photo: Renee Melton
photo: renee melton
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In other news... The Ratcheteens (Myself, Nick Mazzarella and Anton Hatwich) are disappointed to announce that The Skylark will  be shutting down the creative music series, The Ratchet Series, after 6 and a half years of dedicated eggshell-walkin'. In short, a few noise complaints did the trick. Though it was never the ideal place to present challenging music, it was home to many musicians who fit in-between scenes, and home to many fans of weird music. The Ratchet Series had a special place in the Chicago music continuum, and we served a community with very few creative music opportunities with pride, for free, and without hesitation (we only cancelled 2 mondays in 6 years.)

Rich Corpolongo taught us that the 'classic tune repertoire' can be approached with the same kind of freedom as a free improvisation set. Eli Namay taught us that you don't have to be in your late 30's 40's or 50's to have a thoughtful, mature, personal approach/concept. Bill MacKay showed us consistency in quality of performance is achievable - night after night. Cameron Pfiffner taught all of us about magic, (real fucking magic!) in music - both when he played and when he listened. Avreeayl Ra taught us about playing music like every night is your last. I could list for hours examples of the heavy scene we ratcheteens were fortunate to take part.

Please come out and support the last few performances we have coming up:
3/17 Ted Sirota Trio
3/24 Nick Broste Quartet
3/31 Rich Halley Trio

Also, be aware that the Ratchet Series will still continue our HOUSE CONCERT SERIES. Our next one will feature one of my favorite, uncategorizable musicians: TONY MALABY performing solo on Saturday, April 5th. (He'll be in Chicago April 1st-6th performing and recording with Jason Roebke and myself, too)


I am very much looking forward to an amazing weekend hosted by the Hyde Park Jazz Festival on Chicago's South Side. The programming is more adventurous compared to previous years, due in part to Kate Dumbleton's thoughtful understanding of Chicago's current musical landscape. The festival line-up reflects diversity in concepts, styles and approaches within the umbrella of 'jazz' music in our city.

My group Green and Gold will be playing Saturday evening at 5pm at the Logan Center Penthouse. Seating is limited, so come at 4 when the box office opens to get your free ticket! I'll also be playing with the Tomeka Reid Quartet featuring Jeff Parker and Joshua Abrams at 9:30 at the International House.

Here's what Bill Meyer from ChicagoMusic.org has to say about Green and Gold:
The band that drummer Frank Rosaly will bring to the Logan Center’s Penthouse at 5 p.m. will have no problems filling that space’s intimate confines. Green And Gold plays compositions associated with the mid-60s collaboration between Sonny Simmons and Prince Lasha. Simmons and Lasha were contemporaries of Ornette Coleman, and the music they played together was similarly steeped in bluesy lyricism and unhindered by the rule-oriented strictures of bebop. Rosaly’s quintet, which includes cellist Tomeka Reid, bassist Anton Hatwich, and reed players Cameron Pfiffner and Nick Mazzarella, reproduces the duo’s exotic reed selections and colorful arrangements, and lights a carefully modulated flame under their sinuous melodies. To attend this concert, you’ll need a ticket, which you can obtain from the Logan Center box office starting one hour before the show. Tickets are free, but you can only collect one per person. 

 And here's a preview from The Chicago Tribune's Howard Reich:
Frank Rosaly's Green and Gold: The technically lithe and stylistically imaginative drummer has pursued an unusual but promising path in Green and Gold, which addresses music of Prince Lasha and Sonny Simmons. Rosaly's collaborators are reedist Cameron Pfiffner, alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella, cellist Tomeka Reid and bassist Anton Hatwich. 5 p.m. at Logan Center's Penthouse, 915 E. 60th St. (Ticket required and will be available at the Logan Center box office starting at 4 p.m., until tickets are gone.)

image by James Gayles


I'm off to Europe again with the Rempis Percussion Quartet! I've been looking forward to this tour:

Sept 10 - Oslo, Norway - Blowout at Cafe Mir
Sept 11 Trondheim, Norway @ Moskus
Sept 12 Inderoya, Norway @ Inderoya Jazzforum
Sept 14 St. Johan, Austria @ Musik Kultur
Sept 15 Wels, Austria @ Schl8hof
Sept 16 Vienna, Austria @ Martinschlossl
Sept 17 Warsaw, Poland @ Pardon Tu To
Sept 18 Poznan, Poland @ The Dragon Klub 


Who likes Roy Haynes? I like him.
You like Steve Lacy? I like Steve Lacy.
Cecil Taylor? Me too.

