Sugarfree Jazz / Blog


Five people improvising together is an interesting endeavor. Five people improvising together without charts, even more interesting. We had a great session last night in which we bounced ideas off each other and then jammed, keeping what we talked about in mind... look for new tracks soon. Excited about our April 12th gig at Camellia Lounge


We've been playing a lot with some new people and toying with the idea of a Sugarfree Jazz Collective. New voices, new textures. It's all good.

Lisa Rhoades

Lisa is a good personal friend of mine who goes way back. In fact, we met in junior high, were close in high school, and she was the first person I ever played free jazz with. I was elated to introduce her to Rob and Bruce, and it was the highlight of my year to have sessions with three and four of us (Bruce couldn't make the first one). Hopefully there will be many more, but she heads out to the Caribbean to work a cruise ship for the next six months. -Ben

Collaboration with David Friesen

Our album with David Friesen continues to make it's way toward production. The final version is now mastered, and David is currently talking with free jazz record labels in Europe, hoping to find some help with distribution.

Collaboration with Bruce Moon

We've really been enjoying the collaboration with multi-instrumentalist, Bruce Moon. Bruce has rehearsed with us a few times on the drum kit and joined us on guitar for the Love Art Gallery gig. To test his nerve even further, Bruce and I did a private event with completely improvised electric guitar and upright bass--a very enjoyable challenge! Check out Tres Calm with Bruce on guitar...

We Got a Live One Here...

We like to say that we include the listener in the performance. It's a reference to the several things, including the spontaneity of the performance, and new and different sounds, rhythm and harmony that may require some effort to understand. One thing I've gotten used to is the perplexed look on the face of a listener, often that heard our sounds out the door of the venue and down the street, and decided to check us out (this happens a fair amount). Then that turns to fascination, and thoughtful meditation. Or people ignore us completely, unwilling to engage in such effort, or because they're just unmoved by the musical neighborhood in which we hang out. All that is fair enough, well and good.

Yesterday we encountered a new form of audience participation. An elderly gentleman decided to come up to us in the middle of a song and engage in the music making with us. At first he tapped a bit on my bongos, and when I didn't tell him not to, it progressed from there. Eventually he was doing full-scale vocalisations.

I think he wanted us to play something specific that he could sing over, and it sounded like he kind of said so, but A), we were in the middle of a song, and B), for the life of me I couldn't quite understand what he was saying. So I just included him in what I was doing. Like a good horn player, I backed off and played under the vocalist, so he got a nice passage as more or less a soloist.

That track is up, and it's entitled, 'D'ya Hear Me Baby?' It's called that because, sometime in the last three minutes of the tune, he stops singing and says that, loud and clear on the recording.

Lots of crowd noise unfortunately, but it was a gathering and we were background music.

Why I wasn't an English major: a free jazz riff using prose...

Reverb parking patient anesth is the card buyer of coffee in the morning stumptown is good. Not functional: FQFAMMED! Mount St. Helens has snow days climbed it! Perhaps this job has a dentist appointment on frequent buyer card of employee parking permit, but I should do some work. 8thstreet.com! I hear bongos over my headphones... I think I played them... polevaulting javascript but php is the way I want to learn it.

thank you. -Ben



What is "Free Jazz"?

This is a heavy topic that could pull for endless discussion. But for starters it's useful to separate out free jazz from Free Jazz--i.e., a simple descriptor, 'free', from a label or specific genre. I like to think of our music as 'free', as it is entirely spontaneously composed and freely comunicated between ourselves and our listeners. But many may not recognize our music as Free Jazz as it has been defined historically. Our music is available to any would-be listener, and we welcome all feedback...