World Premier Performance June 5th in New York City!

Hello folks! Blog numero uno here. Thought I would kick it off by announcing an upcoming performance of the Ben Kono Group at one of my favorite music venues in the city, Cornelia Street Cafe in the West Village of Manhattan this June 5th. This will be a world premiere of "Don't Blink", an extended suite I wrote for multiple woodwinds and jazz quintet funded by a generous grant from Chamber Music America: New Jazz Works. I started work on this project soon after recording the BKG album "Crossing". It started with a photograph I had taken during a cross country trip back in the late 1970's with my family. We were in Glacier National Park (one of the most beautiful places on earth, and if you've never been there you should go!) which straddles the borders of Montana and Canada and I was just enthralled with the magnificence of the mountains, lakes and glaciers--some of which still crossed the 'Going to the Sun Road' even that June. Fast forward about thirty years later, my four year old daughter saw this same photo and asked about it. So we got into a discussion of what glaciers are and how these rivers of ice creep along so slowly it can take a year for them to travel a few feet; and then through the modern miracle of an internet search we saw the truth about glaciers. There are now only about 25 of the 150 or so glaciers that once populated that park, and those will likely be gone within the next two decades. You can see how dramatic these changes are here. So much for leaving the world a better place! I was concerned about what my daughter would experience, and how those experiences would be forever different than my own. Music seemed like a good place to turn to for us at this point, and my daughter and I spent much time together at the piano composing short melodies for our 'favorite' endangered species. Mostly this involved her dancing and singing while I improvised at the piano. At some point, though, I thought it might make for some nice material for a project and I began to record our 'sessions'. Nothing really had any legs, however, until I pitched the idea of weaving some of these themes throughout an extended multi-movement composition to Chamber Music America and was thrilled to hear they liked it enough to offer my group a grant to write and perform this piece. And so now here we are. You just never know!

The band is Henry Hey on piano, Pete McCann on guitar, Kermit Driscoll on bass, and Satoshi Takeishi on drums and percussion. I'll be playing English horn, bass clarinet, flutes, and tenor saxophone. These are four of my favorite musicians--and friends--in the world, and I am so grateful for their contributions to this project! The music you bring to a rehearsal with musicians of this caliber almost always serves as a mere starting point, and by the time you leave it is often transformed into something you couldn't have conjured up on your own. If you are in the area June 5th, I hope you will stop by so we can share this with you! Here is the information:

Ben Kono GroupWorld premiere performance of "Don't Blink"
Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia Street
New York, NY

sets are 8:30pm and 10:00pm
$10 cover; $10 minimum

There is a full dinner menu and reservations are strongly suggested as seating is limited.