It's settled. Click the picture above which takes you to my transcription page. There's a transcription of Roy Haynes solo on Cecil Taylor's "Louise" from Steve Lacy's record, The Straight Horn of Steve Lacy.



I'm looking forward to performing at Arts Incubator in Washington Park this evening! i'll be playing solo using my electro-acoustic set-up. It's been a little bit since I've had an opportunity to play solo, so I'm psyched about the show. It's a free, all-ages show. starts at 8pm.

I have a newish set up that allows me to create with a more holistic, improvisatory approach. This performance will come purely from the moment.
I am dedicating tonight's performance to the speedy recovery of Mr. Griffin Rodriguez, a wonderful musician and sound engineer who was recently injured in a bicycle accident. To learn more about Griff and how you can help him out, please CLICK HERE. As with many musicians these days, he lacks health insurance. There is a fund where you can help contribute to his medical bills. In addition, at my performance tonight I will contribute all profits from record sales to the cause. All the best, Griff!

Also!!!! There is a benefit concert being held at Constellation featuring great local performers and Boston's Joe Morris! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BENEFIT!


This Thursday night, August 8th, at 6:30 I will be performing with The Jeff Parker/Nels Cline
quartet - The Turning Point. We'll be rocking it at Millennium Park in Downtown Chicago as part of the Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz Series. I'm super excited to be playing with this group again after a few years apart. The band lead by guitarists Jeff Parker and Nels Cline, bassist Nate McBride and myself on drums interpreting Paul Bley's record, Turning Point, in its entirety.

Last year around this time i was asked to perform at Millennium Park with my own project, ¡Todos De Pie!, a 12-piece ensemble playing Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena tunes from the 2nd revival era in the 1960's. It is going to be super exciting to perform on that stage again, but without all the stress of being the bandleader.



I've posted a transcription of Art Taylor's drum solo from The Paul Chambers from July 14th, 1957 on my transcription page. Please check it out if you like that sort of thing.


Cicada Music received 4 stars from Downbeat Magazine. I was lucky enough to be on the same page as a review of Eric Clapton's new record that received 1 and a half stars. It makes my record seem more legit. Thanks, Clappy.


I'm excited and honored to have been chosen "Best Jazz Musician" by Chicago Readers' Poll today. In addition, Cicada Music was chosen as a featured band in the Reader's Critic's Best Of! They always have a little fun with the categories, so Cicada Music is now wears the crown "Best Jazz Band Full of Musicians Named Jason". 


I am currently on tour with Joshua Abrams' Natural Information Society on a 5 date tour:

6/9 Ann Arbor, MI - Black Elks Lodge 8:30
6/10 Tornoto CANADA - Array Music Studio 8:30
6/11 Montreal CANADA - La Salla Rosa, Festival Suoni Per II Poppolo w/ Pacha 8:30
6/12 Buffalo, NY - Hallwalls opening for Peter Brotzmann and Joe McPhee
6/13 Detroit, MI - Trinosophes

We are working on some new material, which is an intense endeavor. Sometimes a group will challenge notions of perspicuity and personal methods. As with many of the groups of Abrams', it becomes incredibly important as an improviser to not only inject my personal approach into the music (the reason I'm in the group in the first place), but also to surrender my expectations to the larger vision of his music. Josh challenges many of my ideas about playing drums, about the concept of rhythm, pacing, aesthetics, and everything else that I obsess about. I learn so much from my experiences with him. He's an excellent teacher.

The guimbri is the focal point of this music, which naturally references Moroccan music, and particularly trance music, but as soon as I start throwing out generic genre terms, I feel I am pegging the music into something that this music isn't. Yes, there is a gravitational force to be aware of, but the music we make pulls away from the referential space created by our understanding of Moroccan music.  While chugging away at hypnotic rhythmic and melodic cycles, there is a freedom with this group to expand and contract (sound? density? feeling?) that is fundamentally different from many 'styles' of music I play, and it is much different than Moroccan music as well. The each of us function as a part of the whole, like mixing separate liquids into one. It's exciting and challenging occupying this nebulous, amorphous space somewhere between and try to find solutions to best help the music grow, burgeon and dilate.

Here's a picture from just before Joe McPhee and Peter Brotzmann performed at Hallwalls.


