Falling Grace

Live at FitzGerald's

Water and Fire


You will need Quicktime to listen to the sound samples



Metric Imperative

     On his new solo release, Metric Imperative, Don Skoog plays marimba, vibes, xylophone, drumset, congas, batá drums, and Arabic percussion on seven original works in genres ranging from concert compositional to world percussion and jazz. Yet his music meanders through byways which defy easy description. It’s not exactly experimental but it’s not like anything you have heard before. As Don writes in the liner notes:

     “People who write music walk a minefield bordered on one side by cliché and on the other by pretension, and finding the middle ground is the judgment that each must make for himself. I don’t try to create fusion when I write. What you hear in these tunes are the sounds my ear told me should be there, nothing more.”

     But what is that? Don’s music explores melody and harmony, composition and improvistion, and the tone colors of instruments that go bang when you hit them, filtered through the mind of a drummer who has spent his life pursuing the sounds of the world. To listen to this music you must resist the urge to label it and just hear it for what it is, because what it isn’t is a style.
     In Metric Imperative you’ll find Atonal and Arabic, Jazz and Latin, Classical and Electronic, not in an attempt to impress but because the sounds that enter a drummer’s ears are what come out through his hands. So what you’ll find here is the distallation of of a musician’s journey, and like all such journeys it’s subjective. It speaks of him, but whether it speaks to you depends on where you are in your journey. People’s reaction to music says as much about them as it does about the musician. What does this music say about you?

Graven Image
Blue Lake
Slave to the Metric Imperative

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For those of you who would prefer to order with a credit card, Metric Imperative is now available through

CD Baby

and on iTunes:

just type "Donald Skoog" in the iTunes search engine

Water and Fire
The Marimba Music of Don Skoog

Steve Hashimoto, bass
Sam Koentopp, drums

Click to hear the end of Water

     "Skoog is able to coax such a wide range of cascading sound from his instrument that it almost becomes hypnotic. His work seems so fluid and precise that it is like the aural equivalent of a world champion plate spinner."

All About Jazz Magazine

Read the review in All About Jazz

     Water and Fire was my first large-scale marimba work. Composed in 1979-80, it won Second prize in the 1982 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest. The first movement evokes the surge and ebb of moving Water, contrasted with the plop of light drizzle then a cascade through the leafy canopy of a dense forest, finally flowing to a gentle ending on the shores of a quiet lake. The second movement is about the Fire of emotion. It burns, feeding upon itself, in growing intensity until it ultimately extinguishes itself in a triumphant, if doomed, exhaustion. In the end, the fire is transcendent––reborn in spirit–– rekindled anew. If this sounds romantic to you, remember that it was written by a very, very young man. His romantic spirit is rekindled in me as well, whenever I perform this music. And that is reason enough for me to keep playing it.
     The five trio works on this CD are collectively known as The Chautauqua Etudes because they evolved from music I wrote for The Chautauqua Ensemble. TCE drew its musical inspirations from many traditions, both at home and abroad, exploring them within different musical forms and on a variety of instruments. These five works distill those explorations down to their fundamental structures. Each travels its own landscape, a different musical and technical idea, searching for a moment of unique musical truth. This makes them hard to classify. Are they Jazz? Classical? World Music? You decide, because I can’t. All I know is that each is very special to me.

Attendance to Ritual
Fantasy for L 5
Art Song

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For those of you who would prefer to order with a credit card, Water and Fire is now available through

CD Baby


Live at FitzGerald's
The Chautauqua Ensemble


Don Skoog, marimba and percussion
Shelley Yoelin, saxophone
Judith Hanna, bass
Kevin Lepper, drums
Joe Sonnefeldt, percussion

    The release of Water and Fire has sparked some interest in the original music and recordings of The Chautauqua Ensemble, so CMP is proud to re-release their 1992 CD, Live at FitzGerald's. The music of TCE is difficult to describe, so I posted up some sound samples so you can decide for yourself.

listen to Double E

listen to Balafon

Double E
Dipstick 1
Fantasy for L5
Gua Guancó

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Falling Grace
The Chicago Bop Quartet CD. $10

click to hear Lady Bird

      The Chicago Bop Quartet's first release, Falling Grace, brings a new sound to some of Jazz's greatest tunes. Mixing Bop, Swing, and Latin, CBQ explores the melody, harmony, and rhythm that gives standard Jazz its timeless beauty. But these veterans bring a style to the music, a sure-handed mastery that makes a contribution, carrying the music forward without losing its roots.

The Song is You
Blue Bossa
Alice in Wonderland
Body and Soul
Afro Blue
Upper Manhattan Medical Group
Green Dolphin Street
All the Things You A re
I'll Remember April
Falling Grace
Lady Bird
Straight No Chaser

Mike Levin, sax and flute
John Kregor, guitar
Marc Temkin, bass
Don Skoog, drums

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