Tag Archives: music

Order out of chaos: Jazz students exercise creativity with free improvisation

By Jonathan Gradin (Short Article Written Feb. 24 for JAMM-425 Feature Article Writing at the University of Idaho)

Nearly 100 elementary to high school students entered the Kenworthy Theatre Thursday morning for a workshop on free improvisation using wind instruments. As they chattered, Eli Yamin, the workshop instructor, walked through the aisles with an energy and personality reflected in his light bluish-gray paisley shirt.

“Got your instruments?” he asked each group, his wavy black hair slicked back despite his excited motion. “Get ’em out!”

Around the theatre, gleaming brass tenor saxophones, alto saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a baritone horn emerged, as well as a few black clarinets. Those who didn’t have instruments present—including a dozen community members—could use their voices, they were soon told.

Before running through several exercises in free improvisation (music-making without set rules of chord progressions or tonality), Yamin polled the audience as to why the played, both musically and in general. Students around the room shouted responses:

“To be involved in the music!” Continue reading →


New CD: “Thomas Dressler Plays the Paul Fritts Organ, Princeton Theological Seminary”

Tuesday, March 20, I finished design work on a classical pipe organ CD by Pennsylvania organist friend Thomas Dressler. Called “Thomas Dressler Plays the Paul Fritts Organ, Princeton Theological Seminary,” the CD features German organ works by J.S. Bach, Böhm, Scheidt, C.P.E. Bach and others, ranging from the Renaissance to the Baroque period and beyond.

We are offering the CD for $15 direct from the artist, and pre-orders are being accepted now. Email Tom@thomasdressler.com for instructions on how to pre-order, or send a letter with your name, address, payment and other order information to:

Thomas Dressler Productions
P.O. Box 913
Albrightsville, PA 18210

The CD will be is available directly from Thomas around Easter 2012 and will be available at CD Baby [EDIT: Available now at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thomasdressler], the Organ Historical Society, Amazon and other online venues shortly thereafter. MP3 downloads through iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby will be available within a month or so of their receiving the album.

Below are the front and back covers; however, ThomasDresslerCDCover2 and ThomasDresslerCDBackCover are high-quality PDFs for viewing.

Dressler CD Front Cover

Front cover of Thomas Dressler's new CD, which I designed. The artist took the organ photo. 

Dressler CD Back Cover

Back Cover of Thomas Dressler's CD. My design and layout; the artist took the organ photo along the lower edge.