Carmen’s de la Calle owner Paula Sullivan poses to us the question, “What do chicks dig about jazz?”
The answer is manifold: the opportunity to engage with skilled players in a musical conversation; the challenge of instant composition over a harmonic form; the satisfaction of supporting others with a strong musical underpinning as they solo; the joy of melodic flight; in short, the adrenaline rush of the risk, as saxophonist/composer Steve Lacy describes it: “Risk is at the heart of jazz. Every note we play is a risk.”
This will be our last scheduled public performance together in San Antonio for the rest of this year, as Joël and I embark on some very exciting projects which will keep us holed up in the studio, along with performances out of town. We’ll also be saying farewell to the stellar performance venue Carmen’s de la Calle Cafe, which will close its doors at the end of the year. Owner Paula Sullivan has been instrumental (no pun intended) in bringing nationally-acclaimed jazz to the local audience, and we wish her well as she embarks on her next venture, which is bound to be exciting. Stay tuned….
(If you missed hearing drummer Kevin Hess trade solos with percussionist Nina Rodriguez in our set at the Texas Jazz Festival last weekend, here’s your chance.)
Chicks Dig Jazz featuring Bett Butler, Nina Rodriguez, Joël Dilley, Kevin Hess Thursday, October 24, 8:30 pm Carmen’s de la Calle Cafe 720 E Mistletoe Ave San Antonio, TX 78212 210.737.8272 $10 at the door
A great deal of our work at the studio involves sitting at a computer for long stretches of time. We’ve always known instinctively that frequent breaks are good for creativity, and we found ourselves searching for a place where we could escape from a given task momentarily with beautiful thoughts, sights and sounds.
The Mandala Meditation Channel on YouTube came out of our own desire for a peaceful, positive place in the virtual world where we could take a five- or ten-minute break in the middle of a stressful work day. With music from the Mandala Meditation Series and our limited film editing skills, we’re engaging in a virtual collaboration with videographers, photographers, and artists from all over the world who have generously made their work available under a Creative Commons license to create short videos that we hope will brighten your day.
Intrigued by the narrative power of music, Joël always writes with a story in mind. He is fascinated by how that story may change drastically once it reaches the ears of the listener. His compositions, assigned to various music libraries, have been used to enhance story in TV and film, commercials, documentaries, cooking shows, and more. In each case, the client’s story is central; music is used only to enhance it, like illustrations in a book.
He decided to turn the tables. Funded by a grant from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio, he partnered with award-winning filmmaker Guillermina Zabala in a video project where, instead of the story determining the music, the music itself determined the story.
In the project entitled "Every Story Tells a Picture," he invited Zabala to choose from five music tracks from his upcoming album Mandala Meditation Series: Lullaby of the Flatlands, hear her own story, and translate it into film. The track’s title and original story weren’t revealed to the filmmaker until after she had formulated her own scenario. Says Zabala, “As a filmmaker I felt immediately connected with the cinematic aspect that is so integral in Joël’s music…. What truly fascinated me about this piece of music was its dichotomy: While calm and serene, this musical track also carries inherently a sense of wonder, confusion, expectation, and even fear. Its movements are extremely subtle. They are like subliminal messages that touch you, just strong enough to make you fly, expectant and in peace and then, at the end, surrounded by joy.”
The resulting music video, “A Night in December‚” will premiere Saturday, October 5, during a live concert at the Esperanza Center. Pianist/vocalist Bett Butler, percussionist Nina Rodriguez, and vocalist/guitarist Azul Barrientos (who is also featured in the video) will join in performing music from his new solo album. The audience will be invited to engage with the artists in a conversation about the project and about storytelling with music and imagery.
Please join us for an evening of beautiful sights and sounds!
Every Story Tells a Picture: A Night of Music, Video, & Conversation Saturday, October 5, 7 pm Esperanza Center for Peace & Justice www.esperanzacenter.org 922 San Pedro Ave (off West Evergreen) San Antonio TX 78212 Suggested donation: $5
We’ll be playing music from our latest albums, along with some of our favorite jazz classics, in a high-energy set with Austin saxophonist Paul Klemperer, the inimitable Kevin Hess on drums, and guest percussionist Henry Brun. A portion of vendor proceeds benefit the San Antonio Parks Foundation, whose mission is to provide enhancements to city and county parks which improve the quality of life for all citizens.
Tune into KRTU 91.7 fm Thursday, Septermber 19th, 11 am, when we’ll talk with host Kory Cook about new music and our upcoming Jazz’sAlive set.
Listen Thursday, then come on out on Saturday; it’ll be a great hang!
Bett Butler & Joël Dilley @ Jazz’sAlive featuring Paul Klemperer, Kevin Hess, & Henry Brun Saturday, September 21, 2:30 pm Travis Park, San Antonio TX Free www.saparksfoundation.org/
"String of Tranquility" is the first in a series of videos on the Mandala Meditation Channel, offering a peaceful place in the virtual world to rest and renew. Subscribe at www.youtube.com/mandalameditation.
This is the first release in the Mandala Meditation Series, a new offshoot of Dragon Lady Records: affordable music for meditating, relaxing, concentrating, thinking, walking, running, driving, flying, working out, dancing, living, loving, creating, and all the other stuff we do every day. (A note from Bett: I’ve lived with this music in my iPhone over the past year, and it’s helped me stay calm and focused in some pretty stressful situations.)
A solo effort a year in the making, Joël wrote, arranged, produced and performed all the music on acoustic, electric, fretless, and piccolo basses; piano; keyboard; guitar; drum loops and synthesizer programming; percussion; celtic harp; and accordion. He explains his storyteller’s approach: “I’ll have a narrative in mind, place myself in that emotional moment, hit the record button, and improvise. I think in terms of voices rather than instruments and try to find the voices that will most effectively tell the story.” (Read Jim Beal Jr.’s interview with Joël in the San Antonio Express-News here.)
Those voices range from worldly to ethereal, from the soothing cathedral bells of the title track “Lullaby of the Flatlands” to the energizing temple drums and lighthearted whistling of “Morning in Tibet” to the joyous South African rhythms of “Happy Song.” Listen to sound clips here.
Lullaby of the Flatlands will be available from iTunes, CDBaby, Bandcamp, Rhapsody, and other online providers. A limited number of physical CDs are available from our online store at www.dragonladyrecords.com, where we’re celebrating this new release by pricing all of Joël’s CDs at $10 for a limited time.
Sir Yehudi Menuhin said that the sarangi, a bowed string instrument capable of imitating the slides and tremolos of the human voice, “expresses the very soul of Indian feeling and thought.” Joël will join sarode player Rick Henderson Friday in a concert with internationally-known sarangi virtuoso Pankaj Mishra in a concert of divine love songs. The performance features Michael Garza on acoustic guitar and Buffalo Thunder on percussion. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear a master of musical eloquence.
Joël w/Rick Henderson & Pankaj Mishra featuring Michael Garza & Buffalo Thunder Friday, June 28, 7:30 pm Quaker Meetinghouse 7052 N Vandiver,San Antonio TX 78209 For info, call 210.415.6621 or email email@example.com http://www.sanantonioquakers.org Donations accepted at the door
The eclectic and welcoming service at First UU Church is one of our favorite ways to spend a Sunday morning. This week will be a final farewell to Reverend Bret Lortie, whose thoughtful, humorous, and poignant sermons are enriched by his love of jazz and the fine arts (he’s moving to take over the helm at a church in Chicago). Join us for a morning of good thoughts and good music.
The Romani people, known in the English-speaking world as “gypsies,” are thought to have originated in India and Pakistan and began their migration to Europe and North Africa ten centuries ago. Persecuted, reviled, misunderstood and marginalized, they nonetheless developed a rich culture of art, music, and dance. We’ll join Azul in celebrating their stories with violinist Roberto Riggio, percussionist Nina Rodriguez, and dancers Veronica Rivas, Giomara Bazaldua & Paloma Sifuentes. This is an evening not to be missed!
Noche Azul: Alma Gitana Saturday, June 15, 8 pm Esperanza Peace & Justice Center 922 San Pedro Ave (off West Evergreen) San Antonio TX 78212 210-228-0201 $5 suggested donation
We are proud and delighted to announce that our duet album American Sampler has won the Cabaret category of the Independent Music Awards! Voting continues in the Vox Populi/People’s Choice portion of the contest through July 19th. Please vote for us at http://www.independentmusicawards.com/imanominee/12th/Album/Cabaret. (You’ll have to register, but they won’t spam you.)
If you haven’t heard this intimate collection of standards from the Great American Songbook, you can preview it on iTunes here. CDs can be ordered directly from our online store at www.dragonladyrecords.com. You can also check out videos on YouTube: