Wednesday, January 30, 2008

NMAS + AYH @ Highline 1/29/08

The best I can say about it is the middle was pretty good. I got there just before Alvin Youngblood Heart came on, at around 8:30. He mentioned he was under the weather, but he could get it up for the gig. Well, he really couldn’t. I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but it was pretty boring. It was my first time seeing him, and I came early due to curiousity. I was told later that he’s always hit or miss. He definitely missed last night. I usually don’t spend any time on “hit or miss” types, since most of the stuff I go to is consistently great. I mean, there’s too much talent out there. I’m sure if I were in another part of the country that’s music deprived, it would be a different story. Oh well, maybe I’ll see him hit at some jazzfest or something some day. There was one song where Luther came out and played mandolin, and that was more enjoyable. Luckily, it was only a ½ hour set, so it wasn’t that bad.

North Mississippi Allstars started out a little weak. I thought “could this be the first time they haven’t impressed me?” It did take a turn pretty quickly and got good. It was pretty crowded. They had the heat on, and the only place I could be was back by the door. It was nice back there, in spite of dealing with people walking by all the time. Whenever someone came or left, there was a nice cool burst of air. I was definitely into it for a while in the middle. It kind of started on a downward turn when they did that tune that sounds kind of like the ABB tune, with Cody also playing guitar. Then, AYH came out, around 10:30ish, and the rest of what I saw wasn’t any good. It looked like it was going to end around 11, with no set break (they came on around 9:30). I cut my losses at 10:45 and got to bed nice and early.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Uri Caine Ensemble @ Joe’s Pub 1/28/08

That was some show last night at Joe’s Pub! It was another one of those American Composers Orchestra club shows before the big show with the orchestra at Zankel Hall. I went to the Steve Coleman one a few months ago at The Brecht Forum. I remember I started getting kind of bored at the Coleman show with just 3 horns. It seems a little more on the classical side to me. It probably wasn’t, it was just more mellow than I would have liked. This Uri Caine Ensemble show was quite different. Very lively, and really felt more like a jazz show that was based in classical as a reference point. It was just amazing and wonderful from start to finish.

I didn’t have a program when I was listening, but now looking at the program I picked up after the show, I see there was quite a bit of classical influence. It was so lively and seemed so improvised. I see the lineup for the Zankel Hall show is a little different from last night. Last night was a lot of great improvisers, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Joyce Hammann on violin, Moran Katz on clarinet, Dres Gress on bass, and the great great Jim Black on drums. And, of course, Uri Caine in all his greatness.

It started with this great Uri solo before the rest of the band came out. There was a wide range of musical influences, including that gypsy stuff I love. I see from the program, a lot of it was Uri arrangements of Mozart and Mahler. I was very impressed with the violinist, Joyce Hammann, who I didn’t know existed before last night. I looked up a bio of her, and it seems she’s pretty diverse. I thought she probably only did avant-garde jazz, the way she was playing last night.

Here’s a Uri quote from the program: “I am interested in the relationship between structured music and improvisation. As a composer and also as an improvising performer, I enjoy music that combines fixed musical forms with the freedom to react between composed music (mostly for the orchestra) and improvisation (mostly for the piano soloist). There is a constant give-and-take between the piano and the orchestra.”

I’m going to be out of town when they are at Zankel on 2/8. Otherwise, I would consider it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dave Binney Group & Uri Caine’s Bedrock 1/27/08

I was thinking of going to The Stone first for Terry Adams/Rosewell Rudd, but I couldn’t get out in time. I am glad I showed up at around 8:50 for Dave Binney. It was very enjoyable, lively jazz. They actually did a 1.5 hour set. It was great, but I was anxious to see the next band. I was especially intrigued to see Isabelle Pupo-Walker hanging around as I don’t see her out at many shows. Turns out she was playing with Bedrock for the 1st time. What a great addition to an already great band! It was grooving and awesome for the whole 50 minute set. It was great to have a percussionist. I enjoyed it and I hope they play more often.

Uri Caine is absolutely amazing. I kind of forgot, since it’s been a while. I decided I have to go to his ensemble at Joe’s Pub tonight.

Charlie Burnham + Gerald Cleaver 1/26/08

I started at the 8pm set at The Stone. I thought it was going to be a Charlie Burnham solo show, but it turned out to include Marika Hughes on cello, Marvin Sewell on guitar, and a bass player who’s name escapes me. It was excellent. Charlie was treating us like his friendly living room audience and was in very good spirits. This was the first time I saw a project he leads, and it was quite good. He sang quite a bit in addition to playing the violin. He has a deep soulful voice and I enjoyed the singing. There was a great Staple Singers blues tune, and a lot of originals as well as a sappy love song many people were familiar with. Actually, I would have sum his music up as romantic. He really likes love songs. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Oh, he also did his own arrangement of Waterfall.

It was bluesy and soulful and beautiful. The artists are all top notch. He said Sewell was a new addition, and I believe he must add a lot. He was great. There was no percussion, but they were tapping their feet at moments.

After that, I went over to Cornelia Street for Gerald Cleaver’s Violet Hour. That was excellent, lively jazz. It was really great, especially having 3 horns.

Duane Eubanks, trumpet & cornet; J.D. Allen, tenor saxophone; David Binney, alto saxophone; Ben Waltzer, piano; Chris Lightcap, bass; Gerald Cleaver, drums, compositions

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ribot + Benevento/Skerik/Martin/Weston 1/24/08

I got in line at The Stone at around 7:25 and there were already about 10 people ahead of me. It was cold, but I had a tea and always get into fun music conversation while in line there. I already know that Marc Ribot brings a crowd and it’s a good idea to line up early. There was a lot of buzz about the 2nd set with Lurie Anderson. I’m not familiar with her, but I knew I didn’t want to miss anything at Sullivan Hall later, so there was no way I was going to try for that. I had seen a Marc Ribot at the show a while back, at The Stone, 6/20/05 and still remember how blown away I was. This one was quite different, but still phenomenal. He said it was mostly improvised but with large chunks of Ayler thrown in. I was mesmerized the whole time. There were a few sounds issues with his amp, but he quickly took care of those while continuing to play. He would bang it every now and then, or pull some plugs.

He played an acoustic, latin looking guitar the entire time. He had a few others lying around, but I guess he was saving them for Lurie. The only thing I missed that I saw in that 6/20/05 show was when he played the slide. There’s something about the sound that gets me every time. It was still phenomenal and a spectacular way to start off the killer evening.

Some Ribot interviews:

I am so glad I bought a ticket in advance for Sullivan Hall. It was sold out when I showed up at about 10:08 and they said they had just come on. I found an awesome spot at the side of the stage and just got in the zone for the entire time. I could see the drummers, but not that well. I had the perfect view of Skerik and was right behind Marco and got to watch him on the keys all evening. I know it’s early, and I’m having a spectacular music year so far, but that was by far the best show of 2008 so far. I guess I should have known it had a recipe for above-and-beyond excellence just by the lineup. I mean you can never go wrong with Billy Martin and Calvin Weston. Period. They know how to fit in anywhere. Marco and Skerik have played together so often that they mesh completely. They were all at their very best last night, but how could they not be? All improvised greatness that seemed like it always was supposed to be that way. Other Marco/Sullivan Hall nights, it seemed more like each one was doing their own thing and they just blended together. Not last night, it was a perfect mesh and they seemed like they play together every day. As was expected.

Actually, it was way beyond my expectations. Somewhere I knew, but it didn’t really register. There’s also the fear of bringing the expectations up too much and then getting let down. No, no, no, it was pure perfection. The sets were actually longer than in prior weeks. They also took an extra long set break.

During the 1st set, I remember thinking it can’t possibly get better than this, ever. Well, by the time the 2nd set rolled around I was already proven wrong. Kaki King and a bass player (I’m guessing her bass player) and Joe Russo sat in. Having a bass took it up a notch and made it, well, way better. I can’t believe I just said that, given how awesome the 1st set was. We even got a funkdown for a bit. I think Russo started that, but I’m not sure.

We even got a 15 minute encore due to the pleas of the crowd. We didn’t get any encores in the weeks before.

I feel really good and will think back to this show for ages to come.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Skerik @ Tap Bar 1/23/08

What do you get when you combined a badass funky bass player, one of the best saxophonists ever, a great drummer, a guitar player in his zone, and a lot of unplanned improvisation? Pretty amazing music! Last night was way beyond my expectations. Way beyond. I expected another mellow night.

Now, the other night at Zebulon was great, but it was really seeing Skerik in that kind of mode and Simon Lott was doing his thing. Gamble was fine, just not as good as I’ve seen him at other times. But last night was just a completely different level. I kind of melted into the music a few times last Sun. But, a few others who were there didn’t appreciate it as much and wanted more intensity, more of what they are accustomed to with Skerik.

Last night, it was really the bass player, Jamaaladeen Tacuma from Philly, that was laying it down and helping things take it’s turn. I keep wondering if he might turn up at Sullivan Hall tonight. Not that it isn’t already spectacular, that would just add something. He started off most of the songs in the 1st set, laying down a groove. I was the only one grooving, so regular people, while mesmerized and loving it, might not say grooving. The bass was definitely grooving most of the time, and no one can deny that. What was so wonderful was that everyone melded together really well, but kind of doing what they felt was right. Most of it was really intense, but it also got a little mellow at times, the perfect times. Tacuma could also get mellow and blend in with what he was hearing from the rest of the unit. It really felt more like a unit than 4 different artists jamming together.

It was like that was the show I’d been waiting for. I realize it was probably since the last time I saw Skerik, last summer with Garage a Trois at Lion’s Den. That was just too long of a lull. Way too long.

2nd set was different. I can’t really say even better because it was all so phenomenal. But, we had Daniel Carter up there the whole time. Jessica Lurie joined in after the 1st “song”, or I guess break between improvisations.

They did at one point break into one interpretation of the super funky “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”. Oh yeah! Tacuma had started that bass line and the rest of them were feeling it. If you are only going to do one song, that’s a great one to do!

Every moment of the music was like that, each of them just feeling exactly what would work in whatever was going on.

There was somewhat of a crowd, but it wasn’t too hot or crowded. There were a few talkers in the back, but easy to drown out. Overall, it was just right. I don’t even really need tonight. Well, actually, I do. But, last night was so good it doesn’t matter what tonight is like.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Save the Fees - Go to the Box Office

I tend to prefer to wait and buy a ticket at the door whenever possible. That's because I like to stay loose and do what I feel like on that day. Still, if it's something I know I want to go to, and I'm not sure if it will sell out, I will get a ticket in advance. I also hate to pay extra fees, so whenever possible I got to the box office. I also sometimes make reservations at the jazz clubs.

Also, a lot of shows have a little discount if you buy in advance. Still, it's not worth it if you don't actually go and eat the ticket, so I tend to not mind paying an extra $2-5 for the luxury of choosing to buy at the door.

Here's what I know about that. I might not have my facts 100% correct, so it's good to check before relying on this info.

Live Nation
All Live Nation shows are sold at the Fillmore @ Irving Plaza box office.
The box office sells tickets for most Live Nation events at The Fillmore NY @ Irving Plaza, The Blender Theater @ Gramercy, Roseland Ballroom, Hammerstein Ballroom, Warsaw, McCarren Park Pool, and Central Park Summerstage.

Cash, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted.

12:30-6:30 M-F
1-4 Sat

You can also buy tickets for future events whenever a show is going on.

Bowery Presents
You can buy tickets to all Bowery Presents shows at the Mercury Lounge box office, which is inside the venue. That is for Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Terminal 5, The Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Webster Hall
M-Sat 12-7pm

BB King's
BBs tends to get me down. They used to send out an email for undersold shows that if you bring a printout of the email, you only have to pay 75 cents. Now they only do it through ticketmaster, so it costs a lot in fees to go to a "free" show that I sometimes already paid full price for. In addition, they add an extra $1 to the ticket price even if you do walk up to the box office. Still, they use Tickemaster, which loads a lot into each ticket and you do save something. Luckily they don't have too many must see shows there anymore, so I don't have to deal with them that often. Lucille's is free.

Highline Ballroom
I just went up one day at lunchtime. I'm very happy about these new venues. I heard Hiro Ballroom is nice, and it's only a matter of time before I see for myself. The only downside is that the box office person doesn't know anything about actual set times when you call on the day of the show. They do usually know the band order. They sell tickets for both Highline and Hiro Ballrooms. They are open every single day, I think something like 12-11pm. Nice.

