It’s hard to believe I’m about to start my third year teaching at Western Michigan University. The first two years have presented a long list of challenges and some very deep personal rewards. This third year will add a few more challenges as I take on teaching a new class (Jazz Arranging) and directing an ensemble (Advanced Jazz Ensemble) while a colleague is off on sabbatical.Continue reading
It’s become a summer pattern to play a week of gigs at Ronnie Scotts in London with Curtis Stigers. It’s always great to be back there, and this year will be extra fun because I’ll also be playing a couple nights of trio opening for Archie Shepp. Hope to see some UK friends there!
June 24 & 25 – 7pm
with Cliff Schmitt & Paul Wells
This should be a lot fun. Overneath Creative Collective asked me to put together a concert for their KBR series. I asked my good friend Phil Palombi to join me for this live duo recording session, and you’re invited.Continue reading
I’m lucky. I’ve got a very creative artist for a sister! I just created a new website theme for her art gallery, LSJ Studios, to help her easily manage her the online presence for her gallery in downtown Lancaster, PA. Using the power of WordPress’ custom post types, I set it up so she can easily add and edit information about exhibitions and events at the gallery. She can also post her studio class schedule and have students register right on her website.
PrettyPhoto by the folks over at No Margin for Errors has been my go-to lightbox tool for a long time. I use it on most of the WordPress themes I develop. One thing that has always bothered me though, was that I found the placement of the text information in the popup counter-intuitive.
By default PrettyPhoto places whatever value is in the image’s ALT tag as a title across the top of the popup window, and it uses the contents of the link’s TITLE tag as the description under the photo. Now, common SEO practice is to use descriptive text and keywords in all your images ALT tags. In my opinion, PrettyPhoto’s default behavior encourages you to sacrifice your SEO best practices to get information to display correctly in the popup window. So I wanted it to behave differently.
I went looking for a solution and couldn’t find anything online about it specifically. Some folks had posted the same question on a few forums, but I didn’t find any answers. After some more digging on my own, it turns out to be pretty simple to swap the information’s positions. When you initiate PrettyPhoto in jQuery, one of the options is to tell photo the markup you want to use for your popup. I found that I just had to switch a pair of class names in that code, specifically the .ppt and .pp_description classes. Once I did that, the PrettyPhoto script that inserts the information would then behave how I wanted. Continue reading
Bob Bernotas included Parallel States in his list of recommended listening in his October 2016 Just Jazz e-Newsletter.
“Pianist Matthew Fries has collaborated with his sister, visual artist Loryn Spangler-Jones, to create this program of “parallel art and music.” Alone, Fries’ compositions are absorbing and stimulating, and Spangler-Jones paintings are vivid and striking. Together, they’ve produced one of the most original artistic projects of this or any year.”
Raul da Gama at JazzdaGama gave Parallel States a very nice review! Some very kind words.
“His Parallel States, a collection of nine pieces inspired by the paintings of Loryn Spangler-Jones is altogether beautiful… Matthew Fries’ touch is light and inspirational. He captures the lines of the paintings in graceful arcs, often suggesting melodies that bring to life the moist and mystical nature of the paintings themselves…” Continue reading