Online Musical Collaborations 2.4

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Our latest project was producing a CD of play along tracks for Saxophone Journal magazine... —Kyle Whitlock
By Chris Burnett

Musician Kyle Whitlock is from Columbia, South Carolina-where he is a studio composer of many genres of music, and also a musician-for-hire in many different jazz and variety music ensembles. He has also composed music for radio and television. He has played keyboards and drums/percussion professionally for over 25 years, and has written a huge catalog of compositions. [ LISTEN ]

Kyle began releasing these instrumental songs on CD in 1999. His writing is a blend of musical styles and themes including Contemporary jazz, Progressive Rock, New age, Electronic, World, and Solo piano. Overall his compositions are very reflective pieces that take the listener on a musical and aural journey.

Kyle is actually a mostly self-taught keyboard player, although he acquired some formal education early on. In junior high and high school he played drums and percussion instruments in concert and marching bands. Later he earned a Business Administration degree from the University of South Carolina. Throughout college he studied with a private jazz piano tutor and also learned the fundamentals of music theory and composition.

Through the years Kyle's musical experiences have been many. He learned many styles of music while performing in jazz, rock, blues, R & B, gospel and other musical ensembles. His performances have taken him coast-to-coast through the United States. He has performed with the Contemporary Jazz group Kom'en In'trist for over seven years. The group has one CD out of all original music. Kom'en In'trist has performed at some of the largest music festivals and venues in the southeast, and recently at Columbia's very own 3 Rivers Festival.



Currently he is collaborating with musical friends from around the world on a variety of musical projects, and using the Internet as a convenient tool for information exchange. In late 1999 he created a music site at MP3.com to help promote his latest CD. Since then, one of his jazz songs (Oasis) went to #29 in the top 50 charts, and another song (Song of Summer) went to #10!

Kyle's music is now featured on over 30 different Internet radio stations. In May of 2001, his keyboard playing was featured on an educational CD that was released by Jazz Player magazine. He just released his second full length CD entitled "Caldron of Joy," at MP3.com during June of 2001. This CD features musicians from such countries as the United States, Italy and Canada.

Trademarks of his style include strong rhythmic elements, alternating use of tight and loose song structures, improvised melodic lines and an advanced harmonic approach, lush orchestrations, and a strong sense of unpredictability in overall musical form. Much of his writing entails a short story approach to composition.

Musical influences include Weather Report, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck, Bruce Hornsby, Niacin, John Novello, Jeff Lorber, Kit Watkins, Bob James, Keith Jarrett, Electromagnets, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Larry Fast, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, ELP, Yes, Procol Harum, Aaron Copeland, Stockhausen, George Crumb, Phillip Glass, Erik Satie, Debussy, Beatles, and many others.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH ONLINE COLLABORATIONS?

KW: I met Bob Johnson during the late 90's online. At that time he was already involved in doing online music production with a few folks from around the world. Bob introduced me to some of the mechanics of digitizing music files for travel over the Internet.

Along the same time I re-established contact with Chris Burnett online. We had met personally, while he was visiting a mutual musician friend here in South Carolina, a few years earlier. He was responsible for showing me the workings of online music distribution via some of the websites like mp3.com, Ampcast.com and others. Chris and I also did an online music project of one of his compositions.

WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF "FUNKDAWGS" AND WHERE ARE THEY FROM?

KW: The first incarnation of the Funkdawgs group consisted of only 4 or 5 other members, but later grew to a much larger number as time went on. The core group when we started out was, and to this day include:

The common thread that runs among all these musicians is the overwhelming desire to create new music. Also noteworthy is the fact that all of these musicians did not have an over abundance of available local musician peers to perform with at certain technical and experience level.

So, there was a will and then came a way for creating nice tunes even without having the other musicians in the same room as you!

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE AND PRODUCTION PROCESS?

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