There’s been a whirlwind of activity among various areas of interest to me, from some cool new developments in the music blogosphere and Road Warrior Without an Expense Account‘s new publishing developments to the release of the iPhone 3G. Where to even begin? Well, for starters…
My new iPhone!
I’ve been waiting for some time to pick up an iPhone, and I’m extremely into all the cool applications that are available for it and how it integrates quite seamlessly into my Mac-centric life. As you can see, I picked up a white 16 Gig model, which matches my similarly-colored Macbook quite nicely.
Simply put, this thing rocks. I used to be a Palm Pilot devotee back in the “dark ages,” and I frequently used my various non-smart phones to check e-mail and do basic tasks, but this thing blows anything I’ve used in the past out of the water.
Since I already use Apple Mail, iCal, Address Book, and a bevy of other Mac apps, using an iPhone is a no-brainer, but this is the kind of thing that would probably appeal to you even if you’d never used any sort of computer or smart phone in the past. It’s sleek and intuitive, and best of all, it delivers all the Contrabass Conversations podcasts in an über-slick format.
By the way, there are a bunch of music-related applications that have already launched for the iPhone, and I’ll be interested to see what else is on the horizon. I already picked up a cool app called Karajan Ear Trainer that I’ll be using in bass lessons to quiz students on intervals and chords, and I’ll definitely be checking out more apps like this in the coming weeks.
Contrabass Conversations transcripts now available
Speaking of Contrabass Conversations, I put the word out last week for any interested listeners to do some interview transcriptions. The offer still stands–though I can’t pay, I am happy to send either a complimentary copy of Road Warrior Without an Expense Account or a free Contrabass Conversations t-shirt to anyone who feels like doing a transcription. By the way, Darlene Marshall, who is our first transcriber, isn’t even a bassist! She has found bassist Andy Anderson’s episodes useful and has begun transcribing them. Check out her fine work here.
You can see what’s been transcribed through this link (also available through the Features directory at the top of the blog). Check it out–it will definitely be a good way to help get this information out to musicians worldwide.
Road Warrior available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble
As I mentioned last week, my book Road Warrior Without an Expense Account is now available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s great to see it offered in these mainstream retail outlets as well as through my own site, and if you haven’t gotten a chance to pick up a copy yet you can do so through either of those sites as well as right here from the blog.
Upcoming Book Signing for Road Warrior and new book video
I’ll be doing a book signing for “Road Warrior” next week in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (my hometown). Though I know that this is pretty off the beaten path for most blog readers, if you happen to find yourself in southeastern South Dakota on Thursday, July 24, stop by the Oak View Branch of the Sioux Falls Public Library and check it out.
I’ve also put together a Keynote presentation about the topic of freelancing through the lens of my “Road Warrior” book, and I’ll be presenting for the first time at next week’s book signing. For the 99.9% of you out there who won’t be at that event, I’m also putting together a video version of the Keynote presentation–kind of a flashy 5-10 minute synopsis of the topics presented in this book. I’ll be putting that out (hopefully) in the next few weeks.
It’s good to have a “talk” in the bag for a book, and getting the materials together for this book signing has been a good motivator for me. I’ve now got a schpeal that I can give about the topic of freelancing, music school, and emerging trends for music performance, and I hope to be able to use it in the near future.
Here are the details for the event if you can make it out:
Book Signing and Music Business Talk
Thursday, July 24, 2008, 7 p.m.
Sioux Falls Public Library – Oak View Branch
3700 East Third Street
Sioux Falls, SD, 57103 (map)
Guy Tuneh this Weekend on Contrabass Conversations
Guy Tuneh, one of our most popular guests on Contrabass Conversations, will be featured again thisweekend on a special video episode of the podcast. We’re departing from our regular episode format to do both an audio and video version of the show this week, and we’ll be releasing them both this Saturday. This is not likely to become a regular thing for us since most of our interviews are done over the phone (how exciting would that video be?), but video content is a valuable component of Contrabass Conversations and I really enjoy putting these special episodes together.
Check out all our episodes featuring Guy Tuneh (including both audio interview segments and video performances) here, and feel free to call in any comments on our episodes to 206-666-6509 or through Skype (my handle: jsh177).
Just Wrapped Up an Interview with DaXun Zhang
The outstanding double bassist DaXun Zhang has been all over the world recently performing solo and chamber music with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Music Ensemble, the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, and many other organizations. We got a chance to sit down and interview DaXun this week, and I think that you all will be thrilled to hear from this great bassist. In addition to our interview, we’ll be featuring music from DaXun’s recent solo album.
If you haven’t heard DaXun play before, you’re really missing out. I can honestly say that I’ve never heard bass playing like this before. When Drew McManus and I were recording Because Shut Up, That’s Why! episodes earlier this year, we used some of DaXun’s playing (the Meditation from Thais in particular) for one of our musical examples. Watching the eyes of our guests light up when they hear this playing, then register surprise as the playing dipped down into the lower register, was really interesting. DaXun has the singing sonority of a top-notch cellist in the upper register, but still produces a magnificent bass sound in the lower register as well, and his distinctive approach to the double bass is immediately recognizable once you know his playing.
DaXun truly is the next generation of double bass artists, able to do things that were virtually unimaginable 50, 40, 30, or even 20 years ago. Watching this great artist emerge on the greater musical scene is, to me, like witnessing Gary Karr’s performance of the Swan for Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts, hearing Scott LaFaro for the first time, or witnessing what artists like Edgar Meyer or François Rabbath were doing on the instrument. DaXun’s approach makes bass players reevaluate our own conceptions about what is possible for our instrument, and that is a rare thing indeed.