Puppy Love in 360°

We thought you could use some 360° rescue puppy play time . . . about 10 minutes worth!

As you can see, we really enjoyed spending time with these 9 chihuahua puppies rescued from California at the Utah Humane Society.  We are also able to take a tour of the facilities and learn about the many amazing rescue dogs, cats, birds, and other animals for whom the Humane Society is a temporary home.  

Join us supporting a good cause at this year's "Wags to Wishes" Gala Saturday night at the Utah Humane Society: http://www.utahhumane.org/gala

Watch our first ever Gold Standard VLOG!

Watch our first ever Gold Standard VLOG!

Join us in some of our recent adventures in our fist VLOG!  Also make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for all of our videos:  http://youtube.com/goldstandardmusic

Improvisation and New Music

For thousands of years mankind has placed music at the center of community gatherings, celebrations, and social functions. It is truly a universal language. You can feel this at live shows. There is nothing quite like it. There is an energy that flows from live performers and is reciprocated by the audience, and everyone involved is somehow lifted by the experience. We love to perform, we've all been doing it since we were young kids. Over the years we've honed our craft and learned how to best respond to each live setting, crafting and performing our set specific for each event. We've been having a lot of fun lately creating textures and even songs right on the spot at live events to fit the mood. Conn is actually really good at coming up with lyrics to fit the moment- a skill he has developed over many years of constant song making. You start to see the world differently the more you use the lens of music in your life.

We feel like a musician needs to be a craftsman- a great deal of care needs to be put into the way the music is presented. There is a spirit to creating that is infectious- and we're really caught up in it now. We're excited to be working on new original songs for an upcoming album release. In the meantime, you'll find us improvising and stretching boundaries on stage- working out new ideas, trying to make moments count, and sharing in the celebration of music that brings people together better than anything else. It feels like the world needs that more than ever these days. Til' next time- we hope to see you out on the road this year.

-GS

ohio-wedding.jpg

Integrating a DJ into the band

 Gold Standard is a DJ+Vocals+Drums trio with many tools in our arsenal: live percussion, saxophones, flute, vocals, harmonization, and drum set, and on the electronic side: samples, looping, effects (on electronic and live instruments) and DJ techniques.

 

By integrating a full DJ setup into the band, we share the benefits of mixing acoustic and electronic elements which groups like Bonobo, Disclosure, Odesza, Daft Punk, Major Lazer, have used to rise to success.

 

Here are a few fun things that we can do as a result of integrating a DJ into the mix:

 

The vocals, saxes, flute, drums, and percussion all go through my DJ mixer.  As such I have access to DJ tools like live looping, echo, delay, phaser, filters, EQ, and all the other effects built into a mixer. 

 

Because I’m mixing live as a DJ, we keep the music flowing uninterrupted throughout our sets.  Bands may start and stop songs, pause in-between, tune guitars and have stretches of awkward silence.   Our music takes twists and turns, rises and falls, but keeps flowing as the three of us stretch and weave new spontaneous creations along with time honored hits throughout our set.

 

I run sound from my spot on stage with the band, whether we are performing for a large Aria Las Vegas venue or a small backyard wedding, I can keep the vocal and drum mix consistent so we sound our best.  I control stage volume and our in ear monitor mixes, eliminating the risk of noisy feedback from stage monitors or inconsistencies as we change venues.   We are set and locked in from start to finish and don’t need lengthy sound checks or separate audio engineers.  

 

I’m constantly updating and adding to my large and organized sample and music library to integrate new and classic sounds into our music.  While Conn is singing one of our popular songs, we might bring in a string breakdown and switch gears, changing the mood of the music behind the song on a dime, all the while improvising on our acoustic instruments.  

 

Photos by Pierce and Paris Tews

 

 

Kenny Aronoff's 7 tips for success as a musician (or in anything you do)

I recently attended the NAMM convention in Los Angeles. Ever since I was 10 years old, I've been watching and following pro drummers and idolizing them for their incredible skill. The chance to meet a few of my drum heroes this weekend made attending the convention a really special experience. I got to meet Kenny Aronoff, known as one of the very best drummers in the world. He has shared the stage with countless A-List artists like Adele, The Smashing Pumpkins, Celine Dion, Bob Dylan, Elton John, and the list goes on and on. He has played on albums that have collectively sold 300 Million copies. I had the chance to attend a lecture by Kenny that gave a brief synopsis of the book that he just had published. I've heard it is getting rave reviews. In his lecture Kenny explained the 7 keys to success in life or in any pursuit. He was also completely hilarious- so full of vitality, humor, and positivity. I think his advice is really fantastic for any musician who is serious about their craft, or for anyone who wants to be successful in their career.

