, big bands, jazz combos, wind quintets, orchestras, top-40 bands and ad hoc improvising groups, and I’ve played at Weill Recital Hall, CBGB when it existed, The Knitting Factory when it was on Houston Street, Lunch For Your Ears when it was in SoHo, and many more places. That’s why this blog covers so much variety of music, and takes it all on equal terms. I’m also a thinking, feeling person growing up in the middle of the wonderful and bizarre material largesse of American culture, which is why I’m drawn to fitting things into the larger picture of experience, real and imagined.
You can find my writing many places, even if some of my old blogs and on-line pieces have disappeared down the digital memory hole. I’m part of Occupy Musicians and Occupy Writers, I have about twenty entries in the Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd Edition (the standard reference), and hit the “Elsewhere” link above to find more articles and other sites, go here for a somewhat more professional resumé. I am always interested in small and independent releases of music and books and more, if you have made something or are representing something, you can contact me at “gtra1n” @ “thebigcityblog.com.” Advertising inquiries are also welcome.