Posts Tagged ‘Earl Maneein’

New Year, New Music

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Greetings and Happy New Year!

I hope this message finds you all well and and at ease. Now that January is in full swing and my schedule has lightened, I will come back to updating this site and keeping you all abreast as to what is going on. As it is, I do have some rather happy news to tell you, so on with the info.

Earl Maneein-violinist and founder of the bands Resolution 15 & Seven)Suns– and I have been working on a new project together that we call, “Black Heart Sutra”, a group that exists well within the bounds of Metal, but is a place where Earl and I can explore our writing and improvisatory impulses, a medium for us to keep composing together. As of this week, we begun reworking one of the first songs that we wrote together under the new moniker titled, “The Transitioning”. I made a quick behind the scenes video of our session earlier this week documenting our new ideas for the song and making plenty of adolescent jokes.

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Post-Secret Chiefs 3, Pre-Psycho Magia

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Greetings,

Seemingly, I’ve begun a new habit of updating this site once every blue moon, but I do believe it is now time for said moon to shine. Quite a bit has taken place for me personally since last I wrote a column in the News section of this site, but I assure you, it has all been quite pleasant and uplifting, gratifying really, to say the least. After the conclusion of what I would consider to have been an incredibly successful and utterly exhilarating tour with Secret Chiefs 3, and also realizing that my drum tracks actually made it on to Book of Souls Folio A, for which I had No idea I would get to be a part of, I returned to New York feeling recharged and reinvigorated, honored and overjoyed and ready to come home and focus back on my music, both for my solo projects and with all the new upcoming Resolution 15 music that is now rising to the surface (after a very tumultuous year for the band). What was also in the works is something that has now nearly come to fruition and I’m very happy to begin to announce Some details about what has transpired, post SC3 tour.

About 5 months ago, myself and the guys in Masada, Book of Angels, Volume 19: Abraxas (or “BoA:19” or “Abraxas,” for short), were chosen to be part of a new project. John Zorn had approached Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, leader and guide of Abraxas, to record a brand new album of music that John had written in memorium for philosopher Giordano Bruno, entitled “Metem Psycho Magia.” He specifically wanted the line up of Abraxas to record this brand new set of non-Masada/Book of Angels music, and instead of it being a songbook, was more of a realized composition. The difference this time being that we would be rehearsing, performing, and recording along side our illustrious composer, as opposed to creating the arrangements and everything ourselves and getting the ‘OK’ from the composer. For all of us, the process began as soon as we received the written scores as homework immediately ensued for all four of us. Trying as best to figure out How to approach the music, what ideas we had work or didn’t work, what we felt needed to happen, How to “interpret” each piece became a new challenge, especially considering our individual touring schedules. All this effort and time lead up to a series of long and focused rehearsals, followed several shows that took place at The Stone in Alphabet City. We started with one night full of our ‘BoA:19′ material, followed 2 nights for the premier of “Metem PychoMagia.”

The performances were Rough at best. The band, as a whole and individually, were struggling to find the voice of each piece, as well as the overall spirit of what PyschoMagia” meant. Needless to say, we went into Laswell’s studio feeling pretty defeated, but somehow, John was able to pull the fire and ‘magic’ out of all of us and to be honest, I think the end result will blow what we did with BoA:19 out of the box! The entire album went from Lackluster to Psychotic, all thanks in part to the artistry of everyone involved, as well as the dedication and leadership of Zorn. This being my first ever in the studio with John, I have to say it was a dream come true. I remember listening to recordings of Naked City and Cobra as a kid and being frightened, as well as intrigued, by what I was hearing: Most people simply didn’t make music like this in Miami and I considered Dolphy and Shostakovich to be the extent of what I thought of as “peculiar.” (This was also around the first time I discovered Mr. Bungle, whom I heard first). But to share the studio with a hero was an earth shattering experience and it’s one that I’ll Never forget. Thankfully, there is auditory proof of what we did and the result of all of our hard work and collaboration. For the first time in a long time, I am proud of music that I got to be a part of, and more so, my performance of said music. (AKA, I actually for once Like what I played!)

In the upcoming weeks, I will be able to report some exciting news about this as the details continue to be sussed out, but let’s just say that it will entail a brand new album to be released sometime early next year, a performance at the upcoming Winter Jazz Festival, as well as a tour of the EU in early 2014!

Though this year is drawing close to an end, I have to say that I’m beyond excited as to what 2014 bring musically (not so much environmentally) and I look forward to the day when I will be able to share a slew of exciting new music for all of you! As always, thank you for taking the time to read this diatribe and till next time, be well and see you soon.

