ambient…’s t r e t c h -music’

I’ve been a fan of Brian Eno and long, slow ambient music for as long as I can remember….i started falling asleep to “Music for Airports” about 30 years ago, there were patches where I didn’t as well…for a long time it was a solo piano record by Ernesto Diaz-Infante called “Ucross Journal”….buy it and at others it was George Winston or perhaps different Brian Eno or Harold Budd records.

When I lived in NYC I began recording my commutes on the subway to and from work with a small microphone in my jacket pocket. I would just record the entire commute and then break it into loops or tracks and then improvise some keys around it or record my self playing and then make loops out of that….essentially making my own sort of “Music for Airports” This was called The Sym-plifi Project.

About 2 years ago I discovered some free software that allowed me to to drastically alter time, at the same time I recall sitting on my deck with Anita after a rather busy week of rock and jazz gigs saying ” sometimes all I want to hear is a single pitch or sine wav, just something to occupy the space, but allowing me to relax” I shortly there after began making a ton of this type of “stretch-music”.

I recently completed a project using this material with poet and narrator, Burton Stehly. Burton reads his poetry and stories and I fill in the space around his poignant and often humorous stories and poems….coming soon!

This was completed last night, the photo is from a recent visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, NC…. it’s called “patches” we all go through them….good and bad…

M.I.M.E….a.k.a. The Awkward Orchestra

About 13 years ago I was just starting to teach at Moravian College…most of what I was teaching was beginning / secondary piano. I was also working with students on Improvisation and became interested in starting an Improvised Music Ensemble. I inquired about how this happens and was told I needed 3 students to make it fly, which I did and the rest is history. Three years we (Moravian Improvised Music Ensemble, won the Lehigh Valley Music Award for “Classical Music Ensemble” It was quite an amazing thing to win and the following year I had 4 students perform at the award ceremony which was quite amazing to have a freely improvising ensemble to perform at such an event…I was beaming!

Tonight we are having our one performance per semester in Foy Hall. I have been excited over different years and different ensembles, but I think some of the music these students are making is the best I’ve heard yet.

For many years in Boston and NYC, while running my own improvised music label, Sachimay Records, as well as performing, releasing multiple records, booking and promoting gigs I had convinced myself I was going to change the world with improvised music, and boy did I try. Fast forward to about 6 years ago. After being an adjunct prof at Moravian for about 5 years at that point, and seeing the great benefits of improvisation with the students in my ensemble and the Improv Class I teach, I began to see that in fact, I was changing the world, one student at a time. I never intended on being a teacher or college professor, but as I have come to learn myself, that’s exactly what I am, and I’m proud of it.

Improvisation is something we do from the very beginning of life. We are not born into this world with a plan or a script. We deal with what we are dealt and figure it out as we go. The development of language and communication skills has become a central part of how I approach teaching improvisation. I had the pleasure to be a stay at home dad for both my children who are now 12 and 15. I not only changed many a diaper, but also had many conversations with both my young kids and watched how they began to speak and develop language. As I continue to teaching Improvisation this has become more and more apparent to me that this is also a way in which musicians can develop skills and or simply the confidence to do just that, learn how to communicate with their instruments. The old adage that music is a language is very true, yet the difference being with my ensemble and many ensembles throughout the world is that we as the players have been trained, have listened to music, have studied music theory and have had real music making experiences, so simply starting to converse with said instruments becomes much easier for those that think they can’t when they simply approach it as conversation.

I am very proud of the ensemble performing tonight at Moravian. I think these are some wonderfully talented young musicians who will bring this love of spontaneous creation and individual musical development through improvisation onward and forward into their own lives and their own teaching. I am happy to say that I am still changing the world through improvisation.

i started a blog cause my family is tired of listening to me…

Ha….well sorta….My name is Dan DeChellis, grew up in Jersey, born ’70….good upbringing, wonderful parents, nothing to complain about there. My grandma had a piano, and she had a friend named Lil Hutchinson, she was a hack of a pianist, but I remember hearing her play Scott Joplin rags on that old ‘Cable Piano’ at my grandmas house at the age of 5 and that was it. I took piano lessons, first group and then private from that point on, ha til I was about 25 if we include college…I was blessed with some great teachers that taught me not only my scales, but a love of learning….I was also lucky to have my uncle Cliff, who inspired me to follow it through, no matter what….sounds sorta like a musical, but it sort of is for a lot of us I’d imagine, or at least I hope…

I do a lot of things, I teach music at a college and privately, i gig in a few rock/jam/country bands, i have my own “jazz” trio, play free improvised music, make ambient music, sell used records on line through Discogs and ReverbLP, parent, husband and such…..ok, enough about me.

i sure hope the rest of this is better than this…:)