© 2021 Rick Trolsen
In his own words, Rick’s now and again occuring thoughts on music, the world at large and, occasionally, why everything consists of equal parts of nothing and something.
Rick Trolsen‘s Neslorchestra, an ensemble of 17+ of New Orleans’ finest musicians, will be on stage at the 50th Anniversary New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The group is scheduled to play on “Second Saturday” May 4, 2019. Performance time and the stage are to be announced.
Neslorchestra had its debut performance in January 2018 and recently released the album “The Primordial Epiphany” to positive reviews.
See more about the Jazz Fest’s May 4 Lineup here.
Here’s a Clip of The Tyrant’s Invitation From the Performance of Rick Trolsen’s Neslorchestra at the Allways Lounge on January 7, 2019.
Rick Trolsen announces the debut performance of his seventeen-piece ensemble Neslorchestra on Friday, February 2nd at 2:00 pm in The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S Mint. The Neslorchestra is a Rock & Jazz Big Band for which Rick has recently created “The Primordial Epiphany Suite”. This suite contains six movements of organic, original compositions in Trolsen’s definitive style called ”Primordial Fusion.” Rick has been writing new music and rescoring other recent favorites for this large ensemble during the last two years. While new, Neslorchestra also represents an evolutionary extension of Rick’s well regarded group Neslort which features music described within Offbeat as
Neslorchestra promises more of the same, but even more expansive. The upcoming concert will, for the first time, expand Trolsen’s music to the symphonic heights as a natural progression of Neslort’s 25 year old journey.
The subject of nothing is something that is rarely discussed. Jerry Seinfeld’s long running sitcom, is perhaps the most exemplified demonstration of the such in today’s western culture. Indeed, speaking of nothing, contradicts the entire subject. “Nothing is sacred” is an essential concept in Zen. Emptiness (sunyata) is not “a stuff out of which all things are, rather it is the fact that no immutable substance exists and none underlies phenomena. We all come from nothing, hence, we all return to nothing. But in our worldly existence of what we accept as reality, nothing matters immeasurably. Imagine a speaker incessantly addressing a subject, or a piece of music that never pauses. We all have friends, that in conversation, never “come up for air.” What fun would be fishing, if we didn’t have to wait for the catch? Effective communication cannot proceed in such an manner. Imagine never sleeping, constantly working, never taking a break while eating a meal. Nothing is something we all need, especially in these days of gargantuan material desires and gratification. Anyone with a minimal amount of awareness knows that it is just this very behavior, that is destroying our societies.
The fight for survival in the world of music “industry” (God! I hate that word) lies solely on money. Music alone; has no chance of popularity unless several people are on the payroll. Commercial music nowadays is exactly that, commercials. When I refer to “commercial” music, I don’t intend to say that it’s all bad or otherwise unworthy. Although I don’t enjoy most of it, it has it’s place. My issue with this music is that it’s the only music that is exposed to the greater population. Here in New Orleans, things are somewhat different. There is a great number of musicians playing, recording, touring and actually selling their own music without a team of executives deciding on what is “good” music. But even then, it’s an uphill struggle.
Being a musician who enjoys a more unpopular taste of music, I find that most listeners have already decided what they enjoy before ever hearing anything different.
I have been trying to make a go of it with my original music for many years. I have exhausted my efforts in trying to present my own music. I understand that my music is not necessarily palatable. But then again, is Life always palatable? In terms of “Art reflects Life,” I have always considered my music as being that kind of reflection. I remember once while my band, “Neslort” was playing for a group of young kids. After the song had finished, I asked for volunteers to describe what they heard. Immediately, this young girl raised her hand and responded with…”confusion.” I loved it. It was a compliment to me that such a child could pick up on that. I just wish I could remember what song we were playing…
Anyhow, after several years of this experience, at least for the moment, I have withdrawn my efforts. For the last few years I have been a bit reclusive. I have only been playing for money. The creative music has been on hold. As well, certain personal issues have played a role.
These days, I have re-invented myself as a crooning pianist, and I’m loving it. It’s good to play for people the songs they enjoy. When I see smiling faces, I feel fulfilled. This; I see as my future. However, I just completed recording a new composition of my own. It’s actually a 5 piece chamber group. Who knows where this will lead to…#@!*?
Here’s an often overlooked cut off of our last CD. Just happened to come across it when it played in iTunes in a shuffle. didn’t know who it was until I looked at the screen. After the Extinction
Rio de Janeiro 2002
There’s no easy way to say this, but I have found myself suddenly taken in love with another city. Her name is Rio.
Much like you New Orleans, the people here embrace their music. They sing along, dance, eat, drink and flirt with the music. They are part of the band…there are no boundaries between the listeners and the musicians.
