A couple days ago, Molly and I boarded an excruciatingly early Bolt Bus towards Philadelphia for a much-needed holiday break. As I was nodding off, absent-mindedly staring out the window as New York City rolled by, I couldn’t help reviewing my 2019. It was an excellent year capping off a tumultuous, fun, unpredictable decade.
First of all, I’m excited to be nominated in a bunch of categories in this year’s JazzTimes Readers’ Poll. If you’d like to do me a big favor, please head over to https://jazztimes.com/blog/2019-readers-poll-is-now-open/ and vote for me in the categories of Best New Artist, Best Composer, Best New Release (Liddle), and Best Large Ensemble (Big Heart Machine).
Also, to celebrate the end of the decade, everything on my Bandcamp page and website is 20% off until 2020. Simply enter the code “decade” at checkout to get your discount. Scores and albums make a great gift for your favorite music nerd!
In April, my second album, liddle, was released to surprisingly positive critical acclaim. “Krock may very well have placed himself at the moment as one of the most fascinating arrangers of his present time,” said Anthony Dean-Harris at Nextbop.com, while Giovanni Russonello of the New York Times noted that the “music draws in equal measure from Charlie Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Battles- putting checkered rock rhythms underneath pelting, hard-edge melodies.” The quartet toured the US and Canada for three weeks, culminating in the recording of our next album, Viscera: Live at Firehouse 12, which will be released next year on the great imprint Out of Your Head Records.
Earlier in the year, I had the tremendous luck to tour the UK & Ireland for seven weeks with the Mark Morris Dance Company’s Pepperland. This genius work was a collaboration between Mark and Ethan Iverson, who jazz heads will certainly know from his work with Tom Harrell, the Bad Plus, Tootie Heath, and the Billy Hart Quartet. Getting to play with Ethan, as well as Jacob Garchik, Vinnie Sperazza, Colin Fowler, Clinton Curtis, and Rob Schwimmer was one of the highlights of my career, and an invaluable learning experience. I got the chance to play microtonal clarinet solos, negotiate 5 over 4 polyrhythms, circular breath on my soprano saxophone, and play impromptu sessions during soundcheck with some of the best musicians in the business.
In the fall, Big Heart Machine played to a standing-room crowd at the Jazz Gallery. We played an hour’s worth of my brand new large ensemble music, which was captured for an upcoming live album and accompanying videos. I also proposed to my fiancé that evening… it was kind of a crazy and magical day!
I was involved behind-the-scenes on a few exciting projects as well. I produced trombonist, vocalist, and arranger extraordinaire Seth Weaver’s upcoming large ensemble recording, was production assistant for Shannon Baker and Erica Seguine’s new big band album (produced by Darcy James Argue), and most recently assisted Miho Hazama in the production of Darcy’s new collaboration with vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, Ogresse. You will certainly be hearing about this wild theater piece, which features some of both Darcy and Cécile’s best work.
Anyways, I just want to say “thank you” to everyone who has checked out my music and given me an opportunity to share what I do. I moved to New York at the beginning of the decade, and I can’t believe I’m still making exciting new music with people I admire almost ten years later.