Monday, April 28, 2008

The Golia LaBerge Ocker Trio

Skip to the video of Vinny Introducing Me
Skip to recordings of the Golia LaBerge Ocker Trio
Skip to a new 30 Second Spot The Nurkle (for Vinny)

The renaming of the CalArts School of Music, as discussed in this previous MM post, has progressed to the Temporary Sign Stage. Here's proof photographic.

The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts Temporary Sign
I made another trip to the beautiful Santa Clarita Valley (read about the first trip in this other previous MM post.) Trip one was at the request of my friend Art Jarvinen. Trip two was at the request of my friend Vinny Golia. Here's a picture of Vinny.

Vinny Golia teaches the Career Design course at CalArts
This time I was asked to speak to a class in "Career Design". Don't ask me what that is because I don't know. Apparently students who know what I have done during my so-called career will be able to avoid my obvious mistakes. Good luck with that.

I made the following video of Vinny as he introduced me to the class. I've added a few text comments of my own to the video.

At the end of the introduction Vinny mentions a wind-instrument improvisation trio which consisted of Anne LaBerge on flutes, myself on clarinets, and Vinny on clarinets, flutes and small saxophones. This happened during the eighties.

Vinny Golia, Anne LaBerge, David Ocker
I asked Anne and Vinny for permission to post some recordings of the three of us. They agreed (although Anne wanted me to mention that she is still alive. She has a home in a place called Holland and maintains a homepage in a place called the Internet.)

I've posted three studio improvisations which we recorded in February 1986. We never did anything with the tapes except culling these three takes onto a separate reel for radio interviews. The box is marked "No electronic sound processing" because, apparently, there had been some confusion about how we made the sounds.

This is completely spontaneous unplanned music. It was like a conversation between people with different views on common interests. We are all composers. Vinny and Anne are still explorers of the outer realms of woodwind performance. So was I, back then. We were a good match. I look back on this group with great fondness.

The three improvisations are Copyright (c) 1986 and 2008 by Vinny Golia, Anne LaBerge and David Ocker. Timings #3 - 6'43" #11 4'20" #12 1'48"

Vinny Golia, Anne LaBerge, David Ocker
Our only available pictures as a group come from a photo session proof sheet. These were taken by photographer Joel Mark. I did not ask permission of Vinny or Anne or Joel to post these. I'm the one hiding behind a mostly-not-yet-gray beard and photo-gray glasses. Click any picture for a bit of enlargement. Don't expect much.

Vinny Golia, Anne LaBerge, David Ocker

Vinny Golia, Anne LaBerge, David Ocker
This third improv is actually a duet between Anne and myself. If it sounds like we had been listening to Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, that's because we had. She and I had recently played Pierrot together in a group called The Thirteenth Floor.

Vinny Golia, Anne LaBerge, David Ocker

Vinny Golia, Anne LaBerge, David Ocker
Here's a flyer for a trio concert at a place called BeBop Records. The drawing of the sea lion wearing a pirate hat on which sits a parrot is one of my doodles. If I remember this concert correctly Anne couldn't make it for some reason so it ended up being a duo concert, just Vinny and myself. Anyway, I like the doodle.

Vinny Golia, Anne LaBerge, David Ocker
And finally while I was at CalArts - er, I mean at the Herb Alpert School of Music - for the final time, Vinny had to tell me how to close a piano lid. "You have to retract the nurkle" he explained.

I liked the word "nurkle" although I have no idea what he meant.

I decided that "nurkle" needed to be part of a musical title.

The Nurkle (for Vinny) - (c) Copyright 2008 by David Ocker - 34 seconds

Nurkle Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Kraig Grady said...

Rich at bebop has donated all his poster to CSUN who now has his archive. let me know if you need to reach him!

Scott Fessler said...

What happened after Vinny introduced you?? I wanna see what you did with the class!! More video!!

od said...

Wow...thanks for posting the mp3s...spontaneous composition at its finest. I was really captivated by the play of strange overtones and moving harmony going on behind the melody line in the last part of #3 (starting around 4:30).

I wonder if not doing anything with these tapes (until posting them on your blog) was a part of your "career design"?

I would also really like to see the lecture...but don't most people charge for revealing the trade secrets like career design?

Also, brilliantly, youtube pulls up Herb Alpert videos as "related" to your talk...and presumably vice versa such that folks watching Herb Albert videos would be directed to this story where they might find that improvisation can occasionally lead to eating seafood.

David Ocker said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I'm amazed that anyone would want a video of the remainder of the two hour session. It's easy to video someone else talking, especially when they're sitting right next to you - quite a bit harder to video yourself for hours on end.

I do remember talking about the ICA - because Vinny mentioned it in the intro. I said that I regret starting not one, but two, egalitarian music groups (ICA and Xtet) where every member has a say in all decisions. I remember telling them "if you want to start a group make it your own group. Be the music director."

I also remember saying that I had chosen my major in college based on what time of day the courses began - at Carleton math classes started at 8:00 a.m.but music classes started at 10:30. That's a no brainer for me. I've pretty much designed my career ever since then based on how late in the day I could wake up.

There was quite a bit of interest in the "While You Were Art" incident - in which the EAR Unit "performed" Frank Zappa's music at a Monday Evening Concert. This is especially true since two other characters in that drama (Art Jarvinen and Erika Duke) teach at the Herb Alpert School of Music now. Read lots more about this event here

Vinny wanted me to talk about my reasons for starting this here blog. We got to the last 5 minutes of the two hours and the subject hadn't come up yet. So I talked fast.

What did I learn from my three visits to Cal Arts' classes - I mean Herb Alpert School of Music classes? I learned to always bring a bottle of water.