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Category: My Music

audio poem: hum

The other day I wrote a piece called “Hum.” My friend Patrick said it needed some noir saxophone behind it. He’s a saxophonist, so I recorded myself reading the piece and sent it to him to add sax to. He did, and this is the result:


SONG: “Bus Station”

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SONG: “At The Circle K”

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An ode to life in a red state.

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POEM: Playing The Fania All-Stars At My Retail Job

Playing The Fania All-Stars At My Retail Job

Takes me back to my early days playing
latin jazz and salsa in Tucson bars.
When we were all the way on
whole rooms full of sweating dancers
would cheer, spinning, singing along. ¡Baila!
Me, a 20-year-old white kid with no business
among these grizzled Mexican and Puerto Rican
veterans of the local music scene. Playing the claves
like an elementary school kid with woodblocks.
“If you’re going to play them,” Ismael said, “PLAY THEM.”
Later he would tell me, during a flamenco tune:
“Clap like my mama’s making tortillas.”
(He offered me cocaine, drank Scotch during every set
till the tempos were elastic as putty.)
Later I would lay jazz melodies over the dance rhythms.
Will, the bongocero, said to a new trumpeter:
“Can you play them jazz songs like my man Jason?”
I floated off the floor in my cap-toed spectators.
MCA Records offered us a deal, so we got together
at Izzy’s house to lay down a bunch of music.
Izzy got coked up, missed the meeting with the execs,
the deal was off. But when we were on, man,
we were all the way on.

/ / /

Jason Crane
27 December 2019
State College PA

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SONG POEM: I Wanna Be A Regular

This is my first attempt at a rudimentary multi-track recording. I played all the instruments (diddley-bow, pandeiro, cajon) and wrote the poem. I recorded it using a Blue Snowball microphone and Audacity, neither of which is really designed for this purpose. But what the hell, I dig it and I’m learning. Enjoy!

The text of the poem is here.

Photo of the Hagyard Building in Lenox, MA, courtesy of Sally Gustavson.

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VIDEO: Eric, Desiree and Jason at Full Circle Center

The Full Circle Center in Mill Hall, PA.

Last night I joined Eric Ian Farmer (guitar, vocals) and Desiree Dennis (guitar, vocals, shaker, djembe) for a show at the Full Circle Center in Mill Hall, PA. It’s a magical space dedicated to healing and mindfulness, and the acoustics are amazing. Enjoy this video of the first half of the show. This was originally on Instagram Live, thus the vertical video. Sadly my phone died while filming the second half, and that video disappeared into the mists of time. I guess you had to be there. 🙂


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VIDEO: Ady, Eric and Jason at Chumley’s

Left to right: Jason Crane, Eric Ian Farmer, Ady Martinez, and Reinaldo, soundman extraordinaire.

I recently had the pleasure of performing with Ady Martinez (cuatro, vocals, shakers) and Eric Ian Farmer (guitar, cajon, vocals) at Chumley’s in State College, PA. Here are both sets. These were originally on Instagram Live, thus the vertical video. Also the first 16 minutes of the first set are sideways, but the music isn’t. Enjoy!



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A song for Mumia Abu-Jamal

17 years ago, my friend David and I made a hip-hop track to support political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. We called our band Buddha Mind. This, our only single, is “Freedom of Speech.”

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Owen & Jason play “Honeybee” by Steam Powered Giraffe

Let me tell you a thing. I think I first had a girlfriend when I was 14 or 15. I’m 42 now, which means I’ve been dating people for 27 or 28 years. For all of that time, I’ve wanted to play music with someone I dated. Today, for the first time, it happened. I really can’t explain how happy this makes me, so I’ll just show you this video of us playing together. Every day I find new things to love about Owen.

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Hmmmm. Maybe I’m not a saxophonist.

10255948_444507792375949_2254098740527905068_nClearly I’m a saxophonist, right? I mean, I’ve been playing the saxophone for nearly 30 years now. For a bunch of those years, I did it for my living. These days, after 15 years away, I’m playing the saxophone professionally again. So, in light of the evidence, I’m a saxophonist.

Except I’m not sure if it’s really my instrument. I enjoy the saxophone. I’m OK at it, but not great. Years and years ago I realized that I can be entertaining on the saxophone without actually being a brilliant saxophonist, and I decided that was enough and never really practiced again. I have enough natural ability to carry me through the musical situations in which I find myself, and I tend to avoid things that I don’t think I can handle. (Just ask Josh Rutner, who was there the last time I was in one of those situations, how good a sight-reader I am.)

But here’s the thing: I don’t LOVE the saxophone. I think the main reason is that I’ve always wanted to be a pop star. I like singing and writing songs, and you can’t sing and play the saxophone. Well, you can, but it ain’t easy.

When I listen to music and air-play along with songs, I never air-saxophone. I always play air-guitar or -bass or -drums or -hand percussion or sometimes -keyboards. I enjoy playing the ukulele because I can sing when I play and use it to write pop/folk/whatever songs.

It only recently even occurred to me that maybe saxophone isn’t the instrument I should be playing. I mean sure, I’ll play it on gigs and I’ll enjoy it. But I’d like to find another way of expressing the music inside me.

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“Cloudless” – a W.H. Auden poem set to music


Last weekend I stopped by W.H. Auden’s former home on St. Mark’s Place in New York City. That visit reminded me that years ago, I set one of his poems to music. You can hear it using the player above.

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