As part of the publicity plans for my book, the publisher asked me to make a Spotify playlist. I am not a Spotify subscriber or regular user, and I am familiar with all the criticism of Spotify, but I got into the project and ended up making a playlist for each chapter. Here they are:


2023 Shows Pt. 2

COVID had its way with last month’s plans, but here’s a fresh batch:

Mar. 5: Sunday Series Improvisers Orchestra. Open Gate Theater at Neighborhood Unitarian Church, Pasadena. 7PM. $10. A Conduction project led by Miller Wrenn.

Mar. 6: The Present Quartet at the Vernacular New Music Series. Oracle Tavern, DTLA. 8PM. $10. Improvisation with Ellen Burr, Anne LeBaron, and Charles Sharp. Also appearing: Scott Heustis/Tony Green/Breeze Smith.

Mar. 11: The Santa Monica Symphony at John Adams Middle School. Smetana, Mercury, Beethoven. 7:30PM. Free, but reservations encouraged.

Mar. 17: The Soapbox at the Industry Cafe & Jazz. 6:30-9:30PM. Free, but order food and drinks. Jazz etc.

Hope to see you there!

2023 Shows Pt. 1

Things are getting off to a strong start, at least performance-wise.

Jan. 14: Santa Monica Symphony MLK Day Concert. 3PM. John Adams Middle School Auditorium, Santa Monica. Gershwin “Rhapsody in Blue,” Coleridge-Taylor “Danse Negre,” Price “Symphony #1.” Free, but reservations encouraged.

Jan. 20: The Soapbox at Industry Cafe & Jazz, Culver City. with Sean Sonderegger, Peter Valsamis, and TBD. 6:30-9:30PM. Free, but order food & drinks.

Feb. 14: Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble. Art Theater, Long Beach. Live score for Sunrise. 7PM. $25.

Feb. 18: Vicente Chamber Orchestra + Opus 119 Concerto Concert. First Presbyterian Church, Santa Monica. 1:30PM. $25.

Feb. 19: Open Gate Theater. Neighborhood Unitarian Church, Pasadena. Hecuba. 7PM. $15.

Feb. 25: Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble. Million Dollar Theater, DTLA. Live score for Sunrise. 7:30PM. $18.

Hope to see you there, and more is on the way…

Annual Report

Eight shows in 2021; 42 in 2022. So live music is back? Be careful out there!
Anyway, here’s the breakdown:

By Band:

  1. The Soapbox (13)
  2. The Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble (7)
  3. The West Coast Chamber Jazz Trio (6)
  4. Ictus All-Stars (5)
  5. Santa Monica Symphony (3)
  6. Steve Bowie Quartet, Charles Sharp Group (2 each)
  7. Vicente Chamber Orchestra, LArtists for Ukraine, MajicBulletTheory, Anna Homler (1 each)

By Venue:

  1. Industry Cafe and Jazz (11)
  2. Teatro Out/Off, private parties (4 each)
  3. John Adams Middle School (3)
  4. 2220 Arts & Archives, Art Theater, Dagny’s Coffee, Luggage Store Gallery, Million Dollar Theater, Shift (2 each)
  5. Alva’s, Bel Air Presbyterian, Beyond Baroque, KAOS Network, Luna’s, Pico Branch Library Annex, The Pike, Thunderbolt Pizza, Ukrainian Cultural Center (1 each)

By Drummer:

  1. Peter Valsamis (13)
  2. Andrea Centazzo (8)
  3. Slam (4)
  4. Steve Hubback, Vasco Trilla (2 each)
  5. Andre Beasley, T. Alex Budrow, Jordan Glenn, Tsugumi Shikano, Rich West (1 each)

By Genre:

  1. Experimental (21)
  2. Jazz (16)
  3. Classical (5)

Soundwaves Returns!



Date:  December 13, 2022 

Soundwaves Concert Series Resumes at Pico Library 

SANTA MONICA, Calif. –  

     The Santa Monica Public Library’s acclaimed Soundwaves new music series resumes, with free concerts the first Saturday of each month at the Pico Branch Library Annex in Virginia Avenue Park, at the corner of Pico and Cloverfield. 

