Friday, November 30, 2007

Henry Butler @ Iridium 11/29/07

Last night was wonderful. We went to Delta Grill for dinner and then we went to Iridium for Henry Butler. Iridium really is awesome for a nice jazz club in the middle of the tourist area, when it’s not too crowded. Even when it is, it’s not bad, just not as nice as when it isn’t. You have a little more space and the servers are a little more attentive, because they have more time. The food is pretty good as well, it’s just a little pricey. We wanted the full NOLA experience, or as close as we could get, so we had to have NOLA food, too.

We got a great table, just off the side in the front row. Juls noted there was plenty of room to dance on the left side of the stage and dance we did. At set break, the musicians commented how nice it was to have some dancers. I get that a lot. Usually, we get a better show, even if it’s only a couple of people dancing. I’ve also realized the only places that enforce the cabaret laws are the smaller places that are concerned they will get into trouble if they try to use it as a noise control measure. When I think about it, there’s only a few that won’t let me. I just get upset because it’s the few I really want to dance in, like 55 Bar and The Living Room.

Anyway, Donald Harrison played the whole time. The bass and drums were great, although I can’t remember their names. After a couple of long great jazz tunes Davell Crawford came out and sang Bourbon Street Parade. That’s what got me and Juls up, we wanted to 2nd line around the club, but figured that was too much. We also danced to the next song. After that, Davell whispered something to Henry and then told us they were going to do a song written by his grandfather in 1950 something. It was Iko Iko. Wikipedia says it was written by Sugar Boy Crawford and it looks like Offbeat concurs.

Anyway, that got Davell’s friend, who looked like he was from NOLA up dancing right next to us and the audience singing along. It was awesome! Then he left the stage and we got another few songs. That set ran for about 1.5 hours, which was pretty good.

Then, as always with Iridium, we were allowed to stay for the 2nd set for no additional cover, just a $10 min each, because it wasn’t sold out. They came back on around 10:50 and I had to go at 11:30, but I heard they ended at 12:18.

It was phenomenal and I highly recommend getting there sometime this weekend. Tonight the special guest is Dr. Michael White and Kermit Ruffins is the special guest on Sun night. Donald Harrison is playing every night.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Word of the Day: infinitude

Sentence: "A symphony is a musical epic. We might say that it is like a voyage leading from one thing to another, farther and farther away through the infinitude of the exterior between the abyss of the infinitely large and the abyss of the infinitely small. The voyage of variations leads into that other infinitude, into the infinite diversity of the interior world lying hidden in all things." - Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

in·fin·i·tude (ĭn-fĭn'ĭ-tōōd', -tyōōd') n.

The state or quality of being infinite.

An immeasurably large quantity, number, or extent: "[His designs contain] an infinitude of forest shadings for the scenes with animals" (Alan Rich).
(Download Now or Buy the Book)

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
1. an infinite quantity
2. the quality of being infinite; without bound or limit [syn: infiniteness] [ant: boundedness]
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

The Stone + Jessica Lurie 11/28/07

I first went to the 8pm set at The Stone. I enjoyed Jeremiah’s curation this month, so I wanted to check him out. He plays avant-garde clarinet. I was happy to see that Matt, the guy who used to always volunteer to work the door in the early days was playing. It was good, creative music. I love seeing them play their instruments in completely different ways.

Ned Rothenberg, Matthew Welch and Jeremiah CymermanNed Rothenberg (Bb and bass clarinet, alto sax, shakuhachi) Matthew Welch (alto and soprano sax, bagpipes) Jeremiah Cymerman (Bb and alto clarinet)

I considered going to Louis 649 for an hour but decided to go home and be with my cat for a bit. The poor guy is left alone an awful lot. Then, I had to run back over to Ave C to catch a little of the Jessica Lurie ensemble at Banjo Jim’s. I really enjoyed it, much more than the first time I saw them a few years ago at Tribeca Rock Club. There were also a few more people last night, like maybe 8-10. It think there were 3 or 4 of us last time at TRC (it was a last minute replacement show). I was only able to stay for about 40 minutes, but it was great. She had a tenor from The Tiptons with her. She was awesome and added a lot. I’m glad they did a great NOLA-style funky song, I mean I felt like I was at Donna’s during that just before I left. I will be trying to hit her 9pm set at Banjo Jim’s on 12/12. Uh oh, I see they changed the time to 10pm. There’s something else sandwiched in between the 8pm and her set. I’ll still try to make it, but it might be a little harder.


A couple of extra special shows coming up. Towards the beginning of the month, there are 2 Masada shows for $20 each at Abrams Art Center, General Admission. At the end of the month, it looks like a spectacular after-Mule George Porter Jr birthday extravaganza. Brings back some great memories of Warren playing with PBS the first time I saw them and when Deep Fried played an after-ABB show and most of Mule that wasn’t already in the band sat in.

At first, I had a hard time believing it was George’s 60th, not because he looks it, but because I remember being at my first Neville Brothers show at Chicago HOB and it was Art’s 60th birthday. I just looked it up, and sure enough, George is turning 60 on 12/26 and Art is turning 70 on 12/17. They may be a little older, a little fatter, with a little less hair on their heads, but they’re still funky. Art usually says something like that. I tried to find the exact quote, and I know I’ve heard that on a tape before. I found this link to that WSJ article a couple of years ago. It he varies the quote.

I also want to give a plug for tonight, in spite of all the happenings going on, but it’s early. Ariel & Shya Kane are doing a book signing and free talk at East West Books at 5th Ave and 13th St. It’s early. I can’t make it because I have plans to go to Delta Grill and then Henry Butler/Donald Harrison/Davell Crawford, a big NOLA night. I also already attend most of their events, so even though it would have been nice if it worked out, I do already know what’s up with them. It’s just learning how to be in a nice, practical way and it appeals to a wide, diverse range of people.
Book Signing at East West Books in NYC
Date: Thursday, November 29, 2007Time: 7pmEast West Booksin the upstairs Café78 Fifth Avenue at 14th StreetNew York City2 blocks from Union Square station> Come meet Ariel & Shya at East West Books, New York's largest body/mind/spirit bookstore. The Kanes will be signing their new book Being Here, Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment. Don't miss this special event!
John Zorn's Celebration Of Light at Abrons Arts Center
Friday, December 07 at 8:00PM
Saturday, December 08 at 8:00PM
Experience two special and joyous holiday celebrations featuring the most popular band in John Zorn's ever-widening Masada Family. Bar Kokhba is a fabulous sextet for strings and percussion that takes the Jewish tradition into the twenty first century with beautiful, flamboyant music touching on exotica, surf, jazz, klezmer and more. Featuring the virtuosic Masada String Trio of Mark Feldman, Erik Friedlander and Greg Cohen joined by guitar wizard Marc Ribot, the gifted Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista and jazz great Joey Baron on drums, this is delightful and extraordinary music for the whole family. Friday evening's performance includes classic compositions from the best selling CD The Circle Maker (Masada Book One). Saturday evening features the world premiere of new compositions from Zorn's Book of Angels (Masada Book Two).
We are pleased to announce the Official Gov't Mule Aftershow Party Celebrating George Porter Jr's 60th Birthday. Performing will be Porter, Batiste, Stoltz & Friends. The show will take place on Saturday December 29th at the Blender Theatre at the Gramercy after the Gov't Mule show at the Beacon Theatre. Doors will open at midnight Saturday (technically Sunday morning) and the show will start at 1AM. Tickets will be available via Ticketmaster this Friday at Noon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sam Yahel Organ Trio @ Jazz Standard 11/27/07

I went to Jazz Standard last night for the 2nd set of this:

Sam Yahel Organ Trio featuring Lionel Loueke (guitar) & Francisco Mela (drums)

I accidentally deleted the post I was working on and don’t really have the time or inclination to recreate it. Basically, it was awesome and reminded me how good the organ can be. Lionel was awesome as usual and it was just a great time.

Tonight it’s with Peter Bernstein on guitar instead of Lionel Loueke. I plan to see him later this month at the Crescent Bugaloo show at Jazz Standard.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Word of the Day: zarb, tonbak

This word came up today when I finally got the Denis Colin cd, Something in Common. That was the band at Winter Jazzfest at The Knit 2 years ago that sparked my interest in going to France to explore jazz. It's a great cd.

His trio consists of Denis Colin on bass clarinet, Didier Petit on cello, and Pablo Cuego on zarb. I saw them in the Trio + Gwen Matthews and it was very soulful and amazing. I'm sorry to say I missed them in Montreal by a few days. I hope to catch them again some day in France or on the international festival circuit. It was very soulful and amazing. I got a new appreciation of the bass clarinet after that show. I love the low sounds.
The beautiful, melodic sounds of the Zarb are unlike any other drum. It is an ancient persian goblet shaped drum, made from Walnut or Mulberry wood, and covered with a goat skin which is glued in place. In the 20th century Teherani revolutionised the Zarb, forming a school of percussion, and making many changes to traditional Zarb drumming, so much so that it has gone from a rural instrument to art music. The persian frame drum known as the Daf, was for many centuries the favourite drum of the persian court. While the zarb was played by peasants.

In the days of the Persian empire the Zarb - also known as the tombak - came second to the frame drum (Daf), which was favoured at court, and formed part of the traditional music ensemble. The Zarb preferred by travelling musicians, and farmers, who drummed at festivals.
Only in the 20th century has the Zarb come into it's own, from a simple rhythmic accompaniment to a performance in itself.
The Zarb is characterised by melodic rhythms, with the performer displaying his skill with improvisations - playing not only the rhythm, but also the solo and the melody.
The Zarb is also notable for the rhythmic roll, which is different to usual drumrolls.

Djamchid Chemirani is arguably the greatest Zarb percussiomist in the world. One of Teherani's best pupils.
He now performs with his 2 sons as the Chemirani Trio. And form a mainstay of the WOMAD lineup. Be sure to catch them if ever you're there.
Like other middle eastern drums, the Zarb is played with the fingers. However, the Zarb is unique for its wide variety of unusual techniques and strokes. It is said to have as many sounds as the piano, and some Zarb compositions have even been transcribed for piano.
A tonbak (also known as tombak, donbak, dombak and zarb, in Persian تمبک) is a goblet drum from Persia (modern Iran). It is considered the principal percussion instrument of Persian music.
The tonbak has five parts:
Small Opening
Large Opening
The skin is usually glued to the body. Goat or lamb skin is the most popular material for the skin. The body of a tonbak is made of mulberry wood which gives it its distinctive sound. The body may be decorated with carved furrows. The throat is almost cylindrical and it is connected from top to the body. The throat and the small opening together are in the form of a trumpet. The large opening is in the top and is covered by the skin. A tombak player holds the drum diagonally across his lap with the wider section usually over his right side and plays it with the fingers and the palm of the hands.
Goblet-shaped drums are played in different regions of Asia, East Europe and Africa. Although there are some similarities among all goblet drums, the techniques for playing the tonbak are different from most other goblet drums of the world. The modern tonbak described in this page is most commonly associated with the music of Iran.
The most common measures associated with the tombak are a 6/8,2/4,4/4,5/8,7/8,8/16. Today the melodic beat of the drum does not merely work as a meter but is usually woven into the music like any other instrument. The tombak was not considered a soloist instrument until the pioneering work of Ostad Hossein Tehrani in the 1950's as well as innovations of Ostad Nasser Farhangfar and others. Modern players are expanding the technique of playing the tombak exponentially. Examples include Madjid Khaladj
CD by Navid Afghah: Temple of wooden figures
CD by Navid Afghah: Genesis
CD by Mohammad Esmaili: Tombak Course Mahoor Inst.
CD by Daryush Zargari: "Saz-e Tanha" Mahoor Inst.
MADJID KHALADJ: Anthology of Iranian Rhythms - volume 1 / The basic works of Master Hossein Tehrani
MADJID KHALADJ: Anthology of iranian rhythms - volume 2 / daf (mystical drum), dayré & zang-e saringôshti
CD by Madjid Khaladj: Infinite Breath - Nafas (Ba Music Records, 2006)
DVD OF TOMBAK / Madjid Khaladj All Regions Coproduction : Le Salon de Musique & Ecole de Tombak Langues : français, anglais, espagnol Duration : 172 minutes book 80 pages (French / English.) EDV 937 CV 054 Read More :
Description: The Tombak or Zarb. Is the Chief percussion instrument of Iranian Art music. This is a one faced drum Where (he whole upper half is wider Than the lower. It is carved of single Block of wood! And it body is hallow, Open at lower end covered with a Sheepskin membrane across the Upper part. An average Tombak is 43 cm high with Playing face of 28 diameter A Tombak player holds the drum Diagonally across his lap with the Wider section usually over his right Side and it is played with the fingers And the palm of the hands.
Famous Tonbak Players
Hossein Tehrani
Siamak Pouian
Nasser Farhangfar
Mohammad Esmaili
Amir Nasser Eftetah
Jahangir Malek
Amir Bidaryan
Bahman Rajabi
Morteza Ayan
Mahmod Farahmand
Madjid Khaladj
Peyman Nasehpoor
See also
Music of Iran
External links
Tombak by Madjid Khaladj
Nay-Nava the Encyclopedia of Persian Music Instruments
The Doumbek Page
Peyman Nasehpour and His Tonbak
Structure of Tonbak
Different Names of Goblet drums in Asia, North Africa and East Europe
Tombak Network
David Kuckhermann's Online lessons
Goblet Drumming Forum
Persian Music - Directory of Persian music related web sites.
Tombak by Navid Afghah
Tombak by Pasha Karami
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia © 2001-2006 Wikipedia contributors (Disclaimer)This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.Last updated on Monday October 08, 2007 at 05:02:46 PDT (GMT -0700)View this article at - Edit this article at - Donate to the Wikimedia Foundation

Monday, November 26, 2007

East Village Sun 11/25/07

I was away for Thanksgiving and got back late Sat night. I realized at the end of Sun, that I spent the entire time since I got back in the East Village. I am sorry I had to miss The Duo, but I did at least catch up with live music a little last night.

First, I got sucked into watching most of Mo Better Blues, a Spike Lee movie on HBO. That was really good, with lots of great music. I hope to catch the beginning that I missed another time. I see that Terence Blanchard played the trumpet parts, and that Tain was in the movie because you can’t really fake drumming in a film. Pretty cool.'_Better_Blues

I wanted to get to Jimmy’s for 4 tenors but I couldn’t get motivated in time to get out the door at 7. Instead, I opted for the 1st set at The Stone. I already know of Okkyung Lee, the cellist, and I recently noticed that Kjell Bjorgeengen is doing something with Marc Ribot at Issue Project Room next month. I didn’t realize he was just going to do visual stuff. That I could take or leave, it reminded me of something you might see at MOMA, and something I would pass by without much thought. Just some colors and light on a couple of small tv screens. That meant it was more like a solo cello show for me, which I enjoyed. I see in the listing that he was the only attendee at her solo concert. She was having trouble with one of her strings, but still sounded really good and pretty different. I left feeling good and ready for more cello.

