Author Archive

Jazz Documentary

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Around 2009, Brooklyn native Brandon Bain started shopping for a new video camera. He’d sung in choruses growing up, but had recently started going to open mics and jam sessions to try his hand on stage. To his surprise, he discovered that the city he grew up in housed a ton of young, undersung jazz talent — and he grew anxious to document it.

Bain talked to a film-director friend who recommended a specific model. That choice was seconded by another friend later that week. Of course, Bain didn’t quite have the $2,600 to purchase such a camera. Then, suddenly, he did.

Brandon Bain had little in the way of formal vocal studies or video-editing training when he started his web series.

Courtesy of Capsulocity

“That same guy who recommended it to me, the second guy, I asked him for four numbers between 0 and 9,” Bain says. “And within a few weeks, that number came. I can’t even make that up, but that’s what happened: I won exactly $2,600.”

The New York Lottery has a game called Win4 where you pick four numbers and hope they’re the same as those drawn. There are different ways to multiply your bet, but the bottom line is that if you aim to win $2,500 or more, your odds are 10,000 to 1.

With those odds in his favor, Bain, now 31, launched Capsulocity — at, or via a YouTube channel — a series of video “capsule” portraits of young jazz musicians in New York City. He didn’t have much of a journalism or multimedia production background (apart from a few college courses), but he managed to sell a few musicians he knew on the idea of an interview and performance vignette.

Pianist Christian Sands was the first artist Bain approached, and the subject of Capsulocity’s pilot episode in 2012. Amid an industry-wide debate about young musicians, I stumbled upon that clip and posted it to A Blog Supreme. I put it out of my head until I met Bain this summer on a trip to New York City. When I finally checked in on Capsulocity, it had grown quite a bit. In addition to 17 solo performances — including “name” artists like Jonathan BatisteELEWand recent Monk Competition winner Melissa Aldana — there were now a few duo performances. In one, Christian Sands teams up with fellow pianist Kris Bowers to create an unusual prepared-piano take on “Ain’t Misbehavin'”:

Doc’s First Blog Post

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Doc Didymus, A.K.A. Tom Sutton, has been a professional pilgrim since May 1951.His travels and performances have carried him from the corn fields of Ohio to the sandy beaches of Florida, onto the exotic jungles of the Philippines and through the kimchi, fish heads and rice recipes of South Korea, via the historic and beautiful sights of Europe and most of the square and rectangular shape states in the middle of America. Tom currently resides in Cincinnati Ohio with his lovely wife Callae and their wonder dogs Annie and Nuala.


Here is some of my music accompanied by the Bow Street Runners: