Plans for 2017
October 28, 2016
Exciting developments are on the way for the upcoming year for both my personal music as well as my ongoing project, Jesse RS.
For the past 2 years, Jesse RS has be been busy touring the country as well as organizing the managerial aspects of the band. Since our inception in 2014, we have since performed over 100 shows in 33 states. The addition of our band manager and PR manager this past January has helped to push us in a more marketable direction. We are currently recording our second full length album which is schedule to be released in February of 2017. I am pleased to be contributing not only my writing, arranging and performing on my various instruments, but also a handful of string ensemble arrangements which will accompany several songs on the album.
Diving back into my composing for this album renewed my love of writing instrumental music. My goal when I left cruise ship performance behind was to write and record my first solo sax album. I have no regrets with my decision to focus entirely on the development of my current band, but with my renewed interest in writing, I have personal plans for 2017 to record all of the sax ensemble pieces I wrote back in college and the years that followed as well as begin writing new original compositions.
In April of 2015, I was pleased to have my setting of What Wondrous Love Is This for wind ensemble programmed at the Lebanon Valley College spring concert. I recently got my hands on the recording of that performance and plan to polish up several of my past compositions for performance with the hopes of passing those compositions along to potential publishers.
All in all, 2017 could be a very exciting and career defining year between the potential direction the band is heading and my new compositional ambitions.
Multiple projects under way
April 10, 2014
Over a month has passed since settling my operation in Denver and I’ve found several things to busy myself with.
My main project continues to be the primary reason for moving to Denver, my new band Jesse RS. After 4 weeks of rehearsals and band meetings, we put our first live show behind us with a very positive response. Our debut show at Quixotes brought in the most people the club has seen attend a show on a Sunday night since they opened their new location over a year ago. We were offered a weekly residency at the club the next day as well as an opening spot at one of their larger clubs later in the month. We’re currently in the middle of recording our debut album which should be finished by the end of the month and released at our CD release party – a featured show at the Marquis Theater in LoDo Denver on May 10. There is still a lot of work to be done with a including a show at Toad’s Tavern as well as booking our album tour which will kick off in Kansas City on May 29.
In between working on things for Jesse RS, I’ve finally started putting ideas together for what I hope will become my first solo album. It’s the project I planned to put ahead of all else after moving to Atlanta early this year, but is now my side project. It’s a slow process, but I’m excited to put together something that should be a little different. I had envisioned a smooth jazz style solo album, but there may be more rock and folk influence than I originally expected.
Finally, I was surprised and happy to hear from the singer of the Dave Matthews Tribute Band the other week when I was asked if I knew any drummers or fiddle players in the area. Preliminary plans to put together a Denver-based DMB tribute are now in the works and should prove to be another fun side project.
Relocation & new album with Jesse RS
February 3, 2014
It’s been an exciting start to the new year which will soon turn into a busy year come spring. Two months after settling up shop in Atlanta, I’ll be hitching up the Gypsy Wagon and pointing the wheels west for Denver, Colorado where I’ll be joining a band being assembled by singer/songwriter, Jesse RS. Upon arrival in the Rockies, I’ll be the final contributor to our first album which will be the focus of a busier performance schedule late this spring.
I’ll be posting updates and news here as always, but be sure to check out the band’s main page HERE. Links to twitter, Facebook and audio singles can be found there. Definitely check back as there should be plenty of news to report in the coming weeks!
Happy New Year!
December 30, 2013
I’m very excited to announce a last minute gig to ring in the coming New Year. I’ve been invited to share the stage with local singer/songwriter Jason Barshinger to ring in 2014 at the Warwick in Hummelstown. I’ve teamed up with Jason before and it’s always a great time. For you fans of music from the 90s, this is your guy. Sitting in with Jason always reminds me cruising in my mom’s car and listening to the radio back in high school. So if you’re still up in the air about where to take your New Years party, swing by the Warwick for a few drinks and say hi!
As for 2014, I’ve set some advantageous goals that I’m excited to get tied up in. I’m hoping to have more performance dates for everyone to keep up with this coming spring as well as some samples of original work. I’m hopeful to have some solo album news by next Christmas.
Canonball Brute Series Saxophones
November 8, 2013
Over the past two months, I’ve spent some time traveling to various music shops and sampling some new horns. I had test played a Cannonball Brute Series tenor over a year ago while visiting friends in Tampa and really liked the darker tone and feel of the horn. I have been pleased with my Cannonball soprano since I got it back in 1999 and was excited to try some of their newer series horns. Now, with some extra time and being in the market for a new set of horns, I had it in my mind that a line of Cannonball horns would be nice, but wanted to test run some other brands so as to not short-change myself. Most of the shops I ventured to were privately own studios/repair shops/collections and offered primarily vintage horns. Playing some of these classics surely reminded me how much I love the sound of the horns of yesteryear, but I could not get over how different the “feel” of vintage horns is. Playing sax is such a second nature to me these days. It’s as natural as putting on a belt or tying my shoes. I couldn’t bring myself to invest in something that would force me to re-learn something I already feel so comfortable doing.
After coming to that conclusion, I was able to get my hands on the horn I had been leaning toward all along. I took a trip to Menchey Music in Lancaster, PA. Menchey is the only music service in the area that deals with Cannonball and they were extremely helpful and pleasant to work with. The only horns available in their showroom were the Cannonball Raven series alto and tenor. The black and silver finish on those horns is beautiful! However, having tested this series, I found the silver metal of the inner bell gives the tone more of a bright sound. Not as bright as the Yamaha 52 I’d been playing for the past 16 years, but brighter than the Brute series I had tried over a year before. My sales associate, Amy, was kind enough to contact Cannonball and procure a Brute series tenor for me to re-test. Two weeks later I got a chance to experience this horn again and knew it would be my new ace.
After receiving the set of horns, I was both excited to have a new “family” to take on stage with me and impressed with some of the options that came with each horn.
Both the alto and tenor were stocked with 2 necks: one standard with the octave mechanism on top, and one labeled “fat neck” with the octave mechanism underneath (much like some vintage horns I’ve run across).
The soprano came with 2 necks as well: one straight and one curved. My old Cannonball soprano came with the same. Cannonball sopranos come in a variety of makes: standard straight, curved straight and curved. I opted for the curved straight which has a saxello look to it. I was pleased to test my mic on this horn and find that this configuration helps to mic the entirety of the horn as the mic mounted underneath the bell still points at an angle toward the body keys.
The bari also comes with 2 necks: one of the same finish as the horn and one silver finish. I found this a little peculiar as the whole LARGE horn is Brute finish, but the alternate neck, which is the smallest accessory on the horn, is a silver finish. I played both and heard no discernible difference.
All horns came with Cannonball mouthpieces which I feel might work well as a classical piece, but did not impress me for my personal playing needs. They remind me of a stock Yamaha piece. All horns also included neckstraps, although the bari included a harness strap as well as standard neck strap. This harness would fit any of the horns. Each horn had the standard cork grease and polish cloth and came in lovely “gator skin” cases. The exception being the bari which came in a nylon case equipped with roller wheels, backpack straps and a detachable shoulder strap.
All in all, I’m very excited to get these new horns on stage!
The voice of Jessica Ryan
October 28, 2013
Over the holiday season of 2012 I was still playing horn aboard cruise ships which has its obvious perks and benefits as well as its less publicized headaches and disadvantages. As a musician, one of the great things about the revolving door that is contractual work is the networking aspect. I’ve worked with dozens, maybe hundreds, of musicians from all over the world. I’ve worked with drummers who barely speak english, guitarists whose main instrument is banjo and singers who don’t know any pop tunes prior to 1998. I’ve also worked with bass players who now have record labels, Grammy nominated pianists and vocal tributes that tour the world. On this particular contract I had the privilege of working with a phenomenal vocalist named Jessica Ryan. Although the 4 weeks that we spent with that band were some of the less glamorous of my contracts at sea, it was always a pleasure to work with and share the stage with someone who not only has studied her art and understands music on a professional level, but is also well versed across genres and generations.
The following summer, some months after parting ways, I was humbled to be asked to arrange a set of charts for Jessica. She was in the process of putting together her first album and needed arrangements for the band she was hiring to go into the studio with. Over the next few weeks we collaborated via the internet and I finished 10 charts for her. I was recently blown away when I finally got the chance to hear these arrangements in their finished state. Jessica released her first album, a tribute to some of the most iconic female singers of our time, entitled “Sound Capsule”. She is undoubtedly one of the most powerful and emotional voices I have ever had the privilege to share the stage with and her talent shines throughout this album. I encourage all of you to visit the links below to check her out grab up this album. I’m quite excited to see what the next step will be for her!
Smooth jazz on the YouTube
September 30, 2013
If you haven’t had a chance to check out my YouTube channel yet, click the link in the upper right hand corner and have a listen to some live performance clips. I’ll be sorting through unedited clips of some sets from my past two ship contracts. There are a few up already including a newly added performance of Richard Elliot’s “In The Groove”. Click, like, follow, subscribe, comment! And as always… peace, love, sax!
Starting to book local show dates
September 4, 2013
Be sure to check out the show dates section in the next few weeks. I’ll be returning to Pennsylvania after my 3 month venture in Alaska on cruise ships and have began setting up performances in the Reading area. So far one date is already booked for the end of the month at Klingers with my good friend, Gabe Traynor.
Welcome to the NEW CRWhiteley.com
July 7, 2013
I’d like to welcome you all to the re-imagined CRWhiteley.com! I’m excited to be integrating some new elements such as the Wall Feed on the home page as well as pictures for my Gear page. Be sure to continue to check the Performance area as I hope to be playing more later this fall, particularly in the Southeast.