Friday, October 26, 2007

The Stone 10/25/07

A very excellent evening at The Stone Last night.

Fight the Big Bull was awesome. I can see why Steven Bernstein likes them. They are reminiscent of Sexmob and MTO in the music they were influenced by. It was very soulful and the guitar added a lot. The description on The Stone is their bio from their website and seems to be pretty accurate. It did have a gospel flair, but was also quite different. Definitely has a Spanish bull-fighting flair as well. I had to get a cd for $8, I wanted it and I kept thinking about them traveling so far for almost no money and to play for a bunch of mainly their friends in NYC. The room definitely felt very VA.

I see the songs from the cd are available for streaming on their website and on their myspace page. Well worth checking out.

Fight The Big Bull
Bob Miller (trumpet) Jason Arce (saxophones) Jason Scott (saxophones, clarinet) Reggie Pace (trombone) Bryan Hooten (trombone) Cameron Ralston (bass) Matt White (guitar, tunes) Pinson Chanselle (trap set, percussion)
An amalgamation of saxophones, trombones, trumpet, guitar, bass and drums, Fight the Big Bull is a display of spontaneous emotion filled with powerful significance and baptized in the traditions of the music. They are a band with such a wide palate of emotions that your tin heart cannot escape being moved—a freaky gospel choir/dance band full of horns and love that you should never ever miss. They are also marvelous people who are very charming conversationalists and operate with the understanding that in a world flooded with production and marketing all people want is to hear the truth—Fight the Big Bull has a very big heart, too big to lie. "From Richmond, Virginia....1st NYC performance"

Each one of them was an excellent musician. It was a tough room for them to play. The drummer was a little worried because he couldn’t see or hear the lead guy (the excellent soulful guitar player). It worked out fine, and I bet if they were in another room with monitors, etc. it would be even better. I was pretty happy at the end of that show.

There are 8 of them altogether, and they fit just fine. I am wondering how it’s going to work with MTO tonight. I can’t make it, but if I were going, I’d try to get there early. You never know, Sexmob didn’t fill up until after 10, and the fact they are doing 2 sets, it might be all right. I also remember plenty of space for MTO when they did their Bowery Poetry Club residency a few years ago. Still, I think they are more popular now and since they don’t play practically every month at Tonic, 3 sets, it might bring out a lot of people, for The Stone, that is.

This potential dilemma reminds me of when I saw the big, amazing orchestra last year. There were 15 members, and they outnumbered us in the audience, who only had about 14 seats or so anyway. I recall over ½ of the audience came from down south to see one of their friend/family members. I can’t remember which one. But, I do remember thinking what a shame it was that no one realized how excellent and special this orchestra was to come down and sit in the hot room for an hour. I remember Steven Bernstein and the other Japanese slide trumpet sitting way back by the bathroom.

6/7/06 Wednesday 8 and 10pm
Satoko Fujii Orchestra NY
Satoko Fujii (piano) Oscar Noriega, Andrew D'Angelo (alto sax) Ellery Eskelin, Tony Barba (tenor sax) Andy Laster (baritone sax) Herb Robertson, Steven Bernstein, Dave Ballou, Natsuki Tamura (trumpet) Curtis Hasselbring, Joe Fiedler, Brian Allen (trombone) Satoko Fujii (piano) J. Granelli (bass) Aaron Alexander (drums)CD "Undulation" pre-release concert.

I do know that MTO tends to be able to sit pretty tight together, so I’m sure it will work out.

Anyway, I enjoyed the big band from VA. Their encore was an Allen Toussaint arrangement of The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”. Very nice. The whole set was excellent.

A little break and then on to one of my favorite shows of this Bernstein run:

Peter Apfelbaum (tenor saxophone, piano, composition) Will Bernard (guitar) David Phelps (guitar) Marcus Rojas (tuba) Justin Brown (drums)A special one time project for the Stone and a first time meeting between guitar virtuosos Bernard and Phelps.

When I walked in, I was a little surprised to see Apfelbaum setting up the drum kit. Then, I remembered the last time I saw him was with Dafnis Prieto at Jazz Standard and he was doing a lot of great percussion. Dafnis would introduce him as “Peter Apfelbaum, on all that stuff” because he had just too many instruments in front of him to list. I remember thinking how great he was at the percussion at the time.

The drummer had 102 temp with the flu, which is how we got this special treat. Apfelbaum brought his own symbols and swapped them in the house kit. He also brought some more interesting metal percussion things and those clicker moroccan things I’ve seen Brigham Frigbane play on many occasion. He also had his tenor and occasionally added that into the mix.

The whole jam was wonderful. I was reminded of the best of the Greatful Dead jams. I think it was Phelps that gave it that feel. I haven’t heard anything that good, purely improvised jamming like that, in a long time. I’m getting really happy again just thinking about it. They were all excellent and know how to meld together and jam. I do think Rojas could have used a mic. He was sitting, unlike the show last week where he stood for the entire set, which just seemed so difficult.

The Electric Troubadours just went on my list of cds to get and bands to look out for.

That show was probably my 2nd favorite, well maybe it’s a tie with Sexmob. Shanir was definitely my favorite so far.

Turns out Will Bernard is playing in MTO tonight. That’s great. I wonder if Matt Munisteri will be there as well. I think he adds a lot and I enjoy it when he’s there.

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