Thursday, April 17, 2008

H-Alpha + Uri Caine @ The Stone 4/15/08

A wonderful double-header at The Stone the other night! I left fully satisfied and elated.

The 8pm set was H-Alpha. It was amazing. There was a good amount of people there, mainly foreigners. It reinforces my desire to travel and see where these great people are playing in other countries. They seem to get a much bigger draw everywhere else. I am again stating how lucky I am to be able to get this music at all and that they love NYC. Also, I tend to prefer the small venues and less crowded shows, so it does really work for me here. I am very curious to see the reception they get in other countries and to check out more people that may not get here.

Anyway, I got my front row center seat in spite of the crowd and walking in at 8pm. They started about 2 minutes later. I was completely mesmerized watching Jim Black. He amazes me every time. The percussion tools sitting on the floor right by him look like a pile of junk. I think some of them probably are junk items. He’s so creative and such a phenomenal drummer. I am also continually amazed by Ikue Mori. I put her laptop playing on par with any of the great instrumentalists I see at The Stone. She adds so much and the sounds are wonderful. I never thought I’d every say anything like that. Briggan was equally awesome and this was just a stellar show.

Next up was in many ways even more incredible, although quite different. They were reading music the entire time while the first set seemed more improvised. The music was composed by the great Uri Caine, who just blows me away. That was my first time seeing him at The Stone and I need to make more of an effort to hit there any time he is playing. He’s great no matter what he plays, but there is something extra-special when he has a nice piano in front of him. I sat opposite him in the front row, next to Jim Black. I could see him sometimes plucking the strings in the piano in the reflection in the lid. That was pretty cool as I never get to see what they are actually doing when they do that.

Every moment of both sets was awesome.

4/15 Tuesday (CB)
8 pm
Ikue Mori (laptop) Jim Black (drums) Briggan Krauss (alto saxophone)

10 pm
Uri Caine Berio Project
Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Jim Black (drums, electronics), Uri Caine (piano)

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