02.28.13All-Star Jazz Ensemble Selected for Essentially Ellington!!
I am happy to announce that my Thursday night All-Star Jazz Ensemble has been selected as one of the 15 finalists to compete at this year's Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival held at Jazz at Lincoln Center! This is just our 4th year of existence, and only our 3rd recorded submission for this competition. In the coming months, a member of Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra will fly down to work with our band on our repertoire, and on Mothers Day weekend, we will fly to NYC for the 3 day competition/festival to compete, and work with Wynton Marsalis and everyone else at JALC. I am so proud of this band. They worked so hard to achieve this incredible goal, and it obviously paid off. Congratulations to all the members. We're going to New York!!
10.30.12Life As I Hear It Available Now!!!
I'm very excited to announce the release of new album, Life As I Hear! This is my first self-release which features original compositions spanning numerous genres and styles including fresh fusion, swing, funk, expansive ballads and more! Visit my "Purchase Albums" tab to purchase either a physical copy or to download the album via iTunes and CDBaby. This album was an absolute joy to make, and features an all-star line up of some of the best musicians I know including Danny Susnjar, Josh Allen, Troy Roberts, Cisco Dimas, Chad Bernstein, Tim Jago and my darling wife, Ashley Liberty! My sound engineer and co-producer, Clay Ostwald, was a major part of this as well, and I could not have made this album without his years of experience. Please feel free to write reviews on either the iTunes or CDBaby websites as I welcome feedback from all!
01.28.12Lots of exciting things!
Hi Everyone! It's been a while since I've had time to say a genuine hello. I'm looking to write an entry at least once a month (most likely in the last few days of the month) and let you know on all the recent and upcoming happenings in life.
Last night was very special. I was able to share the musical stage with, not only some of the best musicians in Miami, but also some of my closest friends. The Chad Bernstein septet was a huge success at WDNA, and we're hoping to perform there again very soon. Larry Rosen was in the audience, and visited us in our room during our break to tell us how blown away he was by our first set. Chad had composed a Suite for his brother, Max, who is a Marine serving our country overseas, and this was our second time performing this (the first was at Chad's Doctoral recital back in the fall.) It's an incredibly beautiful piece of music, each movement with it's own unique emotional content. What an honor to play with such great musicians!
Our holidays were wonderful, except I was quite sick during my stay in Maine (pneumonia is no fun!) I did manage to say hello to a few friends and family. I'm sure I'll see a lot more of them this coming summer. I still have people telling me how much they enjoyed our performances at this year's AMFAM concerts. WCS sounded incredible as always, and it was a pleasure to perform with Norm Lewis. Ashley and I are looking forward to seeing him in "Porgy and Bess" when we pass through NYC this summer. I loved premiering my new pieces this year. "Shamrock" was a hit for Ashley, and "Comin' Home" was the knock out punch! It felt incredible to sing in front of a thousand people again, I haven't sung in public for years. The choir made all the difference on that one. I'm hoping we'll be recording that come this spring/summer.
Speaking of recording, I'm working out all the details for my upcoming debut jazz CD. I've got most of the musicians lined up, and I'm picking which of my compositions I'll be putting on the album. More details to come soon!
All the best,
05.25.11Neal Strange 1924-2011
"Back when I was nine years of age, my grandfather, Neal Strange, took great pride in teaching me what he called "popular songs." I could never figure out where he got off referring to them this way since none of these tunes were ever spun by a disc jockey over the airwaves. Never the less, it was a chance to bridge a generation gap between grandfather and grandson. No sheet music was involved. I had to learn to use my ears and ignore most of my other senses. Grampy would play the chord progression on his banjo while singing the melody so that I would be receiving the offense and defensive simultaneously. He has a system that was passed down by his father. This doesn't have a name, but I have come to think of it as music theory for the common man. The best part about his theoretical approach was how he described chord progressions. For example: He refers to a V7 chord as the "before F" chord and this is always described in this manner regardless of the key. The ultimate gem is his nickname for a flat six. This is known in our family as the "Bye-Bye Blues" chord. The reason for this is because the second chord in the song "Bye-Bye Blues" is a flat six, and as he would say, "That's some rich stuff." These early musical sessions were essential to my development. My grandfather instilled in me a deep desire to be able to communicate through this beautiful language known as music. His wonderful guidance took me beyond the etudes of my piano lessons, and prepared me for the ladder I continue to climb today." -a segment from my college admissions essay for graduate school.
Rest in Peace, Grampy. You will be dearly missed...
A new video of one of my recent UMiami performances has been posted on the jazz departments YouTube channel. You can either click the link provided at the bottom of this post, or find it in my "Videos and Links" tab. It's an older composition of mine called "The Sad Side of Happy." This was it's first ever public performance. Enjoy!
11.10.10Amazing Couple of Days!
I know it's been forever since I last left a note, and I do apologize for this. I'm going to be updating my website at least once a month from here on out :)
Last nights performance of LANZA! was a complete success! I am so proud to have been a part of something so special. The experience I have gained from this will stay with me forever. I can't thank Phil Ramone and Shelly Berg enough for their inspiration, guidance and trust over the last few days. And what a great hang after the show last night with Robert Davi (yes the actor) and Gary Catona (one of the world's most sought after vocal coaches)! Incredible couple of days!
