Greetings, One & All~

The air is cool at dawn these days as the last thunderstorms of this year’s epic monsoon rumble across The Old Pueblo and the Sonoran Desert gradually returns to autumnal aridity: a glorious season of golden light, subtly shifting patterns of plant and animal appearance and behavior, and a continued reawakening of in-person events in Willyworld, for which your humble narrator is most grateful. As fall unfolds in its unique way in your part of the world, enjoy a seasonal serving of good news in your October 2021 A 440 Newsletter. Be well and be in touch!


On Friday October 1st at 6 PM and 8:30 PM, yours truly will perform two solo shows of Garden Grooves: An Evening of World Music & Storytelling with Will Clipman at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix AZ, interweaving exotic instrumental expressions from my GRAMMY-nominated Canyon Records album Pathfinder with mythopoetic storylines from my Planet of Percussion repertoire, in one of my favorite outdoor venues on the planet.

info & tickets:

photo courtesy John Running Photography / Canyon Records

Ouray Hooray

Thanks to Heather Greisz and the entire crew at Wright Opera House and Ouray County Performing Arts Guild for presenting our R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman concert so enthusiastically and effectively, and to all our friends and fans in Colorado who braved the brave new world of live performance to come out and hear us. As you can see by the window-sized SOLD OUT poster that greeted us upon our arrival, The Old Sonoran Dogs haven’t lost their mojo yet!

And if you can’t make one of our live shows (or even if you can!) our creative and compelling flute-and-drum collaboration can be enjoyed in the form of our GRAMMY-nominated album Awakening the Fire from Canyon Records.

Club Club

The new world jazz ensemble Indigo Social Club will debut at 17th Street Music Club in Tucson AZ at 6 PM on Tuesday October 19th. Featuring Marshall Jones on guitar, Rob Paulus on bass and violin, Cantrell Maryott on vocals, and yours truly on percussion, ISC will be joined for this concert by Richard Katz on keyboard. Rich is The Old Pueblo’s first-call all-genre keyboardist and isn’t always available to play with us, but we love it when he does, and we like to think of him as the Fifth Element of ISC whenever it reaches quintet strength. This don’t-miss premiere performance is free and open to the public!
more info at

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography


On Tuesday October 26th at 7 PM at Friendship Village in Tempe AZ, Trialogue will perform its original contemporary instrumental potpourri of acoustic guitar by songwriter Darin Mahoney, classical and New Age flutes by Sherry Finzer, and world percussion by yours truly. This is a private event for residents only, but the trio’s genre-transcending sound can be enjoyed by all on its eponymous Zone Music Award-winning album from Heart Dance Records.

photo courtesy Heart Dance Records

Rhythmic Healing

On Monday November 1st (which appropriately enough happens to be All Saints Day) at 8:30 PM, I will conduct a Rhythmic Healing & Meditation workshop at the Redemptorist Retreat Center near Tucson AZ. Integrating my Planet of Percussion pan-global palette with personal favorite instruments brought by participants, I’ll conduct a hands-on experience of the meditative and healing power of rhythm.

photo courtesy John Running Photography / Canyon Records

Nakai Trio

The R. Carlos Nakai Trio will bring its inimitable brand of global native fusion to the Hotel Congress Plaza Stage in the heart of downtown Tucson AZ for an outdoor concert on Friday November 12th at 7 PM, as part of the on-going 100-year anniversary celebration of the quintessentially Old Pueblo landmark Hotel Congress. Internationally-renowned Native American flute master R. Carlos Nakai, phenomenal multi-instrumentalist AmoChip Dabney and yours truly on pan-global percussion will generate an entrancing vibe in this rare hometown appearance.

photographic art courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Atavistic Avatars

And just over the horizon, those atavistic avatars To-Ree-Nee Wolf & Will Clipman are loping stride-for-stride toward the premiere staging of their duo performance Will & The Wolf: 8th Day at Invisible Theatre in Tucson AZ on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, November 18th, 19th & 20th. Paw-print those dates for this extraordinary journey into a delightfully mythic realm of song and story with two of The Old Pueblo’s most irrepressible artistic denizens, as part of the 50th Anniversary Season at the iconic IT.

photo courtesy Shery Christopher Photography

Will & The Wolf (source unknown)

Drum Art

In 1992, master drum maker Scott Semple made two udus (picured below) for yours truly from Sonoran Desert clay dug, processed, thrown and pit-fired along the Santa Cruz River in the oldest part of The Old Pueblo, where people have been living continuously for at least 5,000 years.

These two-of-a-kind instruments have become irreplaceable members of my percussive family, and have been played in scores of live performances and on dozens of studio recordings over the intervening decades.

When Scott visited me at Rancho Improvisoso recently, he gifted me with a new medicine rattle of his, also pictured below. Scott is now making next-level large-scale drum art at his Fine Art Drums workshop in Los Osos CA, which has to be seen and heard to believed. Treat yourself to a journey into Scott’s creative world at:

FAD Red House Drum by Scott Semple (photo courtesy Fine Art Drums)

Little G and Count Basie (photo courtesy ICU Imagery)

FAD Medicine Rattle by Scott Semple (photo courtesy ICU imagery)

Photos of the Month

About a year ago we lost our grandfather tree, a magnificent forty-foot-tall Aleppo, to bark beetles. Watching this robust old fellow die broke my heart, and I haven’t had the heart to cut it down yet, preferring to let the heartwood dry out, the bark peel off and the cones fall to the ground as the desert elements work their way, while hawks, ravens and owls perch high in its branches to enjoy an unobstructed view of the surrounding foothills and mountains. Nature photographer R.C. Clipman house-sat for us during our September sojourn in Colorado, and captured these profoundly peaceful and painterly images of Grandfather Aleppo silhouetted against the setting sun.

photos courtesy R.C. Clipman Photography

Poem of the Month

Old Friends

I greet you as old friends, since I have

placed you where you are: rough-hewn

standing stones and smooth river rocks,

my palms and soles are your familiars.

I was there one night while you were

being born: living red lava oozing out

through the cracked black crust and

streaming down to a steaming sea;

I climbed one day to where the oldest

on the planet crumble, stepping lightly

as I could, asking your forgiveness and

thanking you for teaching me to become

not more but less rigid in thought, not

less but more patient, kind and generous

as I grow ever further from the beginning

and ever closer to the end; to finally see

that it’s no end at all, just energy that had

slowed down into matter now turning back

into energy and rippling out concentrically

on the placid surface of the cosmic pond.

There is no substitute for knowing someone

long and well, no shortcut to understanding.

Old friends, we are both the tossed pebbles

and the one who tossed them. And the pond.

© Will Clipman 2021

~May your autumn harvest be beautifully abundant~

No one knows everything, but everyone
knows something no one else knows.

~Guillaume Henri

Will Clipman

poet ~ percussionist ~ maskmaker ~ storyteller ~ performing artist ~ educator