Thursday, February 28, 2008

Costa Rica Feb 08

Earlier this month I was in Costa Rica for Ariel and Shya Kane's self-discovery workshop. I never thought of myself as a workshop person, but this stuff is awesome. It's simply about listening from the speakers point of view. The other key is awareness, which is a non-judgmental way of seeing. All you have to do is get interested in what is. That pulls you into the moment and is enough to have your life transform.

It was amazing and simple. It was a 9 day trip, and I wasn't sure I was going to like having no music for 9 whole days. Well, that wasn't the case. We had plenty of time to hang out, go to the beach, shop and hang by the pool. My group had some great musical talent and I certainly didn't feel music-deprived at all. I think we had excellent live music pretty much every night and often during the day. We even had it on the bus back to San Jose!

Our group included 3 musicians who play professionally from time to time. There was also some hidden talent in the group, some more great singers.

One night we had a mandolin solo performance that brought me into another world. There was one tune where every string he hit was filling me with emotion.

For days and nights after that, a guitar player and a singer and whoever else wanted to join in on vocals jammed. They did lots of great covers of awesome classic rock songs and then got into improvising their own tunes about Costa Rica on the spot. I was feeling all of it.

The last night in Manuel Antonio ended with a great concert with everyone. The mandolin definitely added a lot to the already great tunes we were hearing all week.

So, in addition to an awesome workshop, fun in the sun, I had a great week of live music that I wasn't expecting. Here’s a link to the Kane’s website, I highly recommend the Monday Night Alive workshops, which will start up again on 3/10.

Scotty Hard Benefit 3/19

Well, while I was looking to see if there was anything on Warren't sit in with Ivan on, I see this benefit show listing:

Scofield, Medeski, Martin, Laswell, Krasno, The Duo and Antibalas Confirmed for Scotty Hard Benefit

A number of musicians are banding together to support producer Scotty Hard, who was seriously injured in a car accident earlier this month. On March 19 John Scofield, John Medeski, Billy Martin, Bill Laswell, Eric Krasno, Neal Evans, Marco Benevento, Joe Russo, Antibalas, Sex Mob, DJ Logic, John Ellis, Michael Blake, Vijay Iyer, Tom Hamilton and Kevin Kendrick will all share the stage at New York’s Highline Ballroom for an all-star benefit for the Scotty Hard Trust. A number of ticket options are currently available for the gala event, including $35 GA, $50 VIP balcony and $65 VIP floor tickets. All VIP tickets will include an after show meet and greet with many of the musicians. Friends and fans can also help Hard by making a donation to "Scott Harding c/o Tom Camuso” via “Kim Danyluk, 6066 54th Street, Maspeth, NY 11378.”

Warren with Ivan

I was just checking out Sullivan Hall's website and I see I missed Warren playing with Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk. I guess I have to stop avoiding that place as much as I do.

Kneebody/Ceramic Dog/Wayne Krantz @ The Knit 2/27/08

It was even better than I expected. I started with the Kneebody set, which started around 7:50 and went for a little over an hour. This was the 3rd time I’ve seen them and they are great every time. I also have their 3 cds, which I enjoy. It’s grooving, progressive, new jazz. Their songs are complex and all quite different. Trumpet, sax, drums, electric bass, and keyboard. The last time I saw them was at Tonic, with Simon Lott sitting in for the drummer. They opened for Todd Sickafoose’s Blood Orange, and it was a great night.

Next up was Ceramic Dog in the Main Space. I mean, as much as I enjoy Wayne Krantz, their was no agonizing over that choice. It was unbelievably awesome from start to finish. They played from around 9:15 to 10:25, including the encore. Ribot said they just finished making a cd, which will be out in a couple of months. It’s completely finished, but the record company wants to create a buzz. Really! He then informed us they were going to play all new material, none of which is on the new record. It was awesome, awesome avant-rock, with emphasis on the ROCK. They started with a phenomenal arrangement of The Doors “Break on Through (to the Other Side)” and kept it going from there. Ches Smith was banging those drums, and at times gently playing. Shazaad has his moog, his bass, and even played Ches’s snare drum for a number. Man, that was a killer set. I don’t think I’ll be able to miss them the rest of the year if they play in Manhattan again. Really great!