Joe's Pub
Box office is open every day. I think Sun and Mon til 6 and the other nights til 7. If you pay by credit card, you have to do each charge separately. The fees are also pretty low when you buy on-line. I still prefer to go to the box office, save mailing issues and all that. I like to have my ticket on my in case plans change and I can get rid of it more easily.

Blue Note/Village Vanguard/Jazz Standard/Dizzy's/Iridium
I fondly think of these as the "fancy jazz clubs". Most of the time, you can call and make a reservation, that can be cancelled. For the most popular shows, they may take a credit card and charge you if you don't cancel within 24 hours. I think Iridium does that for all shows. You can also guarantee a spot by buying an on-line ticket. Reservations are released at some time before the show.

Cornelia St Cafe
They do not take reservations day of show, only days before. If you have a res, you can get in quicker and don't have to wait in the cold until set time. If you are there for the 1st set, you can stay for the 2nd at no additional cover charge. There is a $6 drink min per set, although I've managed to sidestep that occasionally.

Jazz Gallery
It is better to make a reservation, you don't have to wait out in the cold as long. For very popular shows you need to guarantee with a credit card. They also now sell tickets on-line, which I guess guarantees your spot.

Knitting Factory
The box office is usually open every day at 5 til closing. I recently went there and it was closed on on Mon, so that's not always the case, but usually.

Nokia/Beacon/Carnegie Hall/Lincoln Center/Radio City
These theatres have box offices on site. It's nice because you can look at a diagram and choose your seat. That's something bothersome about on-line, you usually can't get th at specific.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Matt Munisteri @ Banjo Jim’s 1/21/08

Some great, old time swinging jazz. He had an accordion player, Will Holshouser. They did a couple of French Musettes, some old time songs, and some Matt originals. One brand new one he just wrote with a lyricist for the new year was especially fun and awesome. It was about looking at yourself, not being hard on yourself, and turning off your thoughts. It reminded me of Instantaneous Transformation, the stuff I’m into from Ariel and Shya Kane! That was cool. It was also a fun song. Everyone loved it.

Matt played guitar the whole time, and he is excellent. The accordion was also excellent and I liked a lot of the sounds coming out.

I’m starting to like Banjo Jim’s more and more. They get a lot of great music and it’s nice and low key.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Live Recordings from Zebulon

I guess it was the owner I was talking to last night, when I told him how much I love the 2 Live at Zebulon cds. I told him I can't wait for the 3rd.

He gave me this website, where he's been putting podcasts of some of the shows there, so I don't have to wait for the cd. Check it out:

Skerik/Lott/Gamble @ Zebulon 1/20/08

I was mainly taking a little break this weekend, that's just the way it worked out. Still, when I saw this show listed at Zebulon, there was no way I was missing it. I love Zebulon, and I haven't seen Skerik for a while. It will be nice to get a few shows this week, culminating with the Marco show at Sullivan Hall.

Simon Lott is great. I have yet to see him in anything that isn't great. He had a keyboard next to his drum kit and occasionally played something with that.

It was all improvised. It was nice and kind of jazzy at times, and intense at others. I think I like the Maelstrom Trio a little better, which has Brian Coogin on organ instead of Mike Gamble on guitar. Still, it was quite enjoyable. It will interesting to see the difference with the bass player at the Tap Bar on Wed.

I liked the way they were sampling sounds and it sounded pretty good.

I loved it and could get into it the entire time. It was a great way to spend a Sun. night.

I did catch the opening band, Hans Blilx. That was OK. I sat the whole set, so it wasn't that great, even though it was kind of grooving. The drummer was very intense, and pretty loud. I think I would have thought it was better if I wasn't so spoiled with such great music all the time. It just didn't hold up to what I usually see.

Benevento/Moore/Freidman @ Sullivan Hall 1/17/08

Another great night wtih Marco. Stanton made it a little more intense, a little groovier than the previous nights. It was pretty crowded again. I bet this Thurs will be especially crowded and I decided to buy a ticket in advance.

I really like the bass player, Marc Friedman. I'm going to have to check out The Slip.

It was pretty jamming and improvised. However, I could hear a lot of the songs Marco has been into lately. They even went into some Led Zeppelin. There was one song where they decided to have some improvised audience participation.

It's definitely been worth staying late and being tired on Fri. I will be sorry when it ends.

There was even a fun jam when Marco asked them to kill the strobe light and they didn't at that moment. They jammed to the strobe light.

The sets were kind of short, though. There was also the vibrating floor from the club next door. That's the first time I noticed that. The other big problem with all of these people is a lot of them would rather talk than be at the show. Lots of talkers interspersed throughout the crowd, even up front. There was even one girl who stood behind me, singing her own thing. I know people want to participate, but the best way to do that is dance. Still, I enjoyed the whole thing entirely.

I feel like it keeps getting better each week, each set.

They had the guitar player from the opening band sit in toward the end. He was OK. I could have done without it, and there was even a boring part in there. Still, he wasn't bad. I certainly didn't mind missing the opener.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Han Bennink @ Club Midway 1/16/08

Great show last night at Club Midway. It was supposed to be:

Han Bennink with Dave Douglas, Matt Penman and Donnie McCaslin

But, surprise, surprise, it also included John Zorn 1st set and Louis Bonilla both sets! I didn’t even miss Zorn when he left after the 1st, but thoroughly enjoyed him while he was there.

It was really like being at a jazz jam, where they kind of touched on many different genres of jazz. It was one of those “I am so lucky to be here” kind of nights.

1st set was somewhat crowded. Most people wanted to sit. There were some chairs, and some people sitting on the floor up front. If you stood in the back, you probably couldn’t see a thing. I was able to walk up and get a standing, er, dancing spot in front of the stage on the right. I was very happy. I could see everything, had a little room to move, and it was incredible.

1st set started and ended with all 6 playing together. The middle was a lot of different subsets, sometimes in one improvised song, sometimes a whole improvised song. It got free at times, but for the most part there was a lot of structure and cohesiveness to the music. There was one jam with Zorn, Douglas, Bennink, and Penman. I never saw Zorn play like that, it was more like a very lively NOLA jam than the “out there” stuff I usually see him play. He was doing a lot of out there at first, during earlier “songs”, it just started settling into something I was enjoying even more.

The bass player, Matt Penman was the only one I never saw before. He’s great. He held down a great groove at times. Of course, I was the only one dancing at any time, but there were a few head bops from time to time. I’m sure it wasn’t considered danceable to almost anyone else.

Bennink played almost all the time, which was great. He is quite impressive and really was why most people came out.

2nd set was awesome, and a lot less people.

I wish I had more time to write as there’s a lot more to say. I did wonder if this was what the old NYC loft shows of the 70s were like. It was very special to have so much incredible talent all playing what they feel in each moment.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Great Trios 1/12&13

I had a great weekend, although there wasn’t much music in it. What I did catch was phenomenal, though.

I briefly went to The Knit on Sat night to get a little Winter Jazzfest. I love that full club event to showcase newer music. They get completely different bands every single year. It was interesting that Dave Douglas mentioned during his set they should do 2 nights next year. I would like that as well, but do recall they did 2 last year. I assumed that they went back to 1 for a reason. Still, maybe they’ll go back to 2 next year. I’d also love it if they did a Summer Jazz Fest. Or, every 3 months or something. That would be awesome.

I had to go early, so I missed a lot of great stuff later. I was glad I bought a ticket at the box office ahead of time, though. There was always a line for will call that seemed to be moving kind of slowly. There was no line for the box office that night, though.

I went from about 8:15-10ish and was happy it wasn’t to crowded, yet it was crowded. I caught 2.5 songs of the Hadouk Trio. They are from Paris. We had a keyboard/bass player, drummer, and reed player. The basses were very primitive looking, one was like the one that Mark Rivard of Club d’Elf plays. It made me think of the Flintones. The reeds were pretty primitive as well. The drummer played a different drum each song. One was a neat looking steel drum that looked kind of like a wok. I enjoyed what I caught. The Old Office was pretty crowded and also the spot with the talkers. It was where people who wanted to hang and talk went because they have that area in the back.

I tried the Mexican band a couple of times in the Tap Bar, but it wasn’t my thing. It was really about the singer. It was good, just not my thing.

I did catch most of the Dave Douglas, Mark Feldman, Scott Colley set. That was absolutely fantastic. I think that was a great combination. I didn’t miss the drummer at all. They are 3 of my favorites and they did an awesome job together. That was good enough for me if you could only have a short evening and I did walk around a little and decided to go since I’d prefer to see Doug Wamble at another time in a less crowded venue.

While at the Old Office, I was talking to someone who told me how great the Paul Motion set at the Vanguard was, so I knew I had to get there on Sun. It was stellar! I mean, Paul Motion, Chris Potter, and Jason Moran. What a great idea! I’m so glad, too. The last time I was at the Vanguard for Paul Motion 2000 plus one, one of the musicans was singing to the piano, and it was picked up by the mic and it was awful. It kind of ruined the whole thing for me. I was wondering how the rest of the musicians were able to stand it. I think I read somewhere Motion never practices, so he may not have known until the gigs. Anyway, this trio was really amazing and I am so glad that guy sent me there as I would have missed it otherwise.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Benevento/Russo/Barr @ Sullivan Hall 1/10/08

Another big winner last night. It was pretty crowded 1st set. People kept saying it was the Benevento/Russo lineup. I know I found myself thinking of it as The Duo + 1 at times. A great 1, by the way. I was probably feeling the vibe of the crowd. I even heard someone comment how they were happy they weren’t playing many Duo songs. I know I wasn’t expecting any myself. But, then again, I’m spoiled and I’ve seen things so many different forms these 2 play with over the years.

Marco + Joe Russo (drums), Brad Barr (guitar)

Really, it was just another whole new band who it would be nice to see do their own tour some day. It was different from when they play with Scott Metzger, the only thing that comes to mind to describe it is “spacier”, “jammier in a different way”.

The venue really didn’t bother me last night, even in spite of the crowd. I found a spot on the left over by the rail where I could groove and not get bumped around too much. It was a little cooler over there and I didn’t really want to deal with winding in and out the crowd or going way in the back. I guess there’s plenty of things that could make the venue worse. Actually, the old Lion’s Den WAS worse. I’m very happy they did sound improvements, but I must admit, I don’t think it was enough. I think that’s because of how great Ribot sounded the night before at Drom. In spite of the challenges, I did enjoy being there and didn’t think once at the time that I hated the venue. That’s about the best I can say about it in this moment.

The first set went from about 10:30ish to 11:30. I walked in around 10 and the opening band was just ending. After the 1st set the room cleared out a little, but there were still plenty of people there. It was kind of the ideal size crowd for me for the 2nd set. Plenty of people who were into it, but I didn’t have to be back that far to be able to dance and see with a little bit of room.

Joe Russo! I realized I didn’t see him at all in 2007. I was either out of town, or opted out of Fat Mama and A Big Yes and Small No. He’s also in a bunch of bands I’m not that interested in myself. Boy did I miss him! He was especially blowing me away the 2nd set, but that may have been because I had a little more room, etc.

The 2nd set was even more to my liking because John Ellis played the entire set. I loved the 1st set, I just loved the 2nd one even more. Again, more room helped. They went back on around 12:10 and I left at around 1:10, when they were still on. I would have loved to have stayed til the very end, but decided it was time to go. I kind of like leaving while the music is still playing at times. It’s kind of like you don’t get the anti-climax of the show ending. I do wonder if they did an encore. They didn’t last week and there was no opener so everything was earlier.

I did just notice on their website I could have purchased a 5 night pass at 30% discount. Oh well, I just didn’t think to buy in advance as I like to avoid fees and stay loose until the day of. I’m am thinking about buying in advance for the one with Skerik, Billy Martin, and Calvin Weston. I’d hate to risk missing that one and I have no idea if the masses think it’s a hot ticket or not. I obviously do.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Marc Ribot + Jenny Scheinman 1/9/08

2008 is shaping up rather nicely, and it’s only 1/10! Marc Ribot, Chad Taylor, and Cooper Moore were amazing. I was completely mesmerized.