The culture here is deep, and the people have not abandoned their roots. Tradition is practiced in social life as well as in their religions. They celebrate Carnival just like you do my dear Orleans; only many more people dress in their regalia, and it’s practiced all across the nation. The lust for Life here is strong, as it is with you.
The music here is full of joy, sorrow, pain, love & hope. It moves my heart. This night, I found myself on a crowded dance floor moving to the rhythms and absorbed in the sound, much of which my reasoning mind has no understanding of. It doesn’t matter, for my spirit has taken flight. I have found my passion.
Love Always, Rick
Neslort – mystical scam, cd review
If you are a Deadhead, February 23, 1993 (Mardi Gras), Oakland Coliseum, The Grateful Dead featuring Ornette Coleman is one of those special shows you share with your friends. And after they listen, your friends ask, “why did the Dead not have a horn player, seems an injustice?” Indeed, if you ever heard Branford Marsalis play with the Grateful Dead (MSG) or even the Jerry Garcia side project, Reconstruction Band, you will think all this hippie music is more New Orleans and less California. And you would be right.
Oh. And vice versa too. The whole British Invasion was a celebration of American Blues. And the psychedelic music of the 60s and 70s was mostly American Country Music all spaced out. Everybody has a favorite Grateful Dead song that is actually a Dylan tune. And that theme carries right on through to modern day jam bands like Widespread Panic, who sneak J.J. Cale and Robert Johnson tunes by their audiences night in and night out. So New Orleans bands, as original as we are we, are perfectly allowed to take whatever they want from whatever kind of music they like and make it New Orleans battered, fried and covered with rémoulade.
And so we have Neslort (Trolsen spelled backwards), a powerful New Orleans band that needs its own niche, its own funky, artsy neighborhood inside the music genre. It is about never that we compare any New Orleans band to something like the Grateful Dead, but what the “no one does what we do so we are the best at what we do” attitude they held true to is carried on by our expansive, creative, robust and talented local musicians in New Orleans 2012. The Dead tended to take an organized song and disassemble it. Likewise, they often took the “drums – space” improvisational portion of their show and turned it into an organized song, after a few minutes.
When I first heard the track, The Picture, off of Neslort’s cd, Mystical Scam, I immediately pictured a scene similar to the Grateful Dead’s Standing OnThe Moon, with Jerry Garcia hammering away at his heartfelt, peaceful warrior lyrics about the worlds’ struggles before letting loose on a mind bending guitar attack, beautifully utilizing his only available weapon against injustice. The Picture will grab you, assault you and then make it all better. The guitar playing of Tim Robertson will grip your mind and tear it apart. You do not expect such timely, explosive and just pleasing guitar solos in and amongst the high level trombone playing of Rick Trolsen. But time and time again on Mystical Scam, Robertson delivers.
The pocket of neslort is the real reason that players like Trolsen and Robertson are constantly popping their bearings on this record. On the track, The Noise, drummer Boyanna Trayanova and bass/tuba player Matt Perrine bring it hard and show where this band is coming from, the marching streets of the Crescent. The Noise is stamped New Orleans like a water meter cover, it really moves. And the moves do no stop with The Yoga Rope Rag. Oh man, you will drift away to this track and start inventing new dances. And whether you 2nd line it down the street or do your best Lyuba Ranevsky dance through the Cherry Orchard, it will feel as if you are making this music your own. You are now a Neslort head.
Frank Zappa was another music pioneer who went looking in his own direction. Most neslort fans will feel and hear the Zappa influences from the start, with tracks like March of the Native Alien, Blues for Man’s Extinction and Mystical Scam. These tunes are seriously funky, but they are born of mayhem and chaos, dripping with social commentary and questions like “are you losing your mind”? The track, I Found You, still sounds Zappa influenced, but I prefer to think of it as Black Sabbath with horns. I Found You goes from heavy metal to cobblestone shoulder bends behind the brass band, and back again.
Neslort is going places. Whether you want to enjoy them as a New Orleans band that automatically takes advantage of the top notch players within and just jams. Or if you want to see them as breaking new / old ground, get the tattoo, the bumper sticker and go all in, it is Amerika and it is still your choice. But remember, “security breeds insecurity” so I suggest going all in.
Reason #134: What other earthly species would have come up with the idea of the mirror? Why must we see ourselves?
It’s June 26th, 2012 planet earth. tonight is the night that neslort makes it’s post solstice emission. Go to New Orleans Louisiana, in the North American Continent, at the mouth of the Mississippi River. You will find a drinking and listening establishment known as the “Blue Nile Balcony Bar” located at 532 Frenchman St.
Emissions will begin at approximately 10PM. Wonga Winga
Long ago, before the circus came to town, a large scale, genetic procedure was conducted on the primordial creatures inhabiting planet earth, by an advanced life form, from not so far away.
