Welcome to Frank Singer.com! Click here for Home Page
 
Welcome to Frank Singer.com! Click here for home page.
 

 

 


 

 
 


 

 




CDs
from
Naked Kitty Productions

solo jazz guitar from oFF tHE tOP of the head


Frank Singer / Jam Along Blues CD
Frank Singer / Jam Along Modal 1 CD
Frank Singer / Generations String Quartet
Cat's A Bear / Tito in Wonderland
Cat's A Bear / Tito: In Search of a Revolution
Cat's A Bear / Eye of the Pyramid
One World Tribe / Armed and Dangerous
One World Tribe / Unity and Diversity
One World Tribe / The World Today
Too Big Power / Ride A Wave
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Colors of Tyme
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Near Journey's End
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Astral Worlds
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Moving Through The Elements
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Beyond Attention
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Crossing Oceans of Time
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Live at Forward Hall
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Imagination Doctors
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Smoke Shadows
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Quantum Events
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Music From Another Planet
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Primate Gestures
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm / Family Values

 

Trebor - the Original Naked Kitty / Trebor occasionally exhibited ancient Roman tendencies. I once saw him eat until he had to make room for more, which he did (right next to the food dish). We kept him on a diet after that.

 

 


NEWS FROM THE FRONT...
previous entries:

 DECEMBER 2008 

The last month of 2008 is upon us, and, for better or worse, change is coming. We can only hope for positive changes in this turbulent time. I guess the Chinese curse applies: 'May you live in interesting times!'

What's interesting for me right now is my introduction into networking on the internet. I have added a few sites to my list since last time, and I'm getting a feel for what each one seems to address.

First - MySpace. This seems to be the site for the young, technically minded general audience. I find a lot of rock bands and individual artists of all types listed, many becoming friends as time passes and we find out about each other. MySpace has a lot of individuality in its presentation, and users seem to take full advantage to customize their sites. Here's some links:

http://www.myspace.com/franksinger
http://www.myspace.com/stephentrohoske
http://www.myspace.com/oneworldtribeband
http://www.myspace.com/jdandthesonsofrhythm
http://www.myspace.com/toobigpower

Next - Facebook. As Steve Trohoske (3bop) stated recently, Facebook seems to be more local and direct. The way it is set up keeps users grouped by area, interest, or other affiliations, and it's not as easy to get to someone you don't know. This seems to work better for more directed actions, and for working with local and regional markets more directly. I cannot give urls for facebook other than the main site as users must be logged in to find other users. My facebook username for those who belong is Frank Singer.

Chris Standring is a West Coast guitarist who has offered a number of online courses over the years. He has recently set up a site called JazzMatrix.com. This site is obviously more focused on jazz, and in particular the users seem to be more contemporary. Much of the music is more funk-based, groove oriented, and much of it is quite good. You may view my page at http://www.jazzmatrix.com/chelaBOP, and if you join, contact me through the site.

Another site that I had joined at the request of Rick Calic of JazzRockWorld is LinkedIn.com. I am just getting acquainted with this site again as my days of broadband internet access grow longer, but it looks like there's a lot going on. You can acces my (still a work in progress) page at http://www.linkedin.com/in/franksinger.

MuzLink.com is a newer site that I joined by invitation. So far I have just layed out a page. I have more exploring to do, but you can see the page so far at http://www.muzlink.com/artist.do?id=7416 which will take you to my page.

All of these sites with the exception of LinkedIn and Facebook have full tracks of music, and each one has slightly different tracks, so you can also go mine some music from the different sites!

Finally, there is Twitter.com. I joined this site at the invitation of Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby.com. I am still not sure exactly what it's all about, but basically you can leave very brief messages about your current activities which your fellow twitters can follow. The twitter message answers the question 'what are you doing right now?'. I have already found some new folks on MySpace, and some new information that was very useful, just by checking through the messages. You can see my latest messages at http://www.twitter.com/franksinger.

I continue to experiment with skype. In a few months I will set up an instruction page for those who wish to partake in online lessons using this service. For those who are interested now, you can send me an email at frank@franksinger.com, or download the free software and start experimenting. Jamie Glaser kick-started me into this, and is helping me along (thanks again), and has properly advised that to do any serious playing a FULL DUPLEX sound card is required. This is the same kind of interface you would use if you were recording to hard disc, so many of you probably already have one. I know I did - my Tascam US122 that I use with Cubase on my second tower works great.

I want to thank Jamie Glaser for introducing me to the possibilties Skype. This incredible musician took time out of his day to help me get started, so thanks Jamie! Don't forget to check out his Music for Pets and People CD and project. He's raising money for a good cause, and the music is fun!

YOU LICENSE LINKS

Generations String Quartet
The Mouse and the Lion
Soul Saving
Hip Hop Dance Beats
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm - Colors of Tyme
Latin Groove

Until next time,

peace - f

Previous NEWS FROM THE FRONT 2007 articles...

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 NOVEMBER 2008 

I begin with some brief commentary this month, and follow with some more personal and business updates. As always, performance dates can be found on the calendar page.

First, the election is over. In many ways this is a relief, especially from the negativity displayed in the last few days. I must say there were some moving moments as well, topped by the acceptance speech of Barack Obama's. As cynical as I can be at times (it's the 'Jersey thing,) I recognize a moment in history when I see one.

I am also proud of Pennsylvania for overwhelmingly supporting President-Elect Obama's quest for something better. We certainly deserve something better, and I think he might be our best shot in the President's chair of heading us in that direction.

More personally, it is a symbol of a barrier broken, race, which can now serve as an example to those separated by that barrier that everyone can be a person of trust. Many within the community that One World Tribe serves need to know that, just as those who have created and supported that barrier do.

I found when my son was born and gave complete trust over to me from the moment I held him in my arms that I was worthy of that trust. It is a profound feeling that everyone should be able to have, parent or no. When we all know that trust can cross racial boundries, we eliminate those boundries. It is my sincere hope that this will happen in our lifetime, and that this is the hallmark of that time.

Now, onward to more music-related news.

For those who don't know me personally, I can be somewhat, well, thrifty. One manifestation of this is my resistance to paying for broadband internet service; one of the world's last holdouts. I have been doing all my online work via modem for the last 8 years.

Now, mainly because my son is now being schooled here at home with PAcyberSchool, we finally have an overwhelming need for daily access, so I am at last on broadband, and have officially left the dark ages of cyberspace.

One by-product of this is that I am now engaging in this modern phenomena called 'networking.' Although I suspect it may be just a fad, I have decided to join the crowd, and can be found at these sites:

www.myspace.com/franksinger
www.jazzmatrix.com/chelaBOP
I am on Facebook, but I have no idea how to post a url that makes sense, so if you are on Facebook, just search Frank Singer and find the guy with the white shirt and the dark lenses.

I am also working on a Skype connection, which (for those even more lost than I was) is an online phone-call-like connection that allows for 2-way webcam and mic communication. The goal of this connection for me is to give online lessons, so I will keep those of you who are interested posted here, or you can eMail me. (Married guys - ask your wives. Oprah uses skype on her show all the time.)

I want to thank Jamie Glaser for introducing me to the possibilties Skype. This incredible musician took time out of his day to help me get started, so thanks Jamie! Don't forget to check out his "Music for Pets and People" CD and project. He's raising money for a good cause, and the music is fun! (More below.)

I also want to send a shout out and thank you to Nick Carver and No Idle Frets. I have been enjoying Nick's podcasts for years, and he has graciously included Cat's A Bear in his show many times. Thanks, Nick. (Note - the music is listed under my name.)

Also, congratulations to Steve Trohoske of 3bop and Yelena Logvina on the birth of Milla Ofelia. Move your stuff, dad!!

YOU LICENSE LINKS

The Mouse and the Lion
Soul Saving
Hip Hop Dance Beats
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm - Colors of Tyme
Latin Groove

UNSOLICITED PLUG

I have had cats and dogs around since I was born. I have always supported an end to cruelty to animals, and have three cats now that are all rescues; in other words, they would have been a fox's food or destroyed at a shelter if my wife had not brought them home and said "Look, dad, aren't they cute?"

There is, of course, only one answer to that question, especially with a young child in the house!

I recently had the pleasure of purchasing a CD by guitarist Jamie Glaser which celebrates animals, supports rescue and an end to the fur trade, and features some of this great musicians fine guitar playing.

The CD is called Music for Pets and People. It features 14 cuts, with a variety of sounds and styles, and $2 from each sale goes to support animal rights, specifically an end to the fur trade. Jamie has had a number of chinchilla as pets, so it is a very personal issue for him.

Jamie has an amazing musical pedigree. He played with Jean-Luc Ponty for years, and has worked with Chick Corea, Lenny White and Manhattan Transfer as well as many others. He was also an inspiration to me when I was a freshman at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Jamie was in his senior year then, and I had the pleasure of hearing him through a classroom window play duets with another guitarist. They were playing some upbeat straight-ahead jazz, and were walking basslines and chording for each other as the other soloed. I pursued this style for years until I was able to master it, and I always harkened back to that moment to push me to do so.

So - thanks, Jamie, for all the good music, for the inspiration, and for putting yourself out there to help the critters who can't make CDs or become political activists themselves.

Until next time,

peace - f

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 OCTOBER 2008 

KRS-ONE AT FORWARD HALL IN ERIE PA

On Thursday, October 9 I was fortunate to attend a performance by Hip-Hop Master KRS-ONE here in Erie, PA at Forward Hall. Upon seeing and hearing KRS-ONE with Boogie Down Productions performing music from Edutainment on a television special, I began my serious exploration of HipHop, something I pursue to this day.

Those who know know that I rap in shows with One World Tribe and have for many years. Our new CD, Armed and Dangerous emphasises Hip Hop, merging with other styles, some old like HipHop Reggae, and some not so old, like World Music. My first rap (at Edinboro University) was KRS-ONE's Beef from Edutainment.

All this is to say that I am a hard-core fan of KRS-ONE's, and this show was my first chance to see him live.

There can be a lot of distractions at a Hip-Hop show if you allow it. I stayed focused on the Teacha (as he is called) and was able to rise above everything and tap into this great artists persona and energy as he filled the club with REAL Hip-Hop. The highlight of this was being able to briefly speak to him as other rappers passed the mic in a spontaneous freestyle session.

There are moments in your life where everything falls away but the essentials, and speaking to him and having his total attention was one of those for me. This is yet another sign of his greatness; that he makes full contact and holds nothing back. Being really listened to by someone you admire is an unforgettable experience.

I know many of my readers will be unfamiliar with Hip-Hop and immediately associate it with commercial and gangsta rap, or simply with negativity. If you are willing to dig a bit deeper and allow your mind to open, you might find that there is quite a difference. I have been studying the lyrics of KRS-ONE for fifteen years, allowing their truth, honesty and power to wash over and through me. In my continual quest for freedom of mind, spirit, body, soul, heart, will and life, he has been a critical source.

Listening to his music has also helped me hone my own Hip-Hop style, which is heavily influenced by the style he spawned called Hip-Hop Reggae. The groove from OWT Armed and Dangerous CD's 4-20 is an example. It is a funk groove which has been turned around so that the snare accent is on beat three, a fundamental of Reggae.

I hope some of you will check out KRS-ONE and his music. I am providing a couple of links below to get you started, but searching will yield quite a bit as well.

KRS-ONE LINKS

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KRS-One - Basic History
http://www.myspace.com/templeofhiphop - Temple of HipHop

Much thanks to Ink Assassins for their participation and ticket sales.

MUSIC ON YOU LICENSE.COM

I have written and created a lot of music over the years, and a new website called YouLicense.com has provided a place to hear some of that music, and if so desired, license it for projects and other fair use. The works I have chosen to provide so far include some classical, Hip-Hop (dance), Latin and even a couple of J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm cuts from our upcoming release Colors of Tyme.