     On January 7, 2023 violinist/violist Lauren Baba, known for her work with her big band, the Vitamin String Quartet, and as a touring musician for Japanese Breakfast, leads a jazz sextet. February 4 Jacaranda Music presents the work of Philip Glass, with a flute duo and a short film with a score by Glass recorded by Jacaranda’s Mark Alan Hilt on organ. CalArts faculty member Randy Gloss heads a percussion ensemble using instruments and rhythms from around the world on March 4, and Redlands Symphony Principal Bass Scott Worthington performs a solo recital April 1. Cosmic Vibrations, featuring vocalist Dwight Trible, who worked with Horace Tapscott and Pharoah Sanders, bring spontaneous spiritual jazz on May 6, and the season concludes June 3 with the Smudges: violinist Jeff Gauthier and cellist Maggie Parkins, whose work incorporates improvisation and electronics. 

     From 2016 to 2020 Soundwaves regularly presented cutting-edge music at the Main Library, supported by the Friends of SMPL and the Amphion Foundation, including collaborations with the Angel City Jazz Festival, Piano Spheres, Jacaranda Music, Microfest, Cold Blue Music, and the Dog Star Orchestra Festival. Soundwaves focuses on noncommercial music, drawing on Los Angeles’ large and complex history of experimentation in rock, jazz, classical, and uncategorizable creative music, bringing the underground back to the westside. Visit for more information, including videos of many past shows. 

     The Pico Annex is an indoor/outdoor space. Its configuration will vary to suit the music and weather. For indoor events, masking is currently encouraged by not required. SMPL will follow LA County Health Department guidelines in case of any changes. These concerts are free and open to the public. There are no tickets or reservations. Free parking is available and the #7 Big Blue Bus stops at the park. 

[photo of the Dan Rosenboom Quintet at the Pico Branch Annex July 2, 2022]

Winter 2022

Is it winter now? Hard to tell in LA, even before climate change really started hitting.

Anyway, I have been busy and am only getting busier. Here’s the musical update.

Tonight (Oct. 21), the Soapbox makes our monthly appearance at the Industry Cafe & Jazz in Culver City. 6:30-9:30PM. There’s no cover, and seating is outside. Delicious Ethiopian food is available, plus beer & wine. This is my most jazz-like band, dealing with time, harmony, and all that stuff, and we’re starting to focus on originals, working towards a recording. Tonight’s lineup is Sean Sonderegger (reeds), R. Scott Dibble (keys), Peter Valsamis (drumset), and yours truly on the contrabass. We’re there the third Friday of each month, usually with Charles Sharp also playing reeds.

The Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble is celebrating Halloween and the 100th anniversary of F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu with shows Oct. 28 at the Million Dollar Theater in Downtown LA and Oct. 31 at the Art Theater in Long Beach, playing an original score to a very nice restored print. Pretty stoked that this made the LA Times‘s Halloween recommendations, alongside Danny Elfman, the LA Opera, and the Lucha Va Voom luchador/burlesque show. Jack, Charles, and I recently toured playing Jack’s Bolsa Chica Calm album, which he calls surf ambient but reminds me more of Kraftwerk and Mwandishi than either of those genres. Videos of our San Francisco show are now on YouTube, so you can decide for yourself.

Things have also been going great with Andrea Centazzo. I was honored to join him for multi-night tributes to the 45th anniversary of Ictus Records with mix-and-match all-star improvising formations in Milan in July and in Brooklyn earlier this month. The header photo for this post is a Brooklyn trio of Andrea, Jessica Pavone, and myself. A box set of selected recordings from Milan is in the works. The West Coast Chamber Jazz Trio (Andrea, Ellen Burr (flutes), and I) will return to 2220 Arts & Archives (fka The Bootleg Theater) on Nov. 10 to play a set of Steve Lacy tunes to celebrate vinyl reissues of Andrea’s work with Lacy. We’ll be sharing the bill with a group led by rising star Patrick Shiroishi, who will also play Lacy’s music. Not to be missed…

I’m also going to be with the Santa Monica Symphony for their Dec. 4 show, playing a suite from “How to Train Your Dragon,” Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending,” and Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.” In other words: dragon+bird=firebird. Free, but reservations are required.

That may be all the gigs for this year, but I am also getting a studio session from last November ready for release. It’s by the Present Quartet (Ellen Burr, Anne LeBaron (harp), Charles Sharp, and me) joined on various tracks by vocalists Bonnie Barnett, Will Salmon, and Vetza (from the legendary LA Free Music Society). More on this as it nears completion, of course.

