I am always excited to play with the Funky Fresh trio not only because they are good friends, but because they were the foundation of the recording of the CD. Really, my CD could be the Funky Fresh Trio’s first CD.
I am recording a track with Harlequin Zebra in the upcoming weeks. Their first CD will be energetic and melodic and I hope I can find suitable horns lines and lay down some heat.
I am still planning on returning to the St. Louis Big Band after a few months off for a sabbatical. I’m working on a new big band arrangement of… it’s a surprise! My schedule could prove to be stubborn and push my return date back, but I remain in contact with many of the members.
I really am looking forward to some time off after hitting that CD track. I want to examine how time off affects my playing. I want some time for recent discoveries to sink in.
Please contact me if you would like to get a hold of me.
I am so proud of Laura Wunder for her work with PayBack. Her auction and award ceremony last weekend was truly an honorable event and I am glad to have performed with Joe Mancuso and Curt Landes. So much "good" comes from things like these and people like these. We a grateful for everyone's support.
09.03.12Making Lead Sheets for Suite Trio Gigs
I recently downloaded Finale 2012 and have been reducing my jazz suite orchestra charts into lead sheets so I can play those charts on combo gigs.
I have a new trio called the Suite Trio with St. Louis drummer Stephen Haake. Vocalist Joe Mancuso, too, has been intrigued with the idea of performing Suite tunes as a quartet without chords. We are focused on high-level music and are excited to play!
I've officially sent-in my letter of Sabbatical to the St. Louis Big Band with the intentions of taking some time to work on personal musical growth so as to be fresh when a return date is decided. Three more dates to go.
The truth is the next 6-9 months are going to be very transitional, moving into a careerfield that can be busy. Music has and always be with me, and I will always play. Planning the second Jazz Suite and perfroming with the Suite Trio are the two things I'm relying on to get me through these shifting times of my life.
Still booking gigs! Contact page for info :)
07.29.12The Blog of Licks
Rage has a whole long history that goes back to when the riff was first created, layered and occasionally renamed. Currently, the riff entitled Rage continues to be the foundation of numerous onslaughts of other riffs, layered on top.
The most recent riff to layer on top of Rage is called the Kill Lick, as correct terminology would include, “Would you like to rage the kill lick tonight?” Just recently at a performance, we spontaneously called a rage in the middle of a jam song with many soloists and as Don kept blowing, we layered on him with first the rage and then the kill lick.
Other popular licks have included the Bucky Lick, which goes: (1) b3 3 4 #4 5 b3. I have personal experience playing the 1947 big band chart Four Brothers and the Bucky Lick is in there, but I’m pretty sure I have Louis Armstrong playing it in my ear, even Bach and earlier.
There is the brass band arranged Nips and Rib Tips which was influenced by a picture from a dream and featured the Rage Lick being layered by the Time Shuttle Lick. Of course, we tried to throw in the ostinato from Time Shuttle, but that was too cool.
The Little Guy Lick, the In Her Bra Lick, the BwockaChicka Lick… the list keeps growing from the front or the back of time; I‘ve written ditties for years and will continue forever.
The future of rage dreams of becoming a jazz version of Terry Riley’s composition called In C that I had the privilege of performing in Cincinnati years back. Jeff Riley’s Rage will become similar in organization, and it can be played in any key, so call it in C if you want, or not, or we might modulate anyway.
So now you know the story of the Rage.
07.25.12Dingawat and Rage
We all know the phenomenon called "Rage," but mixed with "The Kill Lick" and you have a wild piece of music (sample under "audio" tab).
Also, my big band chart "Dingawat" is making an unofficial premiere this weekend with the St. Louis Big Band.
06.22.12Colorado Trip part 2
I’ve been out to Colorado enough to know that the mountains are inspiring, the oxygen level is obnoxious and the music scene is well-supported. My gigs in Denver and Estes Park with the Funky Fresh Trio and Shane Jonas went great- original music, top-notch musicality and long solos.
I’d like to thank Josh Quinlan DMA and Ricky Shane Jonas for their loyal friendship and outstanding musical expression. Jazz Suite 2 is in the plans, fellas!
Look for pictures and music from the trip under the “recent” tab!
I'm excited to see some good friends while in the foothills and mountains. We'll be playing a lot of music, of course, but there will be a quick chance to stay in the cabin 9000' up! I am really looking forward to sitting on the porch and stairing off to the next mountain over... I can picture it now. And finding spiritual inspiration. This will be a great opportunity to re-ground myself. We stayed up there right before recording the Jazz Suite CD. Seems like only yesterday. The next chapter awaits!
