Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Better Than TV: Dive Into the Debut Album of Doug Rosenberg

Like kids glued to Saturday morning cartoons, Chicago saxophonist Doug Rosenberg’s debut album Better Than TV will have jazz fans at rapt attention. Any listener will be swept up in the fireworks display of top-notch musicians in action. Fittingly, the album is constantly changing, exciting, playful and unrelenting. It’s an animation full of colorful sounds that are too fleeting to fully grasp, but together, tell a story greater than the sum of their parts.

Rosenberg, the Logan Square-based composer loves his neighborhood and is passionate about music: “I live and breathe it, teach it, listen, and grow from it.” He has found like-minded players to pursue that passion with, and is coming into his own as a composer with his debut album.

 “I’ve been writing music all my life, and finally got the courage and wherewithal to actually produce it,” says Doug. Receiving a boost from the CAAP (Community Arts Assistance Program) grant “was a big part of my getting my mojo to make this project happen.” Up to now, Rosenberg is best known for his work with the Chicago powerhouse band Eastern Blok.  Besides that, he has performed as a side man for numerous projects on not one, but three instruments: saxophones, flutes and clarinets. He has performed with historic jazz musicians like Robert Glasper and Bob Moses. Stir in over 10,000 hours practicing, and Doug has honed “a pretty unique melodic vocabulary.”

All this hard work is front and center throughout Better Than TV, which roars like an action movie, distilled into a pure musical form. Quiet moments in the track “Forged Stability” are restrained; but vital rather than solemn. “Dirty Basement Jazz” takes listeners on a smoky coffee break before the espresso-induced fun of tracks like “Mato Grasso”.

“My art form is improvisation. For amateur listeners, they will hear some pretty sounds and fun groove. For deeper listeners, there is a ton of information packed in there. It will unfold with time as art music does,” says Doug.

See and hear it live TONIGHT, two sets at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct. Chicago, IL 60605. Doug Rosenberg appears with Rob Clearfield, Mike Harmon and Juan Pastor. Albums to be available for sale and at www.dougrosenberg.com.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Music Career with No Money Down- Start Today, Even with No Budget

Is budget holding you back from achieving your musical dreams? Here's some advice from OnAxis Music, the local publicity company serving indie musicians, so you can push forward with solutions:

Partner, partner, partner. Work with others in mutually beneficial ways. For example, take the challenge of printing fliers on no budget. For performing musicians, advertising your upcoming shows with fliers is affordable if you partner with a business or venue that advertises with you.
---- making fliers with a printing company who can advertise their services on the back of the flier
---- splitting the cost of the fliers with the venue. Include their logo on the flier, along with all the shows that month. That way, both the band and the venue benefit from the advertising.
---- Ask local businesses if they'd like to include a coupon on the flier. Ask if the business will hand out fliers to its customers. Plus, there's an added bonus for people that pick up the flier.
Take this principle and apply it to any challenge.

When you're getting started, most of your fans, besides family and friends will probably be other musicians. Build your fanbase in the music community:
- host a weekly or monthly open mic. Most venues will pay you to provide sound and organize the event.
- develop a monthly showcase, or a special showcase. Whether you produce hip hop, folk, jazz, world or metal music, find a venue that will open its doors to a showcase. Search for bands or artists in your genre and put together a show with three or four acts. Work together with the acts to promote 2-3 months in advance.
- Consider adding a charity to the mix. Many charities have events that need music entertainment. You'll present your music to a new fanbase, and get good karma!

It takes time, but it pays off in spades. Search for new venues, new skills and opportunities to learn and network. Remember to make sure you take frequent breaks and stretch your hands. Make sure your set-up is ergonomic. If you do web research on a smartphone or laptop, keep it simple. If you do extended research, use a desktop or a comfortable position when using the computer. It will save your hands, wrists and fingers.

If you can measure it, you can understand it and make it grow. Try Excel, Open Office, Microsoft Word, your smartphone, or simply a paper and pen-- write down how much you spend, in time and money, on your music goals each day. Each week, look at your progress. This could be as simple as tracking your Twitter followers and adds, or keeping track of how much gas you spent getting to practice. It all adds up.
Keeping track of your practice time and progress will help you learn self discipline and focus. Distraction is the biggest reason people don't reach goals. Do yourself a favor and get organized!

Music requires your 100% commitment. For excellence, you need the right space, comfort and inspiration. Make your music a priority, and it will treat you well.

Good luck!
Parts of this article also appears in the Paragon Studios Inc. recent newsletter. Sign up and learn more at www.paragonstudiosinc.com