Greetings, One & All~
Sometimes our focus is only on what is right in front of us, or only on what is way off on the horizon; but perhaps it is best to focus on what is in the middle distance: that which is just beyond our immediate grasp, yet is realistically achievable. With that notion in mind, please enjoy all the good news in the March issue of your A 440 Newsletter!
RCNQ at Heard Museum
On Saturday March 4th at 1 PM and Sunday March 5th at noon, the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will return to the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market in Phoenix AZ for two outdoor festival sets followed by meet-and-greets and CD-signings.
info and tickets at
photo by Shery Christopher / Prisma™ effects by Johnny Walker
What Lies Beyond #1. . .Times Two!
The new Canyon Records album What Lies Beyond by the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet begins March at #1 on the Mystic Sister Top Twenty Playlist for both of show host Annie Stillwater Gray’s home stations: WMHB-FM in Waterville ME and WXNZ-FM in Skowhegan ME. Thanks for spinning us to the top, Annie. . . time for another RCNQ New England tour?!
Beginning on Monday March 6th and concluding on Monday March 27th, I’ll conduct my fifth annual Arizona Alive! Storytelling Artist-in-Residency with fourth grade students at Sonoran Sky School in Scottsdale AZ. Based on their studies of Arizona history (and prehistory) the students will research, compose and perform their own original myths, fables, tall tales, action adventures and “personal memoirs” to bring the story of Arizona to life. I can’t wait to see what flights of imagination this year’s Thunderbirds will take!
On March 23rd between 3 PM and 5 PM I’ll join show host Gabriel Ayala on KPYT-FM for his Liner Notes show; we’ll be spinning tracks from the new RCNQ CD What Lies Beyond and discussing the creation of the album and the evolution of the band.
live-stream the show online at
5 Arts Circle
Arizona’s premier philanthropic organization supporting the arts
Inspired by the nature and culture of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert while embracing a global perspective, I’ll present an interactive evening of world music and mythopoetic storytelling for an intimate gathering of the 5 Arts Circle Board of Directors, Corporate Partners and prospective members in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains on the evening of Wednesday March 29th.
photo by Stephen Meckler
The new Heart Dance Records CD Trialogue by Sherry Finzer, Darin Mahoney & Will Clipman is a Nominee for the Zone Music Reporter Awards in the Instrumental Acoustic Album category. Voted on by radio show hosts worldwide, the awards will be announced at a gala ZMR gathering in New Orleans LA on the weekend of May 12-13.
info & tickets at
ZMR Music Awards Live Show Nominees
Trialogue Spring Previews
Meanwhile, Trialogue will bring its original blend of classical-jazz flute, Americana guitar and world percussion to two of Southern Arizona’s best-loved concert venues: Ullman Terrace at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix on Friday April 7th at 7 PM, and the Community Performing Arts Center in Green Valley on Wednesday April 12th at 7 PM. These shows typically sell out, so advance tickets are highly recommended.
DBG Trialogue ticket link
DBG Trialogue Facebook link
Trialogue direct CPAC ticket link
General CPAC info link
photo collage by Shery Christopher
Jack Miller GRAMMY® Tribute
Kathy Norris, Director of Promotions at Canyon Records, created this “boxed set” of video tributes to the late, great GRAMMY-winning engineer Jack Miller for the 59th Annual GRAMMY® Awards telecast. I had the privilege and pleasure of working on thirty-four albums with Jack for Canyon Records, six of which–including my solo album Pathfinder–have received GRAMMY nominations over the years. I always referred to Jack as The Sonic Buddha for his impeccable musical ear, unimpeachable technical expertise and imperturbable personal equanimity. Jack was a master craftsman and a beautiful human being; he is fondly remembered and keenly missed.
photo courtesy Robert Doyle Photography/Canyon Records
Myth Has Its Own Logic
I love synchronicity and serendipity! On the afternoon of my recent Myths & Masks performance at Galactic Center here in Tucson, I received a Google® Alert from Kathy Norris at Canyon Records announcing the release of the song Mythologic from the album Dream of the Sun by the Albuquerque NM-based singer/songwriter Cole Raison, who had invited me a few years ago to come to Philadelphia PA (my birthplace) to record tracks for his new CD at Big Sky Audio. All of these interwoven storylines intersected on a Full Snow Moon, and I’d like to think the “coincidence” gave my performance that night a special mythic resonance.
listen to Mythologic at
Myths & Masks at Galactic Center / photo by Kati Astraeir
Nakai & Clipman on KXCI
R. Carlos Nakai and I were invited to record an episode of the Locals Only show on KXCI-FM to promote the recent Healing Power of Music event in Tucson. As you can tell from our wardrobe selection, we weren’t aware the show was also going to be video recorded for re-broadcast on Creative Tucson TV; our “perfect-for-radio” look notwithstanding, both the one-song video clip and the full audio interview are worth checking out.
(scroll down to the third post)
full audio interview
The Healing Power of Music. . . and Dance!
And as these video clips by Shery Christopher clearly show, the concert performance by the full R. Carlos Nakai Quartet turned out to be epic as well, when RC launched into his legendary Wallaby Dance and prompted a Gnu Queue Dance Party with the audience spontaneously joining us on stage!
The Wallaby Dance
The Gnu Queue Dancers
photo by Shery Christopher
RIP Bruce Tost
I got the news after my February newsletter had already gone out that renowned Tucson saxophonist and music educator Bruce Tost died on February 6th. Bruce was a big man with a big sound and a big heart. He and I played together in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s with The Ortskestra, an all-star ensemble that also included at different times Steve Roach, R. Carlos Nakai and William Eaton, and which accompanied live performances by Orts Theater of Dance, Tucson’s foremost modern dance company of that era. Bruce always brought a wry sense of humor, deep musical knowledge and an improvisational fearlessness to the proceedings; he was one of the good guys, and he will be missed.
photo courtesy https://www.gofundme.com/bruce-tost-final-expenses
Poem of the Month
Coming full-circle to our lead-in, your March Poem of the Month attempts to render in words the actual experience that put me in mind of our theme. I had taken a short break from rehearsing my Myths & Masks show out in the studio here at Rancho Improvisoso, and happened to focus my attention on just the right point in space at just the right moment in time to witness this little epiphany. Enjoy!
In the Middle Distance
Between power lines in the foreground
and a passing military helicopter in the background
a red-tailed hawk teaches its offspring to hunt.
The middle distance fills with their effortless grace,
the small one mimicking the large one’s thermal dexterity,
both borne aloft on rivers of white desert cloud
with barely an occasional languid wing-flap.
Thus is the nature of things revealed: a moment
silent and still enough for equilibrium to be achieved;
neither grasping nor letting go, filling emptiness
to the brim and no further; horizon to horizon,
beginning to end, each step a dance, each breath a prayer.
Thus the world comes to us: just when we meant to do
something else terribly important, of so much less significance.
© Will Clipman 2017
Dream big and aim high;
stay grounded and reach for the sky!
Faith is trusting in what one hasn’t experienced;
belief is trusting in what one has experienced;
hope is trusting that faith will become belief.
musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator