After Friedlander I made my way over to The Living Theatre for Night 2 of RUCMAs benefit. The organization is about artists getting paid for their work. It’s kind of ironic that they are playing for free to help raise money to find ways to get paid decently. I do think they have a chance to pull this off, I mean look at the amazing Vision Fest they’ve been putting on for the past 13 or so years.
They didn’t get started until about 11. They were ready at around 10:35, but were waiting for Roy Campbell to show up. About ½ the crowd was the over-60ish crowd that tends to go to go some of the best creative music. The other ½ seemed about 40ish and under, although mainly probably 35-45. There was pretty much complete silence while waiting for the show to begin. They play right in the set for the Living Theatre’s play, and this one had the artists all on the perimeter of the room in a horseshoe formation, with William Parker facing them and his back to us. Parker kept telling us they aren’t ready yet, he’s just testing out his reeds, etc. Still, we were all quiet as can be, including when Parker tested out the compositions with the orchestra while waiting. I was enjoying watching all of that, I like seeing the setup and sound checks, etc. The audience did seem rather tired, and you could even see a few sleeping during the show.
Still, that didn’t stop the music from being absolutely wonderful throughout. They decided they couldn’t wait for Campbell any longer and got started. Roy showed up just as the first notes of Parker’s reeds were being played, so that was pretty cool.
It was a 17 piece ensemble which included 4 upright basses, a drummer, 3 trumpets, 3 altos, a tenor, and a baritone sax, trombone, a euphonium, Jason Kao Hwang on violin, Brad Farberman on guitar and a special guest Japanese singer. William Parker also played various reeds and a euphonium.
I’m not entirely sure whether Parker and that other guy were playing tubas or euphniums, but they did look a good deal smaller than Marcus Rojas’ tuba. I did find a comparison picture on the web, and I think they probably were euphoniums.
It was excellent. I was so happy I wasn’t the only one dancing off to the side. Most people still wouldn’t think it’s danceable, but it’s nice to see that there are a few that do. There was one mic close to Parker and he would have a horn player come up and be featured for a bit and then invite another one over and continue with that throughout the whole performance. That was kind of cool. Sometimes he would signal for someone else to play with the soloist and everyone else would either be quiet, or play quiet. This was their chance to stretch out and play whatever they were feeling. He didn’t get to everyone, but we did get a lot of different takes on each person.
I’m also glad I got a to see Brad Farberman play. I am anticipating getting to see his band Knucklebean this Wed, and based on what I saw the other night, I suspect I will enjoy it. He’s got a somewhat unique sound, although I bet he’s been influenced by Mary Halverson.
They played for about an hour and then stopped. Parker told us that’s it, it is a benefit after all. Then he did a little speech thanking us for coming and being part of the family, whether there for the 1st time or many times. I can’t remember what he said, but it was a nice metaphor. It was also pretty crowded toward the end. All the seats were taken and there were many of us off to the side.
They were having late night open jam sessions at midnight on Sat nights. I’m not sure if they are still doing that or not. They didn’t that night. I would like to check it out and I hope they do it again at some point.
William Parker Introscopic Orchestra
“Evelyn Spectrum Of Light”
William Parker – Leader & composer
Roy Campbell, Chris Dimeglio, Nabate Isles – trumpet
Rob Brown, Seth Meicht, Darius Jones – alto saxophone
Bill Cook – tenor saxophone
Dave Sewelson – baritone saxophone
Masahiko Kono – trombone
Jason Kao Hwang – violin
Bradley Farberman - guitar
Tom Zlabinger, Clif Jackson, Todd Nicholson, David Moss – bass
Sizzle Ohtaka - voice
Zen Matsuura – drums