My new record, Cicada Music, has was an editor's pick in this month's Downbeat Magazine! Click HERE to see the article on Downbeat.com or read below:

Drummer Frank Rosaly has been a key player in Chicago’s thriving jazz scene for the past dozen years—alongside flutist Nicole Mitchell, saxophonist Dave Rempis, vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz and others—but this stellar disc marks his debut as a bandleader. The album illustrates that he is a continually inventive writer and arranger who is, really, just getting started. Cicada Music began six years ago as a score to filmmaker Brian Ashby’s documentary about scrap-metal collectors, Scrappers. For this disc, Rosaly reworked the themes, and the compositions’ varying playing times create a fascinating sense of movement: While “Typophile/Apples” exceeds 12 minutes, four other tracks are only about two minutes long. The ensemble has a striking tone with a frontline of three clarinetists (James Falzone, Jason Stein and Keefe Jackson) alongside Adasiewicz’s vibes. The combination gives a beautiful lift to “Babies” (which bassist Jason Roebke helps keep grounded) and creates intriguing timbre shifts on “Wet Feet Splashing.” Rosaly’s electronics and Roebke’s cracklebox add tasteful and evocative atmospherics, including a bell-and-drum choir sound on the 75-second “Adrian.” Rosaly shapes his compositions through his drumming, and his quiet power is more effective here than if he had played with overt aggression. BY AARON COHEN

It was also reviewed at AllAboutJazz:

What to expect, when you are expecting a drummer-led recording? Certainly, the mix should include the drums more upfront, or perhaps longer solos? If so, then you might be taken aback by Frank Rosaly's first official release as a band leader. The cornerstone of many innovative bands like Jason Stein Quartet, Valentine Trio, Rolldown, Scorch Trio, Flatlands Collective, Chicago Lucern Exchange, Fast Citizens and too many more to mention, wrote the very un-drummer-like Cicada Music as an atmospheric tome poem.
Rosaly mixes five shortish solo pieces with five compositions for his woody three clarinet, vibraphone, and bass sextet. The effect is a warm organic sound that is full of rich overtones and plenty of squanky passages. Engaging vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz (a former drummer) into the band as a metallic foil to the woodwinds balances Rosaly's cymbal play on "Tragically Positive" a lurching Thelonious Monk-like composition that stumbles drunkenly against the horn players, James Falzone, Keefe Jackson, and Jason Stein. Rosaly orchestrates honking passages by bass clarinets, as fodder for his brief solo on the exuberant dark bebop track "Wet Feet Splashing." He prefers his pulse to be integrated in the group, and not opposed to it. His brush and cymbal work on "Driven" sets off bassist Jason Roebke and Jason Adasiewicz' explorations. The drummer prefers a rattling sound (the cicadas?) as the metal vibes answer the woodwinds.
Rosaly's music grows and grows throughout this disc. His five solo pieces compliment the sextet work by adding more bug music. The buzzing of electronics surrounds his percussive touches on "The Dark" and "Bedbugs," and ringing bells accent "Adrian." Like his solo recording Millwork (Molk Records, 2009) he can bring seemingly disparate sounds together to create a new assemblage. His longest solo piece "Credits" gathers fragments of piano, cymbal work, drums, and bowed strings into a meditative passage. In the other musician-led bands he works in, Rosaly is an engine. Here he is a sheppard of sound. BY MARK CORROTO


I am on a short Texas tour with the Rempis Percussion Quartet at the moment, enjoying the heat of Austin, and reeling from an exceptional music we heard  by Jaap Blonk who performed solo in Austin the night we arrived. An earache almost kept me from seeing the show, but I'm glad I ponied up and got out for his exceptional set.

The Rempis Percussion Quartet is performing tonight in Denton, TX along with Unconscious Collective at Rubber Gloves tonight. Thanks to Stefan, Aaron and Dennis Gonzalez for making this happen!

Here's the listing of shows we'll be doing:

June 2 @ Rubber Gloves in Denton, TX
June 3 @ the Owl in Austin, TX (performing in mixed groupings with local musicians)
June 4 @ Brentwood Elementary in Austin, TX
June 5 @ Victory Grill in Austin, TX
The whole reason we're on tour is to promote the release of the brand new record, Phalanx on Aerophonic Records officially out on June 11th!

Big ups to Pedro at Epistrophy Arts, Chris Cogburn, Andrea and Stephan for making this Texas dream a reality!



My first record as a bandleader, Cicada Music, has been released on Delmark Records! It features James Falzone on clarinet, Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Keefe Jackson on bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet and tenor saxophone, Jason Adasiewicz on vibraphone, Jason Roebke on bass and electronics, and myself on drums, percussion, electronics and piano. As you can expect, I'm super excited about being on a record with 5 dear friends who are all exceptionally talented, absolutely ripping the music.You can pick up the record at Dusty Groove, Jazz Record Mart, Orbit Records and Amazon, and as a download on iTunes.

Cicada Music will be performing this Wednesday, April 24th, at The Hideout in Chicago to celebrate the release! 10pm, 2 sets!

Click here to read a preview from Timeout Chicago.

Click here to read a preview from the Chicago Reader.


4/5/13 UPDATE:
Shawn Decker just uploaded my performance with his wonderful installation, prairie. you can listen to it here: Frank Rosaly with Shawn Decker's Prairie by Shawn Decker

On Saturday, March 16th @ 7pm I will be performing alongside a beautiful installation conceived by SAIC's Shawn Decker. I will be improvising with Mr. Decker's work, taking into consideration a multitude of environmental, dynamic, constructivist/deconstructivist and compositional ideas as a means to integrate the sounds I produce into the reverberant Sidney R. Yates Gallery. You can find more information about the performance HERE (Facebook), HERE (Chicago Cultural Center), and HERE (Shawn's website).

here's my rig for the performance:


BANDO is finally playing it's first show ever. this rock band features nate mcbride (ken vandermark, the engines, spaceways, inc.) on bass and vocals, geoff farina (karate, glorytellers) on guitar, and myself on drums.
we're playing at township in chicago on monday, feb 25 at 8pm.


I started out 2013 with a promise to myself to perform a little less in an attempt to make more time for research, practice, writing, composing and grant writing. It sounds like a simple thing, but it was a difficult and challenging decision. I love playing music, so saying no to performance opportunities is very unnatural.

I have a lot of big plans for 2013 and 2014, so i need to make room for it all, right?

Check it: I'm planning on serious work towards a new solo record, which will be all acoustic - a departure from my last two records. I don't want to give it all away, but it is going to be massive in scope. I'm excited. I also plan to record my group Green and Gold, which performs the music of Prince Lasha and Sonny Simmons. We haven't played a ton, but the few shows we have were super fun. Also on my plate is a recording of my 13 piece group, ¡Todos de Pie!, which plays Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena music that is abstracted by my musical influences, from punk rock to jazz. I have a lot of work to do to mix that record, and I plan on getting it mixed by the spring so I can get that music out there.

Did I mention that my group, Cicada Music, will be releasing it's first record on Delmark Records this spring? I'm super excited about this. This will mark my first official release as a leader. April 16th.

Besides the regular work and performances that keep me running around Chicago, I am looking forward to a collaboration with Shawn Decker, who has created a beautiful sound installation, Prairie, of which I will be performing 'duo' with on March 16th at the Chicago Cultural Center. I must mention that Kate Dumbleton was integral in making this collaboration happen. Big thanks to kate!

I played a few gigs this winter that are on youtube that i haven't put up on my website, including this duo performance with Thurston Moore:

and this one of the group, Frankenstein, featuring the amazing Jason Stein:


next week i will be performing in a few duos with drummer steve hess, opening for suzuki junzo (of miminokoto):

dec 2 10pm @ the empty bottle 
dec 3 10pm in milwaukee @ the sugar maple

also, steve hess and i are recording with suzuki on dec. 3 at strobe studio in chicago. we're both really excited about this rare opportunity!

solo tour -  dec 15-26 i will be touring the midwest, coinciding with the new release of my new solo drumming LP (with CD included), Centering and Displacement on Utech Records. the performances will be my milkwork outing, exploring acoustic and electronically manipulated drums.

saturday, december 15        milwaukee, WI     9pm       sugar maple
sunday, december 16          dubuque, IA        8:30pm   off minor
monday, december 17         st. paul, MN         8pm        studio z (Saxophonist scott newell opens)
wednesday, december 26    chicago, IL          9:30pm   the burlington


playing a bunch of rare duo sets and a trio set this coming week -

sunday nov 18 10pm
at the whistler with Health&Beauty duo w/ Brian J Sulpizio

then at 11pm, same night, at The Burlington Bar
playing duo with mr. Thurston Moore as part of the Neon Marshmallow festival

tuesday nov 20 9:30pm at Jerry's Sandwiches with the nick mazzarella trio

wednesday nov 21 at the Hideout Inn playing duo with mr. Timothy Daisy!


frank rosaly - centering and displacement 
now available on LP (comes with CD) on UTECH RECORDS.

about the record:
Centering and Displacement is a sound poem composed in the winter-summer of 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. The source material was improvised at a Harold Arts residency in 2007, recorded and engineered by Todd Carter. Art by Zachary Rossman. Limited to 300 copies. Black vinyl. LP includes CD version of the album.
click here to read a review by the inarguable
click here to read a review by musique machine

click here to read a review by HSS

click here to read a review in allaboutjazz.com

To manipulate a recording of the improvised process is to directly dilute spontaneous conception, and thank god for that.
The score dictates a body of improvised source material to be collected, segmented and organized by a simple chance operation using a deck of cards. These segments were then orchestrated into a sound program (logic7) and arranged by order of the strict, composed form. At times, the score also regulates post-recorded effects to manipulate segments of the original material. Once the material was edited as suggested, the material was divided into 6 separate channels (3 stereo tracks). Each pair of channels was then transferred to a CD, each of which is be played on 3 CD players simultaneously, creating a simple 6 channel sound installation.

