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The Brandenburg 300 Project

Album Notes

The Brandenburg 300 Project is a jazz-classical crossover version of the Brandenburg Concertos using instruments and recording techniques not available in Bach's time. The accompanying website tells the story of the Project and the people who are honored by each of the recordings.

 

 

It is best to read this website while listening to the music.



Introduction to the Printed Version of the Brandenburg300.com Website

 

This book is an exact replication of this Brandenburg 300 Project website, which can be viewed there free of charge. The printed version exists because the website will likely disappear in time, and the paper version may have a chance of living on. The printed version is frozen as of December 2013, while the website may evolve.

 


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There is a myth in our family that we all die before the age of 62. My mother was convinced of it, probably because both her parents died at the age of 62, and her brother, who everyone said I looked like, died in his 50’s. She actually lived, fully, to the age of 89. For example, her last words were a dirty joke; and, when she found out she had about a month to live she loaded a bunch of books I’d written (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence) and my sister’s pots, and went door to door at the Senior Center saying, “You want to buy one of my sons books or daughters pots – I’m dying. She sold a lot of them. Some people go into depression when they learn they will die, my mother went into retail.

 

I, of course, have no clue when I am going to die. But when I turned 60 I thought I should at least acknowledge the possibility that early death might skip a generation and I might be next.

 

I chose to re-write/re-arrange/re-mix (there is no perfect word for what we did) the Brandenburg Concertos, and instead of using the cryptic and outdated classical music naming conventions, I named each piece after someone or something I cherished for some reason. The website accompanying the recording project has a page for each of these honorees and is the bulk of this book. Artist statements, techniques and credits are certainly included, but the focus of the website is on the honorees.

 

The Brandenburg 300 Project recordings and book is, possibly, my final statement. At the very least it was sort of a race against death, and a powerful incentive to say everything I wanted to say musically, by example, and in text - - - now. I think you will find that the narratives on the honoree webpages sometimes include deeply personal statements, and cherished stories.

 

Some of these stories are extended excerpts from two other books I wrote: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence (a more-or-less nonfiction account of the funny things that happened in my life); and, The Sounds of Steinbeck’s Chinatown (written for the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas).

 

I apologize for the price of the book and CD's, but it is necessary to reflect the cost of making the recording, website and book. For example, the wholesale price to me of printing and shipping the book is over $25, and for the CD almost $10. Musicians, recording engineers, mixing and mastering engineers, and studios were all paid. The total cost has been more than an average year’s salary. All of this has come out of my pocket.

 

Many people think the profit can be had by gaining publicity and promoting successful live shows. This is not possible for me because of injuries and age. The only potential income comes from sales, and this at a time when CD sales for well-known artists are plummeting, and the chance of a newcomer such as myself making significant sales is much less than my chance of being hit by lightning. For all practical purposes I am just giving it away, but I do want to make the statement that I believe musicians, artists and other content providers should be paid fairly for their work, and currently they are not.

 

If you are a musician. artist, teacher, public servant, first responder, law enforcement or national security, please contact me and I will, if I’m alive and competent, use my best efforts to get you a book, CD or at least some high-quality downloads free of charge. For the rest of you, please buy my offerings, and go find some other artists and musicians who need it, and buy their stuff too. Please.

 

What do I mean by paid fairly? ANSWER: If you are working hard, you should be able to live in a modest condo in a place safe enough that your children can play outside without fear, and attend a decent school so they have a chance to make something of themselves. When I began 40 years ago this is how it was. I hope a way is found to return to supporting our artists, and so many of our children, so they can make a decent living while enriching our lives.

 

I remember when I was first starting out as a musician I had moved to New York to make my way as an avante-garde jazz electric bass player. It was 1974. I was down to my last $3, and I walked from my room in an abandoned building on Chambers and Broadway, to Artist House in SoHo. Artist House was Ornette Coleman’s house, and he was giving a concert with himself, Charlie Haydn and some others whose names I have forgotten. Admission was $10, but I’d heard he let musicians in for much less.

 

I got there and saw a sign on the table outside: “Admission $10, Artists $5.” I had $3. I offered the lady at the table my $3 and she just shook her head. I walked a few feet down the sidewalk and it started to rain big wet drops. I felt terrible, looked down, and saw a $10 bill. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what to do.

 

I picked up the wet bill, put it in my pocket, went back to the lady at the table, and told her I’d found some money. She asked how much, and I refused to tell her. I just said that if anybody came by claiming to have lost some money, I would be nearby and would give it to them. I went back out into the rain.

 

After 10 or 15 minutes, the lady came out to me and said, “You can go in to the concert for free. If someone comes by I’ll let you know.”

 

It was the best concert I have ever heard. And no one claimed the money.

 

I offer free copies in honor of this fine woman, whose name I do not know.

 

 

Robert Nathan Danziger

 

 

 
Musician and Production Credits

Composed by J.S. Bach, Arranged and additional composition by Robert Danziger.


Mixed by Chris Bolster at Abbey Road Studios


Additional mixing, mastering, sound design and Co-Production by Pat Woodland

 

 

Bob Danziger (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) has won the Gold Medal for Best Original Music by the International Film & Television Festival of New York; received an ASCAP Special Award for Adult Alternative, Jazz, World, Special Event, Movie, or Television; appeared on numerous albums; and composed soundtracks for museum exhibitions. He has written four books including “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence,” been issued eight patents, and received a Doctorate of Fine Arts (Hon) from Cal-State Monterey Bay, and a Juris Doctor from Whittier College School of Law.

 

Pat Woodland (Co-production, sound design, mixing and mastering): television credits Vegas; Late Show with David Letterman; Numbr3s; Sex and the City; Profiler; Ali: An American Hero; Nightbreaker; Fantastic Four; Bull; Breathing Lessons; Jack Reed A Killer Among Us; and, To Dance with the White Dog. Trailers: The Last Seduction; Kill Me Again; Zanda Lee; Rainbow Drive; and, Whispers.

 

Appearing on Brandenburg 21, 22, 23 and 43:


Mike Miller (Guitar) has performed on multiple film soundtracks by Hans Zimmer and Mark Mothersbaugh (DEVO), and collaborated with Chick Corea ("Paint The World", Grammy Award nomination), George Duke, Al Jarreau, Airto Moreira & Flora Purim, Stanley Clarke, Brand X, Peter Erskine and The Yellowjackets (with whom he received another Grammy Award nomination) Tom Scott and The LA Express, Bette Midler, Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, Brenda Russell and Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire), and many more. Mike is well known for reinterpreting the very complex music of Frank Zappa, including collaboration with: Banned From Utopia (Zappa alumni band), The Grandmothers (Don Preston, Jimmy Carl Black), The Fowler Brothers "Airpocket", as well as appearances performing Zappa's music with The Seattle Symphony Orchestra, The Portland Symphony Orchestra and The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Mike Miller was also featured at The Ojai Festival with Sir Simon Rattle and The L. A. Philharmonic Orchestra for a performance of contemporary orchestral music.


Albert Q Wing (Reeds and Flute) also is well known for his work with Frank Zappa’s music, including several album and touring projects, the Fowler Brothers, Flo and Eddie, and Banned from Utopia. Albert Wing has also recorded and/or toured with Tony Bennett, The Four Tops. Diana Ross, Sting, George Duke, Mary Wells, Earl Klugh, Ray Brown, Don Henley, George Benson, Manhattan Transfer, Eikichi Yazawa, Larry Carlton, Bingo Miki, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Howie Mandel, Rosanne Cash, Michael McDonald, Lion King, Paula Abdul, and Louie Bellson. He has also appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Late Show with David Letterman and the American Music Awards.

 

 

Cello Solo on Brandenburg 15 Penkovsky

 

Melissa Hasin (Cello soloist on Brandenburg 15 Penkovsky): is a session musician, performing a range of music from classical and rock/pop to heavy metal, soul, and rap. She has played on sessions by everyone from Barbra Streisand and Natalie Cole to No Doubt (which used Hasin on its major hit of 1996 "Don't Speak"), to gangsta rapper Snoop Dogg. Other artists include Tori Amos, John Tesh, Bradley Joseph, Melissa Manchester, Kosmos Express, David Benoit, Robert Deeble and Teddy Edwards. On stage, she has backed Sammy Davis, Jr., Smokey Robinson, Frank Sinatra in 1996, and Led Zeppelin graduates Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in 1997.

Most of the music was played with this instrumet

Instrument Credits and Preferred CD Order of Songs


Disk 1

 

Brandenburg 62-1 Voyager 2

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Low Horn, Piano, sound sculpture/effects (Sound effects from the Voyager Gold Record), percussion, drums

 

 

Brandenburg 11 Franklin

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Baritone Horn, French Horn. English Horn, Cello, Piano, sound sculpture/effects

Pat Woodland: Drums and percussion

 

Brandenburg 23 DaVinci

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Cello, English Horn

Mike Miller: Guitar, Electric Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin

Albert Q Wing: Alto, Tenor and Soprano Sax; Flute, Pennywhistle,

 

 

Brandenburg 43 Curie

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Cello, Baritone Horn

Mike Miller: Guitar, Electric Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin

Albert Q Wing: Alto, Tenor and Soprano Sax; Flute, Pennywhistle,

 

 

Brandenburg 53 Shen Zhou

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Flute, Bass

 

 

Brandenburg 41 Iwanaga

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Piano, Bass

 

 

Brandenburg 14 Hicks

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Trumpet, Tuba

 

 

Brandenburg 52-1 Lafayette

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Piano, Bass, Drums, Percussion

 

 

Brandenburg 21 Voyager

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Cello, Harp, Bass, Percussion, Drums

Mike Miller: Guitar, Electric Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin

Albert Q Wing: Alto, Tenor and Soprano Sax; Flute, Pennywhistle, Bass

 

 

 

Brandenburg 31 Schoenoff

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Piano, Bass

 

 

Brandenburg 17-8 Morales

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Piano, Bass, Drums

 

 

 

 

Disk 2

 

Brandenburg 12-3 Perricone

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Piano, sound sculpture/effects

 

Brandenburg 15 Penkovsky

Melissa Hasin: Cello

 

Brandenburg 43 Einstein

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius): Cello, Horn

 

Brandenburg 63 San

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Piano, Bass

 

Brandenburg 42 Pementil

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Piano

 

Brandenburg 32-3 Woodland

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Piano, Bass, sound sculpture/effects

 

 

Brandenburg 22 Rembrandt

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Cello, English Horn

Mike Miller: Guitar, Electric Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin

Albert Q Wing: Alto, Tenor and Soprano Sax; Flute, Pennywhistle,

 

 

Brandenburg 21 King

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Cello, Harp, Bass, Percussion, Drums

Mike Miller: Guitar, Electric Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin

Albert Q Wing: Alto, Tenor and Soprano Sax; Flute, Pennywhistle, Bass

 

 

 

Brandenburg 23 Vermeer

Featuring: Mike Miller: Acoustic and Electric Guitar

Albert Q Wing: Alto, Tenor Sax; Flute,

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Cello, Horn

 

Brandenburg 43 Pauling

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Cello, Baritone Horn, Bass, Drums, Percussion

Mike Miller: Guitar, Electric Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin

Albert Q Wing: Alto, Tenor and Soprano Sax; Flute, Pennywhistle, Bass, Drums, Percussion

 

 

 

Brandenburg 16 Earle

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Piano, Bass, Drums, Percussion

 

 

BirdBach Badinerie

Bob Danziger: (EWI, Logic and Sibelius) Piano, Bass

 

Demonstration of the EWI and one of the main techniques used to record the Brandenburg 300 Project.  The technique is called "comping."
What's different?

Traditional versus Non-Traditional Versions of the

Brandenburg Concertos

 

Favorite Traditional Versions

 

The traditional version on Voyager came from Karl Richter and the Munich Bach Orchestra. It remains my favorite of the traditional classical versions, and I listen to it often. Another traditional favorite is Wynton Marsalis: Brandenburg Concerto #2 In F, BWV 1047 - 3. Allegro Assai. The Academy of Ancient Music and others have re-created the sound of the Brandenburg using period instruments.

 

Both Traditional and Non-Traditional

 

The Swingle Singers version (Brandenburg Concerto #3 In G, BWV 1048 - Mvt. 1 is both traditional and non-traditional; as is Wendy Carlos’ Switched-on versions of the Brandenburg (more or less faithful-to-the-original arrangements substituting synthesizers in the 1980’s).

 

Non-Traditional

 

Jacques Loussier and his ensembles are, to my knowledge, the only groups to attempt jazz versions of the complete set of all of the Brandenburg Concertos. The Brandenburg 300 Project clearly sits on Loussier’s shoulders. In addition, jazz greats like Oscar Peterson, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, and Keith Jarrett have quoted the Brandenburg in several of their recordings. Sones De Mexico Ensemble Chicago has done a masterful version using Mexican Mariachi rhythms and textures, while Tiempo Libre has imbued several Bach compositions with Cuban music history and flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

What is non-traditional about the Brandenburg 300 Project?

 

Intent

 

The re-written/arranged/mixed versions of the Brandenburg Concertos are written in 12-tone for any two instruments playing in any octave. Each composition is a deconstructed version of the original, which is then sometimes reconstructed with up to three other musicians using improvisational techniques.