04.25.12They are only dreams if you choose not to act on them
Someone asked me what my dreams are. I told them I've never had dreams. This sounds awful, but my horoscope today drew me into some insight. It seems that dreams are fantasies that you merely imagine. That’s not my style. What I have concluded is that dreams lead to inspiration and from there they become goals.
My friends know I like to daydream, always have. When I was a child, I asked my mom why people assume I’m daydreaming something evil as they try to snap me out of it. I asked her why adults are allowed to sit and daydream without persecution. Perception, I suppose.
Back to the point: I daydream and brainstorm all the time, but if a dream is worthwhile, I do it. I take action. The “dream” of having a child, recording an album, writing a book, finding truth to the mystery of life, and finding equilibrium with my environment are all real or becoming real. I didn’t one day dream it and find content in only that dream; I put that dream into action.
What is your dream? Trick question. PUT THAT DREAM TO WORK!!!
04.20.12Thanks to St. Louis Musicians Unite Blog
We really appreciate St. Louis Musicians Unite's support by mentioning us on their blog. Listen to Reggae Soul on there blog now by clicking the link!
04.19.12Thank you John McBeath
We are truly gracious for you writing about our project from all the way over in Australia! Keeping doing great reviews!
04.18.12Ryan Sheehan, St. Louis Big Band director
I would just like to say thanks to Ryan for first dreaming, second working towards that dream, and third never quitting.
I am personally thankful for his hard work. As the band stays together and grows, we are reaching more and more people in St. Louis with pretty good dance music. Weddings are livelier with our music. Concert Halls are reminiscent with our patronage to swing music. And our city is becoming richer with culture because of this band's persistence.
Every family has dissonance, but successful families find resolution, just like music.
And congratulations on the radio show, Ryan. Get me in there for a conversation about history, theory and philosophy;)
03.11.12St. Louis Big Band a Big Possibility
I took Time Shuttle, Dingawat and Six four Six into rehearsal a couple weeks ago and I was blown away by its potential. The Jazz Suite performed by a bigger ensemble would change its characteristics, yes, but I hope to bring in as many soloists from the album as I can. Josh and I were talking and we agree that the stereo effect of the sound would be a lot of fun to hear. I'm in no rush; some have called me a procrastinator, and I want to make sure RickyShane can get down here for one!
12.13.11Payback Fundraiser article in Ladue News
This is a nice article about Payback, a group that helps kids turn their lives around; it is awesome. The Jeff Riley Quartet played during the wine tasting, art auction and refreshments.
12.04.11Agreement to become Dazzle Recordings artist
Jeff Riley has verbally committed to Josh Quinlan and Dazzle Recordings out of Denver, CO. We look forward to having a listing in the catelog as well as future email listings and considerations for possible performances in the future.
10.19.11Donated at Robbie's Jam Session
We have recycled a nice acoustic Fender guitar with a stand and case. We are eager to find a suitable match for this instrument!
Thank you Dorothy at Robbie's House of Jazz! I walked in Tuesday for the Jam Session with Willem and Haake and Brad E. and Nate Boxdorfer and Doug Burns and Joe when it was waiting for us to recycle!
10.14.11Little Book :)
Today, I went to Office Max and had them print 4 to a sheet, cut and spiral bind into a little book Dream Crushers. It is neat! [and downloadable]
The autobiography "Dream Crushers" has been through its final edit. I'm exploring all options for its release, but it will most likely be independent like the CD, although its good enough for some kind of publisher. Here is what its about:
•Life as a Teacher
•Advanced Jazz Suite liner notes
•Fatherhood vs singlehood
•Busting a move
I am writing to talk about my recent conquests. First, the Jazz Suite Orchestra continues to be built piece by piece, member by member. Next, new tunes are extremely plentiful; they run like water, man. Third, I have arranged my personal life to correlate with the Jazz Suite to ensure it's longetivity deep into the 21st century. There are worldly messages that need to be made, one being, "We are here to celebrate life, not to hate each other's God," and there always will be- it's part of the human condition. Finally, all children should have good oportunities. I love watching how it unfolds, all of it, from show to show. And I look forward to seeing my friends soon while playing for many purposes. Peace.
08.31.11Jazz Suite's Latest Show Helps Kids!
On Friday night, the Jeff Riley Jazz Suite Orchestra played a benefit show at Robbie's House of Jazz in Webster Groves. The ten talented musicians from around the country assembled for a concert that was unique and heartwarming. The show raised a handful of instuments that went to underprivileged children in St. Louis while inspiring a room full of jazz lovers and fellow performers.
The group has tentative plans for Novemeber 12 at 2720 Cherokee and a confirmed fundraiser on January 13 at The Chapel, both in St. Louis.
Not much is going on this Friday, between the Zappa concert Thursday and Blues Fest starting Saturday. Everyone's coming to Robbie's!!!
We have confirmed the new Sunday Brunch at Rue Lafayette with the Jeff Riley Trio, every week until it gets chilly out on the patio??? Looking forward to the great atmosphere, super food and tasty drinks, like an iced Americano or a Sangria spritzer. Yum.
2026 Lafayette Ave., St. Louis.
Tonight, the Quartet turned into a trio, the Crooked Trio (get it? we played at the Crooked Tree). Sometimes we were a quintet, but the core of me, Stephen and N8 has been developing over the past two weeks. We're sounding more solid every gig. Thanks Matt and Zack for sitting in.
07.29.11Lowdown Brass Band, LDB and the ELL DEE BEE
I have the privilege of sharing a brief story with you about my time with the Lowdown Brass Band from Chicago.
Many years ago, I lived in Cincinnati and received a call from DMA (Josh Quinlan). He and Dave Levine and Chris Neal and a bunch of uber-talented young musicians formed a brass band with a second line hop drummer Jess Birch and sousaphone basslinist Lance Loiselle. I remember jokingly that Chris had to sub out the very first LDB gig and DMS switched over to tenor and I covered the alto part. The music was so much fun. Scott Anderson was playing trumpet. So, I was on the very first LDB gig as a sub;)
A few years later I moved up to Chicago and became the bari sax player having once played a Halloween gig wearing a monster mask, hence the nickname the monster. I miss that horn; its Dave's and he got it from Fishbone himself! We recorded the album live in an old chapel.
A few years passed and I moved out of Chicago. The ELL DEE BEE has carried on as we are all proud to be part of its liniage.
JULY 29 AT ROBBIE'S HOUSE OF JAZZ
20 Allen, Webster Groves, MO (STL)
07.22.11Jazz Workshop Success!
Last night's show was a hit. The St. Louis Big Band played awesome thanks to Stephen Haake playing like a man possessed by the Drum Gods! Really... wow.
Then the New Groove Project sounded really sweet. The vocals were well-harmonized and the groove was tight. It was a pleasure playing Eyes of the World especially.
And my Quartet did well. Stephen again slammed the drums, Nate added his cool tenor stylings and Horace had some really special moments on guit-fiddle.
Dorothy at Robbie's asked us back, so we are working on making it happen.
I need a gallon of coffee to wake up after an exhausting, but raging night. I wound up at Waffle House wearing a hoody sweatshirt at 5:30am. I seriously remember sleeping while eating my pecan-chocolate chip waffle. Cheers!!!
Our show July 6 was a stepping stone in our giant cacophonic path. Some may ask what the point is. Incredible and sophisticated music combined with educating children about music is the dream... the bigger the better.
On the music side: our Gramophone show was a success! The musicians had fun, the audience was supportive and we put a foot through the door in St. Louis.
On the benefit side: August 26 has the potential to be really special. If we can collect any musical instruments, raise any money or find prosperous connections, we will help under-privileged children in St. Louis. How? I am looking to collaborate with organizations already supporting music education, but if these don’t work out, I know how to run this kind of program and have had years of success, so I will do it alone, if necessary.
And I can’t forget about my book: I’m stuck between printing and adding on. I probably will only print one book in my life, so maybe I should add stories from my life that are funny or influential- it might ass to the enjoyment of the book to coincide with its tragedy.
Alright, I’ll see you July 21 at Robbie’s for some big band, some jam band and some quartet;) Cheers!
07.08.11St. Louis Jazz Notes
Read the article.
07.08.11This is crazy!
07.03.11Facebook Event Pages
There are three event pages on facebook- 7/6, 7/21, 8/26!!!
Peter will be at the show July 6 for some action shots. We had a session in his studio today with Stella and it went pretty well! I think I grab a few I can use... of Stella:)
06.26.11Getting closer to the STL debut show!
