Archive for the 'Teaching' Category

Gigs and Things

Friday, July 28th, 2017

The summer is in full swing, had a great couple of concerts at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, a real magical time in many ways, and connecting with my brother in crime, Nikolaj Hess, playing a duo concert at one of my most favorite places in the world, the Bartof Cafe. A wonderful Danish lady, Anette Inoue, whom I met years ago at a bus stop in CPH. wrote a beautiful review on the concert:

No matter what’s your mood, a concert with Nikolaj Hess and Marc Mommaas will always without fail hurl you into a world of magic, adventure, passion, surprise and even fun! Like moving along together with the two of them through mountains and valleys and unbelievable, unknown landscapes. Thus also this time, at Bartof Café July 15. 2017, where you got the unique experience of the two geniuses in perfect synergy and reciprocal inspiration. Passionately, intensely, and at the same time heartily and warmly, continuously passing on the solo-baton to each other. From the interlaced calm fusioned expression into dynamic breakaways into the wildest improvisations from both sides.
The two of them have been cooperating for 20 years, and seem to not only have developed a dynamic mutually inspiring and extraordinarily value creating ensemble, but there is also the feeling of a warm friendship and a deep connectedness with great mutual respect and appreciation. During the reciprocal ping-pong of improvisation, they seem to drive each other continuously further out and higher up, making each of them produce continuously greater and greater surprises, discovering new land in their improvisations. Imagine, that, that this quite ordinarily looking piano can produce these formidable sounds and tones, as the deeply concentrated and bent Nikolaj Hess magically conjures forth from the keys, and again and again, as often as he can look up from the piano, he smiles happily over at Marc Mommaas, maybe looking forward to his next move? And further on and on with Marc Mommaas’s saxophone into the wildest and most dangerous curves and rugged mountain ridges and trackless mountain paths with an in between teasingly surprising abrupt landing, Bang! Down again.
Thus, on this Saturday afternoon, the two of them both enchanted, and flung their audience through the total of three sets. In high spirits and with deep passion. Through the uniqueness of their personal interpretations of “The shadow of your smile”, “Never let me go”, “In a sentimental mood, “Body and soul”, “Over the rainbow”, “Everything I love” and others – also “Little one”, a composition, which Marc Mommaas had written to his daughter, when she was yet a baby, and therefore in a special presentation, due to the fact – as he said: that there had at that time been “no story yet”, an open landscape of future possibilities not yet discovered, for the little girl.
It is obvious, that they are both fond of this place, which also Marc Mommaas expressed during the program. It is also surprisingly felt that the place easily holds the sometimes vast, roaring sound-universes, which these two artists create, and, at the same time, due to its constricted size and in its capacity of solid music-café it also creates a special dimension of family like and unpretentious intimacy and warmth between artists and audience. – Anette Inoue

And, summer is not over, here some great things to look forward to, playing at:

Marc Mommaas Hudson Jazz Works 2

Live, Mommaas’ compositions at the Symphony Space in NYC

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

This Sunday, November 20, four Columbia University ensembles will be performing my music at the Symphony Space on 2537 Broadway (95th street), NYC. The students have worked hard on the music. We had great rehearsals and an inspiring masterclass. This will be very special and I am very honored that I was invited as a guest performing artist.


New release on the way and summer intensive

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Hello Everybody,

Coming up a NEW long anticipated (sunnyside records) release expected
in the fall, and a great summer intensive in Hudson:


















Other releases expected are a great new release by the sextet of Amina
Figarova and two releases with the Quintet of Tony Moreno. A lot of great
music. Plus, I am part of a great project with Sebastian Noelle in preparation
for a recording in the fall. And, a recording/video session is coming up with
Maryann McSweeney, a great bassist, music based on the great Fado
tradition. Music, music, music……

As part of New York Jazz Workshop we did a 5 day course in Istanbul,
and I taught a 4 day summer intensive in Manhattan. Next is another
great program, the 9th annual Hudson Jazz Workshop including
Armen Donelian and Claudio Roditi.


HJW 2015 cover syllabus

HJW, NYJW and upcoming tours.

Friday, August 19th, 2011

This summer has been full of activity. The NYJW had a very successful summer series. All the workshops were phenomenal, great teaching, and great students. Now getting ready for the fall and winter. The 5th annual  Hudson Jazzworks program was also amazing. The level of the students was very high, and the end concert at the Hudson Opera House was spectacular. That combined with the great surroundings and a chef cook made it an experience for the books.

We are already getting geared up for next year. If you are an advanced student please put the HJW on your to-do list. We accept a total max of 10 students, it is very intensive and we are working on scholarships. We are also very happy about our connection and collaboration with the conservatory in Copenhagen. Hopefully we can get the conservatory of Amsterdam and the MSM in NYC also involved for 2012.