I like the venue, Drom at 85 Ave A. The sound was fantastic. Not every seat is good for seeing the band, though. It’s pretty laid back for a fancy place. I was able to stand and dance in between a table and the bar and no one seemed to care. Again, I was completely mesmerized, so it was hard for me to notice if anyone was caring or not. I didn’t even order anything to drink until after the performance – I didn’t want to risk losing my prime spot.

I didn’t get there until around 8:15 and they were already on. I meant to get there at 8 and just lost track of time. I have a feeling they started right at 8, I forgot to ask. They had a great time, as did I. I think they were as much in the zone as I was. Sometime in the middle, Ribot mentioned this was their first time improvising together. He asked them if they have a name yet, and since they don’t, jokingly suggested we send in our suggestions. I’m so glad they intend to do more together.

Now, Ribot was absolutely stellar as usual and definitely took me to another plane for most of the show. However, I kept coming back to see what Cooper Moore was doing. I had never heard of him and I was completely amazed by the instruments he was playing. He mainly played his homemade bass with 1 string. He played it with a stick at times, and plucking the string with his finger and sometimes both. He had a bow, which may have been for that, but I didn’t see him use it. This was a killer bass. I mean, really killer. You wouldn’t think it looking at it, but it was very powerful and he really laid down some grooves with it. I did some research, and it’s called a “diddley-bo”, and he invented it. I found one article with a picture of it below. He also played a mouth bow, which sounded kind of similar to a jaw harp and other instruments I’ve seen like that. It had a bigger sound as it’s a pretty big instrument. He sang some soleful lyrics for a bit. He also played some kind of small keyboard on his lap at times.

So, I have another new artist to keep an eye out for as much as possible.

Chad Taylor did a fine job as well. I loved his drum solos and definitely felt him. I was just too taken with the other 2 to notice more than that. My research shows he’s been gigging with Cooper Moore for a while.
Cooper-Moore playing piano, banjo, mouth bow, percussion, and the diddley-bo, a bass instrument of his own invention


this article has a picture of the bass:

They played until 9:30 because they were so into it. It was so early, I decided to head over to Banjo Jim’s to see who was up at this Jan Wed Night “Adam Levy’s Wish List” curation. I figured I’d probably have missed Jenny Scheinman by then, but I have been wanting to see her sing. I figure she keeps doing it, people keep going to see it, she might actually be good at it. Wouldn't you know, I get there just as Adam is doing a little spiel and then introduces Jenny. Out she comes in a fancy dress, which it seemed no one ever saw her in. Tony Scherr on guitar and Alison Miller on drums. I’m not sure who the bass player was. She did have her violin and definitely fed us some awesome solos. She is a good singer! I mean, she’s no Susan Tedeschi, but she’s pretty good. I never mind singers when they are good.

The music was very enjoyable. Tony seemed to be having minor guitar issues, but really got it together toward the end and gave us one really ripping solo. The music fringed on the country side, but not hard-core country. It wasn’t really twangy and was a little closer to blues on that continuum. I just can’t take real country, which is why I’m describing it in these terms.

Mary Halverson was sitting in the audience, possibly on the bill. After Jenny’s set, I saw Todd Sickafoose coming in with his bass and I had to make a run for it or I would have been compelled to stay all night. I left just before 11 and feel great today.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Word of the Day: evanescence

Nobody knows how a performance will turn out: it differs every time, with the audience, the musician's mood, the humidity, the novelty, the familiarity. As soon as it's over, it's gone, vanished. The musician may get run over by a bus outside the hall or the bar. And this uncertainty, this evanescence, is especially true of a quiet, intimate instrument, a solo instrument, such as the guitar. Everything comes back to the moment, the intense and mysterious physics between the guitarist and the guitar, and the guitar and the listener.

- Tim Brookes, guitar: An American Life

WordNet - Cite This Source - Share This
the event of fading and gradually vanishing from sight; "the evanescence of the morning mist"

WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

· noun: the event of fading and gradually vanishing from sight (Example: "The evanescence of the morning mist")

Terry Adams, Marshall Allen and Bobby Previte @ The Stone 1/8/08

Jan. is an especially good month for The Stone schedule, so I’ll be there often. I went last night to the 10pm set:

Terry Adams (celeste) Marshall Allen (alto saxophone) Bobby Previte (drums)

I had never heard of Terry Adams. I love Bobby Previte in all the guises I’ve seen him in the past couple of years. I know of Marshall Allen, I have several of the Sun Ra Arkestra cds and I saw them at Summerstage before. I never did make it to Zebulon or The Stone when they’ve been there, though.

Terry Adams! I never heard of NRBQ, but that’s his band, a rock band from the 60s. It stands for New Rhythm & Blues Quartet. He kind of lead the set. He played the piano and a very old looking clavinet with a very new sounding sound. He mainly played the piano, and the foot, he was stomping his feet in awesome rhythms for a good part of the show. He also sang “Express Yourself”

They started with the theme from Batman and Marshall Allen won me over immediately. He’s got something very special. I can’t believe he was born in 1924. He’s probably still continuing to develop. His sax playing made me melt for a while during this one sappy love song I can’t think of at the moment. They also did something that sounded kind of like the Bunny Hop and something that sounded like When you Wish Upon a Star. While they did all these covers, and you could tell what all of them were, they also charted into completely different avant-garde territory.

Marshall Allen is just amazing. He is a true virtuouso with the sax, and he made it look effortless. I loved it when he did a solo with his E.V.I (Electronic Valve Instrument).

That was one wonderful hour well spent. I laughed, almost cried, melted, and just had an amazing time. I’m also thrilled to get turned onto another completely different musician. It seems like he has his own genre in a way. Well, actually, I hate to admit it, but it seemed kind of niche pop to me. Entertaining, pop songs, played incredibly well by great musicians. I won’t let that stop me from exploring further.

Oh, and Bobby Previte was as amazing as usual. It was hard to even acknowledge that aside from the drum solo given how great the whole thing was.

Marshall Allan AAJ article


Interesting liner notes about Terry Adams and jazz:

I might have to check out some of his rock shows:

NRBQ: The History and Discography

Mix tape:

I’ll have to check this out later, but I think I’m gonna like it

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Venue: Drom

I see Marc Ribot is playing tomorrow night at a new venue called Drom in the East Village. I stopped by to check it out on my way to Charles Gayle the other night.

It’s located downstairs at 85 Ave A. It’s kind of fancy for the East Village, but so far the vibe and staff is slightly more low-key than if it were in another location. Everyone I met is very nice. It just opened a couple of weeks ago, so it will be interesting to see how it evolves.

It’s a Eurasian Tapas restaurant with a full bar. The stage is in the restaurant area and it looks nice. You can call and reserve a table for a show. The bar is right behind the tables and you can see the show just fine from there as well.

So far, they do a good job with booking and I hope it turns out to be a good place.

I’m not sure if there is a minimum, but tickets for the popular shows, like Ribot, can be purchased in advance on-line. There is no additional service charge included in the on-line ticket.

Drinks are a little pricey, looks like $10-12 for most, but they do free pour and it looks like a healthy shot.

I guess I’ll find out more when I actually go to the show tomorrow, but it’s always nice to see another new venue doing music I want to be at.

Here’s the Drom website:

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sat & Sun 1/5&6

I just had 2 really excellent nights of music. Another weekend that made me incredibly happy to be in NYC. I was still sick, but I mainly rested and slept during the day and was able to get out and feel better at night. I’m feeling pretty good now, so the strategy worked.

On Sat night, I started at the incredible Dave Douglas ensemble doing the music of Randy Weston at Abrons Art Center. It was absolutely phenomenal. At the end, we found out that Randy Weston was there in attendance. That was really cool. I’ve been wanting to check out Louis Bonilla’s band for a while. I’m going to make more of a point. He was the trombone player and it was great. His name caught my eye when they were playing at The Zinc Bar and I figure it’s Latin and I want to check it out. Nasheet Watts on drums was fantastic, as usual. Marcus Rojas on tuba is always good. He held down the bass lines. I can’t get over how he can stand there holding that enormous tuba during an entire set. Donny McCaslin is a great sax and flute player. I can’t remember the name of the keyboard guy, but he was great as well. It was really a wonderful performance and a very special thing.

I then headed over to the Village Vanguard for Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band of New Orleans. They all have that same arrangement, banjo, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, bass, drums and I like them all. However, this is one of the best and definitely stands out. The past 2 years, I’ve done Pres Hall Jazz Band at Jazz Standard and then over to the Vanguard for Dr. Michael White. I could really see the difference in the caliber when I did that. I would have gladly done that again this year, but Pres Hall didn’t come up this winter. Oh well. We also got a special, very difficult Jelly Roll Martin song that the Dr. said was a request. He said it was very difficult and his clarinet had a cold, meaning he had a cold. Join the club. You couldn’t tell in his playing, though. My cold was helped out by the delicious Pear William brandy at the Vanguard. I’ve been wanting to try that for a while, and it’s really good.

I then headed over to Blue Note for the late night super funky The Blue Method. I do hate Blue Note during normal hours, but occasionally brave it anyway. However, late night when it’s not too crowded can be pretty good over there. It’s only $8 cover, you are allowed to dance, and it’s a little more laid back. If it’s not a crowded show and you went to the 2nd set of the regular hours band, you can usually stay for the late night for free.

I’ve seen the Blue Method before at Coda and really enjoyed it. There were only about 3 of us there when they opened that time. I think they brought some of their fans from Philly this time and there were random people and some from the 2nd set, so it had a nice vibe. Their drummer was sick and actually had to go into the hospital that day. They had a substitute drummer the bass player knew, Joe, sit in. Joe had never played with them. They played more covers than usual because of that. Well, Joe knows how to keep the groove. It was really awesome. Their saxophone is especially great and plays a lot of awesome funkin long solos. They did my favorite James Brown tune, the Big Payback. They did one blues tune. They did Cissy Revisited. They did a great different funky arrangement of Thank Ya Fo Lettin Me Be Mice Elf Agin. It was awesome! Not many people were dancing, but that didn’t stop me! I had a great time. I got their new cd, but haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet. They played from about 1:00am – 2:15am or so. I think they ran out of songs that both the band and Joe knew. The encore was a Stevie Wonder tune. It was a great way to end the night.

The next day, my cold was done, and I had barely drank the night before, but I couldn’t get out of bed. I think I needed to sleep off the sickness. It meant that when I finally did emerge at around 4pm, I felt great and was raring to go.

I went to The Stone for my first Charles Gayle experience. Oh my! Words cannot describe how incredible that was. At first, I was so mesmerized by Charles Gayle that I barely noticed the bass and drums. Fortunately, he let them solo and duo together at times so I was able to realize how great they were. I can’t believe how amazing that music was. He had a white alto and the music just went in all kinds of directions. Towards the end, he played the piano. But, before he did, he had to put on a blindfold and a clown mask so he couldn’t see a thing. He said it’s easier to play the sax without looking than the piano. That helped bring home how great he is and how he was just playing from feeling and what the spirit struck him to do. Before the set began we saw him sitting in a chair in the corner by his sax and it looked like he was praying.

I just felt like I was the presence of true greatness.

1/6 Sunday (MM) 8 pm
Charles Gayle and Guests
Charles Gayle (sax, piano) Hill Greene (bass) Rynn Sawyer (drums)

Nothing could follow that up. Still, I probably was going to be up for a while, so I may as well go to Jimmy’s for Jason Hwang’s EDGE. It was good, but after the previous set, it was kind of tough to stay. I would have liked it more another time. It just wasn’t on the same caliber as a lot of stuff I tend to see. But, it was still good nonetheless. I’m just very spoiled.

9PM Jason Hwang's EDGE with Taylor Ho Bynum, Andrew Drury, Ken Filiano

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Tony Malaby's Cello Trio @ Cornelia St. Cafe 1/4/08

I have my cold, but wanted to at least catch a little music. I was intrigued by the Tony Malaby Cello Trio and I needed to run an errand in the West Village anyway, so I headed over there for the 9pm set.

I found out recently that it's better to have a reservation or you have to wait until they seat the reservations first. They don't let "no reservation" people in until 9. I called and found out they don't take res the day of the show. No problem, I just knew not to go before 9. It was pretty full, but no one was turned away. It's nice to see that place getting more crowded lately. Perhaps it's the weekend, but I've been there a lot when there's not many people in there.