There are also rumors of an upcoming LA-area performance by MESTO: the Multi-Ethnic STar Orchestra, stay tuned…

Publication Day

The first copies of my new book have arrived! This is every bit as exciting as you imagine.

I know you have questions.

  1. Didn’t you already write a book called Free Jazz?
    Yes, I did. However, both of these books are for series, so I didn’t get to pick the titles, and they are very different books. The first one, Free Jazz: A Research and Information Guide, is part of Routledge’s Music Bibliographies series. It’s an annotated listing of around 2500 books, articles, dissertations, theses, documentaries, archives, etc. This new one, just called Free Jazz, is the first volume in SUNY Press’ Jazz Styles series. It’s an introduction to some of the major musical, aesthetic, and social components of the music.
  2. Didn’t someone else already write a book called Free Jazz?
    Yes: Ekkehard Jost. It was the first musicological work on this stuff and has held up quite well overall. If you’re interested enough to have read this far and are comfortable with music theory and notation, you should probably buy it.
  3. Where can I buy this new book of yours?
    It’s out now as a hardcover, at a price that only research libraries should pay. I do not expect any of you to buy this version and will feel guilty if you do. A more reasonably-priced paperback is scheduled for next June, or you can get the eBook now.
  4. When’s the party?
    Next summer, so we can sell copies of the paperback. Stay tuned!

Fall 2022

Things should keep rolling in the months ahead, with the creative music projects underway continuing and orchestra season starting up.

Sept. 16: Industry Cafe & Jazz in Culver City with Charles Sharp and Rich West. 6:30-9:30PM. No cover.

Sept. 25: Thunderbot Pizza, Bixby Knolls, with Dave Williams’ Majic Bullet Theory. 3-6PM.

Oct. 1: Free Jazz (SUNY Press Jazz Styles) appears in hardcover. Wait for the paperback next June!

Oct. 6 & 7: I’ll be playing with Andrea Centazzo and a bunch of East Coast folks for Ictus Nights at Shift in Brooklyn, paying tribute to Andrea’s record label with mix & match free improvisations. $15/night.

Oct. 21: The Soapbox returns to the Industry Cafe. 6:30-9:30, no cover.

Oct. 28: Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble, live score to Nosferatu, Million Dollar Theater, DTLA. 7:30PM. $18.

Oct. 31: Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble, live score to Nosferatu, Art Theatre, Long Beach. $18.

July Shows + Music in Mind

I’m very excited about going to Milan to help celebrate the 45th anniversary of Andrea Centazzo’s Ictus Records label. There will be four nights of improvised music by Andrea and his collaborators from across the US and Europe. Stop by if you’re in the area! Here are the details of what I get to do:

July 4: Trio with Carlo Actis Dato (bass clarinet) & Vasco Trilla (drums)

July 5: West Coast Chamber Jazz Trio with Ellen Burr (flutes) and Andrea Centazzo (drums & electronics) + Sergio Amaroli (vibes). This will be the only set at the festival based on compositions.

July 6: Sextet with Elbio Barilari (saxophone), Harri Sjöström (saxophone), Guido Mazzon (trumpet), Francesca Gemmo (piano), and Steve Hubback (drums)

July 7: Large Ensemble with Ellen Burr (flutes), Carlo Actis Dato (bass clarinet), Roberto Ottaviano (sax), Harri Sjöström (sax), Elbio Barilari (saxophone & trumpet), Guido Mazzon (trumpet), Giancarlo Schiaffini (trombone), Steve Swell (trombone), Francesca Gemmo (piano), Elisabeth Harnik (keyboards), Sergio Armaroli (vibes), Vasco Trilla (drums), Steve Hubback (drums), Andrea Centazzo (Conduction).

Tickets available now!

The Ellen Burr Trio, with a contractually obscured drummer, will play in Udine July 9

Then, I’ll be back home at the Industry Cafe & Jazz on the 15th with Sean Sonderegger fronting the Soapbox rhythm section of R. Scott Dibble, Peter Valsamis, and myself. No cover, but order food & drinks!

Not a bad month!

I also just appeared on Anthony Caulkins’s Music in Mind podcast. Audio links here, or watch us on YouTube. Lots of interesting talk about improvisation, skill, and creativity, as well as my story (less interesting). Ends with a banjo/bass duet improvisation.