11/25 Sunday (SK)8 pmOkkyung Lee & Kjell BjorgeengenKjell Bjørgeengen (visuals) Okkyung Lee (amplified cello)Norwegian visual artist Kjell Bjørgeengen's art practice is an investigation of reality. Over the years he has collaborated with Evan Parker, Keith Rowe and Marc Ribot and many others musicians. After being the only audience member in Okkyung's solo concert a few years back, they are playing together for the first time at the Stone.

I went to the 9pm set at Jimmy’s (, for Marty Erlich/Eric Friedlander duo. That was excellent. I love both of them, and they did not disappoint last night. That has a little more structure than the 1st set at The Stone. Marty is the freestylejazz curator this month and mentioned that it’s booked through Feb, but it seems a lot of people don’t know about it. One thing that would help is if they would update the website with the shows through Feb.

Here’s something I found on Dee Pop’s Myspace page talking about the series:
Hi everyone, I thought i would try and explain what is going on with the Freestyle Creative Music Series. Some of you know i have been doing this for a little bit. I am not sure when i officially started trying to do this but it is mid to late 90's. First i booked the INternet Cafe, then it moved to CBGB's for 4 years. Now 2 years at Jimmy's. It's been alot of Sundays. My policy running this series has always been to have the music pay for itself. In other words: no sponsers, no backers, no benefits. Periodically - actually weekly - i would suppliment the door with my own money. Given the nature of the beast this all points to bad business but business is what i am trying to avoid in the first place. It's about the music! God what a cliche and load of bullshit but yet it is the sole purpose for trying to do this in the first place. So countless lost dollars and hours later, i realize i am tired. Marc Ribot recently said artist run series are doomed to failure. Hearing that stung. And the new realm of the downsized art world. Back to the lofts and basements and other hiding spaces. Well even the rent on the cardboard boxes the homeless use has gone up. Sorry it's late. I didn't even mean to start writing this tonight so it's stream of conscoiusness or nothing at all. I will be booking the series through the rest of the summer. After that i will offer up blocks of a month to eligable curators. As every space has its pro and cons, Jimmy's has been fairly stressless. It is a nice little room for small group music. I wouldnt want that option taken away in a playing field that almost already doesn't exist. Wanna run a series?Do you have your own ideas?A vision? A younger, more provacative demand? Let me hear about it.Still stubborn and still trying,Dee

I still wanted more and was still on West Coast time, so I decided to continue my East Village music crawl and headed to Louis 649. Turns out it was Ari Hoenig Trio + Joel Frahm. That was excellent. So excellent, I had to stay up a little later than planned and catch some of the 2nd set. I love it when the drummer is the bandleader. The arrangements were great. It was also great to have both a guitar and sax. The guitarist is Gilad Hekselman. I saw his trio one of the last 2 times, and he’s the one who made me less than impressed with John Abercrombie. I hadn’t seen Ari for a few years I think. I remember seeing him at 55 Bar. He’s great and I loved what he was doing. There were a lot of “cool cat jazz” songs with great drum intros.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Adam Rudolph's Organic Orchestra

Wow, now that I'm re-reading the listing, I'm even more impressed. It sounded great. There were 30+ musicians and about 40 or so in the audience. They played for a hour, took a 20 minute break, and then another hour. I recognized a lot of the artists, all top-notch.

There were a bunch of violins, violas, flutes, trumpets, clarinets, one trombone, a piano, an upright bass, a drummer and a percussionist, 2 oboes, a bassoon, and a guitar. Sometimes a bunch of people would be playing, sometimes it was a duo or a few people. It all sounded great. I'm sorry that was the only one I could catch. I really enjoyed the flutes, there were about 5 of them. A few of the artists also had tribal looking instruments, like something that looked liked a hallow tree branch, and some interesting woodwinds.

Adam recently moved here from LA, so hopefully there will be more opportunities. I first found out he existed when he curated the Don Cherry festival at The Stone 2 years ago. It was phenomenal every night.

I heard him say these Roulette gigs are paid rehearsals. I wonder where else they will be playing, but I suspect Europe in big rooms. I bet Roulette is one of those places that is subsidized by Europe. That was only my 2nd time there, but they seem to get some great music. Last time was a duo that played all glass instruments. I mean an entire area full of many, many instrumnents made of glass. Gongs and keys and all kinds of things. It was great.
November 5th
Adam Rudolph/Organic Orchestra
(Also November 19th and 26th)

Composer and Artistic Director Adam Rudolph has constructed music using innovative and experimental means without the use of western music notation. Rudolph will conduct the woodwind players through music/letter grids, language themes, Indian Ragas and song forms to create the moods, movement and sonic gestures.

The percussionists have been learning Rudolph's rhythm concept:"Cyclic Verticalism", whereby polyrhythms (used in African music) are combined with rhythms cycles (used in Indian music). Utilizing these elements in an spontaneous way, elements will weave what Rudolph calls an "audio syncretic music fabric" that serves as a platform for improvisation and self expression.

Go: Organic Orchestra is an ensemble (with both Los Angeles and New York based groups) and a conducting/performance concept that can be taught and peformed anywhere. The musicians listed below will be appearing in performance with Go: Organic Orchestra on one or all of the Monday evening concerts. Additional musicians will be performing: the exact line-up and instrumentation will be determined the night of the performance.

Graham Haynes. Martin Loyato, Stephen Haynes – Trumpet and Cornet
Steve Swell – Trombone
Alex Waterman, Tomas Ulrich, Daniel Levin, Kirsten Jerme - Cello
Charles Burnham, Jean Cook, Sarah Bernstein– Violin
Stephanie Griffin, Miguel Atwood - Viola
Sylvain Leroux, Ze Luis, Michel Gentile, Jane Rigler, Emily Hay– Flutes, Bamboo Flutes
Batya Sobel – Oboe
Sara Schoenbeck - Bassoon
Ned Rothenberg, J.D. Parran, Charles Waters, David Rothenberg- Clarinets
Jerome Harris, Leni Stern, Kenny Wessel, Marco Cappelli, Matt Waugh - Guitars
Harris Eisenstadt, Brahim Fribgane, Gustavo Aguilar, Tim Keiper, Shaun Kelly, Neil Ochoa, Vong Pak, Mamadou Makan Kouyate – Drums and Percussion,
Shanir Blumenkranz, Nick Rosen, Keith Witty, Stuart Popejoy – Acoustic Bass
Alex Marcelo – Acoustic Piano

Monday, November 19, 2007


I first got interested in Duane Allman after I got back from Austin City Limits in 2005. I got even more interested after I picked up the Anthology and Derek & The Dominos 20th anniversary of the Layla Sessions. More interested is kind of an understatement. He’s it. If I could only see one person from that past, he is it. If I could pick how, I would be an invisible fly on the wall in those D&D sessions. I wouldn’t want to disturb or alter anything going on in that room.

The liner notes got me to search out all the Delaney & Bonnie discs. I started with the ones with Duane, but I liked it so much I wanted all of them.

As I got more an more obsessed, I found out about the biography Skydog, but Randy Poe.

It’s a great biased history of Duane. I really enjoyed reading it last year. There’s a listing of all the cds he’s played on, since he did a lot of sessions work in Muscle Shoals. I continue to pick up a lot of those CDs over time. I have all the Delaney & Bonnie cds, even the ones without Duane. I hadn’t heard of them until I started this exploration, which got me more immersed in American Roots Music. I also have a few great Aretha discs from that period. I tend to explore the artist and not just the Duane CDs. I have a bunch of Herbie Mann CDs and really like them. I even got the Boz Scaggs disc, which is OK, not really something I needed at all. I would have been fine with just that song on the anthology.

