2018 Monthly Music Release

At the end of every month in 2018 Cocek! Brass Band is releasing a new single.  Each composition will feature a different guest artist or musician collaborator from across the country.  The goal is to expand the sound as an ensemble and work with a variety of people in different creative fields to make an interesting project on many different levels.

--- CLICK A MONTH BELOW ---

January Release - Good Ole Seoul
Guest Painter Stephen Pellnat | Portand, OR
 

Inspired by the sounds, smells and scenes of metropolitan Seoul, Korea

Artist Statement:

Having never personally been to Seoul, I wasn't certain what I wanted to say about it.  I knew I didn't want to include people, representationally or otherwise.  I know that Seoul is an ultra-modern city, highly international and cosmopolitan, but also built on the shoulders of a culture originating nearly four thousand years ago. I knew also that this piece would be accompanying a piece of music, and I wanted to include the verve, swing and organic life of that form in the composition.

 

Korean artwork is traditionally very bold, something I tried to incorporate in the song's title, with the aggressive black on red. The swirling arms of city, open field, industrialization and feudalism appealed to me. I didn't want to place a value judgment on the present day as opposed to Korea's history, so the circular composition was a natural fit. The image can be "read" from top to bottom, side to side, any way one might be holding it, and still hopefully convey the scale of Korean history, writ small in one deliberately self-reflexive piece.​

 

Stephen Pellnat | Biography:

Stephen Pellnat has his roots in the mountains of upstate New York. He took a sharp left turn at 18, upon enrolling at Manhattan's School of Visual Arts. The next decade was spent in New York City, before relocating with his wife, Molly Dechenne, to Portland, Oregon.

 

Stephen Pellnat's artistic influences run the gamut, from Norman Rockwell to Medieval gold-leaf religious altarpieces. He's self-published his own comics for years, as well as providing illustrations for a number of publications. In recent years he's found an enjoyable outlet in album artwork and musical promotional artwork, for those groups and artists who feel his style would suit their own. Currently, Stephen is hard at work on a comic biography about Richard Nixon.

 

Website:

www.stephen-pellnat.squarespace.com

instagram:

stephenpellnatisanokaycatowner

 
February Release - Backyard Carnival
Guest Trombonist Scott Flynn | Denver, CO

Imagine yourself at a festival backyard BBQ in central Mexico listening to Banda music blaring from the radio and that pretty much covers the vibe of this song.

What would be more fitting than adding amazing trombone soloist Scott Flynn to this track.  More on Scott below...

Scott Flynn | Biography

Originally from the New York area, Scott Flynn has quickly become one of the most sought after musicians in the country.

Scott attended Berklee College of Music where he majored in Performance, Production & Orchestration. He has also studied with the likes of horn legends such as Joe Lovano and Hal Crook. Throughout his professional career he has toured extensively in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Africa, Europe & South America.

Scott has performed, toured and recorded with the following artists:

Grammy nominated artist Odesza, Grammy nominated artist Pretty Lights, Eric Kranso, Turkuaz, Jimmy Heath, Adam Deitch, Dopapod, Big Daddy Kane, Disney Media, Drunk History, Jazz Is Phish, John Brown’s Body, Break Science, Chris Karns, The Nth Power, Nikki Glaspie, Nick Cassarino, Chris Bullock of Snarky Puppy, Bill Laurance, Banda Magda, Rubblebucket, The Black Seeds, The Brooklyn Attractors, DJ Williams, Dana Colley of Morphine, Elise Testone of American Idol, Jen Hartswick, Jeff Coffin, Kebbi Williams, Michael Ray, Anthony Wellington, Grammy nominated artist Road Man, Michel Camilo, Bob Mintzer and Marcus Miller.

In 2016 Scott joined the critically acclaimed electronic duo ODESZA, which is currently touring & performing around the globe. He also continues to write and produce his own original music: The electronic power trio known as Elephant Wrecking Ball on Ropeadope Records, the trombone super group Trombombs, and reggae/ska group The Illegal States Brass Band.

 
March Release - Turkish Wedding
Guest Poster Designer  Josiah Reibstein | Cambridge, MA

Composed in the Summer of 2016 for a Turkish couple's wedding that Cocek! Brass Band performed on the Charles River

Artist Statement:

 

When illustrating Sam’s song “Turkish Wedding,” I wanted to achieve the sense of warm, whimsical emotion that is so expertly conveyed through the traditional-inspired melody. Though the area has had it’s fair share of political violence over the years, my aim was to present a portrait of peace against the backdrop of a city often consumed by conflict. 

 

For the drawing’s inspiration, I took from two of my favorite artists: Gustav Klimt and Bill Watterson. Klimt, known for his portraits of lovers that bordered on the surreal and abstract, and Watterson, whose wholesome and magical Calvin and Hobbes comic strip shaped my childhood. 

 

Echoing Klimt, I wanted to make the Bride’s dress the focal point of the drawing. As in his famous “The Kiss,” the dress extends well beyond its normal length and almost consumes part of the picture. I did my best to hint at his gold-leaf intricately patterned style with blue and silver swirls on the dress that later begin interacting with the musicians below. Klimt always achieved a genuine sense of love from his couples, and I hoped to bring that out in my Bride and Groom. 

 

Keeping the warm, wholesome theme of the image, I drew from my many hours perusing Calvin and Hobbes as a child and also an adult. Watterson was always able to convey the most varied and expressive emotions from the faces of his characters, often using only the simplest designs and hints. He was also a master of color, outline, and “splash panels” (full page scenes, often of detailed landscapes). Hopefully my drawing partly conveys the happiness and love of simplicity I felt while first reading Calvin and Hobbes. 

 

Having played many weddings as a musician, I can sympathize with the somewhat hectic nature of working a major life event for two people. Cocek Brass Band, in black at the bottom entertaining the guests for the ceremony, remain professional and committed to their gig, playing passionately though out of view. Their music, while not the focus of the scene, is inextricably linked with everyone there - the arcs of their riffs meld with the patterns of the dress, stretching up to the roses, the guests, the arbor and city beyond, and the rays of sun that overlook us all.

 

Josiah Reibstein | Biography:

 

Josiah Reibstein is a professional free-lance tubist, teacher and poster designer living in Somerville, MA.  A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, he has been working with a variety of ensembles in the Northeast including his ensemble, The Josiah Reibstein Quintet, for which he composes all the music.  He is also the Resident Poster Artist for Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville, MA.

 

Instagram: josiahreibsteinposters

 
April Release - Storm
Guest Alto Saxophonist Alec Spiegelman | Brooklyn, NY

Downtown Manhattan on a rain-soaked Saturday night ~ the lights are flashing! the car horns are blaring! people are flooding out of night clubs, bars and restaurants en route to the next party and you're caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all...you turn down an alley for a respite from the chaos and run into a shady character...

Alec Spiegelman | Biography

 

Alec is a Brooklyn-based musician, producer and songwriter.  He is a member of the band Cuddle Magic.  As a sideman, on stage or in studio, he’s worked with numerous creative songwriters and bands, including Amanda Palmer, Anais Mitchell, Darlingside, Okkervil River, and Pokey LaFarge. He’s produced recordings for Ana Egge, Jennifer Kimball (formerly of The Story), Anna & Elizabeth, and the conceptual multi-media artist Jack Early.  His musical-comedy project (with Kelly Roberge), Ronald Reagan – Boston’s Premier 80s Pop Saxophone Duo, shared comedy stages with Eugene Mirman, Kristin Schaal, and Reggie Watts.  His early musical education included lots of improvising in the jazz tradition (broadly defined), formal studies with Steve Lacy, Bob Moses, Bob Brookmeyer and Ran Blake, and a thorough (informal) grounding in r&b saxophone best-practices (a la Junior Walker) directed by Doo Wop survivor Little Joe Cook.

Website:

https://www.alecspiegelman.com/about/

Newest Composition:

https://soundcloud.com/alecspiegelman/never-even-a-bit

Cuddle Magic Website:

http://www.cuddle-magic.com

May Release - Orange Orca
Guest cartoonist Molly Dechenne | Portand, OR
 

Orange Orca tells the tale of a wandering traveler, an orange-colored orca whale and a mysterious stranger in a magical dream world.  Based off of a dream by bandleader Sam Dechenne

Artist Statement:

I've never attempted to illustrate a dream before Orange Orca. The comics I draw tend to be more literal so when I sat down to draw Orange Orca I wasn't sure exactly where to begin. The dreamscape is ever-changing, from the settings to the size of the characters in the dream and what they represent. That dreams are so surreal is what makes them such a fun comic project. Like dreams, cartoons can do anything, so it was fun playing with the genre's advantages that way. To me, the orca represents new and exciting opportunity, a passion almost too big to every really catch even as you do everything in your power to help it survive. The giant man in the cowboy hat, uncertainty. The young man stands up to a literal giant with the power to destroy, because of his love for the orca. 

The character design of The Young Man was one I gave quite a bit of thought to. He is no one race, and from no time period. He wears simple clothes and no shoes. The landscape is magic, and I wanted to show that also in the colors. The drawings were penciled and inked by hand, and colored later. I wanted to keep the freehand looseness of hand-drawn lines while adding the intense computerized artificial color to give it more of an unearthly surrealism. I wanted the bright complimentary colors of the orca flipping joyfully in the water to thematically match the playful and carefree movement of the song and I had a great time collaborating on the project.

 

Molly Dechenne | Biography:

Molly Dechenne is the Portland-based cartoonist known for her ongoing webcomic, "Unpopular Before It Was Cool",  a comic diary which finds the humor in the day-to-day life of an artist with a day job. Her band Fat Kitten is currently in the studio with their new single, "Goodbye To Something". 

New comics appear every Thursday 

Website:

www.unpopularbeforeitwascool.com

 

June Release - Toy Soldiers
Artwork by Kendall Eddy | Brooklyn, NY
 

A 10-year-old boy's birthday party with gifts, cake, friends and family.  This matters little to these battle hardened soldiers.. 

Artist Statement: 


Like most young boys in the US, I grew up playing with those little green army men that came in big pails in many different poses and brandishing various forms of artillery. I would stage battles centered around the bathtub, in which every soldier eventually ended up in the drink. Thankfully, I had no concept of breathing or how weapons work (not to mention what soldiers really did with themselves), so everybody ended up alive and piled cozily back in the bucket-shaped barracks where they belonged. Now that I’m a bit older (and a little bit more mature) I can appreciate the absurdity of children playing war with little green plastic men.  With this image I wanted to bring out the silliness of the whole idea, with a bit of lighthearted nostalgia for the innocence of childhood.  The image imagines the story told from the soldier’s perspective, as the character in the foreground is deeply embroiled in the action unfolding at the fingertips of its gigantic generalissimo.

Kendall Eddy Biography: 

Kendall Eddy is an artist and musician living in Brooklyn, NY.  He rediscovered his childhood passion for drawing after years as a working bassist in Boston and New York, and strives to channel that musicality into making his images vibrate.  When he isn’t drawing and painting, Kendall teaches both music and art, and also enjoys writing during the many hours spent in the belly of New York’s subterranean transit system.  The rest of the time, he spends seeking out the many oases of green spaces scattered throughout the concrete jungle he calls home. 

