Ordering MP3's about
John Celona's BlueCity

John Celona

Over a year and a half ago, Chrismas 1999, I made a definitive and decisive move with respect to what I needed to do to fulfill my creative directions, ambitions and talents. To that end, I started my own ensemble, John Celona’s BlueCity, and enlisted a collection of members whose experience, like mine, ranged from serious classical, contemporary new music, jazz and structured improvisation. Why? As a composer of some thirty years, I became restless and disillusioned with a field (i.e., contemporary new music composition) that had, in my opinion, explored all that was left to explore and was, in essence, just ‘spinning its wheels’. Looking at the history of the 20th century, it seemed to me that the vanguard work which propelled the century into new and innovative arenas had, more or less, written itself out by, say, the mid-70s. The upcoming artists who followed the likes of Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Debussy, Ives, Webern, etc. just couldn’t find other and more compelling ways of ‘saying it’ — I guess I’m one, too. I think the case can be made for rock, jazz and the visual avant-garde as well. What to do?

My background as a performing musician includes a long stint as a professional jazz tenor saxophonist in San Francisco, a classical and contemporary pianist, a conductor of modern music, and a symphonic clarinetist. As a composer, I have written in all mediums, mostly interested, however, in smaller ensembles where there was a strong identity and sense of an organized group and, of course, lots of music in the electronic and computer field.

The decision to form my own ensemble came as an assessment and evaluations based on as much of my past, strengths (as well as weaknesses) as possible. To this end, I created BlueCity, an avant-garde sextet. The group features fully composed compositions with some liberty as to solos, but sparingly. I did not want to establish another typical jazz band where a tune is stated by the group and then followed by countless solo expressions which eventually returns to the original tune and ends. I wanted an ensemble of extremely facile musicians who could read anything and be able to express themselves in many different modern styles. The term ‘avant-garde’ is used in our description to reflect on a post-1960s jazz and contemporary music-making. It is surprising how refreshing, dynamic and persuasive our music sounds.

An important and significant aspect here is that all the works, except Farben Nocturne and Networks, were written using my ‘TimbreSpace’ music software programme. The programme allowed me to setup each orchestration and develop an arrangement strategy with respect to each composition (i.e., how the instruments would interact and relate throughout the piece) as well as generate notes, harmonies and rhythms.


John Celona

Design and Layout by: Michael Huston   

Home - BlueCity