It was a great 50 minute set. They were playing songs, but it was very creative and probably had some improvised elements. I was very intrigued by the instruments John Hollenbeck was playing. He had something similar to a xylophone and a melodica and he was playing the drums with a stick in one hand and some african looking silver thing in the other.

It wasn't a xylophone, though. It was small, but had 2 rows of keys and looked kind of african. The sound kind of reminded me of what Sylvie Courvoissier's piano sounds like when she has the strings taped and is playing the high note keys. I'm getting more and more curious about that.

Tony was great as usual. It was my first time seeing the cellist and I enjoyed it.

I could have stayed for the 2nd set without paying an additional cover. They have a $6 min each set. Given my cold and how late I was up the night before, I decided I'd already had enough and headed home. It was a nice little set to get something in, though.

Tony Malaby, tenor saxophone; Fred Lonberg Holm, cello; John Hollenbeck, drums
Cover $10

Friday, January 4, 2008

Upcoming: Uri Caine’s Bedrock Trio + Dave Binney Group

Uri Caine’s Bedrock! I only saw them once at the 55 Bar and it was amazing. I had just started venturing more into jazz and I was asking around about who to check out. Chip pointed me to Uri Caine. The next show was Bedrock on a very very cold winter night at 55 Bar. I had no idea what I was going to, and it was really cold. I mean way colder than the past couple of days. It was my first time waiting in line at 55 Bar and I think I made it into the 1st set. The fact that there was such a line and the enthusiasm in that line made me want to brave it for a while.

I get into the little tiny space and get a standing/dancing spot up by the service bar area. No one asked me to stop, as the rules technically are it’s against the law for more than 2 people to be moving in a synchronized fashion without a cabaret license. That lady that owned it was very cool and only asked me to stop once, when there were about 4 of us dancing at Wayne Krantz.

Again, I had no idea what I was going to, just the recommendation of Uri Caine and the observations in line. I was intrigued and slightly worried when I saw each of the guys, Zach Danziger, Uri, and Tim Lefebvre had a laptop. I had no idea what they would be doing hooked up to the computers. It struck me as very strange.

I can’t really describe what happened in that room, but it was amazing. I still think about the feeling I got from that show, even though I don’t really remember details. It looked impossible to get into the 2nd set, so I didn’t try, but perhaps I should have gotten into line right away, just in case. I think it was Winter of 2003, but I’m not really sure.

That show set me down the path of looking for different music and taking a chance on anything that looked good. It was such a great experience.

Here’s a great article from AAJ:

Any way, Adam is trying to help fill the void left by the closing of Tonic, and it looks like he’s off to a great start. Below is his spiel as well as the next show. I’m going to pick up a ticket to this show at the box office soon. I would think it will sell out also. I was planning on getting there soon for my Winter Jazzfest ticket anyway, just because I want it in my possession. I was going to write a post about going to the box offices and saving the fees, but then this came up so I’ll do that one another time. Oh, and Dave Binney is always great, so this show looks like a big winner.

With the close of Tonic last year, New York City lost a major venue for experimental jazz, as well as one of the last great mid-size clubs to see ANY jazz where you aren't charged an arm and a leg and a drink minimum (Iridium, Vanguard, Blue Note etc...). People are waiting in lines out the door for great shows at the Stone, 55 Bar, and the Jazz Gallery constantly, but because of the size of those clubs, it becomes an exclusive affair, on available to other musicians, and those in the know willing to spend the time camping out. I believe that in order to create a sustainable jazz community we need to make great jazz more open to the public.

In an attempt to do just that, I'm starting a series at the Knitting Factory called "Search and Restore." It's a monthly affair right now, but I want to blow the first show out so that we can make it bi-monthly, or even weekly. It will be at the Tap Bar, the middle room in the Knitting Factory, 200 capacity, grand piano. I also will be booking only double bills, to provide for a more communal aspect of the live jazz show. No drink minimum, no emptying out after a set. Standing room and seats, and hopefully this more casual jazz environment will foster a setting where people can feel as though they're part of something.

I've also arranged for the shows to be sponsored by Other Music. We're going to be recording every set through a few room mics and soundboard feed into protools, mix and master it, and the set will be up for download on the Other Music website two days after the show. It can only do good things for the scene to get more recordings out there.

Sunday, January 27th
Search and Restore: Jazz at the Knit
the Dave Binney band AND Uri Caine's Bedrock Trio
at the Knitting Factory
74 Leonard St., Manhattan, by Canal St. subway
all ages, 8 PM, $12 Advanced, $13 at the door, $10 for students at the door
this is the second edition of my jazz series at the Knit, and I couldn't be more excited by this bill. It will likely sell out so I recommend advanced tickets or showing up early. Hope to see you there!

Feldman/Courvoisier/Rothenberg + Marco 1/3/08

Last night was great. I first went to The Stone for Sylvie Courvoisier, Mark Feldman, and Ned Rothenberg. All 3 continue to astound me. I got to sit behind the piano, in the 2nd row and it was a great vantage point to see all the unique ways Sylvie plays that beautiful grand piano. She sometimes puts duct tape on the strings, which makes it sound really cool when she hits the keys. I think she did a lot of that with Mephisto the time I saw them at Tonic. She sometimes plays the strings with her fingers and sometimes with mallets. She also has very interesting sounds coming out when she plays it the regular way.

Feldman continues to blow me away. I think he’s definitely one of the greatest violinists. I don’t know if I have seen him much before the recent Bar Kotchka shows. He is just incredible and it was hard not to stay for the next set, which had him soloing.

Rothenberg is always great. He mainly played the bass clarinet until toward the end, when he went to the sax. I think I’ve most often seen him on the bass clarinet.

I couldn’t stay for the next set because I had to get to Sullivan Hall for Marco Benevento. I can’t believe I almost blew it off. But, my intuition was telling me to get over there, although I took my time in doing so. I got there at around 9:50 and they had been on for about 20 minutes. Steven Bernstein, DJ Olive, Bobby Previte, and a projectionist. It wasn’t too crowded, but there were people there to make it feel good. It was quite pleasant at the venue last night, probably due to not too many people. It was rather cold as they close the heating vents since it can get rather hot when it’s full. Most people kept their coats on. I finally checked mine, since I was dancing and getting warm.

