Monday, November 1, 2010

It's a small... world at least.  One of the fun things about going to a music school is that even overseas, it's pretty easy to find people with mutual-musical friends.  Like a few of the exchange students at RCM from Boston University had a high school friend of mine as a counselor at music camp, and one of the percussionists here met another percussionist at a festival in Germany that I had roomed with for a seminar in Philadelphia.

Yes, the music world, and the percussion world in particular, is a small place, further evidenced by the daily "friends suggestions" I get on Facebook.  Some of them have been quite amusing, and a bit flattering, as the all-powerful Facebook thinks I am 1 degree removed from super-crazy-talented musician X rather than 6.  Here are some interesting names that have popped up:

Killin' Drummers:
Billy Kilson, the mother-funkiest drummer on the planet, even when playing with that dashing blond trumpeter I always get awkwardly asked about by relatives at party.  Instead of expressing my near-loathing of this player, I like to answer, "He's gotta great drummer!"

Ari Hoenig, an athletic wild man on the kit, who also likes to play jokes on the audience by playing the beat like a 16th note off from where it should be.  Super sneaky.

Old-school jazzers:
Bassist John Clayton, who always swings most gracefully and whose big band is much beloved by the Grammy-nominating committee.

Saxophonist Lew Tabackin, who still makes surprisingly satisfying neo-bop with his wife, the pianist and composer Toshiko Akiyoshi.  It's sad that their long-time big band folded back in 2003.

Pianist George Cables, who is generally known as a great straight-ahead guy, but I first heard him playing a mean Fender Rhodes on a peculiar and fun album with vibist Bobby Hutcherson.  He went through a period of kidney and liver problems a couple of years ago, with no insurance to boot, so it's nice to see that he's ok enough to make a facebook profile.  Oh yeah, and play all over the place.

Classical Percussionists:
Greg Zuber, principal of the Metropolitan Opera and head of percussion at the Juilliard School.
Michael Burritt, head of percussion at the Eastman School of Music, and the guy who started the percussion teaching merry-go-round that complicated my college choice 2 years ago
Steve Weiss, perhaps the most famous person in the percussion realm.  Who else are you going to go to for a 48 inch gong, or that exact timpani mallet for the excerpt form Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra?  And it will somehow get there the next day.
Nebjosa Zivkovic, virtuoso percussion soloist.  But that doesn't give him an excuse for his exceptionally cheesy web intro and press photos.
Colin McNutt, well kinda sorta.  He's big in the drum corps world.  Like he has his name a drum stick big.  Actually come to think of it, all of these guys do.  I think that's the sign you've made it.

There are some suggestions of people I've actually met before, whether at college auditions, music festivals, or just sneaking backstage after a show. There are percussionists Chris Deviney, Alan Abel, Jonathan Haas, and Doug Perkins; jazz(?) improvisers like saxophonist Steve Wilson and guitarist Grey McMurray.  But either way, though I've friended musicians in the past after I saw them play and maybe got an autograph, I think I'll hold off here.  Do I really need to know that Steve Weiss has a thing for tie-dye and that Greg Zuber takes his triathlons as seriously as his paying gigs?  Oh wait...

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