Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Hi, John here.

I've been away from blog and web updates for a few months for a very good reason.

Starting on July 15th, I embarked on a project to write new music for the Arboreal Quartet. The different phases of this project involve further research into North Indian classical music, compositions, and rehearsals with my group.

First off I must say that it is very rewarding to be working with such talented musicians as Tom Eliosoff (guitar), Sage Reynolds (upright bass) and Eric Thibodeau (drums). One of my goals has been to push myself forward musically and to write material tailored to the strengths of the musicians, and this has been very rewarding.

At present we are having bi-weekly rehearsals, and I'm excited to be unveiling a few of the new pieces in two weeks over at les Pas Sages here in Montréal.

I have a lot to say about the project but I'll be brief here (for the moment!) Essentially what I'm doing is looking at the Hindustani tradition of classifying different ragas according to the time of day when they are normally played. A book I bought in India in 1998 (Nad - Understanding Raga Music by Bagchee) contains a chart dividing the day and night into two sets of 4 cycles, or 3-hour periods. Each period contains many possible ragas.

Through this book and several other sources I began creating a map of these ragas. My plan is to choose a raga from each period, study it, listen to as many recordings of it as I can find, and come up with a musical idea based upon it. The completed piece will pass through all of the sections of the day and night. My goal is not to write North Indian classical music, but rather to be inspired by it, in the context of the sonic possibilities of the ensemble I've put together.

The working title of my project -- Interstices -- refers to a particular interest of mine: how can I express, musically, the transition periods between these sections of the day and night? What are some ways I can lead the listener from one period to the next, in such a way that the unique qualities of each section are highlighted?

I've had a number of ideas on how to accomplish this, and have been working away on exploring them. Along the way I've been keeping a detailed project journal, and it occurs to me that I could add sections of the journal to this blog as I proceed. The subject is vast and rewarding, and I still feel that I am barely scratching the surface here.

So, there, I've broken the radio silence! More to come soon.

November 8 - show at les Pas Sages, 951 Rachel Est, Montréal

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


For those using MOG, Arboreal Quartet is there. I'd actually inquired with them about how to get my music involved, and I found out that it already was!

CKCU last Monday

Thanks to Dean Verger over at CKCU 93.1FM (Ottawa, ON) for the spin on Monday June 6th -- he played "Mountain" alongside Delhi 2 Dublin and fellow Montréaler Li'l Andy.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Signal - CBC Radio 2 - May 19, 2011

I was pleased to find out that The Signal on CBC Radio 2 played our track "Dee" on their program of May 19th, in a typically (and wonderfully) eclectic mix. Thanks to everyone at the Signal for including us once again in their eye-opening programming.

SoundCloud update

Since moving to SoundCloud for our album streams, we've recently hit the landmark of over 1,000 plays directly from arborealquartet.com (1,020 plays as of today).

Via SoundCloud's stats, I'd like to say hello to new listeners from Tel Aviv, Mexico City, Pelotas (Brazil), Barcelona, Madrid, Prague, and Budapest.

Thanks for dropping by, and please share!

New pic (thanks Carl!)

Here's a promo photograph that Carl Ruttan took of me recently, which I used in an application to l'Off festival de Jazz de Montréal. You can see more of Carl's work at his site, Studio Taro.

CKCU 93.1 FM spins

Continued thanks to Susan Johnston at CKCU 93.1 FM (Ottawa, Ontario) for the spins -- I noticed two recent plays, April 11th ("Lucky") and April 15th ("Theme").

Thursday, April 7, 2011

UnderCurrents April 4

Gregg McVicar over at UnderCurrents gave us a spin on Monday April 4th. It seems he's enjoying "Dee" as a show closer. Very cool as his program is broadcast on over 80 stations across the U.S. Thanks, Gregg!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Radio catch-up: Crooked Highway, brilliantCORNERS

I found out about a couple of interesting radio plays lately:

Damon Dowbak, who has played us before on his eclectic world/jazz show brilliantCORNERS on LU Radio 102.7 in Thunder Bay, put us in an interesting set on March 15th alongside Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the Creaking Tree String Quartet (which contains ex-Montréaler John Showman) and Geoff Berner. This was on March 15th.

And back on January 2, on a show called Crooked Highway -- "A bucket of folky bluesy mostly acoustic indie roots music broadcasting on KVMR FM in Nevada City" -- host Gary Wells fit us in amongst Calexico, the Marc Atkinson Trio, Vic Chesnutt, M. Ward, and Townes Van Zandt. Thanks, Gary!