It was awesome. 2 sets, ending at about 12:15. It seemed each of them was sticking to their main styles, but blending in well together. It had a kind of Miles Davis/acid jazz/Sexmob/heavy bass feel to it. It blended really well. I’m usually not too into DJs, but I thought DJ Olive was great and even enjoyed focusing on him for a bit. Previte did an excellent drum solo.

The piano isn't as fancy or nice as the one at The Stone, but it sure sounded great with Marco playing it.

It was a great show and everyone seemed pretty happy about it. The crowd did seem a little mellow, but probably due to being so close to NYE and recovery. I had a sore throat and didn’t really feel like socializing. People seemed kind of tired, yet happy. I think the happiest one in the room was Marco, who seemed thrilled with the music they were making together.

I certainly won’t be missing any of these shows.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Kenny Wollesen @ The Stone 1/1/08

Yes, more Kenny. It was excellent and a great way to start the year. The first show was his marching band, playing music similar to the other night, but with about 15 or so more people. That means it was quite different. They all stood in the middle of the room and I got to get up an dance as I was in the other front row, and there were only 2 rows over there, so we could get up and move a little back to see better. Jessica Lurie and Tina Richerson were there, Tony Scherr was there, I think a guy from Burnt Sugar, a bunch of horns, an accordion, many percussionists. It was awesome! Most of the horns and the accordion got a chance to do a solo. It was great from start to finish and lots of fun.

Next up was Sun Ra stuff with lots of percussionists. A lot of the poetry was read by a guy who probably played with Sun Ra, I can’t remember his name. They had a few different readers. It was such a nice follow-up to the Mule show. One girl was reading, sitting on the floor and then walking around in bare feet. I couldn’t help but think about the 60s. It was really awesome.

There was one bad guy, the kind that thinks he’s part of the band, banging really loudly on the floor. Luckily, an audience member, maybe from the band before, was able to shut him up relatively quickly.

The 2nd set started with many of the people from the 1st set to do Space is the Place. Then, they sat down and it was mainly percussionists, and one guy I’ve seen before on bass clarinet. It was wonderful.

1/1 Tuesday (CW)
8 pm
Kenny Wollesen's Himalayas Marching Band
Kenny Wollesen and a host of anarchistic zanies
An experience of unbridled madness. Bring in the new year with this outrageous and impossible ensemble party!

10 pm
The Wollesens with poetry and prose by Sun Ra
Kenny Wollesen (drums) and his new unit
An evening of Wollesen music and readings from another planet channeling the galactic traveller Sun Ra.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Mule + Rebirth NYE

Mule was absolutely incredible. It was like the 1st 2 incredible nights were just warmup for last night. I still can't get over just how amazing the entire night was.

The 1st set was all Mule tunes and it was already a few notches above the 1st 2 nights. It was just great.

I had wondered what Winter of Love would mean, but didn't give it much thought or ask anyone. At setbreak I found out they were planning to do music from the 60's. Of course! 1967 was the Summer of Love, after all. Nothing could have prepared me for how excellent and well-done that 2nd set was to be. They kind of set it up so it was if these songs were all being played on the radio. I assume this is what was on the radio that year. I copied the setlist from and pasted it below.

At the start of the set, they first showed some political footage from the time that I kind of missed. Then, they had a radio announcer do a little spiel and then The Mule played continuous, amazing songs from 1967. They had a screen that wasn't distracting at all and showed a few pictures from the bands they were covering. I thought the songs were well-selected and it was tastefully done.

They had a guy come out for a few moments, playing Ed Sullivan. He mentioned there were 2 controversial shows that year and let's take a look at them now. The first was The Rolling Stones, Let's Spend the Night Together. The other one was The Doors Light My Fire.

Then, they brought out a really great sax player named Steve Elson. I put some googling below. He's on some David Bowie albums among other things. I think he was just playing the baritone last night, which was awesome. First was a James Brown tune with Danny Louis on trumpet. It took Danny a few moments to get into the groove, but even that small flaw in the entire evening wasn't that bad.

They were so into it, they lost track of time and that's why they did a reprise of Don't Miss Your Water, an Otis Redding tune. After that reprise in the 3rd set, they mentioned Otis died young that year. Then, they mentioned John Coltrane, who died in April of 67 and did an incredible rendition of Expression.

They went back to Mule, but it was a whole other level of Mule. It was just increbile til the end. They ended the last song of the 3rd set with an amazing jam that lasted a while. It was perfect. No drums, but that jam more than made up for it.

Warren had me in awe the entire show. The whole thing was so well done I can't get over it.

I actually questioned whether to go to Rebirth at BBs after that. I'm so glad I went because it was awesome. Super energetic, get down, excellent music. I even got a great drum and sousaphone solo to help make up for no drums earlier. Actually, that completely filled my need for some drum action. I don't see Rebirth every chance I get because it gets a little old sometimes. However, it may have been a year since I last saw them, NYE last year, so I was really due. They really are a great band to hear last thing in a late night. I remember how awesome that Cafe Brasil 4am show 2nd weekend of jazz fest, I think 2004 was. I had to go after a while, but I remember reading in Offbeat that they kept playing because no one was leaving and everyone was so into it. It was like they couldn't leave. Well, at BBs they have to leave at some point, but I think it wasn't until 4:15 or so that happened.

That definitely went down as one of my favorite nights of the year. I feel great today. Really great.

And now, for the setlist:
12.31.07 Beacon Theatre - New York, NY
Set One
Brand New Angel
Mr. High & Mighty
Lay Your Burden Down
About To Rage
Banks of The Deep End
I'll Be The One
Time To Confess

Set Two - The Winter Of Love
2,000 Light Years From Home
Sunshine Of Your Love
Lucy In The Sky
Little Wing
Spanish Castle Magic
You Keep Me Hanging On
Morning Dew
When The Music's Over
Lets Spend The Night Together
Light My Fire
Cold Sweat*
I Was Made To Love Her*
Born Under A Bad Sign*
You Don't Miss Your Water*
Sgt. Pepper's
All You Need Is Love

Set Three
You Don't Miss Your Water Reprise
Losing You*
Reblow Your Horn
Don't Step On The Grass Sam
Blind Man In The Dark

Sad And Deep As You

* w/ Steve Elson on Sax

Some Steve Elson googling: