I am initiating a new section about my small Renaissance Jazz Orchestra, the Accidental Orchestra.  Please follow our progress.  Today I am posting the first of three segments prepared for a NewMusicUSA grant application.  They feature some of the musicians and some of the compositions entitled See Sharp or Be Flat/C# or Bb and The Old One. Enjoy.

It is not easy to form your own orchestra from scratch. I have a sense of urgency to complete this complex project. I assembled the best improvisers in New York and Philadelphia to play two extended through-composed suites that involve extensive individual and group soloing. We prepared scores and parts, rehearsed and recorded the two pieces at Systems 2, then mixed and mastered the recording with sound engineer Jon Rosenberg.


The credits of each of these musicians are long and profound. I selected people who worked together in past configurations and structured solo sections to combine previously existing groups so as to reveal what long years of creative collaboration can produce. Graphic artist and FIT Professor Karen Santry will use photographer/video editor Bernard Feinsod’s visual documentation (photography and video) to create graphics for the CD. I will work with a writer to develop liner notes and employ publicist Jim Eigo to get reviews and press for this amazing project.


I was able to keep costs low by asking for in-kind contributions from all collaborators. Musicians who typically work for upwards of $1000 apiece to rehearse and record, agreed to a $200 “downpayment” to be subsidized by future grants. I am exploring grants to help support performances and further recordings of this very large group. I wish to supplement their “base pay” to pay them an amount closer to what they are worth and ensure they will work with me in the future.


I intend to compose more for the AO but it will be difficult to record or perform without financial support. Future musical projects include adapting a poem by violinist Louisa Bieler, Can We Forget Remembering Being Born?, for SATB chorus and the Accidental Orchestra. I also wish to re-record and perform my qaballistic piece Ain Soph (Fourth Stream Records, 1978): Strings and reeds of the Accidental Orchestra will play previously overdubbed parts.

This work sample represents soloists from the string section, brass section, and the reed section. I excerpted solos from C# or Bb, a 20’ 38” piece recorded Oct. 10, 2016. The soloists in order are Jason Hwang and Rosi Hertlein (violins), Stephanie Griffin (viola), Lenny Mims (cello), Steve Swell (trombone), Ras Moshe (tenor sax), Waldron Ricks (trumpet), all New York based. Between most solos are full orchestral interludes. Soloists represent the sunny side of the street while interludes suggest dark, complex emotion, the essence of C# or Bb.



Michael Moss Billy Stein performed Pyramid on August 3, 2012 at the WestbethMusicWorks First Fridays Concert Series.  Moss Stein released their duo CD, INTERVALS, August 26, 2013, available at CDBaby and iTunes.

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