Anyway, it’s a great book and a great way to learn about the history of ABB as well as Duane. It cleared up a lot, especially why they just play the old stuff. He was the brains and innovative one behind the whole thing. I can’t help but fantasize about what he could be doing right now, had he lived. I bet he would have taken music in many different directions over the years. I think he was definitely another Coltrane or Miles, who are in my top 5 of who else I wish I could travel back and see. The other 2 are Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley.

Here’s what I wrote in Sept 2005, right after ACL. Since then, I’ve been to a number Beacon shows. I think I went to 3 in 2006 and 5 in 2007. I used to go to 1 or 2 sometimes in the years before. It’s fun to watch it evolve as the nights go on. I don’t know if I want to go at all if it’s not at The Beacon this year. We’ll see.

I now understand it’s this particular version of the band and one of the reasons I didn’t really like them before was because it was a different band in my earlier years.


I finally had my Allman Brothers moment. That 1 hour set was worth the whole trip. I never liked them, and never knew why. I became a Warren fan after those Phil shows, I’m not sure if I knew about him before that or not. I’ve been the Beacon a few times in the last few years and enjoyed the show. But, I couldn’t get past the commercialism. All that merch-pushing and the screen and the high ticket prices. I find the video they show at the Beacon is very distracting. My friends like it because “it makes them trip”. The only thing I have to say to that is that music stands on it’s own. No need for any distractions.

Well, that one hour, no screens, no commercialism, just excellent music. I found myself pondering how genius it is to even think to put Warren, Derek, Oteil and 3 drummers in one band. Pure genius! I needed to know the history. Found this, which explains a lot:

I can’t believe Duane died in 1971 and that the band with him only existed for a couple of years. The way he is talked about, I thought it was in the last 10 years or so and that he had played with them for a long time.

Now, I’m a real convert. I’m going to as many Beacon shows as I can, but not any big venues. I’ve got to get that Fillmore cd at lunch today.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I'm going to a reunion party with the group I went to Italy with a couple of months ago. It's a fun group of people and it should be another Italian feeding frenzy. The hostess wants us to leave at 8 so that she can wind down and get ready for the week. That's great because they kept mentioning they want me to take them to jazz. Hopefully, they meant it and I'm trying to organize my thoughts now, just in case.

I see Anat Cohen & Friends are at Louis 649, ah but it ends at 9. That's probably when we could get there from UES. But, Ari Hoenig is later and that should be good.

I see lots of good experimental options, but I think it would be best to try to stick to more mainstream stuff that would appeal to a lot of people.

Another option is my friend Val is belly dancing at Le Cafe Figaro on Bleeker. She said that it's a great live band, and I know I would love to do that. I love that music and I've seen her before and she is quite good.

Peter Mazza Duo at Bar Next Door might be a good option, and we can continue the Italian theme. That's only $8 cover.

Small's is almost always good, so that's a good option when in doubt. I see it's Spike Wilner Ensemble, which I never heard of but I bet is good.

I'd like to look in Williamsburg and Park Slope, but I bet that's too hard.

There's the Fat Cat Big Band, which might help us continue our Scopa game. We learned to play the card game Scopa in Italy and got addicted.

Then there's Brazilian Samba Jazz at The Zinc Bar

Looks like a few good dowtown options to choose from. I was going to also suggest Smith's Bar, in Midtown, I think the West Side. In case they don't want to shlep quite so far. But, I see this is the one night they don't have live music. I haven't been there, but I've had it on the list ever since I read about it in All About Jazz.

Sat 11/17/07

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
Prices: $12
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.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Stone 11/16/07

Whenever I want music and don't know where to go, The Stone is always a good idea for me. I have been wanting to check out Mary Halverson for a while. I remember when she curated The Stone last Feb. I went the first night, with Ches Smith, Matt Moran, Joe Karten and Nate Wooley. Mary was there for most of the shows she curated, and they were saying how they can't wait to see her play. I made a mental note that if these greats wanted to see her play, I should as well. I only made it back for a couple more sets that month, inpulsively, and she was never playing. Since then, I've seen her in the listings a number of times, but haven't made it.

Then, I see Mary Halverson in this month's All About Jazz, in the lesser known artist section. I was surprised because this is the first time I knew of anyone in that part. I thought the 2 people they show there every month are even lesser known. I mean, she curated The Stone already. Anyway, that got me even more intrigued, especially when I read how Joe Morris, one of her guitar teachers, emphasized the importance of finding a unique voice on the guitar, and that was a big deal to her.

So, I finally see her and Jessica Pavone last night, 2nd set, and it was excellent. They were so in sync with each other and every moment sounded excellent. Both had unique styles and sounds, but it was more cohesive than a lot of avant-garde music. It wasn't too "out there". I am very impressed with Mary's guitar playing. I thought at times it sounded like the viola, with the various pedals and techniques. I couldn't really see her play because they were reading music that was in the way. I had to watch her feet on the pedals and I could see Jessica playing the viola because she held it higher. It was really excellent.

Before that, I went to a full house for The Instruments. Most people knew one of the 8 artists. They were all excellent. I was a little skeptical how it would go when I glanced at the listing right before I went. I was worried it might be kind of boring. It was actually excellent and quite alive. I kept thinking of Bang on a Can, which I finally made it to the marathon at WFC last summer. That is many classically trained musicians doing music in new and innovative ways. Now that I see it listed as folk music, I can see that, but it didn't occur to me that's what it was when I was listening.

The music was very alive and felt really, really good. There was one song where the guitar player put chopsticks under the strings, and that sounded cool. The vibraphone player sometimes played with bows on the edges.

The only one I couldn't really hear or figure out what he was doing there was the french horn. I was very intrigued by it, since it's not something I usually see, but I couldn't tell what sounds were coming from it. It was still fun to watch it work, though.

It was just a great night in general and I'm glad I impulsively decided to do it and not stay in.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I’m certainly a Drum Addict. I’ve heard these drummers and saxophone players a couple of times in the Union Square subway. There were there the other day when I had a $10 to spare, so I picked up a cd. It’s all drums, and I love it. I usually don’t like drum CDs, but this one is pretty good even though it's not live in person. It gets me going and I feel like I’m more productive at work when I’m listening to it.

I love hearing them underground as well. The first time, they just had a baritone. Last time, there were 2 tenors and a baritone. I couldn’t stay for long, but it sounded great.

Drumadics [Drum-Addicts], “William B Johnson’s Subway Explosion” featuring an international troupe of drummers. Merging cultures from around the world, they create a sound unlike anything ever heard. Accompanied by a cast of international dancers and poets, this show bursts through the boundaries of contemporary musical and theatrical genres. Drumadics takes its audience on a journey showing NYC through the eyes of a New Yorker, exposing them to things that say “New York” and “Culture”. At the same time it all takes place in the “Veins of NYC” [the subway system]. Creator/Director, William B. Johnson has created a show and has chosen a cast that crystallizes the raw energy of urban performers while maintaining the polished delivery of seasoned artists. “New York City has one of everything and bringing together this collective of artists has taught us all a lesson about the community in which we now live and call home… New York City”. [William B. Johnson]

La Palapa

I went to this great place in the West Village for an after work birthday party last night. La Palapa, a Mexican place with a Rockola juke box with all Latin music.

I just picked whatever looked like it might be good, which means the Afro Latin stuff, Santana, and anything that looked percussion-heavy.

