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Frank Macchia & Brock Avery | Rhythm Kaleidoscope

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Frank's Wikipedia Page Frank's Facebook Band Page Frank's Website Outer Spaces 3 Video- YouTube Outer Spaces 1 Video -YouTube Outer Spaces 2 Video- YouTube

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Jazz: Orchestral Jazz Classical: Contemporary Moods: Mood: Virtuoso
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Rhythm Kaleidoscope

by Frank Macchia & Brock Avery

New music created by composing full orchestral-jazz-experimental music to wild improvised drum solos - Zappa meets Stravinsky and they take LSD!
Genre: Jazz: Orchestral Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Rhythm Kaleidoscope
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
3:31 $0.99
2. Psychedelic Drum Machine (Twin Turbo)
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
4:22 $0.99
3. Introspective Delusions Suite
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
6:49 $0.99
4. Slinky
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
3:25 $0.99
5. Inside the Mind of M. De Sade
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
3:26 $0.99
6. Drunken Bar Brawl
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
3:18 $0.99
7. Outer Spaces Suite 1: Oumuamua (The Messenger)
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
4:49 $0.99
8. Outer Spaces Suite 2: Dark Energy
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
3:43 $0.99
9. Outer Spaces Suite 3: Lightspeed
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
4:34 $0.99
10. Shimmering Vibrations
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
3:47 $0.99
11. Piglets Bouncing on a Trampoline
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
2:42 $0.99
12. Abduction
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
3:46 $0.99
13. It's Fake News (No, It's Not!)
Frank Macchia & Brock Avery
4:07 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Composer/Saxophonist Frank Macchia and Composer/Drummer Brock Avery have created a brand new project that defies categorization! Taking improvised drum solos that Brock created, Frank has created stream of consciousness music compositions around the drums that create a New Music masterpiece! Featuring over 40 woodwinds and a bevy of brass, keyboards and string accompaniment this album is a massive sound collage of psychedelic proportions!

Liner Notes for Rhythm Kaleidoscope

This album came about after taking off almost two years from composing music. In 2016 I took a break as I felt I was getting in a rut and needed to cleanse the creative palette. I thought it would just be for a couple of months but it took until December 2017 for me to get excited about an idea that I wanted to explore. My thought was to take a drum solo improvisation, like something I had witnessed in my youth by drummers like Max Roach, Jack DeJohnette, and Bob Moses and compose and orchestrate music to that recorded solo. Drummers have such an amazing vocabulary of rhythm and I thought it would push my abilities compositionally. At that time I had been playing jazz jam sessions with Brock Avery, a wonderful and creative drummer at the home of our mutual friend Tom Lockett. I mentioned the idea to Brock. He was very enthusiastic about recording and in December 2017 he came over to my studio and recorded a few solos. On a side note, I've known Brock since the late 70's from Berklee College of Music, which we both attended. The drummer in my band, the late great Rodney Smith was roommates with Brock and I'd always talk with him when I picked up Rodney for a gig. I also used to watch him play in a terrific band in Boston, Fly By Night, so it was great to finally start playing with him all these years later. The first solos Brock did became the suite Outer Spaces, with movements Oumuamua, Dark Energy and LightSpeed. After he recorded those solos I composed the music for them and he was digging it so much that he called and asked if he could come and record more, because after hearing what I wrote it gave him a better idea of what kind of solos to play. I was inspired by his enthusiasm so in January 2018 he came over and recorded the rest of the tracks on this album. The one change we made from the first session was that I came up with visual titles to give Brock an idea of where to go with his solos, and he ran with that idea and took it to amazing places!

On a technical note, I want to be clear that what you're hearing on this project are Brock's solo performances all in one take – no overdubs, edits or digital tricks. So all the drums and percussion are happening in real time! I composed to whatever he played, and did not move a note of his performance to make it easier on me. I wanted to represent his pure musical intent. I then spent months transcribing his rhythms and composed a sketch with sampled piano parts, then orchestrated that piano mock up for a battery of synths and samples including keyboards, guitars, mallet percussion, strings and brass. Then I recorded myself performing between 24 to 50 tracks of live woodwinds. I also arranged a few pieces for live cello, trombone and electric guitars. Recording gear included a matched pair of Lucas CS-1 microphones, Shure SM57 and Beta 52A, a Beyer M69N on drums going through A Designs Pacifica preamps and a UA LA-610 preamp, being fed into a Lynx Aurora audio interface. MOTU Digital Performer software was used for recording and editing, with an abundance of Native Instruments Kontakt and Wallender WIVI plug-ins.

So here's a blow by blow on how each piece was composed and for all you music theorists out there, the technical theory stuff behind the compositions. Up first is Rhythm Kaleidoscope, which is actually the second take that Brock did on the original title idea Piglets Bouncing On a Trampoline. This take was so rhythmically intense that after scoring it I decided to change it to it's current title. The definition of a kaleidoscope is “a constantly changing pattern or sequence of objects or elements”. This is precisely what Brock gave me to work with. The piece is an 11 tone row which you'll hear in the opening bass clarinet and then it's worked throughout the piece. All the voicings are derived from this row, which is C,Bb,Eb,E,A,F#,G,C#,B,Ab, and F.

Next is Psychedelic Drum Machine, which also features Eric Jensen on guitars, who created beautifully bluesy and wild parts. I told Brock to play like a drum machine with a funk pattern but the machine was altered by LSD, and this is what he came up with! My compositional plan for this was to do a stream of consciousness piece of funk a la James Brown where we stay on a I7 chord for most of the piece but “take it to the bridge” at one point, which means going to the IV7 chord. I started by finding a bass riff to mimic his kick drum and then built funk riffs around the rest of the piece.

The longest piece on the album is Introspective Delusions Suite, which was actually just three takes that Brock did on the title “Introspective Delusions”, but each take was so good and different I just linked them together into one suite. Each section of the suite has a subtitle. The first is Visions Of Grandeur. The intervallic scheme of this is a minor third up, followed by a minor second down, then a major third up again, and so forth. Again, stream of consciousness is the keyword here as I just follow Brock's flow. The second section is called Panic Attack, and features a lot of clarinets throughout, using a 12 tone row of E,B,C,G#,F,C#,A,F#,G,D,Eb, and Bb. The third part Total Collapse uses a diminished scale and a Duke Ellington technique of double (and sometimes triple) diminished 7th chords stacked atop one another. I love this sound and Duke is a musical hero of mine so I had to do some hero worship in this project! The subtitles are supposed to convey what I was feeling at the start of this project: a vision of grandeur about creating something wonderful, then having a panic attack as to whether I could pull it off, then the total collapse as I passed out in my attempt to play this ridiculously hard material!

Slinky was a title where I told Brock to imagine a Slinky (or an army of Slinkies) bouncing and undulating, doing loop de loops down a series of hills. He used brushes to create an amazing solo. I wanted an instrument which could gliss easily and since I love the cello I asked Stefanie Fife if she would help us out with this piece, which she did magnificently! The motif concept is the intervals of a minor 6th sliding down followed by a tritone sliding, generally using harmony of a major 2nd. The row is C,Eb,Bb,E,A,C,G,C#,F,Ab,Eb,A,D,B, and F#. Not a true 12 tone row but after using the 2nd A I used the remaining 3 pitches (D,B,F#) as a kind of “cadence”. Okay, yes, I make this stuff up as I go along!

Inside The Mind of M. De Sade has a funny story as to the title. Originally I wanted Brock to do a bashing, loud drum solo based on the image of King Kong and Godzilla tearing up Manhattan. But as I started composing to his solo I found myself getting into really dark sonorities and it sounded really evil and scary. When I played it for my wife she just looked at me and said “inside the mind of Marquis de Sade”. I instantly loved that description and so there it is. Tone row for those interested: G,Bb,F,B,Eb,C,C#,E,D,G#,A, and F#. At 1:45 into this piece I decided to do my best to transcribe each drum element and assign it a woodwind section to play with each of the drums. So, cymbals = piccolos, snare = flutes, hi tom = clarinets/alto saxes, low tom = tenor saxes and bass drum = bari saxes and bass clarinets. Yes, this is hard listening but I promise you'll hear something new every time you listen to this section.

I invited my friend Alex Iles to play trombones on Drunken Bar Brawl, in which I asked Brock to just play it like a choreographed bar fight. He did splendidly. The idea is three groups of people get into a fight at a bar and those three groups are clarinets, saxophones and trombones. So it's kind of like a traditional big band without the trumpets and the idea here was to use a blues scale and blues voicings but each section is in its own key which adds to the fight conflict!

Next up is Outer Spaces Suite 1: Oumuamua, The Messenger. Around the time I was composing for this project, a strange object was moving from outside the solar system into our own and there was all kinds of speculation as to if it was a spaceship or some other object. It turns out it was a strange shaped asteroid (I believe) but I was hoping for visitors from beyond to take me away! Anyhow, I thought this would be a good title for the first movement of this suite, and I tried for otherworldly voicings on these pieces. Being the very first piece I composed on this project, I just started writing whatever came into my head as I reacted to Brock's drum solo, so there are no real “compositional” elements like a tone row or motif to this piece. It's like composing music to a scene in a film: whatever you see you react to and that's what I did. But in this case, instead of watching a scene, I heard drums and just wrote from moment to moment. Again, a stream of consciousness composition.

On Outer Spaces Suite 2: Dark Energy, I reacted to Brock's innovative use of rubbing the heads of the drums to create a mournful cry and thought of the invisible world of dark energy. This uses a multi-tonal pentatonic element to the composition, with bubbling bass and alto flutes throughout. Brock played with beautiful dynamics on this piece.

Outer Spaces Suite 3: LightSpeed is one of my favorites of the project. It just came to me really quickly what this piece was going to be thanks to Brock's inspired solo. The music theory behind this piece is a series of building fifths displace by a major 3rd. For example, C,G,B,F#,Bb,F,A,E,Ab,Eb,G,D,F#, and C#. At the very end you'll hear the whole series of notes stacked. It's quite a massive chord.

Piglets Bouncing On A Trampoline is self explanatory and Brock took the title and delivered perfectly! His use of the toms to portray those little cute swine bouncing up and down was just what I needed to create one of the funnier pieces on the project. I primarily used what I learned in college as the Lydian flat 7 scale for this piece, so in the key of G that would be G,A,B,C#,D,E, and F. Of course other notes found their way into the fray to provide additional color.

I asked Brock to do something using cymbals and color sounds on the next piece so I could turn them into rich voicings. He gave me Shimmering Vibrations. This piece uses three major ninth chords: G major 9, Eb major 9 and B major 9, using piccolos, flutes, alto flutes, bass flutes and the very large contrabass flute in different registers to create a series of haunting overtones from their tri-tonality.

Abduction was another piece that kind of wrote itself. After composing the originally titled “Fast Run Through The Jungle,” there seemed to be an element of “danger” to the composition so I renamed it. It uses a grouping of six notes, like half of a minor pentatonic scale, in this case: C,Eb,F,F#,A, and B. I also kept the “jungle” aspect of the piece with the use of ethnic whistles and flutes.

The last piece I did for the album ended up being my favorite. Brock did an outstanding job of interpreting the title. Originally called “Conversation With A Trump Supporter”, Brock struck a tom tom drum three times as one voice and then answered the tom question with the rest of the drum kit, and continued this pattern throughout the piece. As I was composing it Brock stopped by and heard what I was writing to his solo. I explained the three tom hits were a person asking a question and the Trump supporter getting more and more livid as the questions kept coming. He told me he saw it reversed when he performed it. The tom drum was the Trump supporter and the answers were non-Trump-ers having a fit over it. We laughed and realized it worked either way and that evening I had a revelation that the three tom hits were the words “Its Fake News” and the response was an emphatic “No, It's Not”, with all of it's permutations. So that's how the title It's Fake News (No, It's Not!) came to be. It's a true twelve tone row: E,F#,F,A,G,Ab,Bb,C,B,D,C#, and Eb. But more importantly, it speaks to the frustrations many of us have and the final cluster chord, played by 6 bass clarinets and 7 contrabass clarinets express my feelings of dread that seem to occur more frequently.

I hope you enjoy this densely packed album with millions of notes as much as I enjoyed co-creating it with Brock. And if you make it through the entire album in one sitting call me; I'll buy you coffee and a doughnut and congratulate you for your amazing spirit for adventurous music!

-Frank Macchia, September 2018

Album Credits:

Brock Avery: Drum solo composition, Drum set and percussion, including New and Old Drums, Pandeiros, Frame Drums, Tambourines, Pods, Shinclang, Slitdrums, Buffetonium, Pipanafone,
Cymbals, Stackers, Bulb Horn, Varied Sticks, Brushes, Mallets, and on and on.

Frank Macchia: Melodic music composition, orchestrations, mixing and woodwinds, including Selmer Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxophones, Conn Bass Saxophone, Piccolo, Flute, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, Contrabass Flute, Bb Clarinet, Eb Alto Clarinet, Bb Bass Clarinet, Bbb Contrabass Clarinet, and numerous ethnic flutes and whistles.

Stefanie Fife: Cello (on Slinky)

Alex Iles: Trombone-Bass Trombone (on Drunken Bar Brawl)

Eric Jensen: Electric Guitar (on Psychedelic Drum Machine)

Cover Design: Peter Macchia
Mastering: Rich Breen

Special Thanks From Frank: To Brock, for being the musical muse that I've been looking for and getting me excited about music again. To Stefanie, Alex and Eric, for your friendship, artistry and generosity. To Tracy London, my wife and best friend for her patience in listening to this music for almost a year and offering encouragement when needed. To Tom Yaeh, who keeps my woodwinds in great shape. To my son Charlie, who teaches me how to be better every day, especially in my joke telling skills. And finally, to all those kind friends and fans who tell me they enjoy my music; it means a lot to me!

Special Thanks From Brock: I would like to thank my family and friends for being that. To Zildjian for making amazing instruments, and special thanks to Kirsten Jensen. Big Love to Chris Brady and Aquarian Drumheads. I would like to thank Frank for doing this project. This has been very inspiring to me. Hoping to do more, and besides when the shit hits the fan, Make More Art -b.



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Can This Even Be Called Music.com

New Music for November
Published Nov. 5, 2018
The Pitts/Minnemann Project has done it,Glenn Snelwar's At War with Self too, and, I’m sure, many others, but, perhaps, the latest attempt comes from Frank Macchia & Brock Avery. What is it? Writing and performing music over a drum solo. While the two former aforementioned projects used tracks from Marco Minnemann’s Normalizer endeavour, here the music is written on top of Brock Avery’s solos. What’s more, Frank Macchia’s compositions perfectly embody the big band feeling, the jazz orchestra’s tumult and presence, despite them being only two. It helps that both musicians are talented multi-instrumentalists, which reminds me of Finnish one-man band project Utopianisti in that regard. Rhythm Kaleidoscope shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone