Monday, May 12, 2008

Marty Ehrlich + Lettuce 5/11/08

I got in a good 2 hour nap yesterday in anticipation of Lettuce. I really wanted to get to the Marty Ehrlich Sextet at Jazz Standard and I’m so glad I did. I went to the 7:30 set and was not disappointed. It was truly awesome. As good or better than the Rites Quartet I saw a few nights ago. I really wanted to dance. If it wasn’t for knowing I’d be at a major funkdown later, I would have tried it. I haven’t tried it there for a few years. But, I figured I could live with the chair-bopping since I could get relief later.

Greg Cohen was amazing. I’m very focused on the bass right now, and he is one of the best, so I was pretty happy. The piano was awesome. He also had one of the little toy-looking ones that he sometimes played with one hand while playing the big one with the other. He caught my attention quite a bit during the set. The drummer was awesome. I enjoyed the trombone and trumpet a lot, I was just really feeling the others so much more that my attention was mainly on them. There were a couple of especially great songs that I can’t remember the names, but I especially loved. I left very happy.

Marty Ehrlich Sextet
Marty Ehrlich – saxophones, clarinet, flute
James Zollar – trumpet
Ray Anderson – trombone
David Berkman – piano
Greg Cohen – bass
Matt Wilson – drums

Then, on to Lettuce at Bowery Ballroom. I was worried it was going to have an incredibly low turnout. I mean Sun night, Mother’s Day, right after jazzfest, when they played here recently. I could understand it. There were plenty of people there. It was pretty full, but not over-crowded. It was easy to get up front and not feel too claustrophobic. My kind of crowd. I only knew a few people there, but they were people I really like, so it was good. The crowd was very into it and everyone was dancing up a storm. There was one song, I think it was the 2nd song, where I was completely blown away. I even had a thought that this was the funkiest I’ve seen in a long time. I mean really.

I was completely in awe of the bass and of course the drums. Krasno would catch me with his solos often. The only thing was, they didn’t keep that super-duper-funkiness up at that level the whole show. They brought out a singer and slowed it down a notch. Just a notch, and as long as I focused on the bass and drums I was fine. Right after a couple of songs with the singer, they had him leave and then told us they were going to slow it down a bit. I thought “didn’t they just do that?”. I took a break then, although it did sound good and I bet I would have enjoyed the song. I was just in the mood for sick funkiness.

Then they funked out again for a while, but it wasn’t quite the same as the awesome moments I had early on. I still enjoyed it a lot, though. At one point they brought out Adam Deitch’s parents to sit in on percussion. Apparantly they are on the new album and Adam comes from a long line of percussionists. They were pretty good.

I do have to say I’m not crazy about the organist. Years ago, when I used to try Soulive every now and then, I always had to leave because of him. He didn’t make me want to leave last night, but he also wasn’t doing anything to make me want to stay.

Horns are always good, especially when Sam Kinninger is one of them. It was his birthday last night as well.

They were smart to not take a setbreak and play through, given the Sun night factor, etc. I decided I had enough and was happy to go while they were still onstage around 11:50. They started around 10:10 or so. It was probably close to the end and lots of fun, just not worth being too tired today. I do think I prefer them late night, but it was still fun. I definitely love their intensity.

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