Greetings, One & All~
As we complete the lunar year and initiate a new cycle of thirteen moons, it’s fitting that the February issue of your A 440 Newsletter dispenses with chronological order and celebrates both significant endings and promising beginnings. Enjoy!
Governor’s Arts Awards Nomination
I’m humbled and honored to be a 2017 Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards Nominee in the Artist category. Perhaps my third nomination in this millennium will be a charm! You can view all the Nominees and learn more about the awards process at:
Myths & Masks at Galactic Center
On Friday February 10th at 7 PM I’ll present a rare performance of my Myths & Masks solo show, which features my original multicultural mask art, mythopoetic storytelling and live world music, in the cosmically groovy confines of Tucson’s coolest performance gallery Galactic Center. Rumor has it that some well-known local artists and performers may join me for some high-spirited improvisation, so this Gem Show special event will indeed be special! Tickets for this show are available at the door only; so while there are no bad seats in this intimate and comfortable venue, early arrival is recommended.
I’ll conclude my 20th annual Myths & Masks Artist-in-Residency at Cheyenne Traditional School on Friday February 3rd with our mini-showcases of student work, which as always has been inspired and inspiring. Many thanks to everyone at CTS for another wonder-filled M&M AiR!
The Healing Power of Music
On Monday February 6th at 9 PM I’ll appear with R. Carlos Nakai on KXCI Community Radio for three short sets of music interspersed with an interview to promote The Healing Power of Music. The show will be broadcast live on 91.3 FM and video-recorded for re-broadcast on Creative Tucson TV Channel 20.
photo by Robert Doyle, courtesy of Canyon Records
On Friday February 17th we’ll appear on the KGUN-9 TV show Morning Blend to further promote this wonderful event.
Then on Friday February 24th at 7 PM, the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will be among the featured performers at the actual event: The Healing Power of Music conference at the Berger Center for the Performing Arts in Tucson AZ.
info and tickets at
photo by Shery Christopher / Prisma™ effects by Johnny Walker
RCNQ at Mesa Arts Center
On Saturday February 11th at 7:30 PM I’ll be in concert with the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa AZ. RCNQ will perform selections from its new Canyon Records global native fusion release What Lies Beyond along with fan favorites from the classic Q repertoire.
info and tickets at
photo by Robert Doyle, courtesy of Canyon Records
What Lies Beyond can be sampled, downloaded and purchased at
Writing for Zone Music Reporter, noted contemporary instrumental music critic Bill Binkelman just penned this over-the-top take on the eponymous Heart Dance Records release by the acoustic trio Trialogue. Many thanks to Bill for his generosity toward our music, and in particular the kind words he has for yours truly: indeed, who needs a dialogue when you can have a trialogue?
SHERRY FINZER, DARIN MAHONEY, AND WILL CLIPMAN
Heart Dance Records
Flutist Sherry Finzer, best known (to ZMR followers) for her ambient/meditative music, e.g. her Sanctuary series and her excellent desert-themed recording with guitarist Darin Mahoney, Transformation, reveals a kick-up-yer-heels aspect to her musical persona on the energizing, delightful excursion into world beat/jazz fusion territory, Trialogue. Joining her are the aforementioned acoustic guitar wonder Mahoney and world-class percussionist and drummer Will Clipman. If you know anything about Clipman, you can well imagine the rhythmic party you are in for on this disc. However, what is a revelation is both Finzer’s and Mahoney’s talent across a variety of genres and styles of music beyond the haunting beauty of their collaboration on Transformation.
Part of that may be due to the influence of master-class drummer Clipman who has dazzled me with his percussive artistry back to the days when I first heard him as part of the William Eaton Ensemble. This man’s talent across a global-encompassing assortment of drums and percussion instruments is nothing short of amazing! Of course, Finzer is, as the saying goes, not chopped liver. She matches Clipman step for step, with ease I might add. And Mahoney, while he may not share the spotlight as often as his two co-stars, provides such solid support that his contributions cannot be minimized.
No matter what the mood, tempo, flavor or subgenre of any one track on Trialogue, the overall feeling I got every time I listened to this fantastic album is one of fun, the fun that artists who are truly tuned in and simpatico experience when their wavelengths intersect and merge. It’s apparent on the jazz fusion opener, “Code d’lvoire” with its “joie de vivre” sensibility and its carefree melody as well as on track two “Mending Fences” and its reflective guitar-driven opening which evolves into a soft rocking tune. “Midnight in Marrakech” pulses under Clipman’s sensual world beat rhythms on frame drum and Finzer’s sexy snaky flute lines, accented by Mahoney’s rhythm guitar work. Where “Confused” has an ambling melancholic feel to it, “Dark Horse” uses Finzer’s flute to paint a distinctly western musical landscapes, accented by Clipman’s trap kit drum underpinnings. “Top Down” has the breezy easy-going nature of the titular trip down highway 1 in a convertible Mustang GT – not too revved up but certainly movin’ down the road. The easy-going sound of “Thanks for Asking” speaks of three musicians who are not just on the same page but are of the same mind.
