Michael Mull Octet

Michael Mull Octet

Friday, July 30, 2010


Gearing up for some fun times in August...

First, I'd like to thank the audience and the people at Liquid Zoo for a great time last weekend! I had a blast playing with Brandon Sherman, Derek Beach and John Shebalin, and the audience was one of the more receptive groups in recent memory. I feel that the average person is quite open to different and new types of music, but it is often a question of exposure to said styles. I hope to get back to the Liquid Zoo in Van Nuys soon and continue to spread the word of creative music.

If you didn't catch our set at Liquid Zoo (or couldn't get enough), the same quartet will be playing this Sunday evening, August 1st at the last Jazz and Improvisational Music Series at 2nd Street Jazz in Little Tokyo. Three bands from 9-midnight, one charge of $10 ($5 for a drink ticket, and $5 directly to the bands). Here is the info:

2nd Street Jazz
366 E 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Sunday, August 1st
$10 gets you admission and a drink

In other news, mixing has been going fantastic for the upcoming trio album. Engineer John Aspinall and I are making speedy progress each meeting, and the sounds are incredible! The sound is pure, clean and raw, and places you right in front of the trio. More news as the project develops.

I will be travelling up and down California for the first two weeks of August with the Fatum Brothers Jazz Orchestra on their CD release tour. We are starting in San Diego at Dizzy's and going as far north as Sacramento, but Los Angelinos should keep their eyes open for our gig at Catalina Bar and Grill, as it will feature tenor legend Bob Mintzer sitting in! I will post all of the dates and venues here very soon.

Lastly, I am playing with the Alex Smith trio at the farmers market in Torrance this Saturday morning from 9am-1pm, for those in the south bay area. This is a special gig as one set will feature a brand new duo project my wife Ami Mull has put together with guitarist Joel Mankey. Alex will sit in on percussion on a few tunes, and they are gearing up for a performance at Cafe Metropol later in August. Check out some of their tunes HERE.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two Gigs This Week

Good afternoon! I wanted to let you all know about a couple of gigs this week.

Friday night (7/23) I am playing a solo saxophone set 7-9pm at the Novel Cafe in Koreatown. It is a "trial gig" of sorts for me, and hopefully will turn into a weekly gig of either solo saxophone, guitar/saxophone duo, or possibly trio playing. If you would like to come out, the food looks tasty and pretty reasonably priced, as well as a full bar and desserts/coffee for later crowds.

The Novel Cafe
3760 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Sunday night (7/25) at 8:30pm, you can find me at the Liquid Zoo bar in Van Nuys in the company of a new assemblage of great young musicians. The gig will feature Brandon Sherman on trumpet, Derek Beach on bass, and John Shebalin on drumset. I will be premiering two brand new compositions penned for this group, a contrafact by Brandon, and two tunes from great altoists Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman. Brandon is leaving town for New York in less than two weeks, so catch him while you can! We're playing one set only, and there is NO COVER, so come grab a drink and hear some brand new music by a brand new band.

Liquid Zoo
7214 Sepulveda Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91405

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bjork Videos

I love Bjork! Check out the wonderful combination of instruments on this video:


Upright bass, tabla, synth, flute, turntables/samples, and wine glasses (harpsichord too?). Yet it is put together so naturally, and it feels "normal" and relaxed, not to mention it is a beautiful song on it's own. How about two classical/flameno style guitars and wrenching, phone-filtered vocals? You got it!


Reminds us not to be afraid of sparseness, and of simple elements. The quality of the performance and composition will carry many, many orchestrational possibilities.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Hammer Museum

Good Sunday to you. I had a great time yesterday going to the Hammer Museum to check out the artwork, as well as some musical happenings. Musical curator Chris Kallmyer provided a joyful atmosphere by encouraging each visitor to wear a bell around his or her neck, the instructions being simply "consider your surroundings". I felt that this lightened the mood of what can sometimes be an awkwardly quiet museum atmosphere in the galleries, and simply made me relax and smile walking the grounds.

The main attraction, as far as my wife and I were concerned, was a solo performance by Colin Woodford on a single cymbal. The cymbal was close-miced from below, allowing overtones/undertones and other intricacies of sound to emerge that a listener would never (or barely) hear otherwise. These intricacies could be highlighted or dampened with a volume pedal. Although Colin improvised the material for a cool 45 minutes, it was apparent that this was not an experiment taking place; the exploration was musical, not physical, and the performance was permeated by sensitivity and intent. Tones were treated with care, themes were stated and developed, and each phase of the performance seemed a comfortable length. All this, coupled with the sound of bells and the surrounding environment of people, made for a sublime experience that crossed intense musical listening with a light-hearted enjoyment of just being.

Keep an eye out for further installations at the Hammer, and I will definitely post about any further Colin Woodford solo excursions. I've got a gig with a new assemblage of musicians a week from tonight, so look for more details tomorrow or Tuesday in the form of a post......it will be FREE (the gig, not the post. Well, the post too).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mixing and Orkestar MÉZÉ

Hello everyone! Keeping cool? .....me neither.

I've begun mixing for my debut trio album (to feature Ben Shepherd and Cameron Hicks) with engineer John Aspinall, and I'm pleased with the results so far. I've picked takes, and we've got a great rough mix on "Dirty Sugar". Tonight we will apply that general mix to some other tracks and start picking through the details and nuances of each song. This is my first top-to-bottom, self-produced, full-length (and other hyphenated phrases) project, and I am already having a blast putting it together. Make sure to check back here for updates on the album.

For about six months, I have been a part of an incredibly fun band, Orkestar MÉZÉ. Headed by pianist/keyboardist/composer Milen Kirov, Orkestar MÉZÉ is LA's only Balkan Brass Gypsy Funk Band, delivering infectiously groovy tunes from Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia and Romania with a healthy dose of funk. We had a great gig a few weeks ago at the Bootleg Theater, the crowd was digging it, and some video was captured...check these out!

Orkestar MÉZÉ at the Bootleg Theater 1

Orkestar MÉZÉ at the Bootleg Theater 2

Orkestar MÉZÉ at the Bootleg Theater 3
(yes, that's Ben Shepherd on the electric bass)

One more video of the band at CalArts this Spring:

Orkestar MÉZÉ playing "Sandokan" at the Wild Beast

There is a recording being planned for Orkestar MÉZÉ; more details as I get them. Until then, I'll post any gigs we have here. Bring out your inner peasant!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A few gigs and a project

Happy 4th of July weekend to you all. I'm playing a quartet gig at a party tonight with Milen Kirov, a great composer/keyboardist. We're playing some killer Bulgarian and Macedonian funk jams, ornaments and odd time signatures, but always funky. If any of you are going to be in the South Bay tomorrow morning (Saturday), come check out the Alex Smith Trio featuring Alex Smith on drums, Emilio Terranova on bass, and myself on saxophones. Yes, this is JAZZ THUNDER under the leadership of Alex!

Close friends of mine know that I have been a long-time fan of Meshuggah, a metal band whose music centers around intricate, "over-the-barline" rhythms set over a deep groove. Meshuggah holds various points of interest for me, but I am finally getting to a little project of transcribing some of the incredible guitar solos by lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal. I've only got one down so far, but several more planned for the coming weeks. His solos are both frantic and skillfully constructed, and each solo yeilds a different, highly creative approach, something not often found in the rock/metal world. I will post some pdf files here for reference and (hopefully) discussion once I've compiled a few solos. In the meantime, if you haven't checked out Meshuggah yet, DO IT!