Monday, June 30, 2008

Emilio Solla’s NY Tango Jazz Project 6/30/08

At almost the last minute, I decided to run up to Jazz Standard for the early set. I've been missing that place lately, and this looked good.

It was great. Each of the musicians were awesome. It was more like a melding of tango, jazz, and latin folk music.

There was a talking drum next to the drum kit and the bass and accordion players did a nice job of adding to the percussion at times by using their instruments as drums.

The whole thing was really well done. Chris Cheek had a tenor, soprano and baritone. He mainly played the soprano and didn't get to the baritone at all. I would have liked that, but it was really good regardless.

I was tempted to stay for the 2nd set, but decided to have an early night.

Emilio Solla’s NY Tango Jazz Project
Emilio Solla – piano & compositions
Chris Cheek – saxophone
Victor Prieto – accordion
Pablo Aslan – bass
Franco Pinna – drums

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sam Bardfeld's Small Fruit Trio @ The Stone 6/29/08

I think this was my first time seeing Sam Bardfeld. I know the name from Doug Wamble listings and Barbes listings. I've been curious to see him for a while. This looked like a perfect opportunity since he was playing with Brad Jones and Liberty Ellman.

It was excellent. He designed this project around the idea of late 1800's people from the Old Country immigrating to America. They were a string band in the old style. He told us a story before every song and it was kind of fun.

The music was great. Liberty had me captivated with some awesome guitar stuff. The Brad Jones solos were really great. I enjoyed every moment of the music. They said this was the first time this particular ensemble played together.

Sam Bardfeld's Small Fruit Trio
Sam Bardfeld (violin) Liberty Ellman (guitar) Brad Jones (bass)
New pieces exploring the line between the delicate and the indelicate.

Circle Down @ Cornelia St 6/28/08

Well, the rain kind of messed this up. I was really looking forward to The Duo at some outdoor venue in Brooklyn, but the weather didn't cooperate. I had cut my nap too short because it was going to be an early show. I thought I'd do that and if there was time get another little nap in before Bobby Previte at Blue Note. I ended up being too tired to stay up for that.

I did get to a great set and a half of Circle Down at Cornelia St. That was a great trio that had me engaged the whole time they were playing, in spite of my exhaustion.

Angelica Sanchez, piano; Chris Lightcap , bass; Chad Taylor, drums

Tim Berne & Craig Taborn Duo @ Rubin Museum of Art 6/27/08

That was great. I was blown away by both of them. I had a seat up front where I could see the piano keys. Taborn had me mesmerized for a lot of it.

Last time I was there, the Harlem Museum guy did the introductions and the Rubin Museum guy wasn't there. This was a JVC Jazzfest gig, not a Harlem Museum gig, and the Rubin guy did the introductions. He said that they ask the artists to look around the museum and pick a couple of pieces to do the music around. Afterwards, we got a free mini-tour where the guide showed us 2 of the pieces they had selected. During the music they showed us the pieces projected on the wall behind the musicians.

I could have made it to The Stone, but I decided I was too tired. It was kind of my theme this weekend, but I was out a lot during the day.

Friday, June 27, 2008

solar-powered music festival this weekend

This might be interesting to check out.

23rd St. & the East River

Brad Jones @ The Stone 6/26/08

I was going to stay in, but I had too much momentum built up. It was cinched when I checked The Stone's website and saw 2 Brad Jones projects listed.

I made a good choice! Both sets were awesome.

The Brad Jones Quartet was phenomenal. I already love Marcus Gilmore, but the 2 horns were also topnotch. The bass clarinet added to my pleasure. I loved how heavy on the bass solos each song was. Everyone got lots of chances to solo and show their stuff, and it was nice the bass was included in that.

The bass started off the first song with this awesome groove that got picked up by the drums. Both of them were grooving out and then the soprano sax and clarinet were doing something different, not so grooving, but it worked really well.

The next song had alto sax and tenor sax and that was more grooving. Later, it was bass clarinet and tenor. I was enjoying how the 2 horns were paired each time. There were 2 or 3 more songs after that.

I was into it and of course in my perfect seat up front. They kind of didn't want to stop and played a little "head out music" at the end, just a little bit of jamming to head out with. It was really great.

When I came back for the 10pm set, I saw all this electric instrumentation. I mean, the keyboards looked like they came directly off the mothership. Brad had an electric upright bass. I checked out the setup and got up from my front row seat and said out loud "I think I'm going to want to stand for this". The keyboard guy was confused and told me he didn't think it would get too loud. I explained it was about not wanting to be confined to a seat, which I normally like to do at The Stone because I like sitting up front. This older seated couple laughed and told me they were like me back in the day. Yeah, it was really grooving and I was getting down.

The sax was especially powerful. They did songs by Cecil Taylor, Eric Dolphy, Andrew Hill and one original. Everyone loved it. They had to wait for the sax to get there, and didn't start until 10:30. They played right up to the 11:30 curfew.

6/26 Thursday (BG)
8 pm
Brad Jones Quartet
Brad Jones (bass) Bob DeBellis (alto sax, bass clarinet) Aaron Stewart (tenor and soprano sax) Marcus Gilmore (drums)
Playing selections from his 2002 CD "Pouring My Heart In" as well as debuting some new music.

10 pm
Brad Jones' Avant-Lounge
Brad Jones (baby bass) Bruce Williams (alto and soprano sax) Bill Ware (vibes) Barney McCall (keyboards) Nate Smith (drums)
New project focusing on the treatments of compositions by Andrew Hill, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, and possibly Cecil Taylor.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Orchestra Baobab @ Rockefeller Park 6/25/08

Last night was a perfect night for a free outdoor concert. I also love the Rockefeller Park space. I usually go by the soundboard where I can see and dance. It was also nice that there were others dancing. At one point, people in the front row got up and started dancing and later it got crowded up front with lots of dancers.

I saw them once before, a few years ago at Zankel Hall. That was my first jazz hall experience and I didn’t know it was easy to stand off to the side and dance, so I felt rather confined to my seat. It was still good music.

It’s an African band from Senegal with a Latin groove to it. The musicians are all very talented. I was especially into the bass and the congas. They had 3 drummers in total, 2 saxes, bass, 2 guitars, and a singer. It was a lot of fun.

I left at about 8:20. I just needed an early night and the murmur of the crowd was starting to get loud. I also got a little sick of it. I did get a good hour and enjoyed it thoroughly.

The Bad Plus + 1 & Empirical 6/24/08


It started with an opening band, which I don’t think anyone was expecting. The JVC jazz guy came out to introduce them and mentioned he had seen them recently in Canada and they are awesome. I think he said they just won the best new band at the North Sea Jazz Festival. They were great and I can see why. They are Empirical from London. They did all originals written by various members of the band. They were all definitely in the jazz genre, but not the same old thing. I was very impressed. I was especially drawn to the piano, but they were all great.

They played for about 45 min, and then there was a 15-20 min intermission. I guess the Bad Plus + 1 came on at about 9:15/20. I had the best seat in the house, front row center. I could see the piano keys and everything else. It was awesome. I had never heard of Kurt Rosenwinkel, but he fit in perfectly. I mean, I would have been happy with just the trio, or even one or 2 of them, but the +1 was definitely extra special. I also picked up their latest cd, prog. I love it. They did a lot of songs from there, many of which they also did at jazzfest. They also did a couple of Kurt’s songs.

Kurt was interesting to watch because he kind of closes his eyes, but his eyebrows and eyelids move rapidly while he’s playing. That’s how close I was. I kept being reminded of the other day on the subway when this woman was talking to me for a few minutes before she got to her stop. Right before she got off, she said she’d pray for me, and then put her hand on my shoulder and had similar eye moments as Kurt was the other night. Hmm, maybe that prayer actually was in touch with a higher being. Really though, he was awesome and it seemed like he was always in the band.

They played for about 90 minutes and then came out for an encore. Classy! They encored with the same song they ended with at jazzfest, which is on prog. It’s called “physical cities” and I love it, especially live. I also love the Tom Sawyer cover on the album.

I think they did an Ornette Coleman tune also. Actually, they are a great cover band. They are up there with The Greatful Dead in my book as greatest cover bands ever. It’s because I don’t really care what they play, they would sound great doing whatever they wanted. They also do the songs their own way. I feel like I’m not supposed to like them because they are too pop, but I love them anyway.

Yeah, JVC Jazzfest has been good to me this year. I think I only went to one show last year, Branford Marsalis + Joshua Redman @ Town Hall. I have one more tomorrow, I’m going to the Rubin Museum. This might be the most I’ve gone to in one year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Herbie Hancock @ Carnegie Hall 6/23/08

Herbie was awesome last night! What really got me to go was Chris Potter. Actually, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke and Herbie combo got me to be willing to pay.

The Lionel Loueke Trio was an awesome opener. They sounded great and the music was phenomenal. He kept pushing their new cd on Blue Note. He announced they were going to play a song that Herbie played on the cd. I thought “well, why isn’t he out here?” I soon forgot I had that question because it sounded so awesome. Then, he did come out toward the end to play and I had forgotten how great he sounds. Later in his set he mentioned they didn’t need him for that song. True, but he made it even better. They played for about 45 min and then they took about a 30 min break, which I thought was a little long. I saw Derek Trucks and Eric Krasno leaving at the intermission, which was interesting.

I don’t think I’ve seen Chris Potter for a couple of years, and I used to see him often. I don’t recall too many opportunities in that timeframe, either. I was reminded how much I missed him in the first song. He blew me away right away. He was awesome throughout, but I do kind of wish it was a little different so he could show us more of his stuff. He was an under-utilized side man in this gig. It was great regardless, I just miss him is all. I still got some awesome aha moments from him.

The first song was a very lively grooving instrumental. Dave Holland was playing the electric bass on that song and a few others. They said he hadn’t played electric for about 18 years. He sounded good. I liked what he was doing much later with it.

After that, they brought out 2 singers and it was still good. This River of Possibilities Tour is about 2 recent albums Herbie made with vocals, River and Possibilities. All I have to say is the guy keeps expanding and doing different things and it always seems to end up being great. I can’t remember the 3rd song they did, but it was one we all know and it was rocking. Every time Lionel rocked out I thought I was going to lose it. Actually, I did lose myself every time. It was awesome seeing him that way. He really rocked!

Then the singers left the stage and I think that’s when Herbie said Dave Holland was going to do a solo song and everyone left the stage. He was awesome with his acoustic. He soloed for about half the song, Herbie came in the middle with the piano and then he did a beautiful solo for the rest for the song. It was great.

I think they did another instrumental before bringing the singers back out, but maybe not. Each singer came out on her own for a song.

