Common Ground musicians release CD
Encouraged when their recording won the state’s top grant for world music, 3 Trees with McDaniel adjunct lecturer Jon Seligman decided to record a CD based on the same traditional Turkish musical themes and North and West African improvisations.
The group of seasoned musicians – Tomchess and Pitz Quattrone with Seligman – got together when teaching at Common Ground on the Hill, and a recording of their nightly jam sessions in 2010 won them the Maryland State Arts Council Grant for world music. During the 2011 Common Ground Traditions Weeks, they recorded “3 Trees” the CD, and released it during Common Ground 2012, making it available for listening and for purchase via download at 3trees.bandcamp.com.
“3 Trees” CD recently released by 3 Trees band with adjunct lecturer Jon Seligman.
The beautiful sonic blend, says Seligman, comes from multi-instrumentalist and composer Tomchess on oud (Near-Eastern lute), ney (Near-Eastern flute), morsing (South Indian jaw harp) and more; from Pitz Quattrone, master didgeridoo (indigenous Australian wind instrument) performer and teacher; and percussionist and composer Jon Seligman on frame drum, riqq (Arab tambourine), marimba and more.
All three musicians play with other bands and have other gigs that find them teaching or performing. Tomchess is busy as a performer in NYC playing many different kinds of music and Quattrone is a frequent visiting artist in New England public schools, performing and leading workshops in the arts of playing and making didgeridoos. At McDaniel, Seligman teaches “From Africa to the Americas,” which traces the drumming of West Africa to the new world; he also teaches percussion lessons and leads students in the Percussion Ensemble.
Seligman began playing piano as a child and switched to drums when he was 11. He’s at home playing music that ranges from roots and blues to jazz, Irish, Italian, Native American and most recently Turkish. Currently he’s most interested in Turkish classical and devotional music; the sonic quality of the music and its rhythmic and melodic systems captivated him during his recent studies in Istanbul.
“At some point I realized that I couldn’t play just one genre of music and make it as a musician – and then I realized that I didn’t want to,” says Seligman, who grew up near New York City where he was exposed to an extremely high level of jazz as a boy. “When I heard jazz I said, ‘this is what I want to do.’”
With 3 Trees the music is earthy and spiritual in the Turkish Sufi tradition. With Seligman’s jazz quartet Honorable Menschen, it is original modern jazz. With Christopher James it is blues and roots music. On any given evening, Seligman could be filling in with bands playing almost anything.
But what is his top choice?
“My favorite? That’s whatever I’m doing tonight.”