Kenny Aronoff's 7 tips to be successful and stay successful in your career:

  1. Self-discipline: make yourself do something you don't necessarily want to do. Put in the work to be great. Once you learn self-discipline in one thing you can apply it to everything else in life. Stay on it. You will get further. 
  2. Hard work fueled by passion and dedication, keep learning and educating yourself. This is the gasoline to drive you forward. 
  3. Create a plan that you execute to reach your goal. Lots of people have ideas but don't do anything with them. 0=0. If you haven't applied yourself and put the time in you're not gonna make/sustain it. Think like a running back. You're gonna get hit, you need to focus on getting to the end zone. Don't feel you have to make it in one day or week or year. There are no shortcuts.
  4. Teamwork/Communication skills: make the sessions or the work better that you're involved with, it's about the attitude that you bring. 
  5. RPS: Repetition of anything you do is the Preparation for Success. He does 30 min warm up techniques for every show before and after. He's always so vigilant to repeat his warm-ups and prepare to play his absolute best at every gig.
  6. A healthy life is a wealthy life. Mentally physically and emotionally. Even if you just regularly do Push-ups or Planks, you need to stay physically strong and fit. It keeps your hormone levels up. This fights off cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Cardio- it exercises the most important muscle in your body- your heart. Stretching. Diet is about what you DON'T eat. Stay away from sugar and processed foods. Eat fruit, more veggies, less meat. Multivitamin. Vitamin D are great for immune system. Fish oil. B complex. Water. You should drink ounces of water every day that are equal to half of your weight. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water per day. Get enough sleep. Practice meditation- it reduces stress.
  7. Today: Stay focused to be relevant. Don't worry about what you've done in the past. 
    The past is the past. Focus on what you're working on today. Always focus to the future.

I hope these tips are helpful to you. They have clearly worked incredibly well for Kenny. 

-Bart

Me with the great Kenny Aronoff. Such an incredible musician.

Me with the great Kenny Aronoff. Such an incredible musician.

-Bart

Photos from Summer Weddings with Pepper Nix

Pepper Nix and I have been working on events together for over 10 years now!  She is an amazing photojournalist with a talent to bring out the best in people.  Here are a few pictures of some Destination Park City Weddings from the summer.

Photos by @peppernix

Happy New Year!

We spent our New Year's Eve high in the mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming at one of our favorite places to perform- Amangani. It was a fitting place to send off 2016, looking out over the white capped mountains and thinking of all of the shows we've played this past year. It has been quite a ride. Thanks to everybody who came to dance, sing along, and celebrate life with us out on the road in 2016. We are looking forward to a full schedule of shows in 2017. 

The balloon drop prepped and ready above the dance floor at Amangani

The balloon drop prepped and ready above the dance floor at Amangani

The view at sunset from the pool at Amangani

The view at sunset from the pool at Amangani

From San Francisco to Washington DC: Gold Standard's Holiday events 2016

We had a great holiday season this year performing for events around the US!  From an amazing San Francisco city view rooftop party to MGM grand's opening of their new Casino in National Harbor near Washington DC, we had a great time.  

This weekend we will be in the luxurious Amangani Jackson Hole for their New Year's Eve celebration.  We will start off in our time-tested format with nostalgic jazz classics, gradually escalating the party into popular music and remixed versions of the classics, incorporating more and more the electronic DJ elements until it's a full-tilt dance party for NYE revelers.   

Here are a few pictures from our adventures this past month!

 

 

 

 

A Summer Mountain Wedding at the St Regis Deer Valley

We had a fabulous time at this St Regis Deer Valley Wedding.  As with most outdoor summer Park City weddings, we performed for different stages as the event progressed, at cocktails we performed fun nostalgic classic jazz tunes like "The Way You Look Tonight" and "What a Wonderful World" then as guests were seated for dinner, we were there to greet them with current pop hits and remixed jazz classics like "All of me" by John Legend and "Love me Like You Do" by Ellie Goulding.  As the plates were cleared and speeches finished we performed the couple's first and parent dances, then we rolled up our sleeves and dg into some DJ+Drums+vocals dance music a la Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, The Weeknd, Justin Timberlake, and others, eventually transitioning into DJed music for a full-tilt dance party.  

We love performing at the St Regis Deer valley!

Photos by Britt Chudleigh

Christmas album

Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year. We get a chance to perform all over playing Christmas classics and spreading the good cheer of the season. Not too long ago we recorded a Christmas album featuring Conn singing some of our favorite songs. Here is the link to purchase the album: https://conncurran.bandcamp.com/album/home-for-christmas

You can also hear the album on Apple Music here: http://apple.co/2fk6CFj

The album features classics like "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "White Christmas", along with a gorgeous original song called "Lullaby You Christmas Baby" written by Conn's father Doug Curran, a former member of the world-famous group The Lettermen.

We hope you have a chance to check out this jazz-infused, bossa-nova inspired, festive album.

 

Jazz Music and the Civil Rights Movement

Jazz music’s popular rise during the early half of the 20th century helped pave the way for the civil rights movement of the 60s. The music’s appeal was universally enjoyed by people regardless of race or political belief. 

As early as the 1920s, black and white jazz musicians would play together secretly in after-hours jam sessions.  Benny Goodman in 1935 was the first to hire a black musician to be part of his group, contrary to segregation laws and social norms.   By the 1940s more and more bands were performing publicly with both black and white musicians.  And it wasn't just the bands that were getting along, it was the audience:

Louis Armstrong wrote about one of his "most inspiring moments" in a 1941 letter to a jazz critic: "I was playing a concert date in a Miami auditorium. I walked on stage and there I saw something I’d never seen. I saw thousands of people, colored and white, on the main floor. Not segregated in one row of whites and another row of Negroes. Just all together naturally. I thought I was in the wrong state. When you see things like that, you know you’re going forward.” 

According to Michael Verity (jazz historian), jazz “provided a culture in which the collective and the individual were inextricable, and in which one was judged by his ability alone, and not by race or any other irrelevant factors."  

Jazz historian Stanley Crouch said, “Once the musicians who played it and the listeners who loved it began to balk at the limitations imposed by segregation, jazz became a futuristic social force in which one was finally judged purely on the basis of one’s individual ability. Jazz predicted the civil rights movement more than any other art in America.”

Enjoy this video showcasing the first integrated band, the Benny Goodman Quartet with Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton and Gene Krupa with "I Got A Heartful Of Music". 

Conn Curran's vocal and musical inspirations

Conn's musical family

Conn's musical family

Conn was born into a large family, he is the youngest of eight musically gifted siblings. His Parents Doug and Colleen Currran had paved the way for musical talent. Colleen was a Nationally known folk singer from Omaha Nebraska, and Doug a member of the legendary group "The Lettermen".  Early on in his child hood, he and his family would sing together constantly. There was never a moment of silence in the Curran household. He loved listening to his mother while she taught voice lessons to students, he would sing along on the other side of the door constantly. 

Doug and Colleen Curran

Doug and Colleen Curran

Conn was deeply influenced by his parents in every way. Specifically music. His father was fluent in Portugese, and played Bossa Nova style Guitar to him as a child. He had a love for Brazilian Jazz from a very young age. Antonio Carlos Jobim was one of those who inspired him. He and Frank Sinatra combined forces in the 60's, and made Bossa/Crooner perfection!

Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim

Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim

When he was 7 years old, Harry Connick Jr. came out with an album called "We are in love". Conns sisters were big fans of Harry Connick Jr. they would play his music constantly. Conn would sing along to the songs, and loved it. Through this, he developed a crooner voice from a very young age. 

Harry Connick Jr.

Harry Connick Jr.

Through his younger years he expanded his variety in music, from Stevie Wonder to Eric Clapton. But something stuck with him. He loved listening to crooners. Nat King Cole was one that he sang along to during high school, while most were listening to everything but him. 

Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole

Dream a Little Dream of Me

Songs are powerful. There was a time when songwriters ruled the world. They were the voice of change, the voice of poetry, the expression of the highest hopes and dreams of the people. Too many songs these days seem to lack that pure poetry that used to be so common in top hit songs. We love to perform songs that have stood the test of time, as well as create our own. There is something magical about bringing seldom heard songs back to life on stage. Once in a while we'll get requests from the audience to perform classics. Songs like "Dream a Little Dream of Me". One of the best versions of that song is the one sung by the beloved crooner Bing Crosby. This vinyl record has a classic version on it, something worth studying to hear the kind of timing and careful nuances that he puts on the lyrics. His backing jazz band recorded this version in 1957 in San Francisco. 

Here are the lyrics to this classic song:

Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper "I love you"
Birds singing in the sycamore trees
Dream a little dream of me

Say nighty-night and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me
While I'm alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me

Stars fading but I linger on dear
Still craving your kiss
I'm longing to linger till dawn dear
Just saying this

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me

Stars fading but I linger on dear
Still craving your kiss
I'm longing to linger till dawn dear
Just saying this

Sweet dreams, till sunbeams find you
Gotta keep dreaming leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
You gotta make me a promise, promise to me
You'll dream, dream a little of me

 

The imagery in this song is timeless. Call it cheesy, but you have to admit "night breezes seem to whisper "I Love You" " will always create an incredible atmosphere. It's no wonder this song has been covered by so many singers. We've been creating music a long time, and we feel fortunate to have grown up hearing about songs like these and taking what we can from the poetry, the nuance, the musicianship that went into making them such beloved hits. For all you music lovers out there, keep the poetry alive. We're going to do our best to bring it with the songs that we're working on for our upcoming album. 

John Coltrane: A Love Supreme

coltrane

John Coltrane, one of my favorite saxophone players of all time, was a master always seeking enlightenment and spirituality via his musical instrument.  

Both hated and revered, Coltrane became so engrossed in his music that he would sometimes perform 45 minutes on the same song, eyes shut tightly, not moving from his spot in front of the microphone nor opening his eyes to see if anyone was listening or appreciating his music. 

When he performed, it was as if he was channeling the powers of the universe through his saxophone.

When I was learning to play the saxophone I transcribed many of John Coltrane's solos (played note for note imitating exactly how he played) in my parents’ basement.  I played on an Otto Link mouthpiece, and Selmer vintage tenor saxophone just like he did . . . I felt as if I was learning at the feet of the master.  Sometimes I could imitate and lock into his tone, inflection, and sound so perfectly that I felt he was playing my instrument.  

Here’s a live performance of one of my favorite songs of his, about his little girl which the song is named after, “Naima”.

Crooners

Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Frank Sinatra performed a historic show in Las Vegas in 1965. It was at the Kiel Opera House in St. Louis, and it was broadcast and fed live to movie theaters all across the US. In this show you'll see a youthful Johnny Carson set the stage with his classic quick wit and polished delivery. It's fitting that such a popular TV personality would start the show because this was the heyday of crooners. These three men epitomize the art of crooning in this 1965 broadcast, taking the solo vocal lead while backed by an impressive big band. They brought a sense of style and effortlessness to the way that they performed, putting the audience at ease and always making sure each attendee came away from the performance thoroughly entertained. We look up to these performers not only for their vocal skill, but also for their style and their rapport with the audience. Watch Frank Sinatra sing "I Only Have Eyes For You" and pay attention to the way his vocals sort of dance across the groove the band is laying down. Frank had the best timing, he really knew how to lay back in the groove and take command of the feel of the song. 

 

While we're a long way from the heyday of this kind of vocal performance, we feel the art of the crooner is still alive and well. Back then it took over 20 people on stage to create a big impressive sound to back up the vocalist, but now there are incredible ways to create big impressive sonic palettes with the kind of amazing technology that we have for creating music these days. Gold Standard is all about taking the best elements of the style, presence, and skill of a classic crooner and blending it with electronic and acoustic elements that create a powerful backing to that lead vocal. We hope to bring even a small element of the kind of style, presence, skill, and art that these classic crooners brought to the stage in 1965. With all of the vast changes in music in the past 50 years, one thing hasn't changed: style is still just as important as execution.