• kevin romain

What's been up? 2019 - Spent much of the year working on a theatre performance called Double Happiness: Detour This Way, a multimedia collaboration between Only A Visitor and sound designer/composer/director/musician Nancy Tam. We were able to do about 10 shows of the run in March 2020 before deciding to cancel the last week when the covid situation started to get real. 2020 - Everything got cancelled. Spent a lot of time in the shed. Received some commission work, and a couple grants from Canada Council For The Arts (thanks buds / eternally grateful), one to study composition with the great Itamar Erez (played a bit too, see below) and one to further develop my solo drumset practice (more on that to come in the months ahead). Played some shows to empty rooms (empty on purpose, a novelty). Had a lot of time to think about life. Came to some conclusions. Early 2021 - Participated in the Banff Musicians In Residence "at home/online residency" - originally slated to be actually at the Banff Centre but Alberta shut everything down at the last min. This was a surprisingly great experience and despite the distance and the zoom calls it felt wonderful to remember that musicians everywhere are still doing their work in whatever way they can, and are still excited about it. While a lot of my colleagues have been investigating other avenues, I've never been more certain that when I'm engaged in exploration of musical sound, musical traditions, and musical futures, I'm on the right path. Looking forward!

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  • kevin romain

Things are finally settling down a bit after a few months of nonstop touring and gigging, so I'm digging deep into a bunch of techniques and concepts in the practice room for the rest of the summer. So far it has been extremely fruitful, and I'm grateful for the time to delve into some new ideas.

Here's an in-studio vid from the forthcoming Simple City record, shot by the great Trent Freeman and recorded/mixed by the great John Rahm.

And a tune from the Itamar Erez 5tet disc release in June...

More soon, take care. Lessons start up again in September, get at me!

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  • kevin romain

Hi all, here's what's been happening...

- Recorded a new disc with guitarist/composer Itamar Erez in November last year. That'll be released on June 20th with a record release show at the Orpheum Annex. James Meger on bass, Francois Houle on clarinet, Hamin Honari on percussion. Itamar's music is always super fun to play and these new compositions have a ton of stuff in them to work with. The disc is called "Mi Allegria". We'll be hitting some other shows in Vancouver (Jazz Vespers, Frankie's Jazz Club) and Victoria (Hermann's Jazz Club) later this summer.

- Recorded a new disc with Simple City in November at Afterlife Studios. If you've never recorded with John Raham at Afterlife, you really should, unless you don't like great drum sounds or vintage microphones, in which case I'd stay away. That record will be out in the summer sometime. Until then we'll be hitting at the Vancouver Jazz Festival on June 30th. - Only A Visitor put out a new disc in February called "Technicolour Education." We're leaving tomorrow for a couple weeks of tour of the US West Coast. Then we've got hits at Ottawa and Toronto Jazz Festivals, and a gig at La Plante in Montreal in late June. Here's a vid for one of the tunes on that record:

The first band I joined when I moved to Vancouver in 2007 is called We Just Stole A Car. We played a bunch back in the day and now get together every 3-ish years whether we need it or not. This time round we're hitting at the Vancouver Jazz Festival June 29th at the David Lam stage at noon. We'll be playing music from our last record "Chat Tambour".

I had a lovely time on tour in Japan earlier this Spring with Lief Hall's trio. We played in 11 different cities and fell in love with all of them. I met up with cymbalsmith Manabu Yamamoto in Tokyo and had a pretty crucial cymbal hang. Here he is with a bunch of his cymbals, plus one from his enviable collection of old stamp K Zildjan Istanbul cymbals. I bought an amazing 24" ride that I've been playing nonstop since then. In the increasingly crowded arena of independent cymbalsmiths, Manabu is making some standout handcrafted work inspired by the 1940s-50s Old Ks, using some traditional Japanese blacksmithing techniques that no one else on the scene is using.

Be sure to check out his work on Youtube or Instagram or on FB here:

Lots more in the works but it'll have to wait. Hope you're all well!

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