In 2011, the dense 6 channel score was revised and reduced to two channels (1 stereo track), which is now the final version of the work.

here's a recent review from the wire

exerting the process: I decided years ago that music is music, no matter how it is conceived. Whatever process is utilized to create it is should not concern me. The only factors I should consider are the contents (ideas), the time in which it was made (context), and the Sound. I most enjoy the idiosyncratic voice of the artist rather than the musician. The artist disregards fashion, plays honestly, and performs with an immediacy that can be felt. Sometimes the artist is a master of their instrument or process. Sometimes they simply follow through with an idea on an instrument they can hardly play.

I view myself neither as an artist or musician, but as a student and listener of music. Perhaps I’m kidding myself. I've been playing music for 30 years. At some point, it would seem reasonable to consider myself an expert on some aspect of music, right? Had I spent 8-10 years in medical school, people would call me doctor. I’d call myself a doctor. People would trust their lives to my knowledge and experience. Perhaps that is the greatest joy of pursuing the subjective arts. How I conceive my work is mine to own. I ask questions and choose how I process the answers. I choose to remain a student. 

This process is bit like reading Studs Turkel’s work. Ultimately, what I play becomes the moral of the story. I generally consider all music i play to be improvised, and therefore of my own making. What you get from listening to it is for you -  based on what you have heard, lived and experienced. Moreover, the function of art in society (in the classic sense) can’t be ignored, as the music reflects direct relationships with people of this time, in this place, the world falling apart all around us. The music function and has meaning – even though it’s merely coming from this student. Perhaps lives are not at stake, save my own. 

I chose this, or maybe it chose me.


an exerpt of centering and displacement will be available on the wire magazine's next issue's free compilation, below the radar 10.


the great dan grzeca created this poster for ¡todos de pie!'s performance at millennium park this past week.
i have a few left and would love to pass along one to you as well! limited edition 18"x24" on heavy cardstock, hand numbered (75 made). i'm charging $10 a piece plus shipping. contact me at fjrosaly (at) yahoo (dot) com.


¡todos de pie! (everybody stand up!)

On Thursday, August 23rd at 7:00pm, my new ensemble ¡Todos De Pie! will be performing in Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavillion in downtown Chicago as part of the Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz Series.

here is a preview of the concert by the chicago tribune's howard reich...

... and here is a preview from mr. neil tesser for chicagomusic.org

We will be performing Puerto Rican Bomba y Plena music from the first half of the 20th century, the Bomba y Plena 'revival' in the 50's and 60's, as well as 2 new pieces inspired by the poetry of Antonio Amorós Santiago, my grandfather.

This music is a collision of my musical influences, from punk rock, jazz, classical, noise and drone smashing up against the traditional music of Puerto Rico and it's derivatives from NYC.

The ensemble includes:
Santiago Brilló aka Jaap Blonk - Vocals/Electronics
Jeb Bishop - Trombone/Electronics
Ben Boye - Rhodes/Electronics
Nick Broste - Trombone/Electronics
Ivelisse Diaz - Percussion/Vocals
Alex 'El Oso' Farha - Cuatro/Guitar
Maya Fernandez - Percussion/Vocals
Kenia Guerra - Percussion/Vocals
Nathan McBride - Double and Electric Bass
Cameron Pfiffner - Flute/Tenor Saxophone
Jessica Rodriguez - Percussion/Vocals
Sñr. Francisco Rosaly - Percussion
Frank Rosaly - Drums/Electronics/Vocals

The concert is FREE to the public, all ages and BYOB!

Pritzker Pavilion is one of the best sounding outdoor spaces in Chicago. The lawn is a fantastic place to enjoy a picnic, as well.

Please consider stopping by!

Also, there will be some wonderful, limited edition screen printed posters from the legendary Dan Grzeca available for purchase!
I am also very excited about this - we will be recording onto 2" tape at Electrical Audio for what i hope will be a double 45rpm 12"! ridiculous. Super special thanks to Jason Adasiewicz for the tape help, for without him this recording wouldn't be possible!