music in the pandemic age  

How do you keep the music playing?
This page chronicles the music made during the pandemic.

In 2019, I was performing live over 20 times a month. After March 15, 2020, live gigs stopped existing.

But musicians don't stop being musicians. I'm fortunate enough to know many world-class players, and we made music. I made arrangements of tunes, demos, and videos with jazz chanteuse Paula Johns, Gesenia Erolin and our musical cohorts in Ronstadt Revue, my group Musical Collusion, and The Divine Hand Ensemble, as well as played some streamed concerts on my own.

Check it all out below, I think it's some of my best work yet.


Solo performances

Here's a couple of videos I did over these months, as well as selections from some live home shows: I did a concert, 2 virtual restaurant gigs, a Fender Rhodes concert, and a backporch concert so far.

Also, here's a link to my YouTube Channel where you'll find a playlist of the complete pandemic concerts if you like the samples below.

"Soledad" by Astor Piazzolla

I did an arrangement of this for the Divine Hand Ensemble, then adapted it for accordion and synths.

Hartl on accordion Click to play

"I Don't Know What I Said (I Don't Remember)" - original composition

I took a notorious speech by some clown and processed it into a melody, which gave up this little ditty. Trying to make lemonade from some really foul lemons.

Still image from video Click to play

 

"Breath of Helios" - original composition

With the world gone mad, I felt the need for an Eno-like ambient piece of music. "Breath of Helios" is an oasis of calm for me.

still from video Click to play

 

"Ready, Step, RBG" - original composition

Hearing the cadence of the honor guard moving Ruth Bader Ginsburg's coffin up the steps of the Capitol on September 25 gave me the rhythm I needed to make this spontaneous requiem for her. My rhythm mates Andy Lalasis and Josh Orlando surprised me with tracks as a gift and nailed it.

still from video Click to play

Selections from the home concerts

Hartl on accordion

Click to play Charles Mingus - "Reincarnation of a Lovebird" (accordion) Concert #1, April 7

 

Hartl on The Preacher

Click to play Horace Silver - "The Preacher", Concert #1, April 7

 

Hartl on 2nd concert

Click to play "That's All", Concert #2, April 15

 

Hartl on 3rd concert

Click to play Duke Ellington - "Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me", Concert #3, May 6

 

Hartl on 4th concert

Click to play Chick Corea -"Spain", Concert #4, May 25

 

Hartl on 5th concert

Click to play Frank Zappa -"Big Swifty", Concert #5, July 12


Musical Collusion

My original funk-jazz group put out a disc last year called "Guilty As Charged" and found our live shows shot down by the pandemic. So we started developing the next project, trading files with Carl Cox, Andy Lalasis, Josh Orlando, and me. Here's some rough demos of what's coming up!

Musical Collusion - Great Curve

Click to play video of our cover of "The Great Curve" by David Byrne and Brian Eno.

 

Musical Collusion - For What It's Worth

Click to play video of our cover of "For What It's Worth" by Stephen Stills.

 

Bullseye

Click to play the audio of our cover of "Time of the Season" by The Zombies.

 

Bullseye

Click to play the audio of our cover of "Desert Rose" by Sting.




Ronstadt Revue

One of my groups is Ronstadt Revue, a Linda Ronstadt tribute group that really gets it right. We lost a lot of live shows this summer and consoled ourselves with some online projects.

Ronstadt Revue - All That You Dream

Click to play the video of "All That You Dream" by Lowell George. It's a taste of our planned recording project for 2021.

 

Ronstadt Revue - Heart Like a Wheel

Click to play the video of "Heart Like a Wheel" by Anna MaGarrigle.

 

Ronstadt Revue - The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Click to play the video of "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" by Jimmy Webb.

 

Bullseye

Click to play the audio of our duet of "Sorrow Lives Here" by Eric Kaz.



Paula Johns

I've been playing with Paula Johns regularly for several years, and dearly miss our weekly hang at SOUTH Jazz Kitchen. During this lockdown, I've done some backing tracks for her streaming concerts, accompanied by Grant MacAvoy on drums and Andy Lalasis on bass. Here's a medley of two Chick Corea tunes, an old Tony Bennett number called "Laughing at Life", and a vocal/accordion duet on Charlie Chaplin's "Smile".

Paula duet

Click to play video of "You're Everything Humpty".

 

Paula quartet

Click to play video of "Laughing at Life".

 

Smile video

Click to play video of "Smile".



The Divine Hand Ensemble

I've been making arrangements and playing accordion for this eclectic ensemble. During the pandemic, we've been unable to rehearse the new arrangements, but we did get this video done.

DHE Under Pressure

Click to play video of "Under Pressure" by David Bowie & Queen.



The Hot Club of Philadelphia

I did only one gig this summer, a hit with Barry Wahrhaftig and his gypsy jazz group, The Hot Club of Philadelphia. Modelled after the jazz played by Django Reinhardt and associates at The Hot Club of France in the 1930's, this is an incredibly popular and fun group that I'm honored to occasionally be part of. Here's a taste of the group playing "Nuages", recorded at a live concert at Awbury Arboretum on August 16, 2020.

Hot Club at Awbury Click to play


Ghosts of the Past

With some time to kill, I finally starting archiving the many hours of tapes from a lifetime of music.

Hot Club at Awbury Click to play this version of Joe Zawinul's "Young and Fine", played by the Bally's Grand Trio of me, Andy Lalasis, and Paul Jost in Atlantic City in 1988.


Updated November 26, 2020.

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