A few years ago a friend, actor and filmmaker named Isaac Dostis asked me to write music for a film he produced called Soul Saving: Common Threads of Kindness. The film tells the story through interviews and segments of Jews who were interred in the concentration camps during WWII. These survivors all tell stories of simple acts of kindness, almost all by unknown individuals, which may have saved the lives of those telling the stories. It also includes a reading of a poem by Diana Dostis about the story of Aesop's Fable The Lion and the Mouse.

Out of this work came two pieces. Soul Saving is a work for guiar and clarinet. There is also a version for clarinet only for each movement except the third, which is for solo clarinet in both presentations. The Mouse and the Lion portrays the Aesop's Fable in six movements. The piece is for guitar, bassoon and violin, with the bassoon representing the Lion and the violin representing the Mouse.

In the Hip Hop Dance vien, there are a number of instrumental selections to choose from. Some are topical, including Funhouse Nightmare, Sinister, Call Me, and Classic. Others are straight beats or beats with themes. These include beats developed for Longs School of the Dance.

Two Latin Groove cuts are also included. These were submissions for Muzak produced by Vincent Stefanelli and myself. One is a 3-2 Clave piece and one is a 12/8 feel. Both have simple melodies and provide easy listening and flowing grooves.

From the J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm Colors of Tyme CD I have included two cuts. The first is the opening track called House Party, and the second is an extended guitar solo called Night Owls. Both can be heard and licensed on YouLicense.

You can check this music out and listen for free by following any of the links below.

YOU LICENSE LINKS

The Mouse and the Lion
Soul Saving
Hip Hop Dance Beats
J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm - Colors of Tyme
Latin Groove

UNSOLICITED PLUG

I have had cats and dogs around since I was born. I have always supported an end to cruelty to animals, and have three cats now that are all rescues; in other words, they would have been a fox's food or destroyed at a shelter if my wife had not brought them home and said "Look, dad, aren't they cute?"

There is, of course, only one answer to that question, especially with a young child in the house!

I recently had the pleasure of purchasing a CD by guitarist Jamie Glaser which celebrates animals, supports rescue and an end to the fur trade, and features some of this great musicians fine guitar playing.

The CD is called Music for Pets and People. It features 14 cuts, with a variety of sounds and styles, and $2 from each sale goes to support animal rights, specifically an end to the fur trade. Jamie has had a number of chinchilla as pets, so it is a very personal issue for him.

Jamie has an amazing musical pedigree. He played with Jean-Luc Ponty for years, and has worked with Chick Corea, Lenny White and Manhattan Transfer as well as many others. He was also an inspiration to me when I was a freshman at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Jamie was in his senior year then, and I had the pleasure of hearing him through a classroom window play duets with another guitarist. They were playing some upbeat straight-ahead jazz, and were walking basslines and chording for each other as the other soloed. I pursued this style for years until I was able to master it, and I always harkened back to that moment to push me to do so.

So - thanks, Jamie, for all the good music, for the inspiration, and for putting yourself out there to help the critters who can't make CDs or become political activists themselves.

Until next time,

peace - f

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 SEPTEMBER 2008 

Music inherits much of its power through its universality. It cuts across boundries, borders, classes, religions and beliefs, and bonds us in the fundamental vibrations of life.

Music communicates a basic part of our character and substance.

For those of us who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of this art, this affects us in basic and comprehensive ways. We become less interested in the differences between ourselves and other musicians, because the real question is always, "Can you play?"

We learn that the person who might be from a different place, condition, education, background, group or nationality is really no different in the ways that really matter. We all want friends and family, and a decent and respectable quality of life, and we all struggle with the same kinds of issues throughout our careers and our lives.

Yet, when we turn from the making of music to the rest of humanity, we see division, hardship, animosity and misunderstanding, and these seem to be the hallmarks of our times.

Don't be fooled.

The people who benefit the most from these divisions are the ones who are taking advantage of all of us. Divide and conquer is a very effective strategy, and when one religion, political party, race, gender, club or group attacks another, everyone loses except those who can capitalize on hate and anger.

Highlighting the differences between us is in full season here in the United States as our presidential election draws near. In little more than two months, we will elect a new president, and the contrast of selection is very real in many ways.

I am not writing this to persuade anyone to one side or the other, although I do know clearly where I stand. I would like to address a broader issue.

Although I believe that voting is essential for this electorate, I also think that the time has come to realize DEEPLY some hard truths.

The government can't help us.

The persons who serve in the political structure of the United States are as trapped as we are in their divisions and convolutions of truth, and they will never lead us to freedom because they can't. We must try to choose those who will interfere with us the least, but that is the best we can do. I will stress that it is still important to cast your vote this November, but I believe we must lower our expectations of those who claim to be for us, and get on with the work that will free us from this cycle of hatred, distrust and character assassination (not just of each other, but of us as well.)

The founders of the United States of America had high hopes for this country. If you haven't read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution lately, it is worth a re-read. These documents were intended to be the spirit and the law of this land, and, frankly, we have yet to really live by them.

You cannot have real democracy when half your popluation can't vote (women until the Nineteenth Amendment August 18, 1920) or a race or color can't vote (blacks until the Fifteenth Amendment February 3, 1870), and those citizens must actually be able to vote, which was not the case with many black persons until the late fifties and early sixties after the onset of the (not-yet-over) Civil Rights movement.

You also can't have real democracy when voting machines are manipulated as they were in the last two elections, and very well may be in this one, or when public officials are permitted and encouraged to deny votes based on trickery and deception (Florida in 2000 in case you didn't know.)

Thus, our government has shown time and time again that it can't even get the fundamentals right.

People, it is up to us.

We must change this world from the ground up. States must do what California and New York are doing, and gather together to fight the environmental nightmare that awaits all of us, even those who don't believe it. Companies must do what CD Baby does, and create a new model that works for us on the ground instead of for the wealthy and powerful.

Parents must demand education from the schools, and fight for science and real learning instead of selective subjects that don't offend certain religions or political groups. Labor must demand that workers are taken care of properly, AND that the Labor Unions either disband or begin to do their real job, which is to protect the workers and not the corporations.

No one will do this for us. It is a fight that we must wage every day on the ground; in the way we conduct ourselves, in the way we spend (or don't spend) our money, and the way we treat each other.

