Ruminations / ARC-2956

Recorded at the Yamaha C9 piano at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California, on July 1, 2018.

This performance, at the instrument that McCoy Tyner personally chose for the studio, recently debuted on the NPR affiliate WGVU-FM in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kudos to Harvey McKnight / The Jazz Spotlight, and Scott Vander Werf / Sound Excursion.

From the album notes, Artists Recording Collective, ARC-2956:

Ruminations is an extended, multi-part performance for solo piano, recorded in one take at the Yamaha C9 concert grand at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, on the afternoon of July 1, 2018.

It is dedicated to the many asylum-seeking children who were, and are, unlawfully separated from their parents at the southern borders to the United States by the current Republican administration. To that end, there is a strong influence from Spanish classical music; the great composers Isaac Albeniz and Enrique Granados have left an indelible mark on this work.

It is my wish that this music brings healing to those that have been profoundly displaced; memories of a courageous people that have not been forgotten.

With thanks to Mr. Alberto Hernandez, master engineer, Fantasy Studios, and Mr. Christopher Burnett, Artists Recording Collective.

James David Armstrong, Jr. (BMI), composer and performer. All rights reserved.

Tracks / CD:  “Ruminations”, duration 1 hour, 4 minutes;  “Ruminations” warm-up, duration 5 minutes, 41 seconds.

Preview the music here

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Ruminations ARC 2956 James Armstrong


“The Ancients” — new release on Artists Recording Collective label

“The Ancients” sits at the intersection of improvisation and modern classical music; a crystallization of techniques and processes that were initiated some forty years ago.    

As its form evolved, over several years, it was apparent that it could not be contained by traditional music notation.  Reductions to a score, in two dimensions, had become a distraction; irrelevant for purposes of a complex, solo performance, in real-time.

Realistically, extended performances along these lines are a lost art here in the San Francisco Bay Area.   Long takes, informed profoundly by European piano concertos, are anomalous.  In music venues especially, there is a tendency to focus squarely on standard, American repertoire of relatively short duration.  An insistence on show tunes has in fact overridden new music.

This work continues despite the odds; it has thrived in the absence of ‘vetting’ by regional promoters and broadcasters.  All of this gets back to the idea of serving the art, as opposed to a corporation, or for-profit business entity.

James D. Armstrong, Jr.

Fall, 2017

Purchase the CD via PayPal; $20.00 USD, ships from San Jose, California.

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