Talk

Virtually Gilmore Concert – LIVESTREAM

Any opportunity to perform for the Gilmore Keyboard Festival is absolutely wonderful. But after a few months of playing almost no music during this pandemic lockdown, holy cow I couldn’t be more thrilled at the chance to hop on their amazing Steinway concert grand and perform a set of original trio tunes with a couple of my favorite musicians.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 – 6:30pm EDT

MATTHEW FRIES TRIO
Matthew Fries – piano
John Hébert – bass
Keith Hall – drums

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Music News

Whatchu been doing during lockdown?

I’ve been using some of my forced free time to explore some new skills. I’ve been playing with music production software, and in this project I sampled a bunch of sounds from my kitchen – banged on cups, opened drawers, shook spice bottles, slammed refrigerators – dumped them into Ableton, added a lead and bass synth sound, and made this…

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Music News

Staying active during the Corona lockdown

It was a challenging way to finish out the school year – teaching classes and lessons remotely. And now the virus lockdown has cancelled my entire summer of touring (you’ll notice my calendar is completely empty…). But I’ve been trying to stay creative with my colleagues as Western Michigan University. We’ve been doing some remote recording projects and the first video is a piece written by saxophonist Andrew Rathbun. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope to have more to share soon…

Music News

London in June

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
Ronnie Scott’s
with Cliff Schmitt & Paul Wells

Music News

New Website for my Sister: Custom WordPress Theme

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.

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Web Design

Swapping the ALT and TITLE tags in PrettyPhoto Lightbox for better SEO

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

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