Both plays were of our track "Shift."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Video from last week at Casa -- solo sarod

A few days ago, Eric sent me this video of the opening piece from our set at Casa Del Popolo on Wednesday February 2. I played a solo introduction on the sarod. That's quite the 8mm home movie filter!

The piece is called 'Tanpura' and I actually wrote it on guitar years ago, before putting the Quartet project together.

It resurfaced as I was practicing sarod one afternoon a few months ago. A brilliant burst of sun emerged on an otherwise cloudy day, and I noticed an interesting effect of the light reflecting my fingers on the metallic surface of the sarod's neck, so I took a few photos. Here's one:

CKCU 93.1 Friday Special Blend Feb 11

Thanks to host Susan Johnston for the plays this morning on "Friday Special Blend" over at CKCU in Ottawa.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CISM 89.3 Montreal

Thanks to host Maxime Bouchard for the play this week on CISM 89.3 Montreal!

February 8, 2011

22h30 Theme de Yoyo Zu & Spaceways Inc. Radiale Atavistic (2004)
22h31 Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody Louis Prima The Wildest! Capitol Jazz (1962)
22h36 Frisco Club Gerry Mulligan The Jazz Soundtracks Gambit (2006, enr. 1958)
22h42 Lac aux Castors Quintet Marie-Claire Durand Mai Indépendant (2011)
22h47 October 25th Avishai Cohen Introducing Triveni Anzic Records (2010)
23h00 Snap The Arboreal Quartet The Arboreal Quartet Indépendant (2010)
23h07 Luz da lua Thomas Carbou Hekátê TCMusique (2011)
23h13 Melismatic Tim Brady 24 Frames - Trance Ambiances Magnétiques (2010)
23h15 Slinger Muskox 5 Pieces Standard Form (2009)
23h25 When Cassavetes Hit Reagan Surreal Estate (Bruce Friedman, Jonathon Grasse, Ken Luey, David Martinelli, Jeff Schwartz, Charles Sharp) Lacunae Acoustic Levitation (2010)
23h35 One For the Rev.-Rev. Frank Wright Sabir Mateen Urdla XXX Rogue Art (2010)
23h45 Out to Lunch Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Orchestra Out to Lunch Doubt Music (2006)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Grand merci -- big thanks

Eric sent me this pic from the opening part of last night's set at Casa del Popolo -- I played a solo piece on the sarod.

Thanks to everyone who braved the crazy storm to warm up the room!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Hit List - Hour weekly & hour.ca

Thanks to Robyn Fadden for including us in this week's Hit List in the Hour weekly here in Montreal, and at hour.ca!

Wednesday 2

The seemingly simple diptychs in painter Mark Igloliorte's Two Ways of Seeing present subtle shifts in perception of the same subject, at Galerie Donald Browne (#528, 372 Ste-Catherine W.), to March 5. In On the Surface, Lucie Chan presents two installations made with drawings, paper and animation that articulate themes of intimacy, social voyeurism, diaspora and personal stories, at MAI (3680 Jeanne-Mance), to March 12. Montreal's Arboreal Quartet strums up world-music-infused acoustic jazz at Casa del Popolo, 8:30 p.m. And Czech-born, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Lenka Lichtenberg builds cultural bridges in World Beat, at La Sala Rossa, 7:30 p.m.

brilliantCORNERS - January 25, 2011

Thanks to Damon Dowbak for the play last week on brilliantCORNERS -- LU Radio 102.7 (Thunder Bay) !

Tonight's the night - despite the snow! Feb 2, Casa del Popolo

I woke up today to find this view out of my window. Ah, February in Montreal. Don't let that deter you from heading down to Casa del Popolo tonight, though. It'll be warm!

Along with Tom Eliosoff (guitar) and myself (sarod), we'll be welcoming these fine musicians:

Sage Reynolds - Upright Bass
Eric Thibodeau - Drums

Thursday, January 27, 2011

WSCA-LP Portsmouth 106.1 FM (WSCA)

I noticed a couple of Arboreal Quartet plays this past Tuesday the 25th over at WSCA in Portsmouth, NH. Thanks to host Tim Stone for the spins!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sweet Spot Audio Forum (Sweden)

I noticed an entry about our album music on the Swedish music forum Sweet Spot Audio. It's an eclectic music recommendation thread. Thanks to kme for the addition!

CKCU 93.1 (Ottawa) - Friday Special Blend Jan. 14

Thanks to Susan Johnston over at CKCU Ottawa for spinning us on last Friday's "Special Blend" !

Wednesday, January 12, 2011