Excited to see Josh D.M.A. and RickyShane for the show. We'll be having a few surprises, too, that aren't on the CD. Ok, I will give you the projected lineup:
Hannah McDonald, vocals
Dr. Joshua Quinlan, reeds
Jeff Riley, reeds
Nate Boxdorfer, tenor sax
Shane Jonas, trumpet/vocals
Jim Sawyer, trombone*
Matt McCallie, guitar
Willem von Hombracht, basses
Stephen Haake, drums
06.17.11First Project to Use "venerable Pultec EQP 1A3" at Airshow
The venerable Pultec EQP 1A3 was used for the Jeff Riley Jazz Suite CD’s mastering. This was the first CD to use the new equipment at Airshow Mastering. David Glasser was the engineer. This pair is mastering versions with click stops on the knobs for reproducibility. The record was mixed to tape at 15 ips using a CCIR curve on a Studer 1/2" machine.
06.15.11St. Louis Big Band Records Demo at Webster U.
Last week, we got to record a handful of tunes and I thought we sounded great. I've been playing with them from the start: October 19, 2010. We have all gotten better!
06.12.11Mulling the next project
We enjoyed a great hang in Estes Park (Rocky Mountains) for Memorial Day, Jeff's book is getting closer to being done, as well.
Next we were in Michigan for a variety of oppotunities.
We spent some time planning the next studio recording. A number of songs are ready and waiting to be added to the Jazz Suite, most likely creating a second Suite. We are throwing around the title "Blue Suite." Some of the songs would be blues.
We've nearly decided to focus the project's efforts solely on this new album. The hunt is on.
Today marks the official release of the CD! Years of work have been capped by this benchmark, but the journey isn't over yet- plans for shows and the next CD are in the works.
New to the website are old pictures and sound clips from the 777 Family Reunion show in Chicago and the 2002 Premeire in Cincinnati!
Tomorrow marks the start of CD sales! Which leads us to another topic... please go to the "vote" tab and choose one;) Thanks!!
05.11.11iTunes has the JRJS album!
Search for Jeff Riley Jazz Suite on iTunes and easily download your favorite tracks onto your device! Check out Reggae Soul!!!
05.10.11Now downloads are available at DigStation.com!
Although physical CDs won't be available through DigStation, it is a great site for downloading the music!
05.10.11Visiting Colorado for Memorial Day
I'm excited to go back out to Boulder, Louisville, and Denver to see friends and family of the JRJS.
05.07.11Tracks available for download!
The music from the upcoming CD is available for purchase at cdbaby.com and digstation.com! The physical CDs will be available May 24, 2011.
Production has started and intitial shipments are estimated to be shipped April 29. The tentative release date is May 24. CD release shows are in the plans. The music will be available for download and the CD will be available for delivery soon. Attention is being made to the book as it contains info about the CD; more info is coming.
04.15.11Sent into Production
We are excited to see and hear the final product! CDs will be shipped from DiscMakers at the end of April and available soon after that.
04.14.11Three Tracks from the Album
Find samples of the album's music in the "Listen" section of this website!
The CD could be ready for sale in as early as two weeks. This website will have links to purchase and we'll have the music on iTunes.
Almost done with the artwork! Should be sending it out very soon. Going through Discmakers to press it and put it on iTunes/CDBaby. Exciting!
Mastering went really well. Dave Glasser at Airshow Mastering in Boulder, CO, likes the music and said it sounds like a combination of Frank Zappa meets Charles Mingus- cool! He has six more Grammy nominations this year, by the way.
There are a couple things I might change like time between tracks, but I might just let it go so I can get it pressed. I want to try to get some music into a soundtrack for a movie or TV show.
I'm looking for a good album cover idea. I kind of want the colors to focus around blue and orange. Inside I plan on having a lot of stuff, for example, each track has different people playing different instruments and most songs have a story.
I want to find the right distributer and I plan on trying to do some radio shows. We'll send it to get some reviews and try to get it into the movie industry.
And you know I have a second project in the works! "Volume 2, the Quest for More Money" (just kidding, that's from the movie Spaceballs).
The greatest part of this whole project is the involvement of many people. I realized long ago that when you involve other people in the creation of the music, not only is the music better, enthusiasm and support are great as well. The Jazz Suite is definitely a group effort, and I'm thankful for everyone that has made an influence along the way. There is a reason this website ends with .org!
Smile, dream, pursue :)
12.16.10Mastering Date is Set
We'll be at Airshow in Colorado for mastering the album from 10am-4pm. Exciting times!
11.12.10Mastering the Album at Airshow
Airshow has aquired new equipment and the jazz suite will be one of the first to use it. We're trying to get a December date.