There was still time to catch the end of Wayne’s grooving, super-funky, kickass set downstairs. They had removed the seats for his set as they were running out of room. Good! The crowd was pretty young, like lots of students, and under 25s. That was great as we need to keep it alive and it was nice to see so many truly loving the music of both sets. It gives me a lot of hope for keeping the music coming.

All of this phenomenal music, and I was leaving at around 11, maybe a little later. Hah! Nice change and gears me up for the rest of the week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tonight @ Knitting Factory

It looks like a big night out at The Knit tonight. I figure may as well hit the Search & Restore series in the Tap bar with Kneebody and Wayne Krantz while waiting for Ceramic Dog in the Main Space. The total covers for both shows is $28, which seems pretty good.

I did check Ches Smith’s myspace listings and he is playing so that KF listing must mean those other 2 people are the opener for Ceramic Dog.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Will Bernard Trio @ Blue Owl 2/24/08

I finally made it to The Blue Owl on a Sun for Will Bernard and Friends. It was good old funky music, that stuff I love. It was more of the jazzy variety, meaning not the repetitive Meters-style, more like the grooving style you hear from so many great newer bands. The drummer was Erik Kalb and I can’t remember the bassist. I think that was the bass’s first time playing with them. I got there during the 1st set, which was enjoyable. I was more into it in the 2nd set. It was a lot of fun and a nice little place with good drinks and a good vibe. He’s playing there most Sundays with different people and it’s well worth checking out. I got the impression they start on time at 9:30. A very good way to cap off the weekend.

I did get a little worried about how long it was going to last, if I was going to someday be asked to stop dancing, etc when a guy from outside started banging very hard on the glass doors in protest. They said he’s been there protesting often and sometimes throws water on people. He’s also called the cops before. I was completely relieved when the cops showed up just as the band was finished, but still on stage. All they did was ask the bartender if everything was OK. Phew. I don’t think there’s going to be any noise control issues for a while, in spite of being able to hear the grooves outside.

The band plays in an alcove. It is hard to see in some spots because there is a chunk of wall blocking the viewing from some angles. It is only blocked partially, though. I went off to the side by the door to get away from the talkers and to be able to dance. We need more listeners to show up. There’s plenty of time to talk in between sets. They have very comfy chairs to sit in and the place does have a nice layout.

The drinks are good and very strong. They have some interesting unique cocktails as well, like a tanguaray, lime juice and cucumber thing. They also have an espresso machine.

I also bought Will Bernard’s grammy-nominated cd and it’s awesome. He lost to Herbie Hancock. Isn’t that awesome? No face-losing with that one. I haven’t heard Herbie’s, but Will’s is awesome. He also has a new cd coming out soon with John Medeski on it. He said that Andy Hess will be showing up to play again on a future Sun.

Spread the word! It’s only $5 and well worth ending the weekend that way. They only put the calendar up for a month at a time, so we will have to hang on for the March schedule.

John Zorn discounted tix at St. Ann’s Warehouse

I already got my ticket, but there’s a NY Times promotion for a 20% discount to John Zorn and other things at St. Ann’s Warehouse. I called them and was told I could get a refund on my current order and repurchase, but I figure it’s an extra $6 for the arts and I don’t want to risk losing my seat. The discount probably means lots of people don’t want to shlepp out to Dumbo. I realized I know city people who live in Dumbo, it can’t be that far.

Special Offer for NYT TicketWatch MembersBUY EARLY & SAVEOrder before April 1 and take advantage of the following3 WAYS TO SAVE:

1. 10% off single tickets for The Walworth Farce and Macbeth and 20% off single tickets for John Zorn and Cynthia Hopkins Use code: NYT1020
2. 15% off The Walworth Farce or Macbeth when you buy either show with Black WatchCLICK HERE
3. 20% off The Walworth Farce and Macbeth when you buy both shows with Black WatchCLICK HERE

HOW TO BUYOnline: buy tickets securely at By Phone: 718.254.8779 (Tue – Sat, 1PM – 7PM) or 866.811.4111 (Mon-Fri, 9AM - 9PM; Sat-Sun, 10AM - 6PM)