In order accomplish this tall order, we must prioritize.

Education must be at the top of this list. We are failing at every level. Students are left behind, left out, and taught that they are the center of a consumer universe that revolves around them. Universities now consider their students consumers.

This is a dangerous shift from students being treated as apprentices and novices to students being treated like they are always right. Real learning cannot take place where teachers are not respected and backed up by their administrations.

Science must be another priority. Much of our governmental policy is based on opinions, lies, religions beliefs, useless compromises, and fear.

Science would not allow the War on Drugs to continue unabated as it has for so many years. Science would not allow for policies that ignored reality and hurt the people they propose to help, like denying the right to produce industrial hemp. Science can provide proof and facts that we could build policy and technology on; ground that would not erode with the pressure of reality.

We must demand integrity, both from ourselves and those with whom we work and live. Lying to get what you want, cheating because it's easier, and stealing because "I'm gonna get mine and the hell with everyone else" will only push all of us deeper into the hole we are in.

It is time to become actualized, adult human beings. This will flow from decisions, not techniques or fads. Making the hard choices and committing to the work of freedom must be done, or I fear we will all be lost.

I would suggest here that we can look to the way musicians operate as one model. One World Tribe is an excellent example of this.

Externally, many tout the 'diversity' of the group as its hallmark. Internally, this is a non-issue for all of us.

We are friends, plain and simple. No one is blind to the differences; we are not "color-blind" as some might think is necessary to get over this disconnect. It simply doesn't matter.

When we are hungry, we want food. Some are carnivores, some are vegetarians (Sarah Palin notwithstanding) and some avoid four-footed meat. Some have a beer or two, and some are tea-totallers. Some listen to jazz, some listen to hip hop, and some even listen to Rush.

We disagree, we argue, we discuss, and we come together, and almost none of it has to do with our 'diversity.' We are a group of people who have chosen each other as family, and that is what people see when we play.

I would suggest that musicians have much to offer in the way of demonstrating how to get together for common purpose. As musicians, we must acknowledge that we are not 'just' musicians, but the Holy Men and Women of the world.

We bring the music to the people, and join in universal communication to heal and connect humanity. We must be honest, or our music will not prosper. We must be true to our ideals, but not impose them on others, or the music will not survive.

It is these properties that have so much to offer, once we see for ourselves just what our place really is in this world. Like so many others, musicians have been marginalized by stereotypes, stardom and servitude (just remember what Prince had written in his hair when he was "formerly know as"), and unfortunately many have come to believe the hype.

But musicians know better than most how to come together for common purpose and create positivity. It is a skill we must first accept we have, and then offer this model to the world.

Stand up, musicians, and be counted, both in November in the elections, and in your daily lives. We can do all of this, because we already do.

Until next time,

peace - f

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 AUGUST 2008 

This month's gig calendar is populated with performances that are financed by the City of Erie and other donors, sponsors, and all-around nice folks from the Erie area. Generosity aside, this series of open-air, public sets of music, for myself, in this case, mostly jazz with some OWT for good measure, brings up an interesting and pertinent issue for the music scene here in Erie, PA, and perhaps elsewhere.

Erie has built up its summer concert series with the idea in mind of attracting tourism to Erie and helping local vendors and service providers by drawing this traffic to them. As a musician who plays these jobs, and also works the club scene here, I and my fellow working jazz musicians have noticed that the local jazz clubs, Scotty's, for example, have much less in the way of music in general, and jazz in particular, during the season of these concerts.

It can easily be argued that the free access to music that normally requries a cover-charge to experience hurts the business of these local establishments, which need that cover charge to stay in business and pay the musicians. I have seen and been the recipient of more and more cancellations as the summer season wears on, as have others in this market. In a very real way we cannot continue with jazz in Erie without these clubs.

There is a flip side, however. For one thing, outdoor shows DO draw tourism to Erie, and that is a big factor in our summer economy. In addition, it shows off Erie's local talent to out-of-town people and locals who have their children with them or don't enjoy the night-time club scene, and creates what they call "buzz" in the music industry.

AND, we get paid for these jobs through the previously mentioned generous funding, and that can, to a degree, suppliment, for gigging musicians, the loss of income from the lack of club work.

It doesn't help the clubs, however, and momentum is lost that must be regained as that lovely Erie winter comes closer and indoor entertainment doesn't sound so bad.

So I will postulate the debate this way:

Does this practice help the overall music scene in Erie, or does it hurt the core scene for the sake of a few tourist dollars and some extra entertainment tax? And, does it help the artists in the same way that giving away free digital downloads helps promote new music and new players, or does it keep people's money in their pockets, since they can get the same thing for free?

If you are interested in chiming in on this issue, please visit my comments page and tell me what you think.

The free gigs are:
3bop on the 7th at Frontier Park, the 15th, first at the Perry Square Gazebo, then in front of the National City bank on State Street, and a duo at Perry Square on the 20th during the day. Cat's A Bear on Saturday the 16th in the Gazebo, then One World Tribe in the evening of the same day, most likely on a main stage.

OWT also plays in Bemus Point at the casino on the 8th. 3bop plays at Alto Cucina on the 30th.

Shout Outs:

Tito, again, for continuing to bring my hands and arm assemblies back to their optimum condition through the use of his massage techniques.

All the people who helped with Ari while my wife was in England working on her doctorate: Louise, Nancy and Jack, Patience, and the Dorris clan: Joe, Paula, Zoe, Diva and Piper.

J.D. Hopkins for staying with the music and putting out CD number 13, and for all those other intangibles that are greatly appreciated.

Everyone out there who supports local and regional music. Thanks for keeping jazz and creative music alive!

Until next time,

peace - f

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 JULY 2008 

Well, if it gets to be the middle of July, I can safely say I made it.

'It' being my 50th birthday on Saturday, July 12, marking the end of my first quarter. As you can see, I have a long view of my life, since there always seems like there's way too much left to do.

I will celebrate the way I usually do, by playing music. In this case, Cat's A Bear will be playing in the Annual JazzErie JazzWalk at Molly Brannigan's on State Street in Downtown Erie.

We will be performing original music for the most part, introducing some new material with our modern jazz fare. Our one cover for this gig will be a John McLaughlin tune called Senor C.S., a delightful tune in six that has captivated all of us.

Our time slot is the early one; 8pm - 11pm. Join us and pay a visit to the talented musicians all around Erie, PA.

Cat's A Bear Trio plays again on Thursday the 31st in Frontier Park from 7pm - 8:30pm.

One World Tribe plays the Bemus Point Casino on Friday, July 18 from 10pm - 2am. The group travels to Binghamton, NY on Thursday, July 24 for the Summer Music Festival. [ more info ]

OWT just released it's third CD, Armed And Dangerous. The disc is still being processed for the internet, so I will keep you posted on details as they develop. Two original Hiphop tunes of mine are on there; Lockdown and 4-20 (called Lock Down and Four Two Zero on the CD). It is great to finally have some of the art I have been pursuing for the last 12 years released on disc. I know there will be more.

A variation on the 3bop theme will form on Saturday the 19th at Scotty's on 3rd and German. Steve Trohoske on bass and I will be joined by percussionist Joel Polacci and drummer Rickie Hopkins of J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm for an evening of contemporary jazz. Scotty's will be on hiatus with music for August, so this is a good chance to come hang with some good music on a summer night.

J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm is also preparing a CD for release. Colors of Tyme will be online around the same time as the OWT release. This is disc 13, and is also a double-disc of collective jazz-fusion improvisation. I am enjoying the cuts so far, and will of course post all the details as they become available.

Well, I'm taking a birthday pass and keeping it brief. Have a great July, and come and hear some great music in and around Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Until next time,

peace - f

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 JUNE 2007 

Well, the 5 months of tax earnings are finally over, and the thaw has begun. Now, the rest of the money you earn for 2008 goes to you instead of the government, and the heating companies take a little holiday and provide air-conditioning for those still living the life of luxury.

For the rest of us, it's time to keep hustling. So - here's the hustle for our first after-tax month of livin'.

The month starts out with some solo jazz guitar at the Erie Club on the 6th, followed by a duo gig with bassist Steve Trohoske at Scotty's the same night. The solo gig is a members party, but Scotty's is open to all, and the duos are lots of fun for everyone!

On Saturday the 7th Cat's A Bear plays for the last time at the Breeze. The restaurant is closing for good, and they are throwing one last party before they go. Come join CAB and friends for some original music, some standards, and a fun celebration of all the good music that has happened in this venue.

Out with the old, in with the new - One World Tribe plays our first CD Release of disc number three at the Calamari's Block Party on Thursday the 12th. We will be playing cuts from 'Armed and Dangerous', and Creating Havoc, Elevating Levels of Awareness (C.H.E.L.A.) as we always do. If you are NOT ready for the Lockdown, come join us and celebrate freedom.

The Long's School of the Dance yearly performance at the Warner Theater is up next, with shows on Friday the 13th and Saturday the 14th. The preparation for this show consumes my docket for a couple of months every year; this year I prepared the master discs for the show, scored the chord charts for the band, made 14 of the Kiddie Tunes (hokey dance numbers like Hey Good Lookin' and You Are My Sunshine), and did the horn charts for Trumpet and Tenor.

Luckily, this means my learning curve is basically flat, as in Already There. And of course, the other good thing about being the arranger is you know where all the spaces for solos are.

This event is a Cat's A Bear member project, with Phil Papotnik (Raven Sound) running sound this year, Joe Dorris on drums, Tito on congas and percussion, Tony Stefanelli on bass, and myself on guitar. Joining us are Allen Zurcher on sax, who is also on the new Tribe CD and will be at the performance on the 12th, Dale Zimmerman of Dave Stevens Big Band (as is Al), and Laurie Hitt on piano. Needless to say with this bunch, no matter what the music, we will make it even more fun!

On the 21st I get to dust off my bass chops and play with Too Big Power in Meadville at Diamond Park. I am looking forward to playing with drummer Jayson Hopkins of J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm again. Jayson has been out of circulation for a while, and we are glad to have him back with us. Guitarist and composer Joe Frisina completes the trio with his chopsy guitar playing and ethereal vocalizations.

Cat's A Bear trio returns on Thursday the 26th, performing for Highmark Corporation. We will be playing at the Bayfront Convention Center for the first time, so we are looking forward to checking out the facilities. One World Tribe finishes out the month's gigging activities with the Erie Summer Festival of the Arts on the 27th. Final details are being worked out, but tenatively the start time is "around seven."

That's it for gigs so far, although things are coming in all the time. Now, I want to include a couple of shout outs.

First, to Tito for his masterful massage techniques. He is working on the actual injury to my elbow and forearm, and is bringing things back into final condition. These massages are intense, and he is working hard, so thanks, Tito!!!

Second, to Carla Edmiston, for her work at the Ernie Krivda gig. Carla is a masseuse with some great skills and techniques, and I can now personally recommend her. You can reach Carla through Keep In Touch (2502 Powell Ave. Suite 5) 814-835-3330. She schedules massages there on Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m through 6:00 p.m. She worked the kinks out and helped me have a kickin' second set with our visiting artist from Cleveland.

Which leads me to my third shout out, visiting saxophonist Ernie Krivda. Ernie came to play, and he left the gate running and never looked back. His original tunes were a highlight, with great jazz lines stamped with his personal signature. We hope to see Ernie again soon, and if you get a chance to see him in Cleveland or pick up a CD, I definitely recommend you do so.

Fourth, the list - all the musicians who make my life so rich, and so much easier (not a whiner in the bunch.) Joe Dorris, tireless drummer and promoter, Steve Trohoske, bassist and ground-pounder extraordinaire, Preach Freedom, vocalist, percussionist, whatever-ist, mentor, and Hiphop master, who kicked my behind on Lockdown and helped me deliver a better track, everybody in OWT, CAB, TBP, JD and the Sons, and all the free-lancers who make Erie such a hoppin' music town.

All right, that's it for now. Let's hit the pavement and earn our own dough for the year, fiscal or otherwise. Enjoy the summer, I hear it's really coming any day now!

Until next time,

peace - f

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 MAY 2008 

This month I've decided to depart from my typical format, and cover a few music-related topics.

Hiphop Appreciation Week

First off, Hiphop Appreciation Week is the third week of May. For those unfamiliar with my involvement in Hiphop, I have been flipping lyric for 12 years. One World Tribe's third CD, due out this summer, will contain at least two tracks of my original lyrics, Lockdown, and 4-20 (Liberation Day). I first performed KRS-ONE's Beef from Edutainment, then began writing and performing my own lyrics with OWT. Now KRS-ONE is a sponsor of the Temple of Hiphop, a focal point for Hiphop Appreciation Week.

To find out more about the celebration, here are some links to get you started.

Hiphop Declaration of Peace
Mayor of Detroit Honors Hiphop Appreciation Month
Things you can do for Hiphop Appreciation Week
25 CDs representing Hiphop
Grafiti Art
Hiphop Appreciation Week events in San Diego
Wikipedia on the Temple of Hiphop

The Hazards of Jamming

Something on the order of 60 - 65 percent of all professional musicians will experience some work-related pain related to muscle strain, overuse, and inflammation. When I first encountered that statistic a few years ago, I was surprised even though I have included discussions of injury-preventing technique in my lessons for most of my teaching career. Since I am healing a partly work-related injury, I thought a discussion of the path I took to do so would be of interest to at least some of the musicians out there.

First, some background.

When I was in my early 20s, I experienced a sudden difficulty walking, coupled with extreme muscle pain. In my supposed healthiest years, I was walking with a cane and unable to handle my own equipment. After rejecting some unconvincing conventional treatments, I acted on the advice of a friend and went to an acupuncturist.

The short story is that I worked with Brian Schulz in Boston for a total of eight years. The first four consisted of acupuncture treatments, macrobiotic diet counseling, and visualization. I also did four years of Bioenergetic Therapy (the real kind) which was perhaps the most intense thing I have ever done.

Working with Brian set me permanently on the path of alternate healing, although that does not include a total rejection of Western Medicine. In alignment with that, my family now sees Dr. Keith Jordan, a chiropractic M.D. in Cleveland who also does Applied Kinesiology, Total Body Modification and a number of other techniques used for decades in England, Canada and other places, but totally rejected by the N.I.H.

Dr. Keith Jordan
216.521.2225
Optimal Wellness Center
Cleveland Ohio

Now, about two months ago, the family attended our every-few-months checkup with Dr. Keith. I had some knots in my right shoulder area, which Dr. Keith worked out and did what we call release work. One thing that happens with this kind of work is that the 'stuckness' moves out through the periphery (your arms and legs.)

Things went okay with the leg, just having to work on stretching and massaging the ankle for a week or so. The arm was a different story, however. Somewhere along the way, playing drums or working extra hard during a practice, combined with over use of computer mouse, the elbow was weakened, and as the 'stuckness' moved out, the elbow locked it in.

The result was intense pain in the actual elbow, and a series of related pains that travelled throughout the arm and shoulder assembly. Eventually it became obvious that I was going to need some treatments.

Now some might be tempted at this point to go to a conventional M.D., but my experience has been that the pharmaceutical approach taken by most physicians simply forstalls real healing, and for someone who is coming up on fifty with no medications, vitamins or health problems, this is more time than I want to take in the wrong direction for me.

I knew Dr. Keith would be booked six months in advance, and I have some local resources that I work with on a regular basis. My local chiropractor is Dr. Wade Shaffer, who does excellent work with my occupational difficulties, and keeps my neck in great shape. Dr. Wade adjusted my collar bone and worked out much of the stuckness in the back and neck area, allowing me to concentrate more on the acute situation with the elbow.

Dr. Wade Shaffer
814.836.8989

Another part of the unfolding plan is always massage. I see Maureen McCaslin of Tear of the Moon Essences. Maureen has worked on me and my family since I have been in Erie (almost twenty years.) She does excellent massage work (not an easy task on someone who likes deep massage) and does the most effective Reiki of anyone who has worked on me. I really feel her energy when she works in that way, and have experienced palpable results many times.

Maureen McCaslin
Tear of the Moon Essences
Massage Therapist
Erie, PA
814-836-8121

Since I had to schedule the massage for the next week, I decided to try a new resource. Dr. Keith Jordan has a brother Kevin, also a chiropractic M.D., and also versed in the alternative techniques mentioned earlier. I was able to get an appointment the day before the massage, which was perfect timing. Dr. Kevin worked very hard on me, using chiropractic techniques, energy work, acupressure, and other diagnostic and therapeutic tools to relieve my situation. I left his office feeling much better, and looking forward to my massage.

Dr. Kevin Jordan
440.205.1889
Directory Listing
Mentor Ohio

After Maureen worked on me the next day, I was much improved, but still not completely healed. I knew it was now just a question of time, rest and my own acupressure and massage, along with some evening icing, courtesy of Dr. Wade's advice.

Finally last Friday I seemed to find the point that unlocked that final stuckness, and have finally turned the corner on the injury. There is still work to be done, but one can feel the difference between an improving injury and one that just hangs on.

My point in telling this is to encourage all of you to seek these non-invasive therapies whenever it is appropriate. The people that I list all have experience and are not afraid to recommend a blood test or X-ray if they think it's appropriate. Nor are they ignorant of Western Medicine and the places where it is most useful. Like me, however, they believe that allowing the body to heal is the most desirable course, and getting back to that path is the only reason for deviation from it.

Quick Round Up

Cat's A Bear appears at the Breeze in Erie (14th and State) with Jazz Saxophonist Ernie Krivda on Saturday, May 17. Call the Breeze at (814) 455-7766 for more information, or get on Joe Dorris' Jazz email list to keep up with upcoming events.

3bop appears at Scotty's on 3rd and German in Erie, PA on Friday the 23rd. As usual, leader Steve Trohoske, drummer Brad Amidon and myself plan on cutting loose at our favorite local Cigar Bar.

Until next time,

peace - f

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 MARCH / APRIL 2008 

March/April 2008

Up until now I've been doing pretty good at keeping up with the month-to-month updates here. It does look like most of March got away from me. I do have a good excuse, which I will get to toward the end.

In the mean time, quite a bit is coming up. First, a BrewErie gig with Steve Trohoske's FREE SPEECH has been added on March 29. Joel Pollaci of J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm note will be playing traps. The group plays a jazz-funk pocket with a looser, more open format. This will be part of the Arts and Drafts festival at the 'Brew, so we hope to see you there.

March 31 through April 4 finds One World Tribe in Franklin, bringing the Music of the People to the schools. OWT has presented a number of performance/teaching seminars over the last few years. We look forward to revisiting Franklin and enjoying their curiosity and enthusiasm. We are also looking forward to the completion and release of CD number three. I will keep you posted.

Cat's A Bear joins jazz saxophonist Pete Mills at the Breeze, 14th and State, for an evening of standards and a few of Pete's originals. So far the playing sounds great, and so do the original tunes. We are looking forward to welcoming Pete to Erie. Pete's new CD Fresh Spin recently recieved 3 1/2 Stars in DOWNBEAT Magazine's recent review. You can find out more about Pete at www.petemills.com or by visiting his MySpace page at www.myspace.com/petemillsjazz.

Scotty's welcomes 3bop on bassist Steve Trohoske's annual birthday gig. Brad Amidon will join us for a night of hard bop, straight ahead and modern jazz. Steve and I are joined by saxophonist Allen Zurcher the following evening at a private residence.

I also keep busy here at the "home office," so to speak. Justin Voty continues to record tracks, adding both depth and scope to the existing cuts, and adding a few new ones with vocalist Russell Phillips, who has an exceptional voice. Justin returns on the 28th for an evening session; thus I am unavailable for work that evening.

I mentioned in the beginning that I had a tardiness excuse. That partly involves the studio, and partly involves a project that seems to be growing in intensity and scope every year.

Every second week in June Long's School of the Dance puts on a two-evening dance recital for the many students of the school. This is an enormous undertaking, and through Joe Dorris of Cat's A Bear, I have been getting more involved with on each pass of the show. Initially I entered years ago as a player, then more recently as an arranger, then producer of dance CD singles, and this year as audio editor for the pre-recorded CD tracks now being used.

An interesting musical compromise has been reached which creates a unique technical requirement. Long's has a long and clearly established history of supporting and presenting live music in each of their yearly performances. As difficult as this can be, they have never wavered from this approach.

What has also been difficult has been rehearsing literally thousands of dancers without consistent tempos and recordings. These track must also be limited to shorter durations than even the current three-minute song format of commercial radio.

This has led to the use of pre-recorded tracks along side of live performance. While this is not an unheard-of phenomena in contemporary music practice, it is no less tricky than it sounds.

Last year Joe and I prepared a number of singles for the show that the younger dancers could practice to and dance to at the show, and also prepared charts for the musicians, including Bb parts for Phil Papotnik and Dale Zimmerman who play the show every year along with Laurie Hitt, Joe Dorris, Tony Stefanelli and Nick "Tito" Ronzitti.

This year Joe gathered recordings of most of the material, and I had the remainder of the charts in fake books excepting one provided by Laurie. Thus the project began with the transcribing of seven or eight tunes, and then the recording to date of fifteen two-minute multi-track singles of the music.

I did these with Cubase LE on my second tower, playing in piano, bass, banjo, clarinet and trombone parts with the Roland-Ready Stratocaster and the GR-30 Synthesiser. Although the tracking can be quirky, and did require some corrections in Cubase's editing software, I was able to get all the tracks done in a little over a week, and mixes out to the clients for approval.

We will be adding some vocals by "flying them in," as in importing .wav files into Cubase and then manually lining them up with the music (which is tricky but not as hard as it sounds.) So far Joe's daughter Deva is handling the first batch, which I will start mixing in next week.

After preparing that music, I immediately went to pulling tracks off of CDs and doing what are called "cuts," which are quick-fades and splices that allow the dancers to move the performance at the pace they desire.

And of course, it should all have been done yesterday....

But, we are actually on schedule with last year and the years before, and we have pulled it off every year so far. Which does keep one awfully busy in the spring.

Thus, that is my excuse. I was busy in a good way, but one which has a number of deadlines attached. That also means this will have to suffice for April, and there may be more gigs coming towards the end of April, so please check the Calendar of Events as we get closer to the dates.

Let's hope something resembling spring will come around soon, so we can open the windows and get some air. Time to put the dog out to moult, while I prep tracks and do horn charts for the trumpet and tenor sax.

Until next time,

peace - f

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 FEBRUARY 2008 

February has a bit of a reputation to overcome. In addition to being the shortest month of the year, it is also considered to be the month of depression, due both to light deprivation and cold temperatures. In short, it's the notorious dead of winter.

This year, I prefer, in true Quixotic fashion, to think of February as early spring.

It certainly began well. Guitarist/Composer Joe Frisina's Too Big Power kicked off the month at Otter's Pub on the first, with a full house enjoying original rock-and-roll. Things seemed to come together that evening, including the sound and the crowd. Playing bass with Rickie Hopkins is always a blast, and Keith Homerski really helps to fill out the sound. Thanks to Anne for all her help as well, setting up, documenting, and being the band's hostess.

Saturday brought 3bop back to Scotty's for a great evening of trio jazz. This club has an atmosphere that lets musicians cut loose and play, reminiscent of after-hours clubs and jam spots where musicians are expected to flex their chops and soar. We dipped into our cross-section of swing, hard bop, funk and latin, exploring and celebrating the end of our hiatus. 3bop plays again Friday March 7, and Friday April 11.

I play solo jazz guitar at the Erie Club on the 5th, and will return there on March 14th for a Member's Wine Tasting event. I am joined in my jazz guitar endeavors by Tony Stefanelli on bass and Nick Ronzitti (aka Tito) of Cat's A Bear at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center on Saturday the 9th. We are playing for the Montessori Regional Charter School fundraiser from 7 - 10pm.

