I've just finished "The Weakened Worriers," my first story in the eleven years since Careers In Jazz became my most-read piece (and the all-time most-read story on allaboutjazz.com). It takes place in a single torturous day and evening, when six damaged musicians and
one brutal bandleader do battle in a wedding gig from hell. Intrigued? Just click on the "Stories" tab.
I can't say many nice things about the Covid virus, but here's one: Much of the venue livestreaming that's taken place has given artists videos that would have been very expensive to produce on their own. That's certainly been the case for me, and you can find more videos - almost all of them recent - than you could possibly want to watch on my new page. Just click the "Videos" tab.
Read 20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know About
Writer Paul Rausch was kind enough to include me in his excellent allaboutjazz.com series profiling Seattle jazz artists. We met over lunch in the former University District incarnation of Jazz Alley, now a Middle Eastern restaurant. The content was wide ranging and offers valuable insights into exactly what is wrong with me. Read it right here.
New Project: Scoring KNKX News Podcast "Forgotten Prison"
I feel very fortunate to have scored an excellent podcast series from the news department at KNKX. Called "Forgotten Prison," the series offers a fascinating look at McNeil Island's abandoned federal penitentiary. To hear some of my favorite tracks used in the series, go to my Electro page and scroll down.
Now Available: New CD, Shifting Standards
For more than ten years, Jeff Johnson, D'Vonne Lewis and I have intermittently played gigs as the BIll Anschell Standards Trio. This band is all about spontaneity and coming up with new arrangements in the moment each time we play.
We recently went in the studio, where we tried to replicate what we do on stage. Toward that end, we set up close together, bypassing the isolation booths that are typically used for most recording projects. By doing so, we gave up the ability to replay or fix parts, but we found it was far more conducive to our interactive approach.
Paul Rausch, writing for allaboutjazz.com, gave us a great review; see what you think by heading to the Music page, where you'll find all nine tracks plus additional reviews.
Anschell Quartet KNKX Studio Session, audio and video
In September, my quartet was featured on KNKX's ongoing program of Studio Sessions. This is a tremendous service KNKX provides to the area's jazz musicians. In an era where high-quality videos are an important part of an artist's portfolio but are expensive to fund, KNKX produces them for free, professionally shot and edited, with excellent
The audio component is broadcast live and also posted on iTunes; mine is here, with Nick Morrison doing an excellent job as an interviewer. You can find my three KNKX videos on my YouTube channel; here's my arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "Misterioso."
While you're on YouTube, check out my hand-picked selection of various videos from over the years right here; much nicer than the hodge-podge of videos YouTube places in random order.
Allaboutjazz.com Interview with Paul Rauch
Paul Rauch did a really nice, interview-based piece on me; read it here.
Golden Ear Award - 2016 Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame
On March 13th, 2017, following open voting from the Seattle Jazz community, I was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame, courtesy of Earshot Jazz's Golden Ear awards.
Read my interview about the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame Award, courtesy of Carol Banks-Weber, here.
Now available: New CD, Rumbler
Rumbler is my first full ensemble jazz CD since 2006's More to the Ear than Meets the Eye. Featuring eight originals, arrangements of Monk's "Misterioso" and the Beatles' "For No One," plus a solo piano version of Ellington's "Reflections in D," Rumbler is probably the best showcase of my writing to date.
I'm joined by bassist Chris Symer; drummer Jose Martinez; guitarist Brian Monroney; and saxophonists Jeff Coffin, Rich Cole and Hans Teuber (who's also featured on alto flute). See the sidebar to check out some of the new music.
Rumbler is available for $15, shipping included; pay by Paypal or by sending a check to 20151 7th Ave. NE, Shoreline, WA 98155. Downloads of the CD and individual tracks are available here.
Read the reviews:
2015 Release: Project with Luiz Caldas
Luiz is a Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and vocalist renowned for his primary role in creating the musical form Axe in his hometown of Salvador, Bahia. Axe was one of the most popular styles of music in Brazil throughout the 1990s.
Luiz and I were put in touch by Narlan Teixeira, a Brazilian poet and guitarist I met while touring Brazil in the 1990s. We sent each other compositions, all of which were recorded by Luiz and his band (including percussionist Carlinhos Brown), minus the piano parts, which I recorded remotely. The result is 13 tracks comprising Be My Guest, which are available for free downloads from Luiz's website.