In Person: St. Ann's Warehouse Box Office (38 Water St., dumboBKLYN; Tue – Sat, 1PM – 7PM) or Theatermania Box Office (Virgin Megastore at Times Square; Tue – Sat, 12PM – 7PM; Sun, 12PM – 5PM)

Shanir/Sawyer + UB313 @ Zebulon 2/22/08

I went to Zebulon on Fri night for the Charles Gayle Trio. Unfortunately, Charles was sick and couldn’t make it. It was still an excellent duo show with Shanir Bulmenkranz and Ryan Sawyer. They took turns singing for a 45 minute fabulous set. Shanir mentioned when Charles called out, they thought about who they could get and soon realized he’s irreplaceable. For the last song, Baye Kouyate sat in with his little drum with a big sound. He wore it around his shoulder, so that the drum was under his armpit. It was awesome. I would describe it as avant-rock.

I had to stick around for Marshall Allen’s new band, UB313 for a bit. I ended up staying for a while, in spite of my exhaustion. They started around 11:15 or so and I left around 12:15. It was absolutely amazing. Levin and Allen played flutes at times as well as the saxes. Marshall Allen had this neat electronic thing that reminded me of a waterpipe with keys and no bottom. It was superb avant garde lively music. I guess the drummer couldn’t make it because Ryan Sawyer ended up doing double duty and playing in both bands. They said UB313 is the latest new planet discovered in our solar system.

The original listing, but we had a different drummer:
Brian Marsella, keys
Elliot Levin, sax
Ed Watkins, drums
Marshall Allen, sax

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tango @ Jazz Standard 2/19/08

That was only my 2nd Tango show at the jazz clubs and it was awesome. They said there were doing different tunes the 2nd set, but I was too tired to stay. Del Curto said he didn’t intend it, but he ended up giving us a brief history of tango in the repertoire. It started with the orchestra for a couple of songs and then went to a quintet for a while, probably ½ hour. Then they brought Pablo Ziegler up and went to a trio then back to the orchestra for the remainder of the set.

Ziegler is one of the modern tango composers, and things became more modern after he took the stage. All of the songs were quite different. It was interesting there was no drums at all and yet it seemed to have such a percussive flair. I was also sitting near a friend of the band who plays the flute and got a verbal very brief history of tango. It started in Argentina as a musical fight. The men used it to show off their machismo. The first women who started dancing were prostitutes. Later, over about 40 years, some guy brought it to the rest of us. It sounds like when you delve in there’s a whole lot to the history. I may do that some day.

It was excellent from start to finish. I hope we get to see more in the jazz club setting. It sounds like there are a lot of venues for tango with dancing, but you really have to know what you are doing to dance it. Still, it might be fun to go to watch some time.

Hector Del Curto's “Eternal Tango Orchestra” plus special guest PABLO ZIEGLER
Hector Del Curto, David Hodges – bandoneons
Nick Danielson, Sami Merdinian, Sergio Reyes, Lucia Giraudo – violins
Katie Kresek – viola
Jisoo Ok – cello
Pedro Giraudo – bass
Gustavo Casenave – piano
Pablo Ziegler – piano

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Steve Coleman Presents @ Jazz Gallery 2/18/08

I’ve been wanting to check out this workshop for a long time. I don’t play any instruments, but I’m very interested in jazz and what goes through these artists heads.

It was just Steve and his trumpet player, Jonathan last night. I could only stay from 9-10:30, but it was very interesting for me. He encourages the attendees to bring their instruments and says you never know who’s gonna show up. Apparantly last week Marcus Gilmore was there and a few others.

He started by asking the attendees for questions. He got a few regarding the week before. It was all very interesting, about improvising, playing toward and away from the other players, etc. He said the people who play in his band have to know all the parts, which means they have to practice all the parts.

I’m glad I went and it looks worth it for budding and experienced musicians to check out some Monday night.

Friday, February 8, 2008

MTO @ Jazz Standard 2/7/08

That was a very excellent last show before vacation. Actually, it was excellent regardless. I'm sorry I can't go again. I'm also very sorry to miss Diaspora Suite at Jazz Standard on Sunday night.

I did get the one night with Jenny Scheinman instead of Charlie Burnham. Both are on the same level, but it was a nice treat to see Jenny in MTO.

They were all amazing as usual. It seemed like a few less players than usual, which was nice. I realized I see all of their individual bands a lot as well.

They did a brand new song from some old cd Steven found in Chicago. It was awesome.

Ben Allison was great. I didn't even miss Tony Sher.

At the end, when Steven was re-introducing the band, the rhythm section started this great groove. Later, the rest of the band joined in for a bit.

It was absoultely fabulous.

I keep thinking of more places for them to play. I think Club Midway would be a good place for Diaspora Suite. Drom would be a nice place for Steven to start playing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sugartone Brass Band @ Prohibition 2/5/08

It wouldn’t seem right not to do something NOLA-ish on Mardi Gras. I ended up on the Upper West Side at Prohibition for the Sugartone Brass Band. That was just what I needed. I mean, they were no Rebirth, but they were pretty good. They had me dancing the whole time. I especially enjoyed the drums, but they were all pretty good. They do some of the classics and some of their own tunes. Definitely a fun way to spend Mardi Gras.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Bloodcount @ Joe’s Pub 2/3/08

That was quite a show last night! I saw the listing, and that Jim Black was in it, and the picture on the Joe’s Pub entry made me want to go. I got there, and noticed a lot of the avant-garde crowd that comes out for the best shows was there. I knew it must be a good choice. It was absolutely fantastic. They did about 5 songs and it was just amazing. An alto, a tenor, bass and drums. Very lively, lots of cohesive structure, but still seemed quite different and free. There were writes and photographers there, so I’m sure there will be more about it showing up.

Bloodcountfeaturing Tim BerneJim Black, Michael Formanekand Chris Speed
Sunday February 37:30 PM $20.00

John Ellis gig tonight + dreamscapes videos

Speak of the Devil, here’s the latest message from John Ellis, with a link to Dreamscapes videos. He’s playing regular at Louis 649 and I might try to catch a little.

Hey everybody, I know, I know. I was reprimanded by many of you for my incredibly last minute gig notices. This is the last one, I promise!

I'm playing tonight at Louis 649 (on E. 9th St and Ave C) with a great band.
John Ellis - saxophones
Matt Penman - bass
Marcus Gilmore - drums
Sets are at 9 and 11, and admission is free.

I also wanted to let you guys know that I posted some videos from the Dreamscapes project. I'll be posting more shortly, but for all of you who weren't able to see us live, go to and click under the photo where it says view my:videos. There's 4 videos posted there, and I'm gonna add the other 5 shortly. While you're there, you can listen to a couple tracks from my upcoming record, "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" which is coming out on Hyena Records on March 25th!

Thanks! John

John Ellis/Luis Perdomo + Bombay Jazz 2/2/08

I decided to go back to Jazz Gallery for more of John Ellis’s Dreamscapes. I saw it last Dec

This is the finale of the composers series at Jazz Gallery, which is funded by a grant. They decided to combine 2 composers each night for the finale. This was John Ellis and Luis Perdomo. The 2 had decided earlier that day to trade off, dance if you will, compositions. They started with Luis and then John did one of his dreams, and back and forth like that. There was about 6 songs in total, I think.

Perdomo’s music was great jazz. I definitely enjoyed it, but don’t know what else I can say about it. Well, I guess I could say how awesome John Ellis was on the sax. There seemed to be a lot of soprano sax in his compositions.

It was nice to revisit Ellis’s dreamscape concept, this time with a smaller band. He did have the poet there again to read us text about the dreams before they played. I did prefer the last tune “food dream”, with the big interesting band John had assembled before. It was still pretty good, and had I not heard it with the bigger group, I wouldn’t have much to say.

I found a little NY Times blip about it.

The Jazz Gallery's Composers Series - II FINALE
February 2nd, 2008 9:00 & 10:30 p.m.$15.00 / $10.00 for Members
John Ellis & Luis Perdomo
John Ellis - reeds, Luis Perdomo - piano, Marcus Rojas - tuba, Eric McPherson – drums

After that, I decided I was in jazz mode, so I didn’t make it back to Lackawanna at Banjo Jim’s. Instead, I opted for Larry Coryell & Bombay Jazz at Jazz Standard. That was absolutely fantastic! There was a good crowd for the 11:30 set. After the 1 hour set, people were yelling for one more. It didn’t look like it was going to happen. I stopped at the restroom and when I came out they were going back on stage for the one more we craved, which was great. It ended a little before 1am. I am so glad I got there.

THU - SAT JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 2 - 2008 NEW YORK GUITAR FESTIVALLarry Coryell & Bombay JazzLarry Coryell – guitarGeorge Brooks – saxophonesRonu Majumdar – Indian flute Vijay Ghate – tablaBeginning in 1966 with his head-turning recording debut on Chico Hamilton’s album The Dealer, guitarist Larry Coryell became a true pioneer of jazz-rock guitar. “Armed with a brilliant technique, he is comfortable in almost every style, covering almost every base from the most decibel-heavy, distortion-laden electric work to the most deli­cate, soothing, intricate lines on acoustic guitar.” (Richard S. Ginell, Jazz Standard is proud to pre­sent the four exceptionally talented musicians from India and the US known as Bombay Jazz as they explore the melodic richness and dynamic rhythmic interplay that characterize both great jazz and the finest Indian classical music. Spanning the musical globe, Ronu Majumdar (a Grammy Nominee) , Vijay Ghate and George Brooks have performed with such luminaries as Ravi Shankar, George Harrison, George Duke and Etta James just to name a few.Tickets: $25 / $30 Friday & Saturday

Trombone Battle @ Dizzy’s 2/2/08

I finally made it to one of the jazz battles at Dizzy’s. I actually went to the 12:30 set. It’s a really great vibe. You walk in and seat yourself. I saw plenty of people brought their own food and beverage. It’s completely free, if you desire. If you want something from the bar, you can walk up and get it. They have coffee for $2, no tea. They also have wrap sandwiches for $3 and a few munchies. And, of course, they have alcohol. You don’t have to buy a thing, though.

The show was as excellent as all Dizzy’s shows. The jazz was stellar. It was more like a quintet with 2 trombones than a jazz battle per se. If there was a winner, I would have to say it was Luis Bonilla. Both were excellent, though. It started with a song just with the trio, which was as excellent as the rest of the music. It was a 1 hour set and then they clear the room, but you can get back in line for the 2nd set at 2:30. There weren’t many people waiting for the 2nd set, so it would have been easy to get back in.

I took my time going home. I was happy to see Drum Addicts out on 14th St. by Union Square and got a great song from them on my way home as well. They had a tenor sax, trumpet, and 2 drummers with various drums, including plastic buckets. It was a great afternoon.
Sat, Feb 2, 12:30 & 2:30pm
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola PresentsJazz Battle:
TromboneVincent Chandler vs. Luis Bonilla with the Xavier Davis Trio
FREE to the public.
(First Come, First Served.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Adam Levy @ Banjo Jim's 2/1/08

Wow, that was really great! I had no idea what it would be. It was jamming and great. The first band is called Lackawanna, and they are playing again tonight. It reminds me of what a great jamband can be.

It was my first time hearing Adam sing, and he's pretty good. The best part is it's really about the music. Even when he's singing the band is jamming. He's a great guitar player and he and the other guitar really brought it. The drums and bass were good, but probably a notch below the other 2. But, still great, especially the way they jammed.

I also stayed for a little of Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout, which was also great. Nice and jamming and grooving. I think I heard them say they have a sax that was going to show up late. Adam also played with them. It was awesome, but I was falling asleep due to exhaustion, so I couldn't stay that long and left around 12:45.

It's not pasting nicely, but here's tonight's linup. Lackawanna did 2 sets last night and I might have to check it out again tonight.
Saturday, February 2, 2008 - Ground Hog Day
10:15 pm Lackawanna
Stunning supergroup featuring Adam Levy and Jason Crigler (guitars), Jonathan Maron (bass) and Dan Rieser (drums)
12:30 am Glenn Patscha and Tony Leone (Ollabelle)