I started at William Hooker's mini festival at Metro Baptist Church. I really like him, I used to see him sometimes at Tonic. He's a great avant-garde drummer. He's also into poetry, I'm not sure if it's his own or not, but I have a feeling it is. He lives in Hell's Kitchen and started a festival at that same church a couple of years ago, Rhythm in the Kitchen. It's shows off a lot of excellent avant-garde musicians who live in Hell's Kitchen. I keep wanting to go, but haven't made it yet.
I got there at around 8:20, when it was William Hooker on drums and a violinist. It sounded excellent. That was the last tune, so I missed the violinist playing his guitar, which looked really beautiful.
It sounded excellent. The church is nice and simple, with comfy chairs instead of pews. It felt really great in there.
While they were setting up for the next band, we got a 10 minute bass clarinet solo, which was also excellent. That guy also played trumpet and bass clarinet in the final band.
Then it was the debut of a band called Num-Tum, with people I don't know. They were all great, a drummer, multi reeds player (bass clarinet, sax, flute, and I think a couple of other things), upright bass, and 2 electronic people. One had a laptop and I'm not sure what the other was doing. There were no mics, and that was the only time any of the bands played with any kind of wires. It was really good as well and went for 1/2 hour.
Then, Hooker played some good soul, R&B stuff on the stereo for about 10 minutes while the Borah Bergman/Louie Belogenis Duo set up. Bergman is a pianist and sounded great. I've seen Belogenis a number of times, but I don't think I ever saw him with that little sax. It looked pristine, very beautiful, and small. It looked smaller than an alto, but probably bigger than a soprano. It might have been a soprano, but it just seemed a little big for that. Anyway, it sounded awesome. That set was about 40 minutes.
Now, it was time to get over to Galactic. I was actually late already. But, I felt so good and realized I didn't want to rush out of there to go to Roseland of all places. And, I didn't have a ticket becasue I've been debating for a while whether I even want to go, given their into their hip hop bent right now. Still, I know they also play plenty of their older stuff and even if I'm not into every moment, I'm usually glad I went. Still, I had a hard time believing it was going to be as good as some of those Tips shows I've seen in recent years. It's Roseland after all.
Anyway, I figured there would be 2 sets and I could make it for the 2nd, or by set break. I ended up getting there at 10:40, and was told there was only 20 minutes left. I tried to talk my way in without a ticket, and made it past one guy, but not the 2nd. It really wasn't a big deal, even though it did sound good from outside the door. I'll just have to go to NOLA and catch them there at a future time.
That last 45 minute set with William Hooker's Bliss was awesome. It started with a tenor solo while they moved the piano out of the way. Then Hooker started reading his poem while the bass and trumpet/bass clarinet got themselves together and gradually started playing. Then, Hooker went over to the drums and they all just improvised for a while. Hooker would leave the kit occasionally to read the same poem, he read it 3 times in all. I wasn't listening to it too hard, but it sounded kind of depressing.
Overall, it felt like a mini-Vision Fest, only very well run. Vision Fest should consider having solos during the set up times. The difference is probably because Vision Fest artists are compensated, and I don't know where the $12 cover last night went, but there were probably only about 10-12 paying people, with the other 10+ people being playing musicians and their guests.
William Hooker’s Bliss + Borah Bergman/Louie Belogenis Duo + Ravish Momin’s Num-Tum + The Ed Kasparek Group
Drum ace William Hooker curates another killer avant-jazz hang in Hell’s Kitchen. His own group tonight includes saxist Darius Jones, bassist Adam Lane and multihorn-man Matt Lavelle. The rest of the bill is all promising, but be sure to catch the duo of pianist Borah Bergman and saxist Louie Belogenis.
Start Date: November 17
Date: November 17
Venue: Metro Baptist Church
Address: 410 W 40th St between Ninth and Dyer Aves
Neighborhood: Midtown West
Even though I wasn't too sorry about missing Galactic, I did want a little more music. I consulted my All About Jazz and saw that I could quickly run up to Dizzy's for Mulgrew Miller or down to the Vanguard for Joe Lavano, both were 11pm sets. I just didn't feel like it, it kind of felt too fancy for me.
I didn't think it through too much, but thought I should just go to good old Jazz Standard. I saw that John Abercrombie Organ Trio was playing and figured I may as well check him out. It was Gary Versace on organ, and I've seen him in various bands and it's always good. I also know that he tends to play in what I think of as "straight jazz" bands. I guess most of them are classified as modern jazz.
It was great, and it's always nice to be there. I did find myself wondering why I didn't just head down to Cachaca or something. I don't see any reason to spend the Jazz Standard weekend kind of money to see something I can see often for less. While it was excellent, I don't really see anything special or unique about Abercrombie. I've enjoyed the last 2 guitar trios I've seen at Louis 649 more. Overall, I'm glad I went, just making mental notes for the future. I had also consdered the Knickerbocker, because it's close to me, but it can get annoyingly crowded in the bar area and not that fun because of that.