Instagram:​ @kendallkeddy

July Release - Big Chunk
Electronic Production by Chad Gray | Boston, MA
 

Back in 2014 we worked on a remix of our first album "Here Comes Shlomo" w) electronic musicians in the Boston area.  This song was composed specifically for  album in addition to the remixes.  We are re-releasing the track four years later as part of this collaborative series in 2018.  More on Chad and the full album below:

Chad Gray Biography: 
 

I went to school with Sam and we played jazz together quite a bit and while he continued down the path of acoustic music I ended up focusing my efforts on electronic production. I had a few events under the umbrella of String & Fader and invited Cocek to play and Sam had the idea of doing a collaborative track.  We're both pretty quick to come up with ideas, so it started by me sending Sam a a few groove and production ideas and he ended up recording a short tune after with head, solo, bridge, outro, etc. I chopped up all the stems he sent and pieced together the form and added the detail of the production after that.

 

Full Remix Album from 2014:

https://stringandfader.bandcamp.com/album/string-fader-versus-cocek-brass-band

August Release - This Young Heart
Guest Vocalist John Cushing | Boston/NYC
 

A young man's journey from home out into the world and back again

Artist Statement: 

Working with Cocek on this song was exhilarating while also trying- having worked almost exclusively with my own confrontation of the world, I had a vacillating emotional struggle to interpret the narrative Sam had brought me with This Young Heart. It took some time, but I feel like what we came up with reflects the playful cantor of Cocek’s style while offering a parable to something many of us feel; longing to leave our native community, either in doubt to challenge or curiosity to find - and the more we learn the more we can appreciate what we have or have found. 

 

https://soundcloud.com/johncushing

John Cushing Biography: 

John Cushing is a trombonist, composer, singer and educator leading an interdisciplinary professional life as a musician in Boston and New York. His work centers around the cultural investigation of “American Music,” that is the resultant folk and pop musics of the Afro-European and indigenous collide throughout North and South America. As well as this, John also uses songwriting and poetry in a cathartic effort to understand his interpersonal relationship with those closest to him, and in seeking out a sense of “loving” within the broader socio-economic climate of our current worlds.

Lyrics:

In a town not far from here 
There lived a young man 
He sang beneath the sun 
Boy of brawn and simple smile 
He was beloved 
And gave to everyone 

In his heart there was a song 
And in the town their lives went on and on 
And the people sang along 
But he was asking 
Where did his heart belong? 

Young man tried to understand 
What is belonging 
Who knows if love is real 
Boy became so petrified 
There grew a feeling 
That he could not conceal 

People asked him what was wrong 
But he just smiled and told them "please go on" 
And in his heart there was a song 
He was leaving 
One look and he was gone 

And he was singing "Da, da da da da da da..." 

To the town from far away 
The boy had come back 
To share what he had seen 
Size and smile were magnified 
He was believing 
In what their love could mean 

Asking where and how far gone 
He would smile and start to sing a song 
They would smile and sing along 
And if everything was wrong 
They could still just sing along

September Release - Crazy 8
Guest Trumpeter Bobby Spellman & Soprano Sax Emily Pecoraro | Brooklyn, NY
 

A whirlwind of sound that will have you spinning in circles!

From Emily ~ 

"Cocek is SUCH a great band - I’ve been playing with Sam (and all these guys!) in many different musical contexts for years now, and it’s been so cool to see how this band serves as a compositional voice for him and his conception of Balkan music. As a seasoned veteran of the Reggae community, there’s undoubtedly a hint of that aesthetic in his music too, and what you get as an outcome is serious party vibes plus extreme musical prowess! 

Recording music when no one lives in the same city is something that I find so cool, especially as a guest in the process - you can blow as many solos as you’d like until you feel like you’ve said what you meant to, and it also becomes something of a group effort: Something like, “I loved the energy of that last take but I liked the melodies you played on this one!” The pressure to execute the parts perfectly every single time is taken out of the recording session, and you can stretch out a little. And helping to realize the artistic vision of the bandleader — especially when that person is a dear friend — is something about Music that I really love."

From Bobby ~ When Sam asked us to collaborate on a Cocek track, I was immediately invigorated by the boundless potential of such a meeting. Sam is an excellent writer, and Cocek's music is inspiring in the way that it will continually draw on the distinctive tonal color of the Balkan Brass tradition all the while maintaining a unique, identifiable, and contemporary character. Sammy D conjured a real GRAMMY® winner with this one, and it was a lot of fun to try to lend our own musical personalities to the harmonic colors and the melodic twists and turns of the piece. Plus, it was a blast trying to hit that wild opening line with the rest of the band. The Cocek/Dingonek connection has gone back many years to our days in Boston, when the Dingonek's prior incarnation maintained a year-long Monday night residency at the Middle East Corner. The two bands brought a buzz to Boston building a bunch of buoyant brass-based bills at the legendary club, and we've been blessed to share the stage many times since then. It's always great to see what new creative heights Sam and the gang continue to reach with their particular stylistic foundation and compact instrumentation, and we were thrilled to be able to contribute to this soon-to-be modern classic, 'Crazy 8.'

Emily Pecoraro Bio ~

Brooklyn-based multiple woodwind instrumentalist Emily Pecoraro is known for her participation in divergent ventures across the musical spectrum. She has performed on Broadway shows as well as with several nationally touring Broadway musicals, and is currently an orchestra member for the world-famous Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. 

With a creative output embracing both groove-based and classical music, Emily has performed and recorded with Jazz, Classical, Funk, Reggae, Afrobeat, and Avant-garde groups including The Temptations featuring Motown legend Dennis Edwards, The Four Tops, The Manhattan Symphonie, The Brooklyn Wind Symphony, The Ed Palermo Big Band, Dingonek Street Band, Big Mean Sound Machine, and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. Emily is the leader and composer for EMPECTET, a Chamber Jazz group based in New York City. In addition to composing for her own projects, Emily is the artistic director and curator of the Avant-garde and Third Stream chamber music concert series, The Variousound Sessions, “a Forward-Thinking Concert Series" with a monthly residency at Pine Box Rock Shop in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

 

Bobby Spellman Bio ~Widely regarded as the Victor Frankenstein of jazz trumpet, Bobby Spellman is known for his inventive compositions and improvisations that serve to integrate and reanimate a multiplicity of disparate musical styles. A Boston native, Bobby is currently based in Brooklyn, NY, where he leads the Afrobeat-influenced brass outfit Dingonek Street Band, his "Revenge of the Cool" Nonet, and the Voodoo Club, a spooky avant-fusion combo. In addition to leading his own groups, Bobby has played trumpet with Motown legends the Temptations and the Four Tops, acclaimed Boston jazz group the Either/Orchestra, Charlie Kohlhase's Explorer's Club, Ithaca-based Afrobeat outfit Big Mean Sound Machine, and he has had the pleasure of subbing for Sam Dechenne in reggae powerhouse John Brown's Body. Bobby was formally trained in philosophy before receiving a master's degree in jazz trumpet from New England Conservatory, where he spent much of his energy experimenting with theoretical concepts based on George Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization.

Check out their ensemble, Dingonek Street Band:

http://www.dingonekbrass.com

October Release - Time Travel
Guest Background Vocals by Mike Naugler | Somerville, MA
 

The Cocek! Brass Band hopped into a spaceship and took a trip through time and space with this song.  Mike Naugler jumped on board to help steer.

From Sam: 
This is an instrumental love song about time.  Most of us have trouble finding the balance between letting go of the past, staying in the present and looking forward to all the future has to offer.  This universal struggle is beautiful and I wanted to compose a piece of music that touched on that. 

Adding Michael Charles Naugler's vocal background singing seemed like a good fit for the concept and also a sound with which we've not experimented much as a band.  The vocals have an echoey reverberation which helps add the dreamy quality that comes in and out of the piece.  This represents how Time is not always a linear concept and can have some romantic and subtle undertones. 
 
