I went to the 1st set of Improve Night at The Stone last night. I got there right at 8 and lots of seats were taken. Still, there it was, waiting just for me, my favorite front row center seat. Someone had his jacket on it or something. I just love it! I ended up being almost as full as for the Sexmob show, but not quite.
The artists were: Zorn, Joey Baron on drums, Shelly Burgon on harp, Trevor Dunn on bass, Erik Friedlander on cello, Ned Rothenberg on sax and clarinet, and a trombone guy and a piano guy I didn't catch their names. Stellar! There were about 7 or 8 different subsets of these people playing short improvised pieces with everyone up for the grand finale at the end. The subsets were 2-5 people per piece. It was really great and well worth the $20. Lots of Europeans in the room.
I recall when they first started The Stone, they were charging $35. I guess that didn't go over too well because it didn't take long for them to drop it to $20. I can't help but wonder what the rent could possibly be. It IS a commercial space and I'm having trouble believing that 1 improv night at $20 a head per set is going to do it. I do know they often have a 2nd night on holidays. Still, I wonder.
I then went up to Louis 649 for about 45 minutes of a great jazz trio. I left while they were playing, so I have no idea who they were. It was pretty good. That little spot at 649 E. 9th St. gets some really great jazz. There is no cover, but a $7 minimum and a tip jar for the band. They don't really have non-alcohol. The only mixers they have are tonic and lime juice for the margaritas. Very impressive liquor list. I only like it when it's dead because when it's crowded it's hard to see the band and there are lots of neighborhood talkers in the back. They do get some great jazz, though.
Then I went down to SOBs for a little Antibalas. I've seen them there before and find I don't like that place when it's crowded. The crowd was a little too drunk and I had some trouble getting into it. They were nice people and I had some interesting conversations about The Budos Band, Afrobeat, and Fela Kuti. I stayed for about 45 minutes, because I couldn't get that into it. It was fun dancing and it was pretty good music, it just could have been better.
I definitely prefer NOLA to NYC for Halloween, especially now that MMW has ended their NYC Halloween tradition. It was still a nice night, though.