I am primarily a composer. A wide range of influences are found in my music including jazz, tango, blues, samba, fusion, new music, and back to American roots music.
My exploration of the jazz family tree does not stop at New Orleans. I've gone further back to old fiddle styles -- especially, Appalachian -- as an early branch in the evolution of the music. For me, looking back to roots music and looking ahead to new music are equally creative.
I am also deeply attracted to nuevo tango and to Astor Piazzolla's music. My tangos are written in a personal style. They draw upon jazz and, at times, have a touch of contemporary classical. In a curious way, a number of musician friends have told me that they hear a Frank Zappa influence in some of my tangos. I suspect it's the quirky humor that runs through much of my music.
I have a large number of original tunes and extended pieces written in a lead sheet format. They can be easily adapted for solo instruments and small groups. I especially like to write for mid-size jazz ensemble (9 to 12 players), tango-jazz band, and other kinds of ensembles as I feel inspired.
A selection of my originals have been scored for woodwind quintet, jazz soloist, and rhythm section. Flexible instrumentation is used to enable the music to be performed by many configurations of instruments. Contact me for scores & parts.
As you listen to my music, if there are pieces that you especially like please let me know and I'll send copies of the music. I'm looking for more musicians and ensembles to discover and perform this music.
Jazz and classical composition teachers include Herb Pomeroy, Charlie Mariano, William Maloof, John Bavicchi, Dr. Robert Wykes, Dr. Stephanie Owen, and Dr. Champ Tyrone.
Listed in International Who's Who in Music.
The following musicians are on my recordings:
Amy Leonard, violin
Jason Shapiro, saxophones
Jeff Knoettner, keyboards
E. Shawn Qaissaunee, guitar
Peter McCarthy or Brian Howell, bass
Skip Rohrich, drums
DONUT MUSIC and NEW TANGO NO. 5
Keith Calmes, guitar
Donut Music is on Keith's CD All We Know is Now. Use the Buy link to purchase.
SOUTH MOUNTAIN SUNRISE (video)
Bret Sinclair, guitar & keyboards
BUZZARDS IN LOVE (wind ensemble demo)
The MP3 file was generated by Silibelius software and is a rough approximation of how the piece sounds with a real band.