Michael Charles Naugler is a Boston native and the lead vocalist for the Boston and Brooklyn-based soul band, Butterchild.  Michael began his music career singing in his church and school choirs, often as a soloist, and honed his performance techniques in multiple musical theater productions throughout high school and college. Michael has been a featured soloist in many choirs, such as the Kuumba Singers of Harvard University, and he had the privilege of performing in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City with the Boston College Chorale. After college, Michael returned to Boston and began performing with his first band, The WonderMics. Since then he has continued to perform and record with many local artists, such as Mighty Mystic and The Van Burens, and tour with his current band, Butterchild. Michael has a deep appreciation for musical collaboration and was delighted to be featured on The Cocek! Brass Band’s track, “Time Travel.” Michael was attracted to the song immediately because it is a departure from his usual style. 
 
Check out his band: https://www.butterchild.com 

November Release - Stolen Pie
Music Video by Jesse Armerding | Ipswich, MA
 

We made the mistake of going full Gorilla...

About Jesse:

 

Jesse Armerding is a drummer but is most excited when combining drumming with character, strange settings, story and other theatrics. He has helped run a Halloween theater, performed Off-Broadway and in Europe with the cast of STOMP, and learned to play the washboard better than anyone in his hometown. Current projects in process include a trash/instrument suit, a video series on 'nature percussion' and puppet drumming. You can look for them (and other works) on his instagram @armerdangg and YouTube page: /armerdang

 

About the movie:

 

"We made the mistake of going full Gorilla. Roaming the empty house for any treasures he might find." -Jesse

December Release - Themes From A Mission Hill Rooftop
Artwork by Stephen Pellnat | Portland, OR
Snare drum & Trumpet accompaniment by David Andrew Moore & Daniel Fratina | Boston, MA
 

Themes From A Mission Hill Rooftop can best be described as an odyssey of music.

About the music:

Themes From a Mission Hill Rooftop is a unique composition for the ensemble.  It's the first through-composed piece of music in the band's five year recording history.  Starting off with a slow, brass band-style dirge, the tuba enters alone followed by trombone, flugelhorn and finally trumpet. Throughout the next 6 minutes the ensemble jumps from theme to theme, representing the Mission Hill neighborhood where trumpet player and bandleader/composer Sam Dechenne calls home here in Boston.

 

Put on a good pair of headphones and dive in, we hope you enjoy the final addition to this year's monthly release project!

Stephen Pellnat has his roots in the mountains of upstate New York. He took a sharp left turn at 18, upon enrolling at Manhattan's School of Visual Arts. The next decade was spent in New York City, before relocating with his wife, Molly Dechenne, to Portland, Oregon.

 

Stephen Pellnat's artistic influences run the gamut, from Norman Rockwell to Medieval gold-leaf religious altarpieces. He's self-published his own comics for years, as well as providing illustrations for a number of publications. In recent years he's found an enjoyable outlet in album artwork and musical promotional artwork, for those groups and artists who feel his style would suit their own. Currently, Stephen is hard at work on a comic biography about Richard Nixon.

 

Website: 

www.stephen-pellnat.squarespace.com

instagram handle:

stephenpellnatisanokaycatowner

 

David Andrew Moore is a drummer based out of the north shore of Boston.  Having graduated from Berklee College of Music and working with a myriad of ensembles across the Northeast, his musical influences both as a performer and a teacher have a wide scope.  He plays snare drum on the recording.

 

Daniel Fratina is a composer, arranger, transcriptionist, trumpet player, and clinician.  He has been writing and arranging music for big bands and orchestras full time for over ten years, with recent work for the Boston Pops, the Kennedy Center and independant bands and ensembles from over 20 countries all over the world.  He adds his sectional playing to this song with dapper civility.

Website:

https://www.dannyfratina.com