Luiz is not only a great vocalist and guitarist; he also writes great songs. On the sidebar are a few sample songs from the project: "Na Ilha" and "Baiao" written by Luiz, and my own "Sol Cycle."
From Be My Guest, my 2015 project with Luiz Caldas:
Original Electronic Music
And now for something completely different...
A CD so unlike my others that I gave it its own page. Warning: It's not jazz! It's my electronica project, Impulses, funded in part by King County's 4Culture. You'll find it and some unreleased newer tracks on my Electro page, where you can hear them in full and – if you're so moved – purchase downloads.
In the sidebar is a montage from Impulses, and "Be Prepared," which is made entirely from my piano, prepared with and struck by various objects, then sampled and multi-tracked.
New music from Rumbler!
Wellstone Conspiracy releases Humble Origins
Wellstone Conspiracy (a quartet in which I'm joined by saxophonist Brent Jensen, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop), has released its third CD, Humble Origins. The disc includes five of my original compositions, as well as two by Jeff and one by Brent, plus my arrangement of the Beatle's "Fixing a Hole." That cut, along with my "Pause Off," were featured as bumper music on NPR's Morning Edition program. For your listening pleasure, they're on the sidebar.
Humble Origins reached number 16 on the national jazz radio airplay chart.
2012 Trio Release
Blueprints, with Brent Jensen on sax and Chris Symer on bass, was named one of the "Top Ten Jazz CDs of 2012" by JazzTimes contributor Chris Helm. It features nine totally spontaneous takes on jazz standards. Reviewing the CD for allmusic.com, Ken Dryden wrote: "These three exceptional veterans are all deserving of much recognition, and this rewarding effort merits a follow-up recording."
Available in CD form ($15, postage included; see Contact page for address) or via download here.
My Careers In Jazz Story Featured in the Wall Street Journal!
The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about the jazz audience, and its centerpiece was my Careers In Jazz story. Landing in the WSJ is a head-scratcher, I know, but according to the paper, my piece is "being passed among economist-bloggers as a comic case study in market dysfunction."
Here's a link to WSJ's online piece; it also ran in print. 1/17 update: "Careers in Jazz" now has drawn more than 250,000 hits on allaboutjazz.com. It can be found on many other sites as well, including translations in French and Spanish.
I'm Awarded Two Golden Ear Awards for 2011!
The 2011 Earshot Golden Ear award recipients were announced at a special awards ceremony at Tula's on April 11, 2012. I was given top honors in two categories: "Best Northwest Jazz Instrumentalist" and "Best Northwest Jazz Recording" (for my solo CD, Figments). Thanks to Earshot, and to any and all who voted for me.
Jazztimes calls Figments "Magical"
I had the good fortune to have my new solo CD reviewed in JazzTimes by the always eloquent Thomas Conrad.
Meanwhile, Adam Greenberg at allmusic.com described the project as "an excellent set." And "Desperado" from the disc was played in a JazzTimes blindfold test for pianist Jason Moran (Kennedy Center artistic director and MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" recipient), who said: "This is a studied pianist—studied like... he’s not bullshitting. [laughs]... I enjoyed that. That’s bad!"
Now available: My first solo piano CD!
Figments, my first solo piano CD, released in early April on Origin Records, is now piled up in boxes clogging the arteries of my house. It's a self-recorded project, captured late at night after gigs, when my internal supervisor had already clocked out. Those sessions yielded twelve abstract, stream-of-consciousness vignettes. Six are standards; six are pop tunes from the 70s (my guilty pleasure), recognizable but thoroughly reworked. Six are ballads, and six are (quirky) uptempo tunes, one of which – Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" – is recorded on prepared piano (i.e., every loose object in my home studio thrown inside the piano).
The CD cover features original artwork by legendary illustrator Oscar Grillot. Listen to all 12 tracks, download them if you're so moved, and read some nice reviews. Or, if you're the old-fashioned type, you can send a check for $15 to me at 20151 7th Ave. NE, Shoreline, WA 98155 and get the actual physical product.
Read my answers to "Leading Questions"
Drummer/photographer Steve Korn (who shot most of the photos on this site) has a great series profiling Northwest jazz artists. Called "Leading Questions," the column asks each featured musician to complete a long list of partial sentences about jazz and jazz life. Steve worked his magic in the photo accompanying the article, once again making me look far better than I do in real life.
Quick, fun reading – check it out here.
Read my feature on axs.com, written by Carol Banks Weber