Happy Hour is awesome, with margaritas with house liquor and beers and sangria ½ price and delicious. When you order a glass of sangria, you get a little baby pitcher. They also have appetizers for $2.95 for Happy Hour and the margaritas are made with organic fresh juice. It was a fun place. The birthday girl had so many people there, for a while that the bar started opening bottles of champagne for them in gratitude (I had left by then, but I hear they stayed for quite a while).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Peter Apfelbaum’s NY Hieroglyphics @ Zebulon 11/13/07

I take the train one stop to Williamsburg and I instantly feel better energy. I think it has to do with how much cleaner and less populated it is than the East Village. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely prefer living where I am, I just really appreciate the occasional trek over there. I also really love Zebulon, the vibe, the feel, the way the waitress never gets mad at how many times she has to get through a crowd with a tray of drinks.

This was their first time playing Zebulon, and their first time playing since the Spring. I recall seeing them at both Bowery Ballroom and Jazz Gallery around that time. Both were amazing. The Bowery Ballroom show had special guests Roswell Rudd and Gina Leisham playing the whole set.

Last night included Charlie Burnham, Dave Phelps, Peck Almond and other greats I’m not familiar with: 2 saxes, a trombone, a bass, and a drummer. And of course Peter. Viva DeConcini was there, but in a dress, with a lot of friends in the crowd, and no guitar. Uh oh. Yes, yet another amazing instrumentalist finding great people to back her up while she sings. I think I hold singers up to higher standards because I don’t really see a need for them. This wasn’t always the case for me, and I know I’m in the minority as most people love singing. I remember telling my friend several years ago (over 10) that singing is important to me. Later, the same friend gave me some Phish tapes, and that ended that. I gave them back and asked him to cleanse them by taping over them with The Meters as only that would do. That was when I realized no singing is better than bad singing and that I really the jams the most.

Anyway, Viva sang at a recent benefit show and discovered she loved it, and somehow Peter thought it was a good idea and here we are. They were at Zebulon trying out new material they are recording. The band was amazing, and made up for the mediocre singing a lot. Viva had a lot of enthusiasm and really loved it. I just couldn’t get unstuck with my demand for any singing to be as good as the rest of the performers. I also really want the artists to stick to what they are good at when they play in public. But, hey, now I know and I don’t have to go to that for a while, until she hopefully gets it out of her system or they play a gig with songs from their entire repertoire, which will hopefully be soon. I could handle a couple of songs from this new cd, interspersed with plenty of instrumentals.

There were plenty of solos and a song where she mainly played some rhythm things, like that ribbon looking thing Cyro Baptista uses sometimes. There was also a great grooving instrumental. I was trying to hold out for a Charlie Burnham solo, but found it was enough after about 45 minutes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Les Paul @ Iridium

I guess I first need to admit I didn’t know Les Paul existed until I saw that Derek Trucks was playing at his 90th birthday celebration a couple of years ago. I wasn’t willing to pay that kind of money for music at the time or see anything in the big halls. I was more intrigued after the show, when I read a couple of reviews from people who attended. Still, not enough to explore further.

He came up on my radar again last year when I read Randy Poe’s biography Skydog, about Duane Allman (which will get it’s own post probably later this week). That’s when I first found out Les Paul invented an electric guitar. Still, didn’t make me want to look him up at all. I just never thought of it.

Then, a few weeks ago, a friend asked me if Les Paul still plays. I wasn’t sure, I was just remembering the 90th birthday. I told her I’d let her know if I ever saw something. Soon enough, I see it on Iridium’s schedule. Every Mon night! I’m sure I knew something about it, but since I wasn’t interested, I never retained it. I was happy to report back that he plays every Mon and realized I may as well go with. I mean, I like Iridium OK, and I was hoping a $45 cover meant it was still worth seeing.

I also asked Greg if he ever saw him, and he told me while he hasn’t, it’s something we all should do. After going last night, I would have to agree whole-heartedly. It turns out he packs them in every Monday night for 2 sets. We almost couldn’t get in because I tried to make a reservation on Fri and was told the 8pm was sold out for the next 2 weeks. Luckily, Susan was resourceful enough to buy 3 tix on-line early on Mon, so we were in! Iridium was more packed than any time I’ve gone there, which isn’t that much. More due to the location and the expense – they usually have good music. In the past year I saw David S. Ware (fantastically amazing) and the Spirit of Don Cherry group with Steven Bernstein and Peter Apfelbaum and a couple of people who used to play with Don. For both of those shows, there was no problem getting in and they had the tables up front set up differently, not as tight as last night. Last night must have been their maximum capacity seating arrangement.

The way I can tell whether the music is good is how it makes me feel. If I want to move a bit, even in my chair, it’s good. I find that those who know whether music is technically good agree with my feeling, usually, so I guess what I move to is often technically good as well. I was moving the whole time. I loved his playing. It was old standards kind of stuff, but it felt good. There was also a great energy in the room given he is a living legend. I could have done without all the talking, but what can you do. I know a lot of people like that kind of thing. I bet they spent about ½ hour talking and telling jokes. I think that is part of what the show is about and that’s what Les wants to do. They did go late, ended at about 9:15/9:20, so there was enough music. Les said he retired in 1965, but then came out to play in the clubs for therapy. I can relate to that.

We were told he’s going to the White House on Thursday to receive a Lifetime Acheivement award.

It was interesting there was no drummer in the band. There was a guest tap dancer for a couple of songs, though.

Overall it was a great time and I recommend if you haven’t seen him, and can part with the dough to do it.

I was doing a little research earlier today and here’s what I found:

Ah, I’m starting to get the answer to my curiousity about how some guitars have holes and some don’t. This is also a very good article:
“Simultaneously, he also did much developmental work on the concept of the electric guitar. His electrical engineering skills led him to finally develop the electric solidbody guitar, designed initially to reduce feedback and increase the sustain of notes and chords.”

I also got curious about Derek’s red guitar and found out it’s actually the later version that Les didn’t really like so much:
Notable instrument(s)
Gibson SG 2000 '61 Reissue

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Name is Albert Ayler - film

Good film! They talked to a lot of people, including Gary Peacock and George Wein. Stories of when he first met Trane, Cecil Taylor jumping out of his seat, etc. A little bit from Trane's funeral. They talked to some ex-girlriends, band members, music business people, and footage of Ayler himself. How hard it was to be a black musician, how a lot of people hated what he was doing at first because they didn’t get it. A lot on how much more inviting Europe is to the jazz musicians.

I have this great box set with interviews and unreleased stuff. When Bruce at Downtown Music Gallery was selling it to me, it seemed like magic the way he was showing me everything. He said they sold so many of them the distributor gave them a free one. It is fantastic:

1960-1970: Holy Ghost (Revenant) (US) (p) (10 disc box set featuring Ayler’s first and last recordings, plus other previously unreleased material.)

The film filled in a little more for me. Too bad I had to wait until 9. I heard the filmmaker was there for Q&A for the 7pm showing.

It was great seeing it at Anthology Film Archives. It was nice and clear on the big screen and the music sounded good. There’s only a few days left:
Monday Nov 12 7:00 PM
Monday Nov 12 9:00 PM
Tuesday Nov 13 7:00 PM
Tuesday Nov 13 9:00 PM
Wednesday Nov 14 7:00 PM
Wednesday Nov 14 9:00 PM

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jamie Saft @ The Stone 11/10/07

2 great sets and a delicious whoopie pie. If you bought a Whoopie Pie cd, it came with a free whoopie pie made by Jamie's wife. It was delicious. It's whipped cream in between 2 oval chocolate cake things. I'm looking foward to listening to the cd tomorrow at work - the show was awesome.