Trialogue is one of those recordings that I can reach for no matter my mood. It’s like a well-worn pair of sneakers—nondescript but oh so essential to my enjoying any trip I set out on: three artists who sync up and create musical magic, seamlessly merging jazz, world, and new age in a hybrid that provides hours of listening enjoyment. Who needs a dialogue when you can have a trialogue?
Zone Music Reporter
Trialogue can be sampled, downloaded and purchased at
And speaking of Trialogue, we’re on the nominating ballot for this year’s Zone Music Reporter Awards in both the Instrumental-Acoustic Album and Album of the Year categories. The awards are voted on by radio programmers around the world who are part of the ZMR promotional network, many of whom have been playing music from our CD over the past nine months since its release. Thanks to all of you for spinning our tunes, and we welcome your support for these awards if you find our music worthy of your vote!
UK Radio Interview
One of the aforementioned programmers, Terry Hawke, interviewed me recently (and brilliantly) for his Hawke Chill Out Sessions show, which broadcasts around the world from the United Kingdom. For those of you who missed the live-stream, here’s a link to the archive:
In the mid-1980’s, after stints with Street Pajama, The Resistors, and Rainer & Das Combo, I joined the legendary Tucson band if. . .
Comprised of two Brits (Spanna and Darrel) and two Yanks (Dan and myself) if. . . played an original brand of melodic dance rock that quickly made it one of The Old Pueblo’s most sought-after club acts.
With socially, environmentally and spiritually conscious lyrics delivered in the crystal-clear voice of lead singer Spanna, fueled by the incendiary intergalactic guitar of Dan Hill, and propelled by the heart-pounding rhythm section of bassist Darrel Mayers and yours truly on drums, if. . . cultivated a cult following that remains enamored of its slender recorded oeuvre to this day, thirty years after Dan’s untimely death in 1987 at the age of twenty-seven and the inevitable dissolution of the band.
Two of our vintage ’80’s videos have recently come to light, courtesy of producer Charley Brown, and forwarded to Darrel in Austin TX and myself in Tucson AZ by Spanna on Oahu, HI; I wanted to share them with you here to honor Dan’s life and music as we approach the anniversary of his departure into the light, and also just because they’re really fun to watch and listen to–were we ever really that young? Enjoy!
Centre of the Echo
RIP Michael Diamond
And speaking of departures into the light: I just received the news that contemporary instrumental musician, composer, producer and music writer Michael Diamond died unexpectedly at the end of January. I didn’t know Michael well, but his recorded and written oeuvre is intelligent, sensitive and entertaining; and he was always gracious and generous to other musicians and their music. He was one of the good guys, and he will be missed.
Photo of the Month
Shery was out hiking with a friend last weekend and chanced upon this delightfully deformed saguaro. I’m loathe to impose sociopolitical projections on nature; but with our environment under renewed and redoubled assault just now, I can’t help but see in this upraised cactus “hand” a universally-recognized gesture of defiance. This is one prickly succulent who’s mad as heck and not taking it any more!
photo by Shery Christopher
Poem of the Month
I read recently that the exponentially accelerated rate and scope of human-influenced planetary change has led geologists to concur that we’re now in a new epoch, which they’re calling The Anthropocene. In the same issue of the same magazine, I also read a fascinating profile on the aerial photography of Edward Burtynsky, whose work renders large-scale industrial landscapes as disturbingly beautiful abstractions. That interface of science and art was just too juicy to pass up, so I penned this new Poem of the Month to explore this confluence further. I trust you’ll find it thought-provoking.
One for the ages!
Rock reveals our story
though far more slowly
than we’re writing it
and there’s the rub:
how to be human and
not part of the problem?
Those Burtynsky photos
in The New Yorker
both fascinate and disturb:
how does the aerial view
make actual catastrophe
appear abstractly gorgeous?
A koan for sages!
Those of us on the ground
drinking that opalescent water,
breathing that opaque air,
those of us with only
and limited resources—
what are we to make
of this obscene beauty
that draws us like moths
to the extinguishing flame?
Ignore these scalding tears
that blind our reason.
Just turn the pages!
© Will Clipman 2017
Make this new moon marvelous:
shine your own unique light
as only you can!
Ignorance and arrogance go hand in hand, as do wisdom and humility.
musician • poet • performing & recording artist • maskmaker • storyteller • educator