Today I want to do a quick shout-out to B-Side Graphics. As many of you know, when Joel Kerr and I made It’s a Free Country, the beautiful cover was illustrated by Dave Cooper. However, what you may not know, is the back of the album cover was designed by a fellow named Jamie Breiwick, a phenomenal trumpet player and graphic designer in Milwaukee, Wi.
Jamie and I met on the internet about a year and a half ago. He bought my CD, then I bought his, then he bought mine, and then I bought his. Basically we passed the same twenty bucks across the border for a year. His trumpet playing and music is unreal. Check it out below.
Shortly after we met, Jamie announced that he was starting a design company called B-Side Graphics, and Joel and I were looking for someone to design the back of the album. Jamie was just building his portfolio, but I could tell right away that his work was that of an artist. As a designer, he truly understands historical jazz record design, and matches it will his own creativity and design skills. Furthermore, not only is his professional demeanour flexible and easygoing (especially given that sometimes I’m a pain to work with!), AND his work keeps getting better. (I will add, too, that I feel the same way about his trumpet playing – gets the history, has tons of skill, brings his artistry too it, and is better and better everytime I hear him.)
So, with this in mind, I wholeheartedly recommend Jamie’s work. Below are just a few of his recent posters. Check out his website and more of his work at http://bsidegraphics.com/
Festival of New Trumpet Canada
I am honoured to be part of the Festival of New Trumpet Canada this year. On Wednesday January 29th the line-up will be unveiled at Resonance Café in Montreal, and Joel Kerr and I will be playing a short set with music from our album It’s a Free Country. See the full programming for the evening here: http://fontmusic.org/canada
The program will be unveiled at 8pm, with music starting promptly at 9pm. $10-$15 cover charge will help us to cover the travel and accommodation costs for our nearly 50 artists. Members of the press who would like to be on the guest-list please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
mercredi le 29 janvier
Résonance Café 5175a ave du Parc
The Festival of New Trumpet Music Canada is modeled after the highly successful FONTMusic festival in New York. 14 of Canada’s most creative and innovative trumpeters will assemble for 4 nights in March right here in Montreal. The festival includes sounds from the worlds of jazz, improvisation, electro-acoustic, and contemporary composition with influences from around the globe. Join us on the 29th to discover all that we have in store for you!
This post is part of a series about how starting to change my relationship to thoughts, emotions and actions in order to overcome daily anxiety and depression is affecting my creative process and relationship to music. I hope these posts will be helpful for both myself and others who are faced with the same challenges. Read the others here.
In this post I would like to talk about the process of learning to reconnect to enjoying art and music through gentle experimentation.
Recently my therapist shared with me an anecdote about a patient of hers with a compulsive cleaning habit. Every day this patient had to clean his whole apartment to sparkling perfection before leaving for work, and couldn’t leave without doing so. It got to the point where he was consistently late for or missing work. We was missing out on other activities in life.
My therapist related to me that one way that they had been working on overcoming this anxious behaviour was through experimentation. She asked him to, knowing that it would be very uncomfortable, leave the cap off his toothpaste tube, or leave a single dirty dish on his table. He was then to deeply relax, notice that he was safe, know that he was implementing a new behaviour, and pay attention to how he felt. The purpose wasn’t to get to the point where he never cleaned his dishes, but instead to become aware of the discomfort associated with changing his behaviours, begin to see that in doing so he was safe, and thus this situation didn’t warrant an anxious fight or flight spiral.
I asked my therapist: “so, what’s my equivalent of leaving the cap off the toothpaste”, to which she replied “well, I’d like you to find that out for yourself.” No direct answers for me!Since then I’ve been reflecting on where in my life and creative work that I feel anxious, and where I can ‘leave the cap of the toothpaste’ to learn to relate to it in a different way.
One place that I’ve noticed I am caught in an anxiety cycle is with how I listen to music. For a long time, when I flipped through my albums, it’s almost like I’m looking for the one that will make me feel the least bad. This negative-cycle avoidance behaviour locks me into listening to fulfill the needs of my anxiety, rather than listening because I love music, or to find music that I love. Over time this process has restricted my listening habits to fewer and fewer less satisfying listening sessions, to albums that fulfill a very very specific intellectual or emotional need. It has sucked the joy out of listening to music, which has made me question how much I value music, and created a negative spiral which ultimately ends in a feeling that what I am doing with my life is purposeless. Hooray.
So, one way I’ve been “leaving the cap off the toothpaste”, is by listening to a little bit of new music everyday. I’ve been choosing either a new album or a station to listen each day. Although it may seem obvious to some, this has been a big step for me, and it’s not always comfortable. I have to remind myself to relax, notice that I’m not in danger, listen without expectation and observe how I feel. So far I’ve listening to about 10 new albums, and reconnected with some old music I had forgotten about. More importantly, listening without expectations and observing how it makes me feel is leading me to reconnect with some of my own taste in music. I am noticing there is some music I am enjoying more than others. I also beginning noticing bits and pieces of music that I connect more strongly with. I am curious to see if common trends emerge.
So far I’ve listened to great bluegrass albums by Crooked Still, Doyle Lawson, The Duhks and Abigail Washburn, a great cornetto album by Bruce Dickey, a gorgeous album by violinist Jenny Scheinmann, featuring Bill Frisell, and today a fantastic Belle and Sebastian record, Dear Catastrophe Waitress.
This post is part of a series about how starting to change my relationship to thoughts, emotions and actions in order to overcome daily anxiety is affecting my creative process and relationship to music. I hope these posts will be helpful for both myself and others who are faced with the same challenges. Read the others here.
This last week was hard for me. There’s something about how Montréal seems to shut down between Christmas and New Years that left me too much extra time to ruminate. I got a little off-track the work my therapist assigned me, and slowly became more and more anxious. While in later posts to continue talking about self-inquiry and mindfulness, in this one I want to talk a little bit about awareness, behaviours and staying on track.
I’m an avid meditator and thinker. I love cultivating self-awareness and feel that it’s an important part of creative and personal growth. Part of this pursuit is hoping that discovering more about my nature will lead me closer to inner happiness. Another part has been to seek how getting close to my own nature will bring me closer to others: by understanding my own deep need for love, compassion, support, direction, empathy and other things, I can more deeply understand the needs of others. Through this practice I have slowly gained awareness of what makes me tick, how I think, where I react, and am very slowly reclaiming things that I love in my life.
Most of my therapy sessions begin with me talking about things I have become aware of: this makes me anxious, that makes me anxious, I had a memory of this being a time where this anxiety started etc. When I do this, my therapist says something along the lines of:
“great, but awareness isn’t the only step. I believe that in order to change our negative thoughts and emotions, we must change our behaviours too.”
Changing our behaviours takes time and practice. Whether it’s remembering to relax before ruminating or to notice small pleasures in your work, it takes time and practice. Lots of it. The challenge is knowing what works, what needs changing and how to change it. When we get stuck, we tend to solicit the aid of a good teacher, and then we practice our butts off to do the work they have given us.
So, this post is really just a reminder about staying on track and remembering that wellness in life and creative process takes practice, time and behavioural change. It will probably not be comfortable.
Can you relate to this? I’d love to know your own perspectives and what you do to compassionately remind yourself to stay with it.
Trumpet playing performer-composer-educator-cooldude in Montreal. Somewhere at the intersection of free-jazz and feminism and heavily invested in the avant-garde. Curator of the Improvising Musicians of Ottawa / Outaouais Series (improvisedmoo.com)
"…His songwriting is sharp…" - François Couture (Monsieur Deliré)
"…reminds this listener of the halcyon days of the 1970s when the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Julius Hemphill and Henry Threadgill first entered my consciousness" - Richard B. Kamins (Step Tempest)
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"Since his arrival a few years ago to Ottawa,
trumpeter Craig Pedersen has jolted the city's creative music scene with
both his energetic playing and organizing." - Peter Hum (Ottawa Citizen)
"He is a calm, thoughtful trumpet player with the technique of a studied traditional brass player and an ear for all the fresh sounds that are coming out of the improvised world." - Petr Cancura (Programming Director, Ottawa Jazzfest)
"Les quatre prochaines années seront bien dures sur la colline parlementaire, heureusement Craig Pedersen veillera. Trompette en main." - Douze Pouces (CiSM radio, Montreal)