1st up was Saft and Previte, Doom Jazz. There's a cd for that as well, but it isn't quite ready. They just finished the art work and I'm sure it's a great cd. The setup was Previte facing Jamie's piano, with his back to most of the seats. I chose to sit behind Jamie, so I could watch Bobby. He brought his own drum kit, and the cymbals looked really nice. I'm more focused on cymbals ever since I saw Peter Apfelbaum bring his own a fews weeks ago to put on the house kit.

Jamie mainly played his deeper sounding, very vibrational electric bass. He played his other electric bass for a couple of songs. It was fun to feel the vibrations as well as listen to those awesome low tones. Jamie sat at the piano and would play that while holding the bass. Previte was amazing as well. I would describe the music as avant garde hard rock. It didn't feel too noisy, I was worried I didn't bring earplugs, but I didn't feel like I needed them.

Whoopie Pie is Jamie Saft, Bill McHenry, and Mike Pride. Stellar! That had more melody and structure than Doom Jazz. The melody seemed to be coming more from the bass and the sax was just fitting in nicely with his own thing. No piano this set. He played both basses at different times. It was great. I felt great after those 2 sets.

They were filming, they had taper Bill there and 2 camera guys with a light. Bobby also had his own camera. I'm not sure what they are planning on doing with all of that.

I wanted just a little more, so I stopped at Louis 649 on my way home for a couple of guitar trio songs. Another excellent band. It was pretty crowded, but I was able to stand up front, right in front of the band, and drown out all the talkers. The owner even let me slide on the $7 minimum. Maybe because I was standing out of the way, it was late and crowded, and he might have known I wasn't going to stay long, or maybe he just wanted to let me slide unless I stayed a bit. At least I'm assuming he let me slide because we made eye contact/acknowledgment and he didn't guesture I needed to buy something. Of course I still tipped the band. That's all they get since it's a no cover place.

Anyway, a really nice evening. I have a high tea to go to today, but I'm hoping to be able to catch the Albert Ayler film at Anthology Film archives. I'm running out of time.
Sunday Nov 11 5:00 PM
Sunday Nov 11 7:00 PM
Sunday Nov 11 9:00 PM
Monday Nov 12 7:00 PM
Monday Nov 12 9:00 PM
Tuesday Nov 13 7:00 PM
Tuesday Nov 13 9:00 PM
Wednesday Nov 14 7:00 PM
Wednesday Nov 14 9:00 PM

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dave Binney's Big Band @ Jazz Gallery 11/9/07

That was great! There were about 5 trumpets, 5 trombones, 5 saxaphones, a piano, a guitar, drum kit, upright bass, and Binney. He said he was resisting big bands for a while because he's from L.A. I guess there's a lot of them out there.

This is the debut of this band. This is also how Roy Hargrove started his big band, by playing at Jazz Gallery. They'll be there at the end of this month and are truly amazing, with an all-star lineup and very lively.

It started with a solo with just Binney playing, which I thought was a nice way to start. Each piece seemed to be a different jazz style. There was a great piece, I can only think to call it "cool cat" jazz. I wish I could describe it better, but it was something I don't hear much at the shows, but feel like it was in the movies or something. Kind of reminds me of the Pink Panther. It was great. There was also a piece that Binney said he started with when he first started arranging for a big band. He said he took one of the songs he composed for his smaller band and expanded it. You could tell and it was awesome. That one had more of a modern jazz club feel with a lot of horns.

One of the saxes turned 19 yesterday. The piece he soloed in was amsazing and seemed more modern/avant-gardish than the other pieces. Most of the band members had stand up solos at some ponit.

Alan Ferber, a great trombone player is in it. I didn't recognize anyone else, but they were all great. The piano player stuck out as being particulary awesome.
Dave Binney Big Band
Friday & Saturday, November 9th & 10th: 9 & 10:30 p.m. ($15)
David Binney Big Band featuring Ben Van Gelder/Lars Dietrich/Samir Zarif/Jason Rigby/Dave Richards - reeds, Brad Mason/Jonathan Finlayson/David Weiss/Ambrose Akinmusire - trumpets , Alan Ferber/Corey King/Andy Hunter/Elliot Mason/Max Seigal - trombones, Nir Felder - guitar, John Escreet - piano, Zack Lober - bass, Jordan Perlson - drums

I love Jazz Gallery. It's an art gallery that's all about great music. Every single act they booked is excellent. It's not for profit and they have memberships. I've been a member for a couple of years now and only pay $10 cover whenever I go. It's good to make a reservation before going because they make the no reservation people wait outside for a quite a while before letting them in., and occasionally they don't get in at all.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tribute to Fats 11/8/07

Last night had that special kind of feel to it. The Empire State Building was even lit with Mardi Gras colors in celebration of Fats.

The info said the show was 8-11, and looking at all the people listed it seemed like a good idea to be on time. It didn’t start until around 8:30 or so. Fats looked really good sitting up in the balcony and welcomed our cheers. The room wasn’t that full at first, but did fill up a little later. It was a pretty big place, and it didn’t get too over-crowded since it wasn’t sold out. The short notice probably had something to do with that.

The house band was Adam Deitch, Erick Krasno, Ivan Neville, Leo Nocentelli, Wycliffe Gordon, and Donald Harrison. Boy was I happy! Leo was on his good behavior, something I’ve only seen a few times. He barely spoke and acted more like a band member. I bet there’s going to be a lot of pent up stuff coming out tonight, which I have no problem skipping (BBs late night funk show).

It started out a little stiff, a little low-key, but still good. I mean, it’s hard to go bad with a lineup like that. Someone on stage tried to get the band to stop in the middle of a good “Hey Pockey Way”, which seemed odd. Thankfully, they didn’t, and that was when things were starting to gel a little more anyway. Right after the song, they introduced Mayor Bloomberg. Whoah! OK, so that was the Mayor’s boy who tried to get them to stop (which again thankfully they didn’t). The Mayor gave Fats the key to New York City! I’m still so impressed by that. I didn’t even know they did that! Very special.

Then Fats sat down and played some of Blueberry Hill, which was nice. Then, they brought up Lloyd Price and kept Fats up for Lawdy Miss Clawdy. I had never heard of Lloyd before, but I’m told he is a legend. He stayed up and did a Stagger Lee song. I wasn’t sure if that was the same as the Greatful Dead song or not. The Dead were the ultimate cover band after all.

Then they brought up Olu Daru, which I enjoyed a lot. I’ve been meaning to check him out and haven’t had the chance yet.

The only part that didn’t thrill me was the song with Toots Hibbert. It was kind of flat and a good time to take a bathroom break. Well, that and the announcer coming up a lot – too much.

After that, things took a great turn for the better. The announcers stayed off the stage and let the gentlemen do their thing. Donald Harrison was amazing! He took everything up a notch and all the rest followed suit. Kraz was awesome, even Leo got a little better. Wycliffe Gordon was great, that was my first time seeing him. Adam Deitch was as good as always the entire set. I didn’t really notice Ivan much, he seemed more subdued than usual. He had a suit jacket on and no hat. He seemed a little dim to me.

They brought up Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums for the last song. He is truly amazing! They ended early, like 10:20 or something.

Check out Scott's awesome pictures:

While short, it was wonderful. Really gets me excited for jazzfest. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. I’m considering doing French Quarter Fest and then come back for the 2nd week of jazzfest this year. I also have a big desire to go to Festival Internationale in Lafeyette at some point, although I’m not sure if this is the year. We’ll see, it’s going to be hard to decide. I do think I still need a break from doing the whole thing. I just started getting saturated towards the end. I figure if I only do that every few years I’ll appreciate it more.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Marco Benevento: Live at Tonic CD

I’ve listened to it 5 or 6 times now and I love it. All of it, even the songs with Mike Gordon. That was the only night I didn’t make it. That was also the only night it was a late show, otherwise I would have probably done it. I just looked it up on jambase, and it was 5 Wednesdays in the month of Nov, 2006. They were all incredible shows. 2 sets a night. My favorite was drum night – Marco and 3 drummers. It was incredible. A close 2nd was a tie with the night with Steven Bernstein and the solo night. It was all amazing.

I think they did a great job of distributing the songs, and choosing lots of gems from each show. My favorite is disk #3. I think they were originally thinking about 5 discs, so I assume this was what made sense when they were putting it together.

I’m looking forward to this Jan run, and I guess if Sullivan Music Hall isn’t too crowded it should be nice.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tirtha @ Jazz Standard + Indian Fusion

I first went to afro-carribbean dance class where we had a great substitute teacher. No dundun, but the congo and djembe were great and it was very enjoyable. We did a dance from Senegal and then Guinea. It was a lot of fun and I really love those drums. The dundun does make a big difference, though. That’s the drummer that usually also does the cowbell. Still there was chanting on the ceiling again and it was awesome.

I checked the schedule and figured I could get away with checking out the Indians at Jazz Standard. I’m really looking forward to next month at The Stone, when Vijay Iyer is curating. Still, I don’t see this particular trio on the bill and it looked like a special treat. Boy was it. I was surprised when I waltzed in at 9:30 that there were a lot of people waiting to get in and I had to put my name on the wait list. I did notice that everyone waiting around got in, and it didn’t look like they could accommodate one more person. That place is one of the best jazz clubs in the city, hands down. The staff is so cool and laid back and you kind of don’t feel like it’s NYC sometimes, until you start listening. They also have a strictly observed quiet policy – if they notice you are talking loudly enough for others to hear they will ask you nicely to stop. They also get excellent music every single night. The food is excellent. If you know what’s on the menu upstairs at Blue Smoke you can order it downstairs. There’s also never a minimum, so you don’t have to order anything at all. The only bad thing I’ve ever had there is their tea, both hot and iced. I bring my own if I want tea. I love their mint julep, but it’s really strong and I only have it once or twice a year.

The show started at 10pm because it took a while to seat everyone. It was absolutely fantastic. I see in the listing they say the guitarist Prasanna was influenced by Hendrix – you can tell. It wasn’t plain old jazz guitar, but kind of a jazz-rock fusion (but not “fusion” as tend to think of it). Maybe a better way to put it is “jazz-indian-rock fusion”. All 3 of them were amazing. I kept wondering why only 1 night and it turns out it’s a little tour put together by National Geographic to promote travel to India. The guitar player also did that interesting Indian voice percussion stuff that the tabla players often do. That looks really hard.

Now I’m REALLY looking forward to next month at The Stone. I wonder if that will draw a bigger than usual crowd, at least on the days Vijay is playing.


Tirtha: Vijay Iyer, Prasanna & Nitin Mitta
Vijay Iyer – pianoPrasanna – guitarNitin Mitta – percussion
The No. 1 “Rising Star” Jazz Artist and No. 1 “Rising Star” Composer in the 2007 Down Beat International Critics Poll, Vijay Iyer continues to expand the boundaries of jazz-based improvisation. The trio called Tirtha combines his formidable pianism with the tabla and percussion of Nitin Mitta and the fiery Hendrix-influenced electric guitar of Mumbai star Prasanna. Those who’ve followed the progress of Iyer’s various bands (Fieldwork, the V.I. Quartet, the duo Raw Materials) will know that Tirtha is not to be missed – all others are hereby put on notice. (This perform­ance is co-sponsored by National Geographic Traveler.)
Tickets: $20 plus tax

The show sparked me to put in my Indo-Jazz Fusions I&II cd, which is a double quintet with John Mayer and Joe Harriott. I found it a few years ago at Downtown Music Gallery. I used to go there often and just buy cds that looked interesting to get to know jazz music. I got this one because it was something Indian, and they had written on the shrink wrap John Mayer !! Joe Harriott!! Whenever Downtown Music Gallery puts an exclamation point on a cd it’s a sure thing. I was very interested in exploring Indian music more after seeing how it influenced John Coltrane and Derek Trucks. This cd has some very interesting sounds and seems more traditional than the show last night. Probably a lot is due to the instrumentation. I never even looked up Joe Harriott, so I decided to finally do so now:

Ooh! This looks like a great source with tons of great links to check out:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Canada 7/07 - DTB+

I’m still thinking about The Derek Trucks Band last July in Montreal. I went to Toronto and then Montreal early July and saw DTB in both places.

Toronto was primarily to visit some friends who are unable to go to amplified music, and since all the shows at Toronto Jazzfest cost $, I just went to DTB. It was Canada Day weekend, over 7/1, and it was pretty dead. I was told I can’t really judge the town over that weekend. Still, I think it was pretty dull. I had a good time hanging out on my friends’ porch and chilling, though. I had just missed a heat wave and it was very nice weather. The DTB show was in a tent with seats. I had expected Canada to be more dance-friendly. It wasn’t so, at least at this festival. The venue people actually were policing any area in front of seats. I had scoped out the best standing spot, though. It was dead center, behind most of the sitters, right in front of Derek, but not in front of the other few rows of seats in the back. Whenever someone went to stand to the right of me, they got kicked out, but I was fine. I started liking the seat factor because I could see the band so well and I had enough room to move a bit. The show itself was great, but mainly just playing songs. It felt a little stiff, which was probably a reflection on the place.

After a few days, I got on the train and went to Montreal for jazzfest. I’ve been there about 4 or 5 times. I only skipped last year and now I wonder why. I love that city. It was also fun to see it from the perspective of knowing I was going to France in a couple of months. It has a nice French flair, but not quite as much arrogance.

The jazzfest itself is free, but there’s plenty of night shows that you need to buy tickets to. I had my DTB ticket and wasn’t planning on doing any more night shows. I ended up going to a few more after I got there and found the night shows to be the best. As far as the free stuff goes, I saw some good gypsy music and I a good latin band. I saw a great Belgian trio I can’t remember their name. I also saw a couple of great jazz films during the day that had Billy Holiday, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Dizzy, and a bunch of others. They were awesome and well worth the $10 (Canadian).

I saw a phenomenal Han Bennick and Anthony Coleman show. Avant-garde drums and piano. Bennick is quite a comedian in his playing as well. He throws boxes at the audience and is a lot of fun to watch as well as being a stellar musician. That was worth staying up for.

DTB!!!!! Wow was that one of the best DTB shows ever! It was at Le Spectrum and there was a huge floor area with no seats. That’s the way that band should be playing, always. It drives me up the wall that they usually play the theatre with seats circuit. I’d prefer it if they did Roseland or Hammerstein or Fillmore even though I don’t like them as much. The audience was wonderful and added great energy to the show. Very little dancing, except for me and a few others, of course. Still, the band was loving that audience. They actually jammed quite a bit. It was so different from the show a few days ago, yet they played mainly the same stuff. It just felt more loose. They had an awesome time. Kofi even gave the audience a big round of applause. They kept saying they’d be back to Montreal. I hope it’s at a time when I can run up there to catch it.

I also saw Toumani Diabate Symmetric Orchestra at the same venue the next night. That was amazing. He spoke to the audience in French, but he spoke slowly, so I could kind of understand what he was saying. He called the band a “pan-african” band as each member was from a different country. They all wore the traditional dress from their country. Toumani played Koru, a string instrument that looks kind of like an oud, from Mali. He made it himself, from a melon and other stuff. His brother played a home-made vibraphone-looking thing. There was an incredible djembe player and a sabar player from Senegal. There was a drum kit and electric guitar as well. There was another guitar-looking African instrument and keyboards and a sax. There were a couple of different singers from time to time as well. I may not be remembering the band exactly, but I was very impressed and loved it. They also skipped the seats on the dance floor that night and the crowd at Le Spectrum was really into it.

