Category Archives: progressive electronic

2019 Stormy Weather Arts Festival

It was a gorgeous sunny day in the mid-60s in Cannon Beach, Oregon with no sign of the namesake of this inpiring annual arts festival. I featured my new CD, Digital Escapism, this Saturday, November 02, 11am – 1pm, at the local the popular Ecola Square; and at south Seattle’s Pho Hanoi Restaurant and Bar on Saturday, November 09, 2019.

I played a number of original titles, including:

  1. Wellspring
  2. Dance of the Fireflies
  3. Lakeridge Springs
  4. Repercussions
  5. Digital Amputation
  6. Escape from the Blues
  7. Engagement

Live video from the last piano performances in Cannon Beach and at Pho Hanoi Restaurant in South Seattle are being edited and will be posted to kotojazz.com by end of November.

Kotojazz @ Frederick Holmes & Company Gallery Pioneer Square, Feb. 02

This classy contemporary art gallery at the center of Seattle’s art community in Occidental park is an ideal location for a reception. This is my fourth time playing here. I will played for about an hour and my good friend Michael shared one of his creative writing pieces in this dynamic creative arts environment.

Get a listen of my songs list from Saturday here: http://kotojazz.com/kotojazz-youtube-videos/. I played the first 8 songs listed on my “Listen/ Watch” page.

Date: Saturday,  February 2nd, 6:30pm-8:00pm.

Location: Frederick Holmes and Company art gallery, 309 Occidental Ave,  South, Seattle, WA 98104.

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Koto Jazz and the Arts, November 2018

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Another peaceful relaxing weekend of solitude and piano playing in Cannon Beach Oregon, highlighted by lively guests at the Jeffrey Hull Gallery, Sandpiper Square in Cannon Beach. Nature inspired melodies always go over well at art galleries, such as this reception November 4. These include my original works Snow Blossoms, Seascape, Tide Pools and Waves, Windy Wheat Fields, and Snow Flurry.

Check out Jeffrey Hull’s stunning paintings of pink sunsets, and blankets of snow over Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock.

https://www.hullgallery.com

Then, last Sunday November 25 I played these same songs at Grumpy D’s Coffee House in Ballard.

Thanks to those who joined me at these events.

Koto Jazz @ NW Folklife, Seattle Center Theater

Is this the event where I “arrived”? It felt half way there, and then ended struggling with restraint, getting too excited, to a pretty full audience at the Seattle Center’s Center House Theater. So frustrating , not enough time to practice to smooth out the edges. It’s a wide open and deep venue, so I sense the needed to “project” my music. The first 4 songs I played seemed well received.

Live recording at Northwest Folklife, Seattle Center, on SoundCloud,  https://soundcloud.com/northwestfolklifefestival/koto-jazz 

The good news is my music has again been accepted to air on the local classical radio station KING FM 98.1’s Second Inversion program.  More details are forthcoming, including links to the program.

Local Talent Mark Goldberg & Koto Jazz Live @ Mill Creek Newsroom, Sat. May 19th

MarkGoldbergPosterJoin Mark Goldberg and myself, Koto Jazz, for a relaxing evening of live music at the Mill Creek Newsroom, 800 164th Street, SE, Mill Creek, WA 98012; #425-361-1949.

Date: May 19, 2018, Saturday,

Time: 7-9 pm,

Who: popular local talent Mark Goldberg and Koto Jazz by Chris Kenji.

Venue: Mill Creek Newsroom Gelato and Coffee House, 800 164th Street, SE, Mill Creek, WA 98012; #425-361-1949. No cover.

RSVP here, https://www.facebook.com/events/2126666407565529/.

 

2018 Cannon Beach Spring Unveiling Festival

Inspiring art everywhere was enough to help me push through a rather long two hour at times choppy, and sometimes humbling performance. In the end, it was good enough, and sometimes that just has to do.

Thanks to Paul Deuber, Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Cannon Beach Gallery Group for debuting their first year of music along with artistic works featured by over 20 art galleries in this small town rated by National Geographic as one of the top 20 beach resorts in the nation.