Then they did that one really popular instrumental. Then, they ended with a great Chameleon. I think Herbie always ends with that, which is kind of cool since it’s what the people want.

I guess his set went from about 9:15-10:20.

Everyone left feeling good and happy they went.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Middle Eastern Music @ The Grizzly Pear 6/22/08

I got to see that Middle Eastern band and my friend Val bellydance again. I really like that music, so it wasn’t hard to get me back. Val said Le Figaro closed, which is a shame since that was Bob Dylan and the beat generation hangout. For now, they are keeping up the Sun night thing at this place at 107 Sullivan, above Bleeker.

In a lot of ways, I like the place better. They do have much slower service, though.

The band was again pretty good. They have this amazing girl drummer that is awesome and well worth getting out. It’s actually no cover and they say a $20 minimum, but I don’t think that is heavily enforced.

I liked the clarinet last night as well.

Coleman, Jones, Ribot @ The Stone 6/21/08

I only made it to the 1st set at The Stone on Sat. I got in line a little before 7:30 and was about the 5th in line. I was so glad the 4 ahead of me didn’t want to sit in the front row, so I got a good seat. Ribot walked in at about 5 to 8pm. I heard him comment he just took his kids to the Mermaid parade to make sure they got a complete education. Something like that.

Anthony Coleman had an electronic keyboard as well as the piano. He had his diet coke cans and lots of tape to put on the piano strings.

I had no idea until a couple of weeks ago that it was part of Los Cubanos Postizos. I have the cd which I love.

The show was awesome and probably a little more free than with the whole band, although I honestly can’t say for a fact since I’ve never seen them.

It was interesting when Brad Jones got out his keys and was playing the bass while holding them. Actually, he was really interesting throughout. Everyone had various pedals, and he was making interesting sounds by hitting his upright bass.

The music was 100% awesome. I loved every minute. I was very tired, so it’s hard to remember much. It did get pretty hot in there as usual. One big difference was before they turned the AC off just before the show, I actually felt it. I don’t think I ever felt cool in there from the AC. Maybe they fixed it or got a new one. I’m OK with turning it off during the music. That place is sacred and nothing should interfere.

It was obvious I would have gotten in to the Ceramic Dog improve set if I waited outside after that show. I just couldn’t do it, due to exhaustion. I did really want to.

6/21 Saturday (JG)8 pmAnthony Coleman, Brad Jones and Marc RibotAnthony Coleman (piano) Brad Jones (bass) Marc Ribot (guitar)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ceramic Dog + MMW @ Prospect Park 6/19/08

Phenomenal! I did get there for the tail end of Taylor McFerrin, which was fine, but not anything I needed to have taking up time that could have been used by either of the other 2 bands. I didn’t care for the hiphop stuff at the end at all.

Ceramic Dog really stole the show. I wasn’t sure how it would translate into a big place, but it seems a little better in such a large space. It was great that so many people kept asking who they were. I think they should do a double bill tour with MMW, meaning both bands should get lots of time, like 2 sets each or something. Actually, it would be really cool if they could seamless transitions and 4 sets, where maybe Billy comes in and plays with Ceramic Dog for a while and then Medeski comes in and then Chris Wood and then slowly each of the Ceramic Dog people exit the stage. Then, they variously sit in with each other at different points. I think that would be awesome and I’d probably travel to see it a few times. While I'm dreaming, they should have Sexmob open and then each of them can do various sitins as well.

I have to accept that Prospect Park isn’t just about the music. Actually, for the most part, it was easy to ignore the low murmur of the crowd as a lot of people in the back were there to socialize as much as to catch the music. It’s that kind of space, I can’t really blame them. There were a few instances where people would come up very close to me, invading my space and then talking very loudly. I learned to just move to a different spot, which was usually a better spot.

The masses loved the intense Ceramic Dog moments. They didn’t seem as into it during the quiet moments. But I thought the whole thing was incredibly awesome and possibly the best I’ve ever seen of them. Again, it translated really well on the big stage.

MMW was great. They seemed to be playing to the masses yet staying true to themselves at the same time. They crossed a lot of genres while being themselves. They were funky, then grooving, then a little rock-a-billy-ish (more on the rock side). They had Ribot and Steven Bernstein out for some awesome improvising. Then, Ribot stayed til the end.

I had such low expectations, more due to the anticipated crowd than the bands. It was way way better than I imagined.

I was able to pick up the Ceramic Dog cd, and it’s awesome. Of course, I like live better, but this is pretty good.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Live Bird, play

Charlie Haden mentioned Charlie Parker last night and I was reminded of this awesome 1-man-show I saw a few years ago called “Live Bird”. It was at Detour during the first Howl! Festival in the East Village. That was the only year it was a great festival and I think they may have stopped doing it. Anyway, the play was really good and really interesting. He played some songs and really did a good job of showing us a lot about Parker’s life. Too bad it didn't get much of a turnout. He talked about Kansas City before he came to NY and how the musicians used to have early morning jam sessions, called a "spook breakfast" after their gigs. He used to go to Reno's, where Count Bassie's guys used to jam. I remember reading how Coltrane was influenced by Parker. I could see it in this play, which reminded me a lot of stuff I've read about Coltrane.

There was one part where he talked the night club owner into paying him right before the gig, I think $300. Then, at setbreak, a friend needed money, and he ended up saying “I have $300, here you go”. I thought that was wild. There were so many interesting tidbits that let us in on his character. The performer was also a great sax player.

I see he’s still at it, I just found an article from April 2008. I hope I get the chance to see it again sometime.

Charlie Haden + Brian Blade 6/18/08

Oh yeah! It was an amazing night of music last night! Charlie Haden’s Quartet West at le Poisson Rouge was unbelievable! Very lively and grooving. And, he kept saying the songs were from the late 50s. I thought in some ways they seemed more modern that a lot of stuff I hear today. Well, maybe about the same. It was definitely my favorite way to see Haden. Each musicians was unbelievably amazing. Each one blew me away with their solos. I was tempted to see another set, but I knew it was my only chance to see Brian Blade this round at the Vanguard, and I really wanted to get there.

One thing I was reminded of when I saw the drums at Haden was that Jack de Johnette had a very interesting cymbal setup the night before at the Alice Coltrane thing. He had lots of them and the way he played them was awesome. I had to mention it even though it doesn’t really belong in this post.

Charlie played from about 7:45 to 9:00. That meant I was going to be late to the Vanguard and might not get in. Scott and Jen were originally going to come with me, but decided not to because of tiredness. I’m so glad because I wouldn’t have gotten in. Actually, when I got there, I saw the sold out sign on the door. Still, since it was my only chance and I figured there was a slim hope they could fit one, I decided to try. I went down and told the hostess I had a reservation and is it possible to fit one? The band was already on and she told me sorry, she didn’t have any space. Oh well, at least I tried. I was so up from the previous show, I figured I’d at least walk by 55 Bar and see what’s going on. I’m pretty far down the street and I hear “excuse me, did you say you have a reservation?” I turn around and it’s the hostess. She chased me down to tell me she did have one open spot and she could squeeze me into a very tight spot. Awesome! I thought that was so cool that she chased me down.

The spot was pretty close the front and the show was amazing. I couldn’t see the drum kit, but I could see Brian just fine. I was behind the piano, which sounded great, but I was mainly mesmerized by Brian’s playing. The entire band was dropdead amazing. One guy played the alto sax and bass clarinet. Another guy played tenor sax. The guitar was phenomenal. The bass and piano were awesome. Brian is one of the best drummers alive. I think he was one of Johnny V.’s students. He’s got an amazing intensity and he has a ball. There were many moments where he didn’t play, which was good because then we could pay attention to the other great musicians on stage. When he was playing, it was hard to focus on anyone else.

That was one of my favorite nights of the last couple of weeks.

On my way home, I got caught by a guitar trio playing at the restaurant, Resto Leon. They had all the doors to the bistro open so it was like there was no wall in between the restaurant and the outside. I stood out there and watched the band for a song, and then had to get going. They were pretty good. I don’t remember them doing live music before, but hopefully this is a new thing. It’s on 12th St and 1st Ave.

Le Poisson Rouge – 1st Impressions

So far, so good. Whenever I buy tickets in advance, I like to get a ticket so if I need to get rid of it, it’s easier and so that I can skip the line when allowed. The paper ticket got me in right away. They do have a box office, I don’t know the hours yet.

So far, the people working there seem nice. It’s a nice room. The had the jazz club setup, with communal seating at large tables that fit 6-8 people. You seat yourself, which is nice. It’s also not too tight. There is also some seating that is elevated somewhat behind the tables. I wasn’t paying that much attention because the music was so good (stay tuned for the next post on that). But, I was able to dance behind the tables on the floor, the people feet were just above my head level behind me, so there is no issue with obstructing views if you stand in the back to dance. Yeah!

And, I was allowed to dance and no one bothered me. I bet that’s allowed even if more people were dancing.

There didn’t seem to be a minimum, and I saw a lot of people just ordering a glass of water. The wine list looks good. I didn’t pay much attention to the beer list, but it looked like there aren’t that many options. I did notice taps and I think I saw some people with bottles, so they have both options. I didn’t look too carefully at the bar, but it looks very heavy on the vodka. It looked like they have the minimum whisky options that bars would have. I’m not totally sure, though. I did see every kind of Grey Goose, Absolute, and Stoli imaginable. On leaving, I passed by another bar that was outside the performance space that mainly had vodka on display.

The bars are big. It just makes me think the musicians that own the place are entrepreneur-musicians and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. I know vodka sells and that place must cost a fortune.

The sound was great and they weren’t even set up to the PA system, which they had.

This looks like it’s going to be a great and much needed addition to our live music venues.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tribute to Alice Coltrane 6/18/08

That was a great show last night at the Society for Ethical Culture. Being a downtowner, I didn’t realize there was a huge park in between East and West 64th St, so I ended up having to cut through to get there. It was a nice walk and I still made it to the venue on time. It took a while for them to get through the will call issue, which is why I usually get a ticket mailed even if it does cost a little more (I risk the standard mail and it usually works out).

It started at 8:15 and ended at maybe 10:15. It was awesome from start to finish. The one person not in the listing below is the sitar/tabla player.

While everyone was awesome and it all sounded great, the superstar of the night was Jack DeJohnette. He was amazing and blew me away! I think many people were very impressed and some even gave him a standing ovation after his 2nd killer drum solo. We got the first one at the end of the first song. Then, almost every song, he grabbed my attention often with whatever he was doing, which was playing his heart out. The 2nd big huge solo was toward the end of the last song. I would love to see him solo and just play drums sometime.

At around 8:30, the band took a break and they showed a 20 min DVD of Alice Coltrane. They talked about her career, and showed footage from throughout her lifetime, including some with John with the kids. It was very nice. I’m getting goosebumps still thinking about it.

After the DVD, they 2 more long songs together, most people’s favorites of Alice’s. That’s when we got the incredible drum solo.

There was also a very grooving song in the 1st part, and I wished I was able to dance. I probably could have gotten up and went into the back, but it was so nice watching Jack from the 3rd row, I didn’t want to move. They had him up front and stage left. The only thing I didn’t like about the setup was that Charlie Haden was behind Ravi Coltrane, and I think they could have figured out how to place them so we could watch him the whole time, too.

A Tribute to Alice Coltrane, featuring:RAVI COLTRANE, GERI ALLEN, CHARLIE HADEN, JACK DeJOHNETTE, BRANDEE YOUNGERThe Concert Hall at The New York Society for Ethical Culture 8pm

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vision Fest 6/15/08

I would classify last night as Get Down Night. Even though I was basically the only one getting down until the last act, it was still pretty grooving throughout. It seemed to get progressively more grooving as the night went on.

The room was better as there weren’t quite so many people there and it was cooler outside. I finally saw that they do have 1 air conditioner. It was pretty small for such a large space. Still, it didn’t seem so stuffy last night and I realized I was standing by that AC unit most of the time.

The first set was grooving, lively jazz. They did songs written by various people on the stage. I especially enjoyed Darius Jones in that set.

6:00pm Lewis Barnes' Hampton RoadsLewis Barnes (tp) / Rob Brown (as) / Darius Jones (as)Todd Nicholson (b) / Warren Smith (dr)

The next set was very interesting and different. There was no drummer, but Napolean Maddox kept the groove with his voice percussion. I mean it was pretty grooving. The bass was helping with the groove a lot. It was fun and a good combo of instruments.

7:00pm Roy Nathanson's Sotto VoceRoy Nathanson (as, vo) / Sam Bardfeld (vi) / Curtis Fowlkes (tb)Tim Kiah (b) / Napoleon Maddox (vo)

After that was a phenomenal African ensemble. They had 6 people altogether. In addition to those listed, there was also a piano player and a guy that played a little talking drum he held under his arm and a very interesting drum. It was ½ of a sphere and it was hollow. It was sitting on table in front of him and he played it with his fists and an interesting looking stick that reminded me of a tea scoop. When he hit it with the stick, it sounded kind of like when the drummer hits the edge of the kit. They were a big hit in general. It was also nice to get something completely different from everything else at the festival.

8:00pm Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure’s Deep SaharaAbdoulaye Alhassane Toure (g, vo) / Kali Z. Fasteau (ss, nai, p, vo)/ bass /drums TBA

They closed the fest with an awesome music of Curtis Mayfield thing. It started with the band onstage and the 2 singers. They did quite a few really grooving tunes. There were a few others dancing for this. Leena had a great voice, and that’s when I like voice. At one point, she jumped off the stage and did some awesome dancing. Then they brought out the youth choir, which was great. They looked like teenagers and they sounded awesome. They did several songs. At the end, a lot of people got up and started dancing. I love that. It was also great to see those guys playing that stuff. I know they can get funky in their improvising, but seeing them stick to that was really cool and different.

9:00pm William Parker`s Inside Songs Curtis Mayfield with Children's ChoirWilliam Parker (b) / Hamid Drake (dr) / Lewis Barnes (tp) / Darryl Foster (s)Sabir Mateen (s) / Dave Burrell (p) / Amiri Baraka (vo, words) / Leena Conquest (vo)

Overall, it was a great festival. The ventilation was challenging, but everything else was fine.

Now onto the next festival! I’m so glad this year Vision Fest and JVC Jazzfest didn’t conflict at all. There’s a lot at JVC that I want to see this year.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Vision Fest + New Languages Festival 6/14/08

It was a little better temp and stuffiness wise last night. They had signs on the door to the theatre about keeping the door closed so they can keep the room cool. Well, cool was kind of a joke, but it was better. There were less people, but every seat was taken and some were standing, so it was still pretty full. They had a door open right by my dancing spot, so sometimes there was a nice cool breeze right by me.

I got there in the middle of the 1st set. Now, I know it had funk in the title, and lots of dancers, but I still didn't believe them that it would be FUNK. I thought it would be that type of jazz that they call funk sometimes even though it's not that funky by today's standards. I was so happy it was much more bopping than I expected. Actually, it was quite awesome. Having such great avant garde musicians doing avant funk is a recipe for awesome. I know I was getting down in my spot in the back by the door.

When I walked in, Lewis Barnes was kind of rapping and there were 4 dancers on the dance floor, which was a space on the floor in front of the stage. It was 2 guys and 2 girls and it was awesome. It felt kind of like watching people on the dance floor early in the night at a club or something. Although, they were definitely professional dancers. They were each improvising, sometimes doing their own thing, sometimes synching up with each other. Sabir Mateen would sing at times as well. It was awesome and went on for a while.

Then they slowed it down a bit and Patricia Nicholson Parker came out on her own for a bit. She also would get on the stage for a bit and do some voice. After a while, the other dancers would come on from time to time. That was a little slower, but not slow.

I don't think I saw any capoeira exactly, but that guy was up there. Maybe I didn't notice it because it's supposed to be a conversation between 2 dancer/fighters.

7:30pm Celestial Moon Beams Funk
Lewis Barnes (tp) / Sabir Mateen (reeds) / Rob Brown (as) / Jason Kao Hwang (vi) Todd Nicholson (b) / Gerald Cleaver (dr)
Dance: Patricia Nicholson / Miriam Parker / Jason Jordan / Julia Wilkins
Capoeira: Solomon Nadaf & JonMichael Leccia

I was so glad to finally get to see Matthew Shipp. He's been on my list for years, it just never worked out. Well, I will have to make more of a point from now on. That was phenomenal. I was feeling every moment, and they had me dancing the entire time. The bass solo and the drum solo were awesome.

8:30pm Matthew Shipp Trio
Matthew Shipp (p) / Whit Dickey (dr) / Joe Morris (b)

Then I went over to New Languages Festival for 20-30 minutes and really enjoyed that set. It was one of the guys who was running the festival, and it was good improvised avant garde. I remember thinking I was kind of missing that particular type of style, if you can call it something particular. at Vision Fest. It's hard to describe, but it was great and was in the right time slot for when I got to it.

Oh, and I loved the very intense different drummer. Those drums really had me going. I think that was what made it so different.

Aaron Ali Shaikh
with Michael Formanek and Randy Peterson
Saturday, June 14th 9pm
Aaron Ali Shaikh • Saxophone
Michael Formanek • Bass
Randy Peterson • Drums

I had to tear myself away because I wanted to see the Henry Grimes set at Vision Fest. Wow! That was phenomenal! I don't remember seeing Henry play the violin before, but I must have. He was amazing. The sax was really, really awesome. It was cool to see a bagpipe. It sounded great with the violin. I was surprised he wasn't blowing into anything as I thought that was part of a bagpipe. I just look it up in wikipedia, and I see it was probably a bellows driven bagpipe. Later I met some friends of his who said he almost had it confiscated when he came through customs. That would have been a shame.

9:30pm Paul Dunmall / Henry Grimes / Andrew Cyrille
Paul Dunmall (ts, bagpipes) / Henry Grimes (b, vi) / Andrew Cyrille (d)

Then, rather than running back over to New Languages, I decided to rest and hang out for a bit. I missed this, even though I want to see Adrew Drury. I think I may have seen him once and I like him, but I'm not sure. I know he sometimes plays with Jessica Lurie.

Saturday, June 14th 9pm
Bruce Eisenbeil • Guitar
Tom Blancarte • Bass
Andrew Drury • Drums

I did stay for the next set that was really good. That was completely different and definitely something I'd see at The Stone. I had never heard of them, but it seemed most people knew them. It was very improvised and they occasionally used voice as well. It was interesting that Joelle always used the bow with the bass.

10:30pm George Lewis / Joelle Leandre
George Lewis (tb, electronics) & Joelle Leandre (b)

Then I had to run over to The Living Theatre for the last act. I was so glad they were on already, I was worried it would be too early. Anything with Chris Speed or Jim Black is sure to be awesome. The 2 together is an extra special treat. I hadn't seen the bass player before, but he was awesome. It was an acoustic guitar-looking bass hooked up to an amp. That was truly great.

Chris Speed
with Skuli Sverrison and Jim Black
Saturday, June 14th 11pm
Chris Speed • Reeds
Skuli Sverrison • Bass
Jim Black • Drums

It might have been better to just stay there, but I really wanted to see what this Italian band was like, so I left after about 30 min. They were pretty good. It didn't go on much longer, and the show I saw at New Languages was far more special. Still, it was good and I'm glad I got the chance to see them.

11:30pm Marraffa/Braida/Borghini/Sper
Fabrizio Spera (dr) / Edoardo Marraffa (reeds) /
Alberto Braida (p) / Antonio Borghini (b)

It ended a little before 1am, and I couldn't think of any more music I wanted to see, so I went home. I do wish they did the afterparry on Sat or that Hypnotic Brass Ensemble was playing at Blue Note Sat instead of Fri, but what can you do. I heard the afterparty on Fri was cancelled, but I do remember seeing Jason Kao Hwang over at the Living Theatre late, so I don't know for a fact that a late late show didn't happen.

New Languages was an awesome festival. I wish they had it tonight, too. I loved how I didn't know who many of the musicians are. I just got a whole new set of people to add to the list that are doing really new stuff.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Vision Fest + New Lang Fest + Adam Rudolph 6/13/08

I got to Vision Fest at around 7:45. It was pretty hot, but not quite as hot as the night before. It felt very stuffy, though. There's very little air circulation going on over there, which did start getting to me later in the evening. Still, at the beginning it wasn't bothering me so much, and I didn't feel as sticky as previous nights.

Actually it was an interesting evening because without knowing it, I was letting my feet take me wherever I was supposed to be. I did turn down 3rd St at Ave A, suddenly thinking I was going to The Stone for Zorn/Coleman/Sharp, but then I quickly turned back to Ave A because I figure I'm spoiled on the Zorn stuff and I was very intrigued by the 1st act at Vision Fest.

I'm so glad I did change because it was a great set. I only knew Hillard Greene, who I think is excellent, but I could tell the other 3 were seasoned players and it was a rare opportunity. It was also very up and danceable for me. And, it was early, I wasn't sticky, and I was really into it. A great way to start the evening.

7:30pm Ullmann/Swell 4
Steve Swell (tb) / Gebhard Ullmann (reeds) / Hilliard Greene (b) / Barry Altschul (dr)

I was told to be sure to catch the next set as it was pretty rare for Bobby Few to be back in the States. Apparently he moved abroad ages ago. That was very good. The sax was especially doing it for me, but the piano certainly wasn't shabby by any means. They did annoy me a little as they were very into wanting lots of applause and building each other up. I mean, we are seeing greatness after special greatness the entire fest and it's hard to get up more in that stuffy environment for a couple of guys. It made me think they weren't quite as great as the others. But, looking back, they were.

8:30pm Simmons / Few
Sonny Simmons (as) / Bobby Few (p)

Then I ran over to The New Languages Festival at The Living Theatre for a while. The first band was still on. They were very good and I enjoyed them for a while. I did start getting tired of it after 3 long songs, it was more typical modern jazz. At least typical in my world, I realize it might be kind of different for a more mainstream jazz fan. They are all very talented. I left a little before 10:30 and they were still going.

Friday, June 13th 9pm
Jackson Moore • Alto Saxophone
Eivind Opsvik • Bass
Eric Mcpherson • Drums

Vision Fest had rearranged the next 2 acts and therefor Henry Grimes, et al were already on. I probably got there halfway through their set. It was great, but I think that was when I actually realized how stuffy it was and it started getting to me.

10:30pm Sabir Mateen / Henry Grimes Quartet
Sabir Mateen (rds) / Henry Grimes (vi, b) / Rasul Siddik (tp) / John Betsch (perc)

That's when my body started leading me where I was going. I was very hungry, but even though the Vision Fest food is good and cheap, I couldn't eat it since it was in that stuffy room. I was kind of heading back over to New Languages for Tony Malaby, but ended up getting a slice of pizza first. Then, I started walking up Ave B, thinking "where am I going? what am I doing?" Then, it hit me. Adam Rudolph's Moving Pictures was playing at Drom. Yeah, music I'm very much in the mood for AND I can have that margarita I've been craving all night.

I got there just a few minutes before the 2nd set. It was awesome! This is an A-class band. And, to hear it at Drom with amazing sound where I have a dancing spot is so perfect. I think it was about 45 min, ending a little after 12am.

Adam Rudolph (handrumset, thumb pianos, qarqaba, percussion)
Graham Haynes (cornet, flugelhorn)
Hamid Drake (drum set, gourd, frame drum)
Steve Gorn (bansuri bamboo flutes, clarinet, Pakistani oboe)
Shanir Blumenkranz (upright acoustic bass, sintir)
Brahim Fribgane (oud, cajon, bendir, tarija)
Kenny Wessel (electric and acoustic guitars)
Ned Rothenberg (shakuhachi, bass clarinet, bass flute, alto saxophone)

I missed Tony Malaby at New Languages and Wadada Leo Smith at Vision Fest, but I was very happy and felt it was supposed to be. I knew New Languages was running late, so I figured I could try to get back to The Living Theatre for the big big band.

They must have just started because I got 3 or 4 long songs and they were still going at 1am, when I had to call it a night. It was very good. I didn't care for the composer's commentary, though. He seems pretty angry about some of the things going on in the world and in my opinion is spending too much time searching for the bad stuff. Oh well, it's his band, and he can talk about whatever he wants. The music was good and didn't seem so angry.

Darcy James Argue's
Secret Society
Friday, June 13th 11pm
Erica vonKleist Reeds Tim Hagans Trumpet
Ben Kono Ingrid Jensen
John Ellis Ron Horton
Sam Sadigursky Seneca Black
Josh Sinton Tom Goehring
Ryan Keberle Trombone Sebastian Noelle Guitar
Mike Fahie Mike Holober Piano
James Hirschfeld Matt Clohesy Bass
Darrell Hendricks Jon Wikan Drums

I would have loved to stay for the Vision Fest Afterparty at The LIving Theatre with Jasaon Kao Hwang and Cooper-Moore, but I was too tired.

It was an awesome night.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Vision Fest + New Languages Festival 6/12/08

I took a little catnap before heading out last night. There were a lot of people, but not as many as the night before. It was still hot, and it seemed like the fans weren’t working as well as the night before. I was reminded of Wetlands, but it wasn’t nearly as hot as that place could get in the summer.

I got there around 7:50 or so and got to see about ½ hour or so of the Oliver Lake New Quintet Project. I enjoyed it. It was basically modern jazz with maybe a little more edge. He had a turntablist. It was grooving towards the end.

7:30pm Oliver Lake New Quintet ProjectOliver Lake (as) / Peck Allmond (tp) / Jared Gold (organ) /Jonathan Blake (dr) / Jahi Sundance (DJ)

Then, I decided I might as well take advantage of The New Languages Festival going on at The Living Theatre Thurs-Sat. It’s only $25 for a 3 night pass, or $10 a night. AND, they have awesome AC. I’m told it works really well as soon as you turn it on. Now I get continuous music and an AC break and I love the thought of going back and forth.

I got there around 8:30 or so, and got about 40 minutes of the music, which was great. Daniel Carter had his flute, clarinet, alto, tenor, and trumpet. I saw him play everything except the flute. The drum solo was awesome. I loved the bass. The guitar was pretty good jazz guitar. It was all improvised and awesome.

The Color NowThursday, June 12th 8pm Ty Cumbie • GuitarDaniel Carter • WindsAdam Lane • BassLukas Ligeti • Drums

Then I headed back over to Vision Fest for a little of James Spaulding Swing Expressions. They had me dancing for a bit, then they did something slow. Since I’m not a vocals person, that was kind of slow for me. I loved the congas throughout. I left a little early because I was very interested in the 2nd band at New Languages and I absolutely had to be back in time for the 3rd Vision fest band.

8:30pm James Spaulding Swing ExpressionsJames Spaulding (as, fl) / Richard Clements (p) / Eric Lemon (b) / Reggie Nicholson (dr) / Sabor (perc) / Gregory Porter (v)

Very good strategy on my part. I thoroughly enjoyed Miles Okazaki and his ensemble. The acoustic bass was hooked up to a pedal and there were some very interesting sounds. I liked Miles guitar style a little more than the earlier band. In the ½ hour or so that I saw, the big sax moves were all coming from Knoche, and Binney was more playing support. The sax was filling me with all kinds of great feelings. The vocals melded in nicely to the music. She was really using voice as an instrument, there weren’t any lyrics unless they were in a different language.

Miles OkazakiThursday, June 12th 9pm Miles Okazaki • GuitarDavid Binney • Alto SaxophoneChristof Knoche • SaxophoneJen Shyu • VoiceHans Glawischnig • BassDan Weiss • Drums

The Bluiett’s Bio set at Vision Fest was off the hook amazing. There was this one song that was kind of slow but awesome and I had goosebumps from the baritone sax. I mean I can't begin to describe how I felt during that song. It was definitely the highlight of my week.

Talk about not wanting to get off the stage. They were supposed to be done and then they went into an avant garde cover. I thought it sounded very Sun Ra Arkestra-ish. At the end they said it was Coltrane. At the end of the playing, that is. They didn’t want to leave, so then they went into an awesome Duke Ellington tune. Then, they were supposed to be done, but a few of them started in on another awesome tune. Bluiett knew they were pushing it, so he had them do that one pretty short. It was amazing and I left at 10:40 feeling euphoric. I also finally got my amazing Hamid Drake drum solo I had been craving the night before.

In addition to those listed, they had a trumpet player the entire set and JD Jackson sat in on piano for the last few.

9:30pm Bluiett 's Bio - ElectricHamiet Bluiett (bs) / Billy Bang (vi) /Harrison Bankhead (b) / Hamid Drake (dr)

I had to miss Ensemble of Possibilities at Vision Fest and Tyshawn Sorey at New Languages Fest. That was a good choice because I’m especially excited about the last 2 tonight at Vision Fest and I want to be awake for it.

10:30pm Ensemble of PossibilitiesWhit Dickey (dr) / Rob Brown (as) / Eri Yamamoto (p)Daniel Carter (reeds, tp) / Jason Kao Hwang (vi) / Joe Morris (b)

Tyshawn SoreyWu-Wei (Chapter Three)Thursday, June 12th 10pm * Personnel TBA

Kid Jordon Night @ Vision Fest 6/11/08

That was a great night! It was definitely the one I was looking forward to the most. It also brought out a lot of people, it was very crowded. I don’t think I ever heard of Kidd Jordon before seeing he was going to get he lifetime achievement award. I haven’t even had the time to read the artist feature article in this month’s AAJ on him yet.

Well, I certainly understand why they chose to give him this award after the other night. I’m also impressed that he played in almost every ensemble. I got there around 7:15 and they were already on. It was wonderful. They were all amazing and impressive. I noticed the signal woman was trying to get their attention for a while to let them know they were almost out of time. They were so into it, they didn’t even notice and played til about 7:40/5. I think the theme this year is “don’t want to get off the stage”. That’s a very good thing as it means they are really into playing and doing a great job of it. This set was a little more free.

7:00pm Jordan / Bluiett / BurrellKidd Jordan (ts) / Hamiet Bluiett (bs) / Dave Burrell (p)

The next quartet was lively and fun. I mean, it is an allstar lineup. It was very hot, and somehow the audience decided when it was over. Hamid Drake was starting a quiet drum solo and people just started standing up giving a standing ovation as if it was over. I don’t they realized they weren’t done yet, but I also think they were ready to get up for a break. The musicians decided to take the cue and end. Every moment was phenomenal and I did kind of feel cheated out of a drum solo, but I too wanted to get some air.

7:45pm Bang / Jordan / Parker / DrakeBilly Bang (vi) / Kidd Jordan (ts) / William Parker (b) / Hamid Drake (dr)

They were getting more and more behind schedule, but I didn’t think that was a big deal. As long as we’re there for most of it, it’s easy to get into the natural schedule rhythm. I kept taking breaks and walking around or having a margarita somewhere cool. It is hard to find places with good AC down there.

The next quartet was pretty good as well. Alvin Fielder couldn’t make it, so they had Gerald Cleaver instead. I can’t remember much about it. Oh, wait a minute, that was the set I absolultely loved come to think of it. I think they were doing some phenomenal Coltrane stuff, down to the bass solo. If it wasn’t Coltrane, the music very much reminded me of his music in the mid to late 60s. It was stellar.

8:30pm Kidd Jordan QuartetKidd Jordan (ts) / Joel Futterman (p) / William Parker (b) / Alvin Fielder (dr)

After that was