Injected with a revolutionary genetic formula, over several generations, great changes began to manifest themselves. Over the course of time, an altogether different species had emerged, known today as the Homo Sapien.
“The Hairless Ape”
This event came to be known as, “The Primordial Fusion”
The true purpose of this procedure is unknown….but military involvement is suspected.
Even to this day, the procedure continues to be monitered.
We are being observed continually.
I have enjoyed the sounds of Bulgarian music for some time now. In “The Tyrants Invitation,” the basic theme quotes a Bulgarian melody. However, the subsequent melodies sound more Middle Eastern to me.* It was written around the time that the USA invaded and occupied Iraq namely for the suspicion that Iraq was a depot of “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” At the time, I thought they went in there to take out their post 9/11 rage on an easy target rather than hunting down the real perpetrators, but more specifically, it is my belief that the USA was lured into the proverbial “Hornets’ Nest” by the Tyrant’s Invitation.
* I suppose this statement is an indicator that “my” music writes itself, and I am only the messenger/translator.
Why we humans put so much thought, money and time contemplating “Aliens” never ceases to amaze me. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how distinctively different we are from almost all other species here on earth. A good honest look at our behavior is proof enough that we indeed, are the “Aliens.” It’s just because we feel at home here, that we feel we native. Our continued abuse of this planet is what I consider to be “The March of the Native Aliens.”
There was a time in my life that I spent playing “Hippie” when I had no one to answer to. My theory was, and for the most part, still is, the less we humans do, the better off we all can be. I did very little in those days and truly believed that my Spartan lifestyle was saving the earth. I was living amongst 7th Day Adventists, Mormons, Christians, believers in the Urantia book, and many others who felt the same way. One day, with my eyes wide open, which meant I hadn’t smoked pot in several hours, I saw that we were ALL, hypocrites. We still went to Wal-Mart to buy tennis shoes assembled in Taiwan, produced from the rubber trees of the great rain forests. That we put so much faith in dogma whilst we practice the opposite and still believe we will be rewarded in “heaven,” is an indicator of a “Mystical Scam.”
“I Found You” is a fun little ditty I wrote one afternoon on Octavia St. I named it in lieu of the fact that I had met the Love of my Life, Barbara. Somehow, I was lucky enough to have found her.
The “Blues for Man’s Extinction” was written in two parts. The music itself was written shortly after the Saudi Arabians hijacked planes and subsequently crashed them into the World Trade towers in NYC. The lyrics however, were written, shortly after the BP Oil, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry,which flowed for three months in 2010. My optimistic look at the Life of the Earth relies in our own extinction.
I find those little card stock advertisements in magazines to be quite annoying, as they hinder the ease in finding the page you may be looking for. The products they are trying to sell can be quite annoying as well, mostly soliciting items that we don’t really need, or solutions to problems we should consult a doctor about, such as “Bedwetting for Example.”
As pessimistic as I can be, my idealistic side can come out shining sometimes. I am a firm believer in creative visualization. To quote Thoreau, “If one advances confidently in direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” If we want a better life, we must first “Picture” it.
It is difficult in this workaday world to fin d silence. Everywhere you go it seems there is a constant “Noise.”
I love Yoga; someday my practice will make my death more pleasant than it otherwise might be. In some practices, ropes that are anchored in wall framing are used as props. The configuration is such that you can actually hang from them; they are strong. I have a set hanging from my wall. One evening after dinner and drinks, I was playing the piano while friends of mine were doing an interpretive dance using the ropes. Their dance inspired “The Yoga Rope Rag.”
Sure, we go to school, church, and other institutions in order to learn how to grow, survive, prosper and aspire to whatever titles or positions we desire. We think we are doing things all so correctly. Perfection is what a lot of us strive for. Perfection is illusive, and education is incomplete. For every one of us eventually comes upon a time in our lives we haven’t been prepared for. It’s these times that we are forced to improvise. Not knowing, is not necessarily a bad thing. Improvisation has easily led to the best moments in my life, not only in music, but in REAL LIFE. It’s even better when you have friends to improvise with. I named our little improvisation “After the Extinction.” I believe it paints the perfect sound!
To Hear what Rick’s Is Talking About: Buy this CD on Amazon.
If you haven’t used this month as reason to fill up on Primordial Fusion and experience Neslort Live, there are still a couple of opportunities to make it happen. Check out our calendar for Neslort at the Hi-Ho, Shamrock and Rock n Bowl.
New Videos from early February 2011 shows at the Blue Nile Lounge and Satchmo’s Jazz Cafe at Loyola have been added to the site; Additional captures of band members solos are being added as well, to the individual bio pages as well as a dedicated page.
No shows booked at the moment.