If you are an intermediate student please look into the workshops organized by New York Jazz Workshop. The faculty is very strong, and here we also accept a max. of 10 students. It is for adults only and you will be working on music for 4 days 11am to 5pm in the heart of NYC.

And there was also a lot of playing, with Global Motion at the Rochester Festival, with Amina Figarova at the Erie Jazz Festival and with Landmarc and the group of Sebastian Noelle at the Corneliastreet café in NYC. Coming up is the Tony Moreno group also at the Corneliastreet café, a US tour and EU tour with Amina and Landmarc gigs in the NYC area.

As many of you know I am also involved with a Mixed Meter / Polyrhythm class every Tuesday night in NYC. That will start again in the end of September, I can’t wait, a fantastic workshop that I am always very much looking forward to. If you are interested in participating please let me know.

On the web I surfed into a you-tube clip that includes a great arrangement of Doug Beavers titled bedtime story. I play a solo on it, and I think the arrangement is amazing. There is no real video, just a still, but the sound quality is very good, check it out:

And for inspiration, trane at its best, an hour and a half of train in action:

Oke, back to practice.

Summer workshops, Teaching and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival

Friday, June 24th, 2011

The blog was off line for a minute, but thanks to earthlinks tech support I am back. A lot of news for July and August.

The 5th annual Hudson Jazz Works (intensive four day program) which will be held in August is completely booked. We have students from all over the world, and we were able to offer some grants that we received from Ton Kooiman Ergonomics, The Bank of Green and Green Arts. This is very exciting, we have the highest level of students we have ever had plus we have a special guest, the great Vic Juris, whom you might know of my latest release Landmarc or from the Dave Liebman group. Included in the program will be a Concert and open Masterclass, if you would like to attend and hang out for a day in Hudson NY let me know, then I will give you directions. Its worth it, plus, there is an amazing coffee/espresso place on the main street, very important.

New York Jazz Workshop has also been working very hard on a summer summit series. It’s the third year and we offer four courses, a Improv.Comp course given by yours truly, a guitar course by Vic, a vocal course by Fay Victor and a Rhythm course by Tony Moreno. They are all amazing musicians, world reknown, and need little introduction. If you don’t know them, look them up. These courses are spread out over July and August and located in Midtown Manhattan and there are still spots available. Let me know if you are interested, I highly recommend any of these courses.

So teaching, these last two months have been a lot about teaching and it got me in a new learning cycle. I picked up a book named ‘Just play naturally’ by Vivian Mackie. She is a cellist who studied directly with Pablo Casals, one of my hero’s. This was recommended to me by a great  Alexander technique teacher, Beret Arcaya, whom I met through a student of mine who is going through some physical issues. Mackie made the correlation between the teachings of Casals and Alexander technique. An inspiring book, especially the first half (published by Duende Editions).

The second book I picked up is the famous study of counterpoint by Johann Joseph Fux’s ‘Gradus Ad Parnassum’ (published by Norton Publishing). It is blowing me away, what a fantastic work, heard about it through the years but never really gotten to it. No wonder Mozart, Back, Handle, Beethoven, Listz etc. studied out of this book. And I love the introduction, that alone is worth the whole book.

And…..I will be back at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, in a week. I will be playing there 5 nights in a row with great pianist and friend Nikolaj Hess, man, can’t wait. Plus, there is an amazing coffee place on Jeagerbrogade, they won first price in a world competition and burn the beans on the spot. Very hip.

Well, on a general note, I am dedicated in my music to move deeper and closer to the essence of what needs to be played, an ongoing life long quest, but something I will have in front of every note and rest.

Spring in NYC plus summer workshops!

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Winter has past and Spring is slowly making his way in NYC. I had an amazing few months, playing in the US, EU, Canada and Mexico plus a great recording project with Tim Horner’s group. And there is more coming, concerts with a fantastic group of Tony Moreno, Festivals in the summer including Global Motion at the Rochester Jazz Festival, EU tour in the fall and concerts with my celebrated group Landmarc including a winter tour in 2012 in EU.

But that is not all. Right now I am in full swing with getting the two workshops together that I am involved in as co-director and teacher. I can highly recommend both workshops and now would be the time to check this out and register if interested since both workshop programs only take a maximum of 10 students:

The 5th Annual Hudson Jazz Workshop includes me, Armen Donelian and Vic Juris as guest and I am very excited that this is the first year we can offer scholarships. So please check it out on my teaching page and apply if you are interested.

The New York Jazz Workshop 3rd annual Summer Summit series again is going to be amazing. We have an Improv program with me and Tim Horner, Vocal program with Fay Victor, Guitar program with Vic Juris and a Rhythm program with Tony Moreno. Please check it out if interested, also on my teaching page.

For now, hope to see you at one of the concerts, on skype or as a student in one of the programs. Music is feeling great!