I will be joining Steve with a project called Free Speech on February 15 at Scotty's for an evening of funk and groove music. Keyboardist and piano tuner-extraordinaire Dan Hallett and drummer Joel Pollaci will complete the quartet. Joel is known for his conga playing, and is one of many J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm alumni performing with me this month.

Steve, Nick Ronzitti and myself will play on the 16th for the Mayville, Ny Jazz Festival, appearing at the Webb's Captain's Table from 9pm to midnight. J.D. Jazz plays at the Breeze on Friday the 29th from 7-10pm, at a fundraiser for the Erie Day School, with Joe Dorris on drums and vocals, Tony Stefanelli on bass, and Nick on congas.

One World Tribe travels to Maryland on the 22nd. We are completing details on our third album, and taking care to see that we get it right. I will keep you posted here as news develops. We come home to Docksider's on March 21.

Valerie Horton Brown Project plays for Kathy Dahlkemper at Capers on the 23rd, and for the Erie Art Museum on March first. This band has some of the best vocalists in Erie or anywhere in Valerie, Rusty Jackson, and Preach Freedom of OWT. Bassist Kenny Cornelius and drummer Norby round out this funky rhythm section, with Preach adding some congas and Rusty on keyboards. I break out the solid body and the synth for this one. These will be evenings of great dance music, with Valerie leading the way.

Justin Voty is currently in the studio with the Speaking Giawiio project. Cat's A Bear saxophonist Phil Papotnik has been adding sax tracks to Justin's CD-in-progress. We mix some more this month, and see where it goes from there. The project is as much a study and learn process as it is a final recording, the result being that each step creates more focus and clarity to the music.

Cat's A Bear recently tested out a new performance space. We are working towards establishing a venue here in Erie for special jazz events, bringing back artists such as Greg Abate, Richie Cole and Frank DiBussolo. I don't want to give too much away yet, but let's just say that by the middle of the summer we will have both feet in the door of a great place to bring music, with recording capabilities for live show documentation. Stay tuned for more details.

Another sign of spring is the beginning of preparations for Long's School of the Dance's yearly June performance. I will be doing chord and horn charts for the show, and that means starting now. We will also be doing some new dance singles here at the studio over the next few months. This is always fun, and watching the kids do their thing is a blast. This gig heralds the beginning of summer for us here in Erie, so we look forward to that as well.

All told, things seem to be looking up; blossoming in a way. So I will take this all as a sign of spring, and emulate the crocuses next to the side door that come up every year at least a month early, usually getting dumped on by one or two more snow storms in the process. Somehow they seem to survive it all with that built-in optimism, as do we all.

Until next time,

peace - f

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 JANUARY 2008 

A new year is upon us, so to kick off 2008 I thought I would start with Happy New Year wishes for success and inspiration in the coming year. We are in the midst of revolutionary changes in the music industry, and I believe it will be a time that favors musicians who learn to be independent artists and entrepreneurs; people who are in charge of their own musical fate. Thus, I toast those who attempt this journey with the commitment and courage that it takes, and wish us all the best of luck with all of our endeavors.

I also thought this would be a good time to present a comprehensive scope of the services I can offer my fellow musicians in our quest for successful independence. Knowledge and skill are our best assets, and acquiring these often helps develop the patience, tenacity and long-term thinking that we need to achieve our goals.

These services have been offered primarily to those within geographic proximity to the Eastern Great Lakes Region of the United States where I am located. I have recently begun working with current students in more remote situations, and extend this offer to others in the Continental United States who wish to get more direct study and services from a distance. If you are interested in long-distance lessons by email or by phone, you may contact me at frank@franksinger.com to arrange details.

Please note that confirmed payment in advance in United States Dollars will be required for all arrangements, and payments must be in cleared check or money-order only. I also place a cap on the amount in advance I can accept comfortably, and will not accept higher amounts.

Here is a general listing of services, some of which are only available locally, such as the recording services and duplication services.

  • Private Instruction
    • Instruments:
      • Guitar
      • Piano / Keyboards
      • Bass Guitar
      • Drums (trap set only)
      • Saxophone
      • Any other instrument where the student knows the full-range chromatic scale and all basic technique
    • Styles:
      • Jazz, Blues, Fusion
      • Rock, Funk, Hiphop
      • Latin, including Salsa
      • World Beat, including Reggae and Afro-Carribean
      • Classical (composition)
    • Other Instruction Options:
      • MIDI Recording with Reason 2.5
      • Audio Recording with Cubase LE
      • Composition, Arranging, Music Theory (advanced), Ear Training, Linear Rhythm Theory (advanced)
      • Drums as a Second Language (rhythm studies on the trap set for non-drummers)
  • Small Recording Projects
    • In-house recording capabilities including:
      • MIDI (Reason 2.5, Cubase LE)
      • Audio Recording (Cubase LE - two-track simultaneous only, with one studio mic available for individual track input)
  • CD Production and Duplication
    • Simple Audio .wav file editing for CD Mastering
    • CD-R Duplication with inkjet surface printing - no color limitation
    • Graphic Design for CD labels
    • Possible Graphic Design of Booklets and Backtrays (limited availability)
  • Music Internet Services
    • mp3 conversion and preparation, including tagging
    • Web Site design (limited availability; hourly charges only, no per-job bids)
    • Internet graphic design and conversion
  • Computer Instruction for Web Site Development
    • HTML (code writing for web site design)
    • Computer Graphics with Photoshop 7.0, ACDsee, Paint
  • Students who have written their Modal Interchange Project may want to consider creating a recording of the project, either for practice purposes or as a final project.
  • Songwriters can produce Song Demos of their work using the Recording Studio.
  • Bands can use services to create CDs for Demos and Sales.
  • Performers can get their music on the internet.

All fees are based upon hourly charges, and vary according to the specific service.

Please check the calendar for upcoming performances over the next few months. There is more in the works, so please check back now and again as things get settled!

Other than that, best wishes for the Year 2008 to everyone, and to everyone everywhere:

peace - f

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