Tag Archives: Piano

Artist Feature: Zachary Baron

Our fam Zachary Baron is a pianist and accordion player straight out of Hyde Park, New York. Growing up around classic American showtunes and Broadway numbers, Zach continues to celebrate and play these tunes today with unique arrangements. He highlights the benefit and value of honest, unconscious response and warns against forced interference of the creative voice. He’s been working on original tunes and ill boogie-woogie piano stylings. Eclectic inspirations are a central part of Zach’s dialogue and he also reiterates the often-overlooked importance of simplicity. We’re grateful to break bread with a dedicated and informed creator. Peep the words and pics below!

Zach Baron

There is depth in simple things. It takes time and you have to dig in…

– Zach Baron

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

ZB: I grew up in Upstate New York in the Hudson River Valley in the town of Hyde Park. The Hudson River is one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever seen and I miss it all the time. Now I live in the San Francisco Bay Area–East Bay where all the good stuff happens.

Musically I grew up on classic American Broadway showtunes. Rogers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe etc. Since so many of those tunes became Big Band and jazz standards it was easy to follow them into those areas. I’m kind of an all-American sentimental, schmaltzy guy and I like all-American sentimental, schmaltzy music. I’ve never gotten too far away from that.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

ZB: I’m going to leave out ‘Response’ and just deal with ‘Reflection’. I think of reflection, from a creative standpoint, like the reflection of a mirror. A song, a painting, a performance is a reflection of the artist’s experience of the world. The hard part is to be an honest, spontaneous mirror–to get out of the way and not try to consciously influence the process. Keith Jarrett said, “Sometimes I play things I never heard before.” That’s the great place to be–creating in the moment and surprised at what’s coming out of you.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

ZB: I play a lot of old songs. I play a lot of music that I played when I was a kid. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve played it, it matters how I play it right now. Your mirror doesn’t say, “You again? We’ve done that already!” It just reflects, faithfully, instantly and with no extras. I’m not saying I’m alway there in that space or that there aren’t technical aspects, but the thing that takes a performance to the next level, whether it’s for myself or a crowd of people, is that honesty and purity.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

ZB: I have slowly but surely been working on my boogie-woogie piano–it’s way harder than it sounds. I would like to find the time and the nerve to sing some of my own songs at an open mic somewhere.

Who or what inspires you?

Continue reading

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Billy Buss

I first saw Billy Buss playing onstage with the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble a number of years ago, ripping the trumpet during a jazz solo, using a mic that was hooked up to a distortion pedal that I had thought could only be used for rock music. It’s stuck with me all this time as an incredible example of the interconnectedness of musical genres. Billy went on to study at Berklee College of Music and Loyola University in New Orleans, and now lives between Boston and NYC. In our interview, he talks about utilizing the medium of music to explore deep within ourselves as people and peers and practices this exploration through his debut album of original material, Scenes From A Dream. Billy hustles on the daily organizing and performing shows while also teaching trumpet and piano. Peep the dialogue below!

Billy Buss

Reflection is the time we take to ponder, analyze and justify the past. Response is how we utilize the present to bring meaning and potential to the future.

– Billy Buss

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

BB: I grew up in Berkeley, CA. Currently, I split my time between NYC and Boston, MA.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

BB: Reflection is the time we take to ponder, analyze and justify the past. Response is how we utilize the present to bring meaning and potential to the future. For me, the artistic process serves as an introspective microcosm of this system.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

BB: Any musical composition of mine that makes it to paper embodies this approach. Most start either with a melodic idea, concept, feeling, or emotional or spiritual observation and are developed and thusly titled from there. The title track from my debut album, “Scenes From A Dream,” encompasses the over-arching theme explored throughout the CD as a whole. Dreams are projections of our subconscious and often explore, without prejudice, the deepest, darkest (and brightest) corners of our mind. Much like the composers of Romantic Classical music such as Wagner, Beethoven or Debussy, I strive to create music that can elicit a whole spectrum of emotion or thought from the listener. And much like dreams, my music can (and should) be open to many interpretations.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Feature: Whitney Killian

How’s it going y’all! Hope each and every one of you is doing well out there in the world. Thanks again for tuning into another feature here at the LIFESTYLE. Today, we have a super down to earth artist who has been so kind as to share a few words. There is something so charming about the simplicity of her swing. It’s as if she has invited us to dream with her, and that’s never a bad thing. Coming out of Seattle, operating through performance and staying connected through the likes of tumblr and pinterest(be sure and look her up), her writing is very expressive. The young lady is canary yellow against a clear blue sky. With that said, it’s our pleasure to present you Whitney Killian.

Whitney Killian Feature

 

I’ve discovered that reflection is the greatest means of self-preservation; it has helped me cope and find peace. I’m emerging from my reflection phase – ready to respond, to react.

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

WK: Born and raised in the small town of Sumner, Washington – but truly bred in the great city of Seattle, my current home. Over the years, I’ve had some pretty amazing chances to grow and express myself as a vocalist. From my high school choir room, to the jam room in Delta Upsilon at UW, to the basement of the house on 55th & Brooklyn Ave, to the stages of dive bars and the balcony at the KeyArena… with some pretty talented people to help me along the way. I currently have the pleasure of singing feature and backup vocals for Ayo Dot, a respected Seattle hip hop artist, and when I’m lucky enough, I get to jam with the amazing guys of Victory Lap, a great side project cover band we started back in September. Throw in a couple reality TV show auditions over the last few years, and there you have it. Music is important to me and my general happiness, so I always try to keep fun projects on the books.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you? How do your projects fit in with that definition?

WK: Reflection has been my best friend lately. Hardships happen, things won’t always go your way. When storms come and all seems to be lost in chaos, there also comes a unique opportunity to reflect about your response to everything that’s thrown your way. The response can’t happen without the reflection, and the reflection often doesn’t happen without the storm. The best part is that in reflection, some of the greatest and most raw work is produced. I’ve discovered that reflection is the greatest means of self-preservation; it has helped me cope and find peace. I’m emerging from my reflection phase – ready to respond, to react. I’m writing every day, humming new melodies, putting the products of my storms onto paper and into song. I’m crafting my response.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

WK: My biggest focus right now is developing my own catalogue of songs and writings. Piano has always been of interest to me, so I’m working to pick up that skill so that I can really start to stand on my own as an artist. Aside from my own writing, I’m loving the super fun and fresh work I get to do with Ayo Dot & crew. Since I joined the band in November, we’ve played a few shows and have been working on some new tracks as a band. Being a part of something new and exciting is completely refreshing, and as an artist who’s looking to establish myself and grow, working with Ayo and the guys has been a great opportunity.

Who or what inspires you?

WK: Lately, the lyrics of great female singers & songwriters have been my inspiration. Ellie Goulding, Stevie Nicks, Adele, Sara Bareilles, and more. These women are powerhouses, and I’ve found their strength to be contagious. I live for the moments when a song – or just one line – can stop me in my tracks and make me feel something, help me gain clarity, or resonate so loudly and so closely that the lyrics start to feel like they’re becoming my own. Those moments make me want to write and create things that will inspire others in similar ways. Oh, and Pinterest and Tumblr, where everyone else’s very public passions inspire me to be a better writer and better human being in general.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

WK: On the subject of the Collective… I respect the work you guys do. So much. You’ve taken the time to reflect and respond, and to cause others to do the same. It’s people like you who inspire people like me to keep working, to keep making pretty things and putting them out into the universe. Thank you for doing what you do.

Shout out to…?

WK: To my close friends and incredible family – you’ve held me together like glue, you’ve kept me laughing (mostly at myself), you are the reasons why I’m still standing, and you are the reasons why I will not just survive, but thrive. Especially my amazing life coach, Cortney – thanks for keeping your big sis in line.

“Make You Feel My Love,” by Adele, featuring Austin Silva on keyboard and Peter Muller on guitar

Untitled By Whitney Killian

you were my sunshine

my warm summer day

but it’s been coming down hard

since the night you walked away

the storm clouds in my heart

keep me crying over you

they darken my days

they’re not just passing through

you know what they say

when it rains, it pours

and it’s drowning my heart

since i’m no longer yours

Victory Lap Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/VictoryLapSEA    

Ayo Dot website: http://ayodot.com/

Whitney’s tumblr: http://whitneykaykillian.tumblr.com/

Whitney’s pintrist: http://pinterest.com/whitkay/boards/

Whitney’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/whitneykay2

-Reflection and Response

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Solitude Live Looping Berkeley Video

Happy Monday! Today we take it back to Berkeley (Rose and California for those that know) and bring you a video of me doing the new version of “Solitude,” on the Novation Launchpad running through my old Fender guitar amp. Vicken set up the iPhone camera and we gave it one shot. Word to Claudia for the soulful vocals and lyrics recorded in Buenos Aires!  Those of you that made it out to the show at Wurlitzer were able to see this in action. I hope you feel it!

Reflection and Response

-P

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Argentina Thursdays: From Jujuy to Buenos Aires

This week I present two mash ups. One is “Horn Track,” and it samples my friend Pablo Martinez’s horn line. His music is directly influenced by his home region of Jujuy, where he grew up before coming to Buenos Aires for college (See “Things a Peña Does” below for more info). This was one of my first Argentine folk music mash ups. I threw some drums, piano, and some distorted electric guitar on the horns to fill out the beat.

Horn Track

The second mash up is entitled “Porteña de mi Corazón,” and is a remix of a king of Argentine Tango Astor Pizzola’s track Libertango. Here I threw some drums, bass and a little sax and vocal breakdown in the middle. This track is for my man Nassim, who told me he felt it way back in 2010 in our apartment in Buenos Aires.

Porteña de mi Corazón.


These two tracks are remixes of two versions of the many identifications of Argentine music.

Reflection and Response

-P

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Argentina Thursdays: Solitude!

This track was so fun to make. In addition to doing research on folk music (see “Things a Peña Does below”), and making tracks with folk musicians, during my Argentina study abroad I also played in a super fun band: Harold and the Gauchos. I had the pleasure of playing with a super awesome vocalist in Claudia Rojas.

The track I’m showcasing today is called “Solitude!,” and I sample Allen Toussaint’s track of the same name.

While I chopped the sample and made the beat Claudia came up with some fitting lyrics and an awesome melody.

Solitude’s just you and me/With you my friend/ I feel so free

In my solitude I’d rather be/With you my dear/ I feel so free

Solitude’s just you and me/ With you my friend/ I feel so free

In my solitude I’d rather be/ With you my dear I can be me

Solitude I think of you baby when I’m in my room singing Ella tunes

Solitude I love you babe I want you forever more knocking at my door

Solitude’s just you and me/With you my friend/ I feel so free

Solitude I think of you baby when I’m in my room singing Ella tunes

Solitude I love you babe I want you forever more knocking at my door

Reflection and Response

-P

Tagged , , , , ,
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: