Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Naomi Siegel - March 27th


It has been a pleasure to become a part of the Racer Sessions community over the past several months. This community is supportive, daring and thoughtful; not to mention, it produces some awesome, stimulating music. I play and compose music because it provides an avenue through which I can convey and express a whole spectrum of emotions and ideas. It is gut wrenching, it is fun and it sounds pretty frickin cool too.

I will be presenting three pieces as a yet untitled suite of music. These pieces are autobiographical in the sense that they reflect different times of my life or ideas that I have been exploring.

The Pieces:

I. "Steppin’"

There are two meanings to the title Steppin’.” One is about putting on a front to try to protect oneself, and the other is about taking steps to move forward. The idea of “fronting” comes from the ways I and other women tried to protect ourselves in the sexist jazz department in college. I often did not feel safe to be vulnerable or truly express myself in that space, even though that’s what this music is about for me. We, as women in the department, did not know how to support each other musically or in dealing with the sexism at our school. It took us a while to even recognize the sexism for what it was. At times, we would vibe each other out, feeling like someone was stepping on our ground. This all came at a really exciting time when I was taking steps to move forward, to develop as a musician. Sometimes the fronting would get in the way of musical development, or get confused for development. I want to bring attention to this aspect of sexism because it stagnates growth and is divisive instead of bringing creative people together.

This piece follows a typical jazz format with some slight differences. It will feature Chris Icasiano, Walter White, Kate Olson, Aaron Otheim and me.

II. “Dislodge”

I have had the pleasure to spend some invaluable time with Julian Priester over the past several months. Through our time together, I was inspired to write a piece for two trombones.

“Dislodge" is a portrait of doubt. Acknowledging that it is there, really becoming aware of its whole presence. Where and how does it exist? What does doubt look like, feel like? How is it created? How can it invade our beings? Sometimes I feel like I have gotten rid of it, but then it creeps back in.  It can squash creativity. Doubt is something I definitely have struggled with, and this piece is about realizing how deeply lodged that doubt can be in my creative self. By really taking a good look at it, I am working toward dislodging doubt from my being.

This piece will feature Julian Priester and me. The piece incorporates aspects of improvisation and different compositional ideas. Much of the melody was inspired by a 12 tone row.

III. "December 15th”

“December 15th” was inspired by a musical idea I had while walking down 12th Ave on December 15th. This piece reflects my journey of becoming a part of the Seattle music scene, feeling comfortable here as well as being a bit nostalgic and reflective of the other communities I have been a part of. It is about moving forward and developing as musician in Seattle.

This piece will feature Chris Icasiano, Walter White and me.

The Improvisations:

As a teacher, rhythm is usually the first thing I teach about when introducing improvisation. It is also one of the things that resonates with me most when I listen to music.

This week and in the improvisations on Sunday night, I would like to encourage everyone to think about their rhythmic palette/vocabulary. Through the improvisations, I encourage you all to be very intentional about the rhythmic affect your ideas have as well as using those ideas to think compositionally in creating a whole piece. Just a few rhythmic possibilities: drone-like, fast/chaotic, slow/steady, choppy, sparse, dense, harmonic rhythm (or lack thereof), melodic rhythm, and within any of the rhythmic ideas I just described, there are possibilities of pulse, no pulse, implied pulse, alternating between pulses, contrast of rhythmic ideas within an ensemble, etc…