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Issa Music – Featured Selection: (5) “Pace by Pace” May 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Pace by Pace”

Background on “Pace by Pace”: This final/seventh piece of Set Two, sixteenth overall, is a melody set over a simple riff basically in a Mixolydian mode, but with a shift to a ♭III chord within the riff, throwing in a variation to the Mixolydian feel. I also had a strategically placed pitch bend in the bass that gave “Pace by Pace” an exotic feel. I was thrilled with the way the flute melody floated nicely over the riff, counterpoint in an intriguing and satisfying way. It seemed fairly simple to wind out a B section from that A section to punctuate the riff and to offer some other options for improvisation. I was so happy with this piece that Carrie and I played it at our wedding as background music before the ceremony began. (I had produced specific music for the wedding ceremony itself.) I worked this through a variety of textures and timbres—with a riff like this, there were many possibilities from Yamaha TX exotic drum sounds to funky clavinet over a jazzy bass and driving drum track. Also, I have long sections of improvisation over a single tonality. I give credit to Greg Christiansen, a fellow musician/student at the University of Pacific (in the mid-70s) for our conversation about Miles Davis—“Bitches Brew” in particular. I said I wondered just how tough it is to improvise over a single tonality. Isn’t it harder to hit chord changes just right? No, he said. Improvising over one tonality is the hardest. Then it hit me—of course it is. The musician has to supply the creativity. There are no chords to act as a catalyst for the improvisations. Improvising over just one basic chord/tonality is challenging—keeping it fresh, moving in and out of that tonality in just the right way to keep it musically interesting, but not so wild that it sounds aimless and pointless. During those long stretches on one chord/mode/tonality, I thought of Greg’s point, and sought to create lines that stayed fresh and caught the mood of “Pace by Pace.” As I said earlier, I was happy with this result.

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

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Issa Music – Featured Selection: (4) “Skeptic” April 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Skeptic”

Background on “Skeptic”: This is the third piece from Set Two of the Issa pieces, the twelfth piece overall.  I made full use of the Yamaha TX synthesizer modules on this one. Those TX modules play great pitched drum sounds. I started “Skeptic” off with low pitched drums, with the pitches barely distinguishable. The marimba sounds start to outline a tonality, but it still seems wonderfully ambiguous. The melody then comes storming in, with horns in the background, with a funky jazz fusion feel. From there, I moved back and forth through textures, calling on different combinations of pitched drums, working over the funky fusion theme within the concept of this music.

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

Issa Music – Featured Selection: (3) “Summer Palace” March 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Summer Palace”

Background on “Summer Palace”: The fourth Issa piece of Set Three, 20th overall, is “Summer Palace.” After the intensity of “Temptation,” with its edgy scales and unsettling harmonies, I decided to lighten the mood. I envisioned a “Summer Palace,” with privileged families cavorting carefree in the sun, basking in luxury. The idea was to convey a sense of frolic and fun, but also the power of the privileged at the palace. I introduced the main fanfare-like theme, then simply wound out improvisational sections using the chord progressions of the theme introduced at the beginning. I do scramble chord sequences to give the sections some variety, almost like a classical development section. I did that more with his third set, and it will be a feature of the new Issa pieces I intend to produce.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

Issa Music is Here – Featured Selection: (2) “River of Flow” February 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “River of Flow”

Background on “River of Flow”: With the eighth “Issa Music” piece from Set One, I wanted to produce a happy, flashy piece, utilizing the concept crystallizing since “Eastern Boogie,” Set One #4. I used a simple chord progression over a 5/4 rhythm and created a melody over the top. I created an A and B section and set a number of varied textures for the solos and for recapitulations of the melodic statements of the A and B sections. I was extremely happy with the way this piece came out. The shifts of texture, the joy of “River of Flow,” the improvised solos I performed—I consider this a signature piece of “Issa Music.” Also, there were three times during my recordings of these pieces over the time period between 1988 and 1990 that I felt I slipped “into a zone” as I improvised. This occurred once during each of these sets. This is a rare feeling where something else seems to take over, another power, somehow coming from somewhere else but from within at the same time. The notes glide out—no thought processes involved—the music just happens and I’m at a loss to explain how I got there, or even to recall in detail playing it. It was during the second improvised section, an exotic D50 setting, from 1:45 to 2:50, that I hit the “zone” during “River of Flow.” Notes flowed and thank God a tape recorder was there to capture it. This piece made me feel I was hitting my stride with this music.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

2012 – Personal Notes: What I’m Offering This Year at this Blog, and Elsewhere January 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in Ayn Jalut, Baybars, books compared to movies, books into movies, fusion jazz, historical fiction, Hulegu Khan, Issa, Issa Legend, Mamluks, medieval period, Middle Ages, Mongols, movies based on books, mystic jazz, Richard the Lionheart, Richard Warren Field, Saladin, the crusades, The Swords of Faith, third crusade, writers.
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What to Expect at this Blog Over the Coming Year

  • Two continuing series: (1) The 820th anniversary posts commenting on key moments in the Third Crusade (the confrontation between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin during the late Twelfth Century) will continue up to October of this year when the series will end with a post commemorating the 820th anniversary of the end of the Third Crusade. Of course, this series springs from The Swords of Faith, my award-winning novel that tells the story of this event through the eyes of Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, and two fictional characters. (2) At the first of every month, I’ll offer a full-length selection from my Issa Music CD, just released this week. The music was inspired by the “Legend of Issa,” the story of Jesus making a journey to India while forming his spiritual vision. If true, this suggests a spiritual connection between East and West that goes back two thousand years. The music celebrates the idea of East blending harmoniously with West.
  • Books-Into-Movies will continue; these posts are among the most popular at my blog resulting in thousands of blog visits. I’ll look for films with a historical or big-themed angle based on a novel or non-fiction book (not a novelized movie). I’ll reach back for more classics, as I did last year with “Ben Hur.”
  • Music: Given my recent rediscovery of a passionate love for creating and playing music, I will continue offering comments on music at this blog. Some posts will discuss the poetry of lyrics like the posts about Jimi Hendrix and Yes selections. But I will expand this to comment on other musical topics. Expect some surprises here, one or two coming up soon! One topic I’ll explore will be the nature of music itself, and why humans seem almost universally to connect with it. I will be consulting help on that topic—I will comment on books addressing this subject from numerous different angles.
  • I will continue posting about physics and metaphysics as I did on August 30, 2011 and October 7, 2011.  The next post will refer to some recent reading so my reflections on this esoteric and intensely complex topic do not seem to come out of thin air!
  • And I expect to come out with some posts on completely new topics. The world is supposed to come to an end this December. I expect to survive this event and post the day after the end of the world. I look forward to many visits and comments from others who have also survived that day! We also do have an election coming up later this year in the United States. I may wade into those treacherous waters. I’ve been there before—just take a look at my Internet Column and my 1997 novel, The Election. Don’t expect me to follow any conventional approach, “left” or “right.” That’s what’s great about blogging… I’m free to set my own rules! 

*******

What to Expect from Me Creatively this Year

  • I have completed writing and revising (for now) The Sultan and Khan, my novel about one of the most neglected battles in world history, the battle between the Muslim Mamluks and the Mongol dynasty in September of 1260. I will work toward an announcement of when and where The Sultan and Khan will be available as details develop.
  • I’ll begin reading and research for the third novel of The Swords of Faith trilogy, The Ghosts of Baghdad. (I expect that to lead to some interesting blog posts.)
  • Look for news of some music performances this coming year as time permits me to schedule them.
  • I plan to produce a Christmas CD. I had been working on it when the end of the year caught up to me! But I have warned my family to expect to hear Christmas music during January and February as I build on the momentum I have developed late during 2011 and start building some tracks. 

*******

Happy New Year to everyone. May 2012 be a year of joy and fulfillment, a year of great expectations realized, of love experienced and shared for all. 

Previous “Personal Notes” Posts:

Other

Issa Music is Here – Featured Selection: (1) “Mystic Jam” December 25, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Mystic Jam”

Background on “Mystic Jam”: This was the first piece, #1 of Set One of “Issa Music.” I was playing with the equipment to see what I could generate, how close I could get to my concept. (See the liner notes and information at my website for more information about the concept of “Issa Music.”) I started an underlying rhythm with the idea that the jam would take place in one tonality, basically in a Mixolydian mode (major key scale with a ♭7). I shifted background tracks, drums and other harmonies, to vary the mood within the tonality. I then improvised over this background, winding out a small motif into longer passages, playing the improvisation along with the shifts I had put into the background tracks. I still like this as a calling card for this musical concept, but I have expanded the concept since then (I had to—it would have been a limited concept for me if I had held on to nothing but this narrow idea.)

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

Issa Music is Coming September 21, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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Over the past five years, I have rediscovered my music creative side, once very active, dormant for a little over a decade. My first offering to the public will be some recordings I made back between 1988 in 1990. The idea of these recordings is East-meets-West, mystic jazz, inspired by the Saint Issa legend. (This legend offers the idea that Jesus may have gone to India and Tibet during his late adolescence and young adult years to learn Buddhist and Hindu spiritual traditions.) Elements of the music will seem familiar, but the overall combined effect should strike listeners as unique. It may take some getting used to. Here’s a link to some clips so listeners can decide if they will be interested in picking up a CD when the Issa Music CDs become available, within the next two months.

The music was originally recorded on one of the earlier music recording/writing softwares, MESA, by Roland. Tracks were recorded on the computer, then mixed to analog tape. I recently had these recordings converted to digital recordings by Pro West, now in Encino.  They did a great job, allowing me to feel comfortable putting these out to the public.

I have not come close to exhausting the creative possibilities for Issa Music. New technology, new sounds, more development of nearly limitless possibilities will lead to new recordings in the future. This Issa Music CD will be the first of what I expect will be more music along same lines.

Some links:

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.