 

Cheers,

Kenny

The 2013 Update: New SC3 Music, 50th Anniversary Concert, & a New Endorsement

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Greetings,

So it’s been a while since I’ve last updated this site, let alone, wished everyone a happy new year! In a short amount of time quite a lot has taken place, so I will do my best to be as succinct as possible, though we all know that this could very well be quite long!

As of this writing, several great things have taken place. In order of them taking place, here goes:

1) While many of my fellow musicians were attending the NAMM show this year in Anaheim, I was in Los Angeles recording with Trey Spruance of Secret Chiefs 3 (Mr. Bungle, Faith No More), for the upcoming SC3 album. We recorded some new Holy Vehm material, inspired by L. R. Hubbard’s A History of Man. I also recorded some drums for other various SC3 tunes to fall in line with the other ‘satellite groups, ‘ as well as some older material which will now hopefully see the light of day. We still are planning another recording session for even more material, so I’ll keep you all posted on that and hopefully next time I will have the ability to videotape the session! As for Holy Vehm, I recorded roughly  90 minutes of material, including a 10min drum solo which may hopefully see the light of day! I think now the next goal for me would be to actually hang with John Merryman!

A History of Man

2) On January 15th, one of my metal bands, Resolution 15, released it’s newest album, Svaha! It’s been some time coming, especially after our successful kickstarter campaign, but our album has finally been full realized and is now available on iTunes, Bandcamp, and any where else really. I’m happy that some of my music made it on to the album and I think the guys did an awesome job of making those songs come to life (Mr. Dark, Overdriven Maxim mvt.2, and The Current, all songs that were written in 2008/2009!). As I’m writing this now, we have also signed on with PR firm Adrenaline to help spread the word about what Resolution 15 is up to. Though this album is done, we are not resting on our laurels! We are currently setting a new goal for ourselves of attempting to record no less than 3 albums this year! Personally, i have enough “metal” material to fill this out, but some of this music is reserved for my own solo project (which I will touch on later this year, lets just say its in planning and I have some serious players who will be making appearances on it), but we will be going with only the songs that are Violin appropriate, as well as some new compositions by Earl Maneein and some by our new bassist, Mike Bendy, and possibly some from our dear friend Joel Lambdin! Either way, expect to hear some “new” music soon, but in the meantime, grab a copy of Svaha online or at any of our upcoming shows!

http://resolution15.bandcamp.com/album/svaha

3) Leading up to the session, I officially signed a contract for my very first cymbal endorsement! I’ve never had one of these, but I’m now honored to say officially and publicly that I am currently a proud endorser of Bosphorus Cymbals! I was approached by them at the behest of Ari Hoenig after his recommendation, as well as having discovered some of my videos and this website. Once they approached me with a proposal, I quickly said ‘Yes!’ I’ve been playing on their Gold Series crashes for some time now and I absolutely love them. If any of you have seen my facebook post I made sometime ago complaining about my cymbal graveyard, you know that I have gone through roughly 30 cymbals in the last 4 years of playing hard rock and metal. My bosphorus 19″ Full Crash has survived many double bills with the bands Hung and Resolution 15, with not even a scratch to speak of. I’ve recently placed my first order with Bosphorus, filling out my setup with a full drum set rig for pop/rock/metal. This setup got it’s first big show recently with the next item that I will bring up, but let me say for now that these cymbals sound Tremendous! Beautiful, articulate, expressive, very easy to control but also easy to pull volume out of without needing to bash. I will also get the chance to record with them this week as I will be in the studio with Imperial Triumphant recording a track for them. I couldn’t be happier with them right now, and I’m grateful to Emrah and all the guys at Bosphorus for making this dream a reality!

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3) Last on my list, I’m happy to say that my cymbals got a very nice public debut at the recent concert of Richie Ray y Bobby Cruz for their 50th Anniversary celebration! It was an amazing concert, full of special guests such as Alex de Castro, Ismael Miranda, Alfredo de la Fe, and Viki Vimari, plus many more. We performed in El Coliseo de Puerto Rico, which both Richie and Bobby inaugurated, for a very enthusiastic audience in a severely packed arena. This particular occasion was special for me, not only getting to be a part of something of this magnitude (for those of you who don’t know, Richie and Bobby have sold countless Gold records over the years, won several Grammy awards, and were members of the famed Fania All Stars, just list a couple of accolades), but also that for me this is a family affair. Some people may be aware, but not many, that Bobby Cruz is my grandfather, but also involved in the concert were my Mom, Cynthia Cruz Ortiz and my step-father, Victor “Papo” Ortiz, and my aunt, Tania Ortiz, all of whom performed in the orchestra (My mom and aunt being backup vocalists and my step-father as Musical Director). It also reminded me of when my late father, Ken Grohowski Sr., performed with Richie and Grandpa at their farewell concert in 1991 at Madison Square Garden. I felt dad with me this weekend, and it was really comforting to feel his presence there. It also was a great chance for me to reconnect with a lot of family and friends that I had not seen in ages, as well as work with some of Puerto Rico’s top Salsa musicians. The whole week and experience feels as though it went by in a blur, but it was still incredibly fun and it was a pleasure and honor to be apart of such a landmark event in both our family’s history as well as for Latin music and the Puerto Rican community!

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Well, I did my best to keep things short, but I hope this read was pleasurable! Please check in with my gigs list for the shows that I have coming up, many of which will be super fun, and as always, I hope that where ever you are, that all is well and that this messages finds you in good spirits! Please enjoy this video, taken during sound check for the Richie Ray Bobby Cruz 50th Anniversary Concert:

Cheers,

Kenny

Sambismo and Recording!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Greetings All,

It is my hope that this message finds you in good spirits! I’m excited to let you all know about some very special shows that will be taking place both this week and next. Ze Luis, Beco Dranoff, and Simone “4MuLA” Guiliani‘s Sambismo will be making it’s first appearance since its inception this week at a favorite haunt of mine, Nublu.This project has been a collaboration between these three musical powerhouses, and their unique and thoughtful blend of Bossa, Lounge, Funk, Soul, and Samba will be shared with the regulars and new fans alike  this Wednesday and the following Wednesday, opening up for Nublu mainstay, Forro In The Dark. Both shows will take place at 10PM and will feature the likes of Ze Mauricio on Percussion, Masa Shimizu on Accoustic Guitar, Simon Katz on Electric Guitar, Jim Robertson on Electric Bass, Ze Luis on Winds, Simone Guiliani on Keys and Samples, Beco Dranoff at the DJ booth and handling Visuals, and Gabriella Tessitore and Mila Burns on Vocals. I strongly urge you all to make either or both of these shows as they will be Monsterous!

In other news, Resolution 15 will be going back to Big Blue Meanie Studios in New Jersey to continue with our next batch of songs for our prolific DIY project, The Svaha Sessions. For those of you who may not know, Resolution 15 has decided to undergo a self promoted recording project in which we offer up a brand new song every 5-6 weeks, in leu of recording a full length or Ep, to help keep momentum going and keep the fans happy. If you haven’t checked it out, our first song released utilizing this process is available now for download at our bandcamp page under the song name Yama. I think the results will speak for themselves, and it doesn’t hurt either that we’ve been using the aid and expertise of studio ace Ryan Kelly. Not too shabby.

Hollands will also be making a triumphant and long awaited return to full group status since our last shows terrorizing the L.E.S. with fellow stringers, Project 60/40. We will be making our way north to Toronto for the upcoming NXNE festival with a warm up at a favorite city of ours, Rochester, at Boulder Coffee. If you haven’t had a chance to check out this group yet, I highly recommend giving them a listen. Incredibly sarcastic, dark, an hysterically thoughtful lyrics blended with impeccable song writing and excellent musicianship. Besides, where else can you hear me hold down a simple 4/4 groove?

Also in Awesome gig news, the brimstone-summoning tour de force  that is The Hipster Assassins will be making their return back to Zinc Bar, but this time it will be a special event since this coming Monday, June 20th, we will be doing a live recording of the show! This will also be a quite legendary show and if you want to have your voice immortalized, or at the very least, your hand claps and/or snickering, then come down to Zinc Bar at 930PM and take part in the festivities!

That is all for now, but I do believe I’ve left enough food for thought. I hope to see you at one of the upcoming shows, and until then, be well.

 

Kenny

Double Dose of Metal This Friday! (June 3rd, to be exact)

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Greetings to All,

This coming Friday, I will be performing with two of my favorite bands to play with in NYC, Resolution 15 and Hung! For those of you who may not know, Resolution 15 is the first metal band I worked with back in late 2006 with fellow freelancer, Earl Maneein. It began as a sort of solo project where he wanted to play thrash metal with only the use of violins, and since that day it has gone from being a simple experiment to quickly becoming its own unique voice in the world of metal. Hung, like Resolution 15, was started by a violinist by the name of Lyris Hung with founding members Sam Roon (Bassist) and Jon Clark (Guitarist), to create a group that would push the boundaries of what was thought possible in Metal. That being said, I will be performing Back-toBack with both of these amazing groups for an amazing night of unique and powerful Metal at Hell’s Kitchen’s Port 41 This Friday. The show starts at 8PM and there’s going to be some of NYC’s finest Metal acts sharing the stage with us. It also happens to be Jon and Sam’s birthday show as well, so show up and by them a round!

cheers,

Kenny