Animals Out of Paper

I recently completed a new origami commission. It’s a pair of dogs to be used in a revival of the play Animals Out of Paper by Rajiv Joseph. This is my first commission for the legitimate theatre. The dogs are based on my Timber design, although I modified the proportions to give them each an individual character. The paper, provided by Talo Kawasaki, the production’s origami consultant, is 18” Canson in bright red, so the models are large and also quite sturdy.

Animals Out of Paper is playing in February at West Park Church on 86th Street in Mahnattan. You can find out more about the production here.

7JW – Caught on Tape Again

Tonight we’re settling in to wait out a “potentially historic” blizzard. A good time to catch up some random tasks.

Last weekend my jazz septet Seven Jazz West played a return engagement at the Bass Line in Mount Vernon. It was a really good night with a great crowd and the band was really smokin’. Consensus was we sounded tighter, with better energy and better soloing. So here’s a few videos from the show to share with y’all.

Soul Station
My Favorite Things
Tom Thumb
Willow Weep for Me
Joy of Spring
Better Git It in Yer Soul
Mercy Mercy Mercy
No Room for Squares
The Chicken

New Song: To Be a Rock

You’re probably asking yourself, what’s up with John’s recording project? It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about it. Well, rest assured it’s still going on. In fact, I completed a demo of my new song, To Be a Rock, back around Thanksgiving. It’s not even that new; I’ve been working on this song off-and-on since the springtime. I started it around the same time as Your Dancing Shoes. In contrast to that one, which is light and upbeat, this one is heavy and anthemic.

The intro is a bass solo which took me a while to be able to play cleanly. Now I have all the basic parts tracked, the piano, bass drums and vocals. But it’s missing something. I’m not quite sure what. Maybe guitars, or synthesizers, or horns, I dunno. But rather than just start slathering on layers I’m gonna let it simmer on the back burner for a while. Looking at my list, I have four or five more half-written songs — enough to complete an album. So I’ll work on fleshing out some of those for a while, and circle back once I have them up to a comparable level of completion. Next up: Plague of Frogs.

Meanwhile, here are the chords and lyrics.

To Be a Rock
by John Szinger

(bass intro) Dm
(chorus) Am (G/B) C Dm (C/E) F Am (G/B) C Dm (C/E) F Gm (F/A) Bb
(verse) AMaj7 FMaj7 EbMaj7 Bm D7#9 AMaj7 FMaj7 EbMaj7 Bm D7#9 E (D/F#) Gm

Man of steel man of stone
But what man can stand alone?
And even as you love them too
The ones you love will one day look to you —
Man of motion holding fast
But what man is built to last?
Like water be, take on the form
To find inside you’re solid to the core —

Dark night of gloom
Red sun of doom
Gotham metropolis
You know I never asked for this
Can you stand the day you stumble?
Can you bend or will you crumble?
Oh, to be a rock!

Every day another trial
How many steps to climb a mile?
Push that stone back up that hill
A thousand labors only to stand still —
Men of stone men of steel
But what kind of man is real?
Man of motion never rests
Each day put your mettle to the test —

Red sun of doom
Dark night of gloom
I never asked for this
Gotham or metropolis
Will you crack the day you stumble?
Can you stand or will you crumble?
Oh, to be a rock!

Day Trippers Video Montages

I’ve been going thru a bunch of video over the winter break. I cut together a couple montages of the last two Day Trippers shows, at the Crossroads back in October and at Lexington in December, to give y’all an idea of the sound in under three minutes. The Day Trippers are John Foote on guitar and vocals, Ken Mathews on bass, Rob Cassels on drums, and Yours Truly on piano and lead vocals. Enjoy!


7 Jazz West – Caught on Tape

Here’s some video of the last 7JW gig back in November. I must say it’s a darn good perfomance. The sound and picture are really good considering it’s a smartphone camera, and it still looks kinda underground and edgy. Musically there are some moments where everyone in the group really shines. Mercy Mercy Mercy, Better Git in Yer Soul, Willow Weep For Me, ah, heck they’re all good.

Seven Jazz West are: Gary Trosclair on trumpet, Rich “The Hurricane” Ferricane on alto sax, John (Yours Truly) Szinger on tenor, Rich Paginello on piano, Steve Spitz on guitar, Ken Mathews on bass and Mike Oliva on drums.

Mercy Mercy Mercy
Willow Weep for Me
Better Git It in Yer Soul
All Blues
Joy of Spring
Blues for Wood