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Push

buckydome

A Bucky dome that I built out of mini-marshmallows and toothpicks to simulate the one that Stanley Jordan created at lunch during the recording session in 2005.

The last of the three videos to be created from material shot during the recording session at Harmolodic Studios in Harlem in 2005, “Push” features Will Calhoun and Stanley Jordan. Stanley used his two-handed tapping technique on this track. This technique for which he is well-known is explained on Wikipedia as:

Normally, a guitarist uses two hands to play each note. One hand presses down a guitar string behind a chosen fret to prepare the note, and the other hand either plucks or strums the string to play that note. Jordan’s touch technique is an advanced form of two-handed tapping. The guitarist produces a note using only one finger by quickly tapping (or hammering) his finger down behind the appropriate fret. The force of impact causes the string to vibrate enough to immediately sound the note, and Jordan executes tapping with both hands, and with more legato than is normally associated with guitar tapping. The note’s volume can be controlled by varying the force of impact: tapping with greater force produces a louder note.

During a lunch break that day I spoke with Stanley and told him that my first memory of him was seeing him as part of a trio in Princeton, New Jersey in the early eighties. I still have the LP of the album “Touch Sensitive” that he sold at that venue. Stanley brought out a bag of mini marshmallows and a box of toothpicks and started constructing Bucky domes. This was right up my alley having started my career as an architect and a fan of Buckminster Fuller (how could anyone not be?) He was a devotee of Fuller’s and carried a book about him. Yesterday I decided that it would be good to illustrate the marshmallow and toothpick construction for this post and gathered the materials and began the reconstruction.

A few years ago, I moved my office from Manhattan to a town in New Jersey close to my home. As it turns out, my office is now located a few blocks from the middle school that my eldest son attends. He often stops by my office after school and prior to doing so checks to see that I am in by texting me. Typically, he is in such a rush that his messages arrive as “Icom”. Is this what we can expect from the young generation? He doesn’t even have the time, patience or perhaps dexterity to type “I’m coming”? Whatever. The reason I include this information, is that he came yesterday and saw the Bucky dome, asked what it was and immediately began building his own version. He is indeed his architect father’s son. His design is less Buckminster Fuller, more Russian Constructivism or perhaps Deconstructivist, something more akin to the early works of Daniel Libeskind or Coop Himmelblau. Photos barely do it justice.

Who says that being an architect is difficult? Behold my eleven-year-old's design.

Who says that being an architect is difficult? Behold my eleven-year-old’s design. Better eat it before the it goes stale.

But I digress, on to the video. The track “Push” has Will playing a number of instruments including drums, bass and an Indonesian flute as well as drum programming, looping and ambient sonics. Will wanted a fast-paced urban feel to the video for this video. Time and imagery are compressed and manipulated to mirror the audio looping in this urban-paced piece. Scenes of Will and Stanley during their recording session at Harmolodic Studios are super-imposed over imagery of midtown life even more hectic than usual. “Push” Features Will Calhoun and Stanley Jordan and is produced and edited by Charles Kliment.

Tagine

tagine_ganeshThe same session that yielded the music for the last video, “Deep” also supplied the soundtrack for this video. Will Calhoun once again plays one of the instruments for which he is best known, the Korg Wave Drum, at Harmolodic Studios in Harlem. The music from this session is Will’s solo improvisation and contains no edits or overdubs.

Belly dancer Aassal helps express the Moroccan influences heard and seen in Will Calhoun’s “Tagine”. This track is named for the Moroccan cuisine that takes its name from the heavy clay pot used. “Tagine” was shot in New York City at the West Side restaurant of the same name with additional footage shot by fellow Living Colour band member Vernon Reid at the Stadtmühle Gallery in Switzerland.

“Tagine” features Will Calhoun and was produced and edited by Charles Kliment.

Always a Pleasure (Complete Short Film)

americo_flagI recall discussing the various members of our families with my wife when we first started dating. Americo, the man dating her older sister immediately stood out. A jazz musician with a flair for standing out, her description of him intrigued me. When we met I must say that he did not disappoint.  He wore his hair in dreadlocks and sported Lycra bicycle shorts and a cat collar. Some people mistakenly call it a dog collar, but just ask him and he’ll tell you that it’s a cat collar, “cause I’m a Jazz cat.” He wore sweat bands and wrist watches on both arms and heavy black boots.

Americo is not just about visual style.  His character runs deep. The character he plays hails from another planet and owes much to Sun Ra (of whom he is a big fan).  It is often difficult to tell where the act stops and Americo begins.

productionshot_hoboken

This film was shot back in 2000 and much has changed. Much has not. If you look closely, you may notice the World Trade Center buildings. Hoboken has changed even more, has become even more gentrified that when we shot the scenes there.  Americo and his wife Susan have been busy raising a family and continue to live in Connecticut. He continues to play and over the last few years has concentrated on reggae, playing with bands made up of many of the same characters from the film along with a few new players. Over the years he has mellowed a bit as we all have but in some ways has become a more concentrated version of himself.  His style, both visual and personal, has remained largely consistent and he has continued to branch out into other music genres. This film highlights his experiences up to the year 2000. Perhaps a Seven-Up style revisiting may be required soon.

There is one more short film in this series.  Although not really a sequel, Requiem for Piano was shot shortly after Always a Pleasure and will the subject of my next post.

Please see www.kajacircle.com for additional info.

Always a Pleasure Trailer

always a pleasure posterIn my professional career I design and build websites and apps as well as creating corporate and cause-related films.  When I have a chance to pursue a personal project, I tend to gravitate towards music and photography.  I have shot a few short films and music videos the first of which, Always a Pleasure, featured my brother-in-law, Americo Carrasco.  It therefore seems the perfect video to share first.

A little background about the film:

Shot entirely on miniDV and without a budget, always a pleasure follows Americo Carrasco, a part-time musician and full-time character on his quest to spread his message of intergalactic unity and understanding.  Filmed on location in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut between July 2001 and April 2002, the film is a combination of archival footage, interviews, live performances and time-lapse sequences that reveal the many sides of Americo: the history, the music, the hair.

This is a newly uploaded version of the trailer.  The quality of the original trailer was not up to today’s standards.

For full information about the film, please see my website at http://www.kajacircle.com/always.htm. I will post the full 17-minute version of the film as well as its mini-sequel Requiem For Piano next.

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