I'm also very excited to announce that Ashley and I will be releasing our first CD to the public on December 4th at the Windham Chamber Singers American Family Holiday Concert! "Snapshot" features just about every genre of music we could cram on there including original compositions/arrangements of mine, as well as many of our favorites. This has been years in the works, and we're so glad it is finally happening!
All the best,
01.26.10UM Jazz Forum: Daniel C. Strange and Friends!
Just wanted to let you know I'll be performing at UMiami this Friday for UM's Jazz Forum. This will feature music by Duke Ellington, Pat Metheny, Don Gibson, and new composition of mine being premiered at this performance! I hope to see you there :)
Ashley and I just returned from what may have been one of the best concerts we have ever been apart of! "An American Family Holiday" (AMFAM) was a hit in every way imaginable. The Windham Chamber Singers (WCS) were superb, Beth and Robyn were amazing, and Ashley...well let's just say she's officially a rock star! Working with Rick (Dr. Nickerson) has been one of the greatest musical partnerships I have ever had, and I'm hoping for many more years of that, along with these concerts. I could go into details about this weekend, but at this time, I'm finding it difficult to find words that can even come close to describing it. The most overwhelming moment for me was hearing WCS sing my composition "An American Family Holiday." This was my gift to them as it's not only the concerts new theme song, but it's their song! It was a moment I'll never forget.
This weekend I'll be directing the Young Musicians All Star Jazz Ensemble. This is a new jazz ensemble in Miami, and part the Coral Gables Congregational Church's Creative Arts Program. I've also done 4 exciting Christmas arrangements for the Orchestras and Jazz Ensemble. Click on my "Dates" section for more information.
09.10.09Recording this weekend!
Just wanted to give you an short update on what's coming up for me this weekend. I'll be recording with my good friend Steve Guerra as he makes his first big band record! The lineup of musicians Steve has hired is nothing but stellar. As an added bonus, we're making this album at Miami's famous studio, The Hit Factory. Records that have been made there include the Eagles "Hotel California," Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours," Grease (the movie's soundtrack), and many more! It's going to be an exciting weekend for sure :)
All the best,
05.28.09Heading to Maine in June!!!
Things have been crazy since my last entry! I just finished seven weeks of sub work for the "Jersey Boys" national tour. It was an absolute blast! Great cast, great musicians, and great people all around. I'm hoping to get the chance to play it again very soon.
I also graduated from UMiami on May 14th, receiving my Master of Music in Jazz Performance. These last two years studying at UM have been wonderful. I can honestly say that I have received a top-notch education.
I'll be heading to Maine on June 20th, with a few stops on the way up the east coast. Ashley and I are looking forward to our summer in Maine very much. It should be full of family, friends, and fun!
04.01.09Windham School Board to cut Elementary and Middle School Music Programs, along with Entire Orchestra Program!!!!
Family and Friends,
If you're in Windham, Maine tonight, please attend the school boards public hearing at the Town Hall. There is a proposal on the table to eliminate a major portion of the music program that has been the identity of Windham for years. This includes the elimination of the entire Orchestral program, grades 4-12, Elementary general music in the 4th and 5th grades, and the entire music program at the Middle school! The Windham music program is one of the main reasons I decided to pursue a career in music. To think that any portion of it could be cut is devastating. As I am in Miami, finishing my Masters degree, I am unable to attend this important meeting, but have written a letter expressing my strong opposition against this proposal. Again, if you're in the Windham, Maine area, go to the meeting tonight and show the board, in numbers, how important an arts education truly is!
03.02.09Master's Recital Recording Posted!!!
I've posted my entire Master's Recital Recording. Click on the "Listen" tab to hear each track in the order it was performed. In case you didn't notice, one of my original tunes from the recital, "Miami Hoedown," is being played as soon you enter my homepage. Special thanks to Brian Gerstle for the outstanding job engineering this recital! Enjoy, and more recent recordings to come soon!
02.16.09Where did the last 4 months go!!!
First off...I have to sincerely apologize for not updating my website since November! When Ashley and I first got these up and running, we promised one another that we would keep our friends and family in the loop regarding all of our current events, as well as what's happening in our lives. Well...she kept her end of the bargain, but I failed miserably! I plan to change this starting today. I'm going to be updating my website at least 2-3 times a month with long term goal of a weekly tweek.
A lot has been going on since I posted my initial welcoming statement. I had a terrific time performing at the Windham Chamber Singers "AMFAM" concert back in December. Working with Dr. Nickerson is always enjoyable. Capathia Jenkins was a trip! What a voice. And pairing up with my old band pals Adam Frederick and Andy Robbins brought back wonderful memories for all three of us. As always, the evenings at Samuel's were stellar. Then it was back to Miami one week later for the C.A.P X-mas concert. I arranged four selections for string orchestra and rhythm section, and got a lot of positive feedback.
X-mas break in Maine was beautiful, but flew by too quickly. Ashley and I did manage to see everyone, and she threw a B-Day party for me (#26) as well! I'm loving my final semester at UM. I've been composing often. Things have started off great. I did a "Music of Clare Fischer" performance for Jazz Forum, and last week performed my Masters Recital for a packed house in Clarke Recital Hall. It was a very emotional performance, and I was humbled to have had all of my closest family and friends attend this event from all over the country. I will be picking up the mastered recording of this (as well as the Clare Fischer Forum) and will be posting these recordings as soon as I can later on this week. By the way, I'll be performing with Jazz Trombonist John Fedchock and the SFJO this coming Thursday night at the Wesley. 8pm if you in the area, and it's free!
Peace my friends,