Category Archives: Composing

The Job Market.

the film I am currently scoring came about because an editor at the company worked with me 2 years earlier and recommended me when they wondered out loud who to call.

the film before that came about because I scored the director’s previous film and that one came about because 5 years earlier his girlfriend wanted me to score a film she wrote but that director (not her boyfriend) did not want a composer.

the film before that came about because I started talking to an older acquaintance  at a wedding and he told me about a film he had been working on I said I score films and his mind lit up.

the film before that came about because the director’s son and my daughter were at the same preschool and we would talk about what we were doing and I offered to do music when he told me about it.

the film before that was written by a woman who’s a friend of mine and she told the director they were using me.

the film before that was for a couple comedy guys who moved to new york and didn’t yet know new york composers.

the film before that came about because the director started making a documentary about me (never completed) and then he had other films finished and hired me to score them.

the film before that came about because the producer thought i could act the part of a musician in one scene.

the film before that came about because I knew the director years earlier and then read about her making this movie and wrote her and said hi do you need a composer?

the film before that came about because they needed someone to do it for free.

the film before that came about because the person who lives upstairs knew I did this sort of thing.




spontaneous composition

Not so amazing improvisers start doing tricks or they start making noise for noise sake as if it’s proof they are an improviser. They lead no matter what others are doing, it’s like showing off not listening, which is fair since anything in life is fair.
Improvised music reflects back life itself and the unknown sequence of events that is day to day experience – is it going to rain? is it sunny?
Exciting improvisors know they don’t know except possibilities which in a way are like knowing everything.
The improvisers who show how careful they are listening like birds in the trees singing back and forth with each other are the most enjoyable.
Used to wonder if it was really true when they said Keith Jarrett was spontaneously composing. We had a lot of arguments as teenagers about whether that could be true. One thing that never occurred to us was whether the audience was capable of hearing it.



Imagine people coming back to life and playing a concert – tonight. John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Tony Williams does an opening fill and June Tyson is sings. Imagine the attention you would give that whole experience? Imagine giving that sort of attention to walking down the street and listening to the traffic, conversation bits or insects and birds? That’s the present from John Cage, that’s the compelling contribution he made to the idea of what is music; remembering to be amazed by sound and experience the music of sound events like a concert of super importance unfolding before you in real time…because it is.

The mind can’t handle sustaining that sort of attention very long without wondering about a coffee or the phone bill or the person who took the seat on the subway before you but that’s what’s impressive about the greatest musicians, they seem to go a long time surfing that wave of being present in their listening and playing and not cave to distraction.

But so what –  June Tyson is more interesting reflecting about working and improvising with Sun Ra.