Sunday, December 23, 2007

John Ellis + Tony Malaby + Steve Nelson 12/22

I started out at Jazz Gallery for John Ellis' commissioned project Dreamscapes. Here is the info about the project in John's own words:

Marcus Rojas - tuba
Daniel Sadownick - percussion
Tim Collins - vibes and marimba
Olivier Manchon - violin and saw
Hiroko Taguchi - violin
Corrina Albright - viola
Christopher Hoffman - cello

I'll be playing a bunch of wacky woodwinds + a few surprsises.

This is a totally new and risk taking venture for me. Here's a few words about what I'm up to:

"Dreamscapes" attempts to portray through sound the strange and wonderful dreams that we all have every night - and remember from time to time.

While I was struggling to find a concept several people told me about dreams they had been having, and I decided it would be a great challenge to try to create mini-soundtracks for dreams. At first I thought they'd be actual dreams, ones that I gathered from friends or perhaps strangers even, but this proved too daunting a challenge, and perhaps more importantly, too time consuming. At that point I enlisted a good friend, Andy Bragen, who's a playwright and asked him if he might compose some dream-like words, poems really, that I could use as inspiration. The end result is the 'Dreamscapes' project.

It was quite amazing. They gave us a program with the poems, which are about the dreams. Before each song, the poet first read the poem. It made the songs even more enjoyable, to picture the musical intepretation of the dream. The setup was a string quartet in the middle, Marcus Rojas in the back, the percussionist off to the left side and the vibes in the back on the right. John was out front playing amazing music on each of the reeds. It was very well done. The song about the subway made me think more of the streetcar in NOLA. The last song was a lot of fun, with scary, Halloween type songs. The Jazz Gallery guy thought that John pushed the envelop even more than the others that were involed in this project on previous nights.

The Jazz Gallery is just an amazing place and the people who run it are quite amazing. They spend a lot of time writing people asking for grants and always book the finest acts. I'm very proud to be a member, which has an additional perk that I only pay $10 whenever I go. I chose to sit up front last night, but I often dance in the back and no one ever makes me stop.

After that, it was on to Cornelia Street Cafe for Tony Malaby's apparitions. I love a band with 2 drummers, especially those 2.

Tony Malaby, tenor saxophone;Drew Gress, bass;Tom Rainey, drums;John Hollenbeck, drums

It was excellent. Only about 45 minutes, but I only paid $10 and no one made me pay the $6 min.

After that, I went over to Cachaca for Steve Nelson. I got the last couple of songs of the 2nd set and the whole 3rd set. That was my first time seeing him. I remember when he was playing Birdland, but it was expensive and I still had my Birdland block back then. When a vibe player is the leader things tend to be very lively. The last tune was a blues tune, and even that was pretty lively. Jonathan Baptiste was on piano. I was kind of tired when I got there, but the band woke me up real quick. Steve said he was rather tired and acted like the 3rd set was too much for him. Well, it certainly didn't show up in the music. It was great and very upbeat.

No comments: