Category Archives: Features

Unsettling the Score: Interview with composer Nathaniel Blume

How fraught familial drama and steely surgical tools inspired Nathaniel Blume’s killer soundtrack for ‘Prodigal Son’

by Max Weinstein

To say that stories about serial killers enjoy a permanent residency in popular imagination would be to state the obvious. The challenge, now, isn’t for stories about psychopaths to draw an audience, but to offer a fresh take on a subject done to death.

Composer Nathaniel Blume says that “Prodigal Son” — the Fox crime drama he recently scored—meets that challenge by putting family first. The series follows Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne), an ex-FBI profiler whose relationship with his father, serial killer Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), gives him unique insight into murderers’ motives. Blume, whose credits include “Arrow” and “The Flash,” approached “Prodigal Son” by focusing more on its characters’ blood ties than on the blood itself. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Adventures in Arranging’ by Dr. Richard Niles

Composer/arranger/producer, AFM Local 47 member Dr. Richard Niles has had musical adventures with some of the world’s most successful and acclaimed artists from Paul McCartney to Pat Metheny, James Brown to Randy Brecker, Tina Turner to Michael McDonald, Ray Charles to the Pet Shop Boys. Continue reading

Bugler Jay Cohen returns to work at Santa Anita Park


LA Times Sports Column by Bill Plaschke: “He plays alone to empty seats, but L.A.’s only working live musician has song of hope”


“Call to the Post” never sounded so sweet: Last week bugler Jay Cohen returned to work at the Santa Anita Park racetrack, the first AFM Local 47 member to file a live performance contract with the union amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

We spoke with Jay after his first day back to work on Friday, May 15 about his experience returning to work with the new safety procedures in place. Continue reading

Now More Than Ever, Union Contracts Can Help

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought our industry to a complete halt, and even as we are socially isolated from one another, we are suffering together both economically and artistically.

But we are a diverse union. Our members include musicians who compose, prepare and perform music in an incredibly wide variety of fields, from theater and club work, symphonic, opera and ballet, film, television, sound recordings and other recording work — if it involves music, at least some of us are doing it as part of our livelihoods Continue reading

Labor News: Labor 411 Debuts Ethical Holiday Gift Guide

Gifts for the entire family to help boost the middle class, support good jobs and strengthen local communities

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Labor 411, the nation’s #1 guide to ethical products, offers its first annual Ethical Holiday Gift Guide encouraging consumers to shop their way to a stronger middle class. Continue reading

A Peek into the World of a Los Angeles Studio Musician

by Steve Trapani

I am not sure what it’s like in other recording centers, but in Los Angeles there are a few hundred highly skilled musicians who are equipped to play any piece of music on any instrument you can imagine, and in any style that exists. Some have been on the scene for decades and some have arrived relatively recently. All of them are consummate professionals who are committed to maintaining and preserving a tradition of being able to “do it all.” Some have achieved a high level of notoriety and their names are known. Most of the best ones, however, are people you’ve never heard of — and they’d like to keep it that way. If you saw them on the street, you would never dream that they were capable of producing the kind of music that comes from their fingers, or out of their bells, mouths, or amplifiers. Many of them are people who I am proud to call colleagues and good friends. What follows is an attempt to bring the studio experience to life for those who don’t quite know what happens when the red “Recording” light comes on. Continue reading

Sweetwater: 50 Years After Woodstock

On Aug. 15, 1969, half a million people gathered upon on a dairy farm in Bethel near White Lake, New York for a three-day music festival that would come to define a generation.

Billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace and Music,” the epic event would later be known simply as Woodstock. Little did anyone imagine that it would become synonymous with the counterculture movement of the 1960s, and remains so five decades later. Continue reading

‘MusicianFest’ Doc Shares the Healing Power of Music

AFM Local 47 musicians Cali Rose, Jamie Shaheen, Music Performance Trust Fund Trustee Dan Beck, and Kirk Andrés Wilson at the ‘MusicianFest: Never Too Old’ documentary shoot at Long Beach Senior Center June 1, 2018. Photo by Lucius Gallo/MPTF

New film highlights how the Music Performance Trust Fund enriches the lives of older adults

The recording industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund released the uplifting documentary “MusicianFest: Never Too Old” showcasing how its music programs for older audiences reduce isolation. The film reveals how music enriches not only the lives of older adults, but also the lives of the musicians who perform for them. Continue reading