I also ended up being able to get a ticket to Robert Glasper Trio late night at a wonderful tiny theatre. That was excellent and the space was perfect. The guy who sold me the ticket was from the Midwest and we talked a lot about Tonic and Vision Fest. He mentioned Victoriaville is the Vision Fest of Canada. I’m going to have to make it up there sometime.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mon Nights

A friend of mine is booking Monday nights at MUD, the coffee shop in the East Village. The series is called Naked Mud as it's REALLY acoustic, no mics, no nothing. The owners of Mud are big music people and want it to be something to showcase great artists. Dana is always looking for more talent. I've put her recent message at the end of this post.

I haven't made it yet, but hope to soon. I used to prioritize music on most Mon nights, or use it as a night off. Now, I wouldn't miss Monday Night Alive for almost anything. It's this incredible group experience wtih Ariel and Shya Kane where we learn how to be present in a very practical, modern way. I've been into this for a few years now, but now that I attend regularly awesome things are starting to happen. Nothing major, and it seems like such common sense, but I just feel better and more grounded, better able to allow life to happen as it shows up.

We are off a couple of Mondays in Nov, so I'm going to try to make the Naked thing at Mud at least one of those

From: Dana McCoy <>
To: Dana McCoy <>
Sent: Sat Nov 03 00:40:55 2007
Subject: NAKED November (mic-free music series at MUD)

Hi everyone! hope this finds you enjoying the crisp fall air.
I've updated our myspace to include blogs, audio clips and pics from
the last couple of Mondays. Try not to start a stampeed getting to the
page. Just gently click our link below. Easy, no need for anyone to
get hurt.

We have some outstanding artists coming up, just thought I'd send out
a schedule.

Monday 11.5.2007
7pm - Tam Lin
Whatchagot spot: (between sets) open mic
8:15pm - David LK Murphy

Monday 11.12.2007
7pm – Andrew Scandal
Whatchagot spot: (between sets) open mic
8:15pm – Jamie Scandal

Monday 11.19.2007
7pm - Charles Coleman shares a contemporary
Whatchagot spot: (between sets) open mic
8:15 Joey Pesce ('til Tuesday)

Monday 11.26.2007
7pm - tba
Whatchagot spot: (between sets) open mic
8:15 Bryan Dunn –

Monday 12.3.2007
7pm – tba
Whatchagot spot: (between sets) open mic
8:15pm - tba

Monday 12.10.2007
7pm Michael Wagner –
Whatchagot spot: (between sets) open mic
8:15pm – Kelli Rae Powell and Craig Chesler in Dreamboat

As you can see there a few open spots which will fill up quickly. If
you know an artist you feel would be right to play NAKED, please send
them my way, or have them come play a song or two between sets any
Monday night.

You can always find a schedule of who's playing on our MySpace page
too, along with audio clips, pics and blogs from recent week's
performances. So that's at:

If you've played or attended NAKED, not only is there likely a pic of
you on our MySpace, but I'd like to thank you so much. This Monday
series is producing alot of spinetingling moments. The presence
of the artists and their work, and the attentiveness and level of
listening by the audience has been consistently, well, breathtaking. A
true human experience. Thank you everyone.



307 E. 9th St. (2nd Ave)
NY, NY 10003

A Tribute to Fats / Thursday, November 8th at 8pm

This is a show I can't refuse:

A Tribute to Fats / Thursday, November 8th at 8pm

Fats Domino will make his first New York appearance in more than 20 years at a tribute concert at the Pink Elephant in Manhattan on Nov. 8. The lineup includes Toots Hibbert (Toots & The Maytals), Ivan Neville, Leo Nocentelli, Eric Krasno (Soulive), Gavin Degraw, Olu Dara, Adam Deitch, Nick Daniels, Joey Degraw, Donald Harrison Jr, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Wyclef Gordon and Lloyd "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" Price, PLUS Special Surprise Guests all honoring Fats and New Orleans music in a benefit for the Tipitina's Foundation, devoted to restoring the city's musical culture and helping its musicians:

Mark Taylor Group @ Jimmy's 11/4/07

I got back in time for a little music last night. I was too tired to wait for Billy Martin's 10pm set at The Stone, so I opted for the 9pm show at Jimmy's No. 43. Every Sun night, there are 2 shows of music for $10 each at 7 and 9. Dee Pop of Radio I-Ching set it up. He used to curate it, and now he has a different curator every month. It's a nice tiny little room to the side of a restaurant with an impressive beer list. I think I ate there before and the food is pretty good. I think it's organic, farm fresh kind of stuff.

I'm not sure if I ever saw any of these 4 in the Mark Taylor Group. I can't even remember their names. Mark Taylor had 2 different flugelhorns. There was a vibraphone player and a bass and drums. I thought they were all great and especially liked the bass player. Mark was pretty into leaving things open and letting the artists play what they want. Yet, the music sounded pretty structured. It was very enjoyable for the 2 of us who attended and Mark's wife.

I tend to see 2-8 people in the audience whenever I go. It's a shame because it's early enough and great. I'm so glad they still do it. It's been going on for a while now, definitely over a year, maybe 2 or more. I can't remember exactly.

The Backroom Blues Bar - Boca

We did make it to this place on Sat night. We saw a good blues band that reminded me of the 2 years I lived in Chicago. It was kind of cool how it appears to be in the middle of nowhere, like an oasis on the side of the highway. We got there at 11:45, and doorman gave us 2 for 1 on the cover, which was pretty cool since there were still a couple of songs left in the 1st set. The room did clear out some after the 1st set, but there were still plenty of people left. There are seats, portable seats which I assume they don't always have set up. Still, there were people dancing and you are allowed to dance in the area in front of the stage. There was also plenty of room to dance and you could see the band just fine off to the side in the bar area. I think they just serve beer and wine, no mixed drinks. They played until about 1:45 or so.

Marco Benevento Residency in Jan

Thursday, January __ at 8:30 PM
Marco Benevento & Friends featuring Special guests to be announced! / TBA 8:30pm

Sullivan Hall will open with a very special 5 night residency featuring Marco Benevento & Friends, every Thursday in January. Many special guests to be announced!

On sale: Wednesday, November 7 at 12:00 PM Eastern

Sullivan Hall
214 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012

Friday, November 2, 2007

La Buya!

I saw La Buya at Zebulon last night. It was great, as always. That was the first time I saw them without Cochemea, I think he's on tour with Sharon Jones. It was still great, but I also missed him. There was a trombone and a keyboard player and both percussionists were there. I didn't recognize the bass player. I didn't get there until about 10:45. I hadn't realized there was a good latin jazz band earlier, Scram, which included Todd Sickafoose and Olivia Pupo-Walker. I would have probably gone earlier had I realized that.

I love Zebulon, even though there are often lots of talkers. It just doesn't matter as much because it's got such a great vibe. No one ever cares if I'm dancing, even if it's blocking their view. I have both of their CDs, which supports the club. They are both incredibly excellent and 2 of my favorites. I think they are only $10 each as well.

The 2nd set cleared out a little, but still had a good crowd. This was the first time I recall a band saying they were going to take a short break, and they came back on in less than 1/2 hour. The break was about 20 min and the 2nd set was about 40 minutes. Lots of listeners 2nd set and it was awesome. They had 2 extra percussionists sit in at the end of the first set. It was awesome.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

10/31/07: Improv Night, Louis 649, Antibalas

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.