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Rob Birdwell | Portrait

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United States - Oregon

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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Jazz: Cool Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Portrait

by Rob Birdwell

Lyrical original Jazz - from cool to funky and everything in between.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Shameless
6:16 $0.79
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2. Aerostar
4:38 $0.79
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3. Blue In You
4:41 $0.79
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4. El Camino
5:46 $0.79
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5. TV Buddha
6:48 $0.79
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6. A Ghost at the Gig (The Ballad of Frankie Templeton)
8:09 $0.79
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7. Reinhardt In Tunisia
6:29 $0.79
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8. Frumpy
7:01 $0.79
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9. Buddy Collette
6:53 $0.79
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Rob Birdwell's latest CD, "Portrait" (2007), showcases four new studio produced tracks and five live tracks featuring the XTET, recorded live at Bombs Away Cafe (Corvallis, Oregon) and features John Bliss (Guitar), Steve Willis (Bass), and Viking (Drums).

Some of Rob's musical inspirations include Miles Davis, Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Steely Dan...and many others too. In his current work you'll hear a bit of conventional songwriting/arranging blended with free and off-the-cuff styled improvisations. On the CD "Portrait" Rob provides a rare glimpse into the work of the XTET (a small Jazz combo, where the X in their name represents the variable number of players in the group - usually 4 or 5 - that are gigging together at any given time), who perform gigs regularly throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Rob opens "Portrait" with two of his studio produced tracks - and these two couldn't differ more in how they were put together. Where the track "Shameless" was meticulously arranged and scored (over many months) for what Rob refers to as his "Breathless Void Orchestra" (which is sort of like his group, The Blowholes, but with only Rob doing the blowing and making all the noises - hence the "void") the track "Aerostar" was recorded very quickly and spontaneously. "Aerostar just sort of happened one night - I blinked and the track was pretty much done!", Rob muses.

Rob's tune "Blue In You" is a relatively new offering and is documented here for the first time in a live setting while Rob's tune "El Camino" (another studio track) evokes a more subdued and controlled setting. Rob confesses: "I was totally inspired by John McNeil's tune 'A la Orilla' - that was exactly the tune I wanted to write but I couldn't very well do that now could I? So I adopted his Spanish inspired cadence and did something a bit different...the result was El Camino."

"TV Buddha" was inspired by an art class Rob took (there's a fairly famous and interesting work bearing the same title) and is again another live offering featuring the XTET (John Bliss on Guitar, Steve Willis on Bass, Viking on Drums, and Rob Birdwell on Flugelhorn) on this particular night.

With a background in writing Jazz ditties, pop tunes, arrangements and songs in all sorts of styles, Rob experiments with one spoken word piece on the Portrait CD: "A Ghost at the Gig (The Ballad of Frankie Templeton)" - in this 8 minute track, Rob (or possibly his alter ego) narrates the story of a fantasy "gig" which is anything but typical. (Or is it?) You'll meet "Guitar John", "Mr. V", "Ace on the Bass", and of course, that ghostly son of a gun: Frankie Templeton!

"Reinhardt In Tunisia" by composer and guitarist John Bliss is yet another XTET standard and proudly featured on this Portrait CD. This live rendition captures a good deal of the spirit John had in mind! A terrific tune from a truly terrific person!

"Frumpy" is offered up here in all its "liveness" and frumpiness - it's sort of a standard funky groove performed by the XTET. This particular performance was originally 100% live, but Rob did manage sneak in a couple Tenor Sax overdubs that double his live Flugelhorn riffs!

The final track on Portrait is a modern style Jazz waltz/ballad entitled "Buddy Collette" which Rob Birdwell wrote in honor of Mr. Collette. Rob was privileged to meet Buddy Collette at a UCLA Jazz workshop in the early 1990's in Los Angeles. Rob reminisces:

"Although I didn't know much about Buddy Collette's life and work at the time, here was a man who really poured his heart into this music - he was so generous with his time and gave me some great tips and encouragement. He even gave me his fake book which documented many of his compositions throughout his career. Over the years I've kept that book close by to remind me to keep writing myself, to keep exploring, and to always strive to be a better person and musician. By happenstance, I recently came upon Buddy's book (with co-author Steven Isoardi) entitled 'Jazz Generations - A Life in American Music and Society' and after reading it was deeply moved by his accomplishments, and particularly how he was instrumental in lobbying the merger of the then segregated (late 1950's) Los Angeles musicians unions into a single union. I'm still discovering Buddy Collette's music and his message - I humbly wrote the tune 'Buddy Collette' in his honor."

Over the years Rob Birdwell has experimented with a variety of musical offerings – from his folk-pop offering with his songwriting partner in crime Wade Marsten entitled “Two Voices” (where he sang and played Bass and his lips never even touched the Trumpet!), to his numerous songwriting credits and work as an arranger, composer and Trumpet/Flugelhorn club/session player. His love for the traditional popular song as well as his love for improvisation place him somewhere on the “Jazzy” side of the tracks – center of the musical universe as far as Rob is concerned! And although musical categories are probably convenient for marketing purposes, Rob prefers to think of his own offerings as simply “music” - whatever the form, ensemble or style.

Rob Birdwell attended the University of Idaho, then had the privilege of studying with Dick Grove at the Grove School of Music in Studio City, California and graduated from the Composing and Arranging Program. As a freelance writer, Rob has written songs for various artists and performers, worked as a musical director for numerous theatrical shows, and scored music for some independent movies you've probably never seen, but are pretty darn good anyway!

Rob Birdwell has been honored with two ASCAP Plus awards and was voted “Best Musician” in the Corvallis/Albany (Oregon) Gazette Times “Top of the Valley” poll.

Visit BirdwellMusic.com for the latest on Rob Birdwell's projects, gigs, compositions, scores, and other offerings.

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