I introduced three new songs recently written in the spring of 2018 and played for the first time in public, and here are excerpts of these songs listed as the first three songs on the following web page:

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=1382715

1) Wellspring
2) Repercussions
3) Getting away from the Blues

I’d love your feedback.

Enjoy the unveiling of spring in all is manifestations.

Spring Schedule Set -NW FOLKLIFE, CB Arts Fest, & Grumpy D’s

Playing at Grumpy D’s Coffee House in Ballard, where I lived in my 20s, is like coming home. The Cannon Beach Unveiling Arts Festival is coming up Saturday, May 05 where I play at Ecola Square, 1:45-3:45pm, Mill Creek Newsroom with Mark Goldberg and Koto Jazz May 19, 7-9pm, and then the Northwest Folklife Festival on May 27 at the Seattle Center’s CenterHouse Theater.

folklife-festival-2018-logoThe NW Folklife schedule is here: https://2018northwestfolklifefestival.sched.com/event/EfnM/koto-jazz

Here are a few samples from that gig on April 06:

 Tori No Yo Ni (“Like a Bird”), Live @ Grumpy D’s Coffeehouse, Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, Washington performed April 06, 2018:

 Wellspring, Live @ Grumpy D’s Coffeehouse, Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, Washington performed April 06, 2018:

Flurry of down home story telling @ the DEN in Bothell…

Every song has a story. Remember the end of season snow storm we had (south Seattle) in May 2017? I played this song, Snow Flurry, for the first time on that day.

Below is a full song list for the live piano gig on at Saturday, December 16, 2017 below. The feature song of the night is the following video of “Snow Flurry”:

  1. Tide Pools & Waves
  2. Tori no Yo Ni (Like a Bird)
  3. Mount Index Ice Caves
  4. Snow Flurry
  5. Kojo no Tsuki (Moon Over Ruined Castle)
  6. Snow Blossoms

 

KotoJazz @ Jeffrey Hull Gallery, Nov. 3

 

Beautiful water color and oil paintings, by Jeffrey Hull Gallery, Cannon Beach, OR. Visit the gallery at 172 N. Hemlock St., downtown Cannon Beach, and join me for some KotoJazz at 5pm, Friday, November 3rd. Visit  http://www.hullgallery.com/the-30th-annual-stormy-weather-arts-festival/

Koto Jazz Piano at Japan Fair 2017, July 8 & 9, 2:30pm – 5pm; Annual Dinner, Sat. July 8, 6pm

Come join me at what promises to be an enjoyable event that offers you a visual introduction to all things Japanese. This includes a colorful fashion show to original Japanese performance by famous Kokyu performer Daikuke Kiba and my own variations on 1,000 year old Japanese koto music played on the keyboard. These include Haru no Umi, Tori no Yo Ni, and Kojo no Tsuki. I will also play my originals including recent art show selections Windy Wheat Fields and Snow Blossoms, and hyper fast Snow Flurry.

Sample previews are available here: https://kotojazz.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/sanger-de-christo-arts-center-represents-the-west-with-classy-exhibit/

 

Sangre de Cristo Arts Center “Represents the West” With Quality Exhibit

The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, Colorado showcases a stellar presentation, professional art exhibit “Representing The West”. My music was selected among 550 artists as part of the digital media section:

Song 01: Windy Kansas Wheat Fields

Song 02: Snow Blossoms

Song 03:  Snow Flurry

04: metamorph senses CD

In and Around the “Representing the West” Exhibit:

Out and About the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center:

Koto Jazz tune 93: Creating a free form, “chaos” music

Indeterminate music happens when a musician creates a base melody, and leaves the rest to spontaneous chance and free flow of expression. Instead of the musician taking the driver’s seat, the musician surrenders to letting the music take the driver’s seat; take the musician wherever it leads. It was first practiced by John Cage and Brian Eno say some, but this type of creative expression has been around since the first music was created.

In the mid- and then late 1900s, it has been made into somewhat of a classification of its own. Indeterminate music, a “composing approach in which some aspects of a musical work are left open to chance or to the interpreter’s free choice”, according to Wikipedia.

With that, here is an attempt to create some form around it. First you have the music piece itself. This music can itself take on its own life and expression around its main themes – deter, detract, explore outside of its originating themes, chordal structure and basic musical patterns – and then later return to those main themes. In fact, the whole idea of “indeterminacy” means it does not necessarily need to return to the original themes. It just seems to help the listener connect to the music more effectively, to hear some semblance of familiarity with the musical score.

Systems based indeterminate sound seems to have its own characteristics and tendencies. It takes advantage of all the ways of changing an original score. These include:

  1. Modulate
  2. Reverberations
  3. Delay
  4. Compress
  5. Distortion

A truly indeterminate music piece can not only deter off the main themes, but it also may modulate, reverberate, delay, compress, and distort at any given part of the music piece. This indeterminacy might have a connection with the concept of “chaos jazz” I’ve discussed in previous blogs entries on Kotojazz; e.g., Li Pui Ming’s style of jazz.

Chaos variations of known music scores have been a topic of intrigue at various times and places. For example, Diana Dabby an MIT graduate in electrical engineering sought to make the connection between music and math, including using “math to create new musical ideas.” Beyond that, using math to generate inspiration and far reaching creativity. “The principles of her work have now been used to create new dance “chaography” and even a chaotic remix of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’ according to a 2013 article about her in t he Boston Globe (see “What a little chaos does for music”). Her works refer back to Ilya Prigogine’s “chaos theory” in physics and mathematics. The article says that in mathematics, “‘chaos’ is actually the result of a system that is evolving according to set rules”, even though it often does not appear that way. The reason chaotic systems seem so unpredictable and random is that they are “sensitive to slight changes in initial conditions, commonly referred to as the butterfly effect”. So too, the “butterfly effect” applies to music as well. These are the makings of the “nonlinear dynamics”, as explained in the article by Dabby’s associate and University of Colorado, Boulder professor Liz Bradley. Just as musical expression challenges people to explore their deepest most personal secrets, music will find its way to unleash all of it and more. So in this sense, it is a reflection of our self awareness and what I believe we refer to as spirituality.

 

 

 

 

Koto Jazz Tunes 92: 2 Originals “Represent the West” @ Sangre de Cristo

Another stroke of luck. In January – March 2017 two of my original Kotojazz tunes are recognized as “Representing the West” at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center annual exhibit. These are pure new age Americana folk songs. “Snow Blossoms” was inspired by the blue violets peeking through melting snow on a sunny winter day along Boulder Creek trail in  Boulder, Colorado. “Windy Kansas Wheat Fields” was inspired by strong wind blowing over fields of grass and wheat creating a steady undulating flow like ocean waves. You can see the wind blowing through wheat fields in eastern Colorado and Kansas. Both feed our souls, in their simplicity and stillness (snow blossoms) and their awesome enduring power (windy Kansas wheat fields).

I am reminded that the “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it; you know neither from where it comes nor to where it goes, and so it is with the Spirit.”

Previews of these songs are available here:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chriskenjibeer5

 

KotoJazz 91: David Wilborn’s ‘jazz it up’ tune @ C&P West Seattle

 

David Wilborn likes to jazz it up with some upbeat, almost ragtime rhythmic tunes. His music is mostly improvisation and this is one of those. As a gifted creator of sound into melodic rhythm, it’s been a pleasure and privilege to have Dave as a friend for over 20 years, and as a music partner for the past year.

Sometime the smaller venues are more fun and interactive and relaxing for us both, and we find that C&P Coffee Company which hosts music performers like us every week, is just such the place  to make you feel at home. It is located right on the main drag in West Seattle at 5621 California Street, just south of the West Seattle “Junction”. Stop by sometime and you just might find us rockin’ up this classic coffee house, or someone else like us. The coffee and service there is fabolicious!

metamorph senses (new CD release & a koto jazz tune)

This new CD mostly live production was crazy, experimental fun – anchored by a few George Winston covers, a touch of Narada/ Silver Wave- style new age, a koto jazz tune, and some “off the beaten path”, eclectic wacko improvisations . . . and you have a metamorphosis of the senses –

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chriskenjibeer5

metamorphsenses_final02