 

PURE RECORDING PROJECT NOT INTENDED FOR LIVE PERFORMANCE

 

 

Range of instruments

 

Injuries sustained 42 years ago (when I was 18) make live performance and touring impossible. As a result I frequently would use electronic versions of traditional instruments that I could play above and below the range of the emulated instrument. For example the English Horn normally plays over a two octave range, whereas the electronic version I used could play over 5 octaves.

 

Live Playability - Impractical jumps between notes

 

 

Also, good composers structure their lines to give the players the best possible chance of playing in tune and on time. For example, trumpet lines that go from very low to very high usually have a run in between that makes it easier for the player to hit the high notes in tune and a lesser possibility of injuring their lips.

 

This is partially what allowed me to write for any two instruments playing in any octave. One way I achieved this was by recording the part using my EWI (Akai Electronic Wind Instrument) that does the same thing a MIDI keyboard does except you play it like a clarinet (i.e. you blow into it to make the sound). This allowed me to change the octave a line was recorded in higher or lower by several octaves until I found a pocket I liked, and it also served to test whether the lines really could be played by any two instruments playing in any octave. I also sometimes used a recording technique where I would record one part of a line, stop, record the higher part, stop: and then knit the two together.

 

 

Multiple Instruments

 

Each of the musicians on this recording play multiple instruments that would be impossible to reproduce live on stage.

 

 

 

Programming versus playing.

 

Some of the parts were programmed, as opposed to played in the traditional sense. For example, about 80% of the piano parts were programmed by developing a score using a notation program called Sibelius, then transferred to Logic – a Digital Audio Workstation – where I do all the tweaking, editing, tempo changes and sound designs (with Pat Woodland). About 80% of the piano parts are programmed, whereas about 80% of all the other parts are played.

 

 

Naming Variations and Multiple Versions

 

Several of the Movements have multiple variations. For example the third movement of the 2nd Concerto has 8 variations and counting. Others like 31 have only one variation at this point, but hopefully will gather several over time. In today’s world, with download and streaming, multiple variations in a range of genres and moods, is easy and why not let listeners and sound supervisors choose the version they like or need? Why not capture all of the greatness the musicians contribute, instead of choosing to make just one version (as you had to back in the CD/record album days) and leaving genius on the cutting room floor?

 

Tempos

 

All songs began development using the tempos from Karl Richter’s Munich Bach Orchestra (the same one as on Voyager). Then, because our versions were each originally re-written as duets or trios, harmony were at the most diads or triads, and because counterpoint sometimes took center stage, I would typically slow the piece down so the lines could be heard and savored more easily. On occasion in the recording process the lines were too fast for me to play with the desired articulation, so I would record at a slower speed and use recording techniques to speed up some passages to my desired tempos.

 

Numbering System and Combining Movements

 

The Brandenburg 300 Project uses a different numbering system than the traditional classical numbering system. Among these are to distinguish The Brandenburg 300 Project from traditional recordings; all arrangements are in 12 tone, not a key; the classical versions are deconstructed, and the hybrid versions are not classical; the old numbering system is out of step with naming practices in the non-classical world, and are incomprehensible to most people.

 

For example, the 2nd movement of the 1st Concerto is traditionally titled: Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major, BWV 1046: II. Adagio. In our system it is called “Brandenburg 12.” The first number is the Concerto (1 though 6), and the second number is the Movement within that Concerto (1 through 8).

 

Combining movements is fairly common (Karl Richter, Classical Jazz Quartet, etc.), and sometimes I combined two movements into one song. For example, I combined the 2nd and 3rd movements of the 1st Concerto and named it in honor of Sam Perricone.   For combined movements, the first number is the Concerto, the second number is the first movement playing, and the second number is the movement the particlar recording seques to. So, in this case, the recording is titled, “Brandenburg 12-3 Perricone.” The other combined recordings are:

 

Brandenburg 17-8 Morales

Brandenburg 32-3 Woodland

Brandenburg 52-1 Lafayette

Brandenburg 62-1 Voyager 2

 

 

 

 

 


Special thank you's to:


Martha, my love; and (in alphabetical order)

 

Bogidar Avramov

Richard Bains

Clay Couri

David Dally

Chuck Fredrickson

Hollis Goodall

David Gordon

David Ligare

Adriana Moran

Bill Minor

Peach

Arkady Serper

Biff Smith

Gary Smith

Ron Spoehel

Jim Tunney

Drew Waters