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100% Cheese - Best of the Beard: Artist’s Statement by Jory Dawidowicz
Just who is Cheesebeard? Without going into too much detail on the matter: Cheesebeard is a space pirate; just the sort of intergalactic scum one might expect to find in an alternate universe that is both futuristic and cheesy. However, this senior project did not occur in an alternate universe. It was gruelingly prepared and ultimately performed right here in the music department of our very own Bard College--not by Cheesebeard, but by me (Jory Dawidowicz) and my friends/band, and I am not Cheesebeard. I am merely the Homer to Cheesebeard’s Odysseus. Perhaps the more salient question is ‘what is Cheesebeard?’. Aside from a fictional character, Cheesebeard is a vehicle I have used to make sense of and synthesize a disparate array of musical ideas and influences that I’ve had throughout the past few years. The origins of Cheesebeard can be traced back to an original Cheesebeard guitar riff, inspired by pirate metal, but a lot more sci-fi. Since then, I’ve listened to a lot of other music that has found ways into my compositions (as it is naturally inclined to do). Since these musical styles couldn’t really coexist, I split them into separate compositions, united under the banner of Cheesebeard:
Pontag The Odious:
An ominous beginning to Cheesebeard’s musical space opera, Pontag represents the forces of evil, and also my musical beginnings. Freely improvised, it starts off as a mockery of the baroque/classical tradition that I was initially trained in, and then inverts itself by going totally against it, making use of the sonic capabilities of flute/flute/cello, and then tenor sax/bass clarinet/double bass, rather than the melodic capabilities.
All Aboard the Stanky Pickle! -and- Great Orb
These pieces are where Cheesebeard’s journey truly begins to take off. They are written in a jazz-funk style, which is something that has been a very consistent musical interest of mine that has only continued to develop during my time at Bard. The Stanky Pickle is Cheesebeard’s space ship, and the Great Orb is an entity of great power, as well as Cheesebeard’s first destination.
One of the main things that I feel I have worked hard at mastering (ha) during these past years as a jazz major is playing the blues. Everyone plays their best over the blues, so it was fun to try to take what experience I have garnered to come up with one that was both original and shredly. This piece represented Cheesebeard’s acquisition of secret power, which leads into…
Cheesebeard v. The United States of America
The climactic conclusion to this chapter of Cheesebeard’s epic journey - in the form of a piano metal (another recent musical passion of mine) court trial. It starts off with a presentation of Evidence (paying homage to the great pianist/composer Thelonious Monk), and ultimately evolves into something that is both freakier and more groovin’. Not one for bureaucracy, it is in this piece that Cheesebeard unleashes the might of his recently acquired Blue Cheese, thoroughly laying waste to any that might stand in his way.
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Dawidowicz, Jorin Stan, "100% Cheese: Best of the Beard" (2014). Senior Projects Spring 2014. 78.
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