Late Night With Kush
My friends call me Kush.
I've been playing keyboards for 52 years so I guess I should have gotten the knack by now. I've been playing some of these pieces for decades, but only recently decided to record them. They are "compozations" - compositions, in that there are fixed parts, but improvised every time, thus never sounding the same. This is as opposed to 'compositions', which are always fixed or 'improvisations' which is usually based on playing over a fixed tune,
These pieces were played with 'live'--- no cuts, additions, changes--- on a Kurzweil piano, usually recorded at 3AM-5AM in Brooklyn New York.
Global Media Music's Tony Coluccio produced the album in that he took the filed created and used a Bosendorfer grand piano software "plugin' and sounds from a Yamaha keyboard sounds to realize the performance.
The mysterious and totally hip Arnkush did the cover photo.
To date I have 1700 pieces and counting. This CD and the 16 other CDs to come out over the next five years represents the work I did and continue to do. My style? I like what the Harvard Crimson called it "surrealist, neoclassic, avant garde, Jazz/rock and roll. --- (and he plays a mean blues.)
I dedicate this album of piano pieces to my long time friend Peter who took upon himself the role of tech support or moral support, sometimes it is both, Eli and his wife Nadine, as I got the idea to create this album when I played most of the pieces at a reception at their home with my eyes closed, and Jonny, who helped me figure out how to get the keyboard to record.
BIO: My music background: I have had one of the most interesting and eclectic music and sound educations in history as l was driven and fascinated by the question - Why music? Why do composers string together the sounds they way they do and why do they have an impact on our psyche?
I started playing an old dusty piano when I was 5; started lessons when I was 7; At 9 I sang in the annual Cub Scouts fundraiser with my cub scout troop at the Waldorf Astoria event and we were introduced by Ed Sullivan. By my 12th birthday I passed my Brooklyn teachers in my ability to play Debussy and Bach, and suffered an extesential dilemma --- so I joined a rock band, Tar & Feather, Our big event, besides the Aladdin Hotel, was to play "Mountaindale", in 1970 the post-Woodstock concert in the Catskills.
I graduated Brooklyn Technical High School in 1970, and graduated at the bottom quarter of my class. I then, unknowingly, started on a path that took me to 14 institutions of higher learning. I studied music first at Brooklyn Academy of Music and Staten Island Community College (SICC). Needing 'more' I went to Berklee College of Music, and ended up with a degree in music composition, Magna Cum Laude, with honors, from Brandeis in 1976 - where I did 9 concerts of my own compositions, mostly songs, with the legendary James Casola, and mostly lyrics by Dan Dern.
On the sound-meets-science side, I worked as a subject --- a psycho-acoustical guinea pig --- in 1972 at MIT's Laboratory in Electronics which had anechoic chambers attached to primitive, though very expensive computers and a wall of sound making devices. Amar Bose (Bose speakers) and others used this lab to do experiments in acoustics. I started trading music lessons for computer lessons and within a year could program in different lauguages.
In 1975 I attended the joint Harvard-MIT 'Linguistics and Music" seminars with Leonard Bernstein and Noam Chomsky, took audiology and speech pathology in Boston University's "Sergeant School of Nursing", as well as took graduate course in the Boston University School of Education where I explored using computers to teach music. I was a special- graduate student at Harvard and MIT in the "DSRE" Division of the Study and Research in Education, (parts turned into the MIT Media Lab) as well as Harvard's School of Psychology.
In 1977 I reached academic karma when I was simultaneously attending MIT, Harvard, teaching jazz improvisation and composition, and taking a graduate course about 'Stravinsky' at Brandeis, and was commuting to New York to attend the BMI's Master Class in Musical Theatre, run by the legendary "Lehman Engel'. Other students were Ed Kliban (Chorus Line) and Alan Menken, (Beauty and the Beast, among others).
In 1980 I played a 'retrospective' at Carnegie Recital Hall, representing some of my, then, 1,200 pieces of music, and was joined by Robert Koff, founding member of the Julliard String Quartet, (and former chairman of the Brandeis music department,) In 1982 I had a record out "Wor Shu Opp", with a band called No Laughing, on the CBS- John Hammond Music/Zoo York label, and did a comic opera with Richard Kostelanetz called Epiphanies, performed on West Deutch Rundfunk, and the Australian Broadcasting Company.
My last public performance of my original pieces was Carnegie Recital hall in 1990. (renamed Weill hall)
"Late Night With Kush" is the first of 16 planned CDs and we're expecting to play Carnegie Hall in 2012.
My Other Life and Bio: I'm currently the chairman of Teletruth, a nationwide customer alliance dedicated to broadband, internet and telecommunications issues, Executive Director for New Networks Institute, a market research firm, and a the broadband and telecom expert for Harvard Nieman Foundation for Journalism's Watchdog project.
Bruce Kushnick, 5AM, Brooklyn.
The Pieces:* Fast Willy, 2007 Dedicated to my friend John, his fiancé, and his new Steinway model A piano. The goal was simple - Play fast. "more notes then Mozart" * Late Night with Kush, 2007 A slow blues improvisation with the goal to create something with two simple counterpoint lines. * What is it all about, Davy? 2004 Written at David Isenberg's Freedom to Connect, a musical mobious strip is played over an ostinato bass… both yearning to be free. They try to run from their past but are always coming back to the inevitable, same discussions --- regardless if you change the tempo, the key or even the facts of life. * Clouds, 1974 I've been playing various versions of this since my salad days. I envision it as an a-tempo piece, where you can see the clouds overhead, a sprinkle of rain, and it continues to climb with 'constant structure chords' against a steady and continous resolution. * Seasons, 1977.Dedicated this time to my mom. My mom said to my dad "Leo, he finally stopped banging. What a pretty tune." It's my attempt to appease the Yanni crowd and pick up girls because I, too, can be sensitive. * Descent of a Pin, 1974 One of my 'miniatures', pieces under 5 seconds where the goal is to capture the essence of one musical event. * Circling (Jolted Blocked by Calm), 2007 Remove your concepts of 'which key' or 'pretty melody' or chords. Shape models and movement is what this is about. * Velvet Sportscoat, 1975 Written as a song with Lyrics by Gary Mankin, 1975, this is a somewhat straightforward jazz standard with some deviations. (The recorded version to be out this year.)
Mandalay, 2004-2008. This piece is really named "Mandela," New York City and is dedicated to my gang, Tar & Feather. Every year we get together since 1969 at thanksgiving and at the party create a Mandela to celebrate our bounty and reflect on those who have gone or need help. I've played this tune over a hundred times and never got it gel until this recorded version. Using a special setting on the Kurzweil that uses a piano, strings, a marimba and a flute to give it that texture it has additional arpeggiated notes and timing it all in real time took some doing. This piece is really named
Bombastic, 2008. Tom Allibone wanted a more straighfforward piece. This is actually the introduction to an old song "Should I feel bad about it?", written in 1981.