We Tear Down Our Coliseums

We Tear Down Our Coliseums is a nine-movement multimedia creation by two brothers inspired by the historical, architectural, and – sadly – disposable aspects of baseball stadiums. Each movement is written as an homage to a demolished stadium, with music written by John Dorhauer (director and composer for Heisenberg Uncertainty Players) and visual art by Adam Dorhauer (a writer and visual artist from Cleveland who writes for The Hardball Times). Though the music was written for jazz big band and uses elements of jazz, it transcends genre boundaries, sharing more in common with a symphonic tone poem than a traditional work for big band. And while the paintings often do portray the given stadiums, they offer unique and insightful commentary on each stadium’s place in history. Coliseums is a vital artistic creation because it presents unique perspectives on a culturally vibrant and relevant topic, it unites art and sport in a way that will appeal to fans of both, it challenges conventions of what a big band can do, and it allows two adventurous artists to pursue their crafts and take creative risks related to a strong passion of theirs. The premiere for Coliseums will take place on Saturday, April more »

HUP/KID Collaboration

Heisenberg Uncertainty Players (HUP) is collaborating with hip-hop/R&B artist KID.  KID has written lyrics over my music written for big band, nimbly straddling hip-hop, jazz, and R&B.   In preparation, HUP & KID will record a live video as part of Chicago Artists Month at The Foxhole Chicago. Come join us!  We look forward to presenting this music at more venues over the coming months. Details: Saturday, November 14, 2015 2 – 6pm The Foxhole Chicago 2444 W Montrose Chicago, IL Phone: (773) 754-7105 Read more about KID and the HMK Family

Out Through the In Door: Analyzing the Dissonance in Ingrid Jensen’s Solo from “Transit”

The title is ultimately a Led Zeppelin reference (not too surprising, seeing as how one of my previous blog entries was an analysis of the alluded album), but it is relevant here for a couple reasons. First, Infernal Machines – the debut CD from New York-based big band Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – is heavily influenced by rock acts such as Led Zeppelin. Second, it is emblematic of trumpeter Ingrid Jensen’s approach towards using dissonance. She plays out, but she does so in a densely logical way.   Like many songs from Infernal Machines, “Transit” is a predominantly spacious composition that is driven by an ostinato vamp. This ostinato can essentially be reduced to a two-measure syncopated octave figure in the bass, which establishes both the piece’s rhythmic vitality and its D minor tonic (E minor for the Bb trumpet – since the transcription is in the trumpet’s key, I will refer to tonic as E minor from this point forward). This figure evolves beyond its simple gesture, and while the harmony does not always adhere to the E pedal, it is still unchangingly modal throughout. The harmony that develops tends to be the result of counterpoint in the more »


Heisenberg Uncertainty Players is releasing videos on YouTube every Friday! #Freisenberg HUP plays at Phyllis’ Musical Inn in Chicago every 2nd Sunday of the month.  The band will also take the stage at Chicago’s first Great American Lobster Fest on Saturday, August 16. Tweets by @HUPlayers

Shout Section big band new CD: Cruisin’

Shout Section has released its second CD, Cruisin‘, featuring many of John’s arrangements and trumpet solos.  Available now at shoutsection.com, iTunes, Amazon, and CDbaby.  Special thanks to 90.9 WDCB for playing Cruisin’ and Rhode Island is Famous for You.   <A HREF=”http://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?rt=tf_w_mpw&#038;ServiceVersion=20070822&#038;MarketPlace=US&#038;ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Fwidgetsamazon-20%2F8014%2Ffc7f9635-d8cb-463f-838e-5d652b300a19&#038;Operation=NoScript”>Amazon.com Widgets</A>

There Will Always Be Another Scale: Bitonality in Woody Shaw’s Improvisation

“If it sounds good, it is good.” – Duke Ellington Amongst the numerous goals of a jazz improviser, perhaps the most vital is to challenge people’s preconceived expectations of what sounds good.  Any trained musician can play a blues scale over a blues progression, but it takes a true innovator to create something fresh over the same basic chord progressions that have been used for decades.  Because so many of the same songs have been used throughout generations of jazz musicians, innovation in jazz improvisation has, by necessity, undergone significant evolution. The main evidence for this evolution occurs in the process by which players choose notes over a given chord progression.  A chord is nothing more than a collection of pitches designed to achieve a particular sound.  Most chords used in jazz will utilize 4 of the 12 possible pitches, though some chords have more.  In a jazz combo, the rhythm section will use these chords to lay a harmonic foundation off which an improvised solo may be built, but the soloist will also use them to determine what notes he/she will emphasize.  Improvised solos are not limited to chord tones, and most improvisers will borrow liberally from the scale more »

Structural Dissonance in John Zorn’s “Spillane”

“The overhanging sonorities, as one section bleeds to the next, help give my pieces a sense of unity; you can almost feel the sections growing out of one another. It is much more organic that way, and so, easier to listen to.” – John Zorn, Spillane liner notes “As for the listener, ultimately the most subjective response is the best response. Eventually, total subjectivity becomes total objectivity. That’s the way I see the world.” -Zorn ***** Perhaps the most interesting thing about music from the past hundred years is the expansive diversity of styles, genres, and independent voices that have emerged.  It is virtually impossible to organize various trends in music from this past century like musicologists have done with each preceding century without using the broadest of brushes.  However, regardless of specific end results that each composer achieves, there are some general musical concepts that most either confront directly or react against.  Arguably the most vital of these concepts is that of dissonance. This is a concept that has evolved throughout music history – after all, what seemed dissonant to Mozart would be relatively consonant to Wagner.  Yet the climax of composers’ willingness to embrace all facets of dissonance more »

Heisenberg Uncertainty Players Debut Album Release

Directed by John Dorhauer, Heisenberg Uncertainty Players released their debut album today, Emergency Postcards.  Six tracks are original compositions by John.  The album is available on iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby.  CDs will be available at all live performances and will be available to purchase on http://HUPlayers.com. In support of Emergency Postcards, Heisenberg Uncertainty Players were showcased on WGN’s Midday News (click to watch).  Visit HUP’s website for more information on the album, to view photos, and keep up to date on live performances.  http://HUPlayers.com

Emergency Postcards

Help HUP record their new album, Emergency Postcards The Heisenberg Uncertainty Players are recording their first album (Emergency Postcards), but in order to make that happen, we need some extra assistance.  As a jazz big band that plays exclusively music written/arranged by our own members, we pride ourselves greatly on the music we play.  Recording an album is going to be an excellent way for our fans to enjoy what we do, but it will also be a tremendous help towards us getting performance opportunities in the future.  What money we make from performances goes right to our members, so we have minimal band funds to fund a project like this.  But the best part is that this isn’t just an empty fundraising campaign. If you donate at least $15, we’ll send you your own copy of Emergency Postcards when it comes out this upcoming spring. If you donate at least $115, we’ll write an arrangement for you of any tune you want. Visit our Indiegogo page to contribute If you aren’t able to contribute but are still interested in what we do, please help pass the word along to your friends and family and encourage them to check us out. more »