Video #10: Kneel (Blue Whale performance)

“Kneel” is a song inspired by Caribbean poet Derek Walcott’s autobiography, Another Life. In one passage, Walcott describes having a pseudo-religious experience – he takes in the colorful richness of his island of St. Lucia and is moved by its beauty, but in the same...

Video #9: What is that Feeling?

“What is that Feeling” takes its title from a passage by Jack Kerouac in On the Road. On the Road is one of those books that it seems every teenager or college student has a passionate infatuation with, and I was determined to be “cooler than” liking it myself, but –...

Video #8: One Art

The genesis of the song “One Art” comes from reading Elizabeth Bishop’s beautiful poem of the same name. I’ve read it in a few different classes, but I remember it most recently from a poetry seminar I took at Columbia with Michael Golston. The poem stands out to me...

Video #7: Linda

This one is personal. Linda Martinez was my first jazz piano teacher and an important mentor to me. She was a freelance composer and jazz pianist in the LA area, who tragically committed suicide when she was 29. She was an incredibly gifted musician and generous...

Video #6: Twilit Water, Vanished Music

This piece kind of snuck up as a group to become one of our favorites. The impetus for the piece was a beautiful poem by Irish poet Seamus Heaney called “A New Song”: I met a girl from Derrygarve And the name, a lost potent musk, Recalled the river’s long swerve, A...

Video #5: If You Can Read

“If You Can Read” is a song based on something I’ve heard my mom say a lot – that if you can read, you can cook. The idea is that cooking is merely a matter of following a recipe. If you do what the recipe says, the dish will turn out fine. However, I always find...

Video #4: Whispering Grass

This is the first cover I’m posting here. This tune is originally by the doo-wop group, The Inkspots. You can watch their original performance here. It was because of a few odd coincidences that we decided to perform this tune. Nancy was invited by a mutual...

Video #3: Melancholy Times

This song came about in a simple way – I was sitting in a hotel room in a suburb outside Detroit in the winter time. For those of you who travel a lot, you know that travel is glamorous and fun 20% of the time but very lonely the other 80% or so. You often find...

Video #2: The Inevitable Letdown

I wrote “The Inevitable Letdown” in New York City in 2009. I had two things on my mind: The stock market crash that led to the 2009 recession: As reports came out regarding the short-sighted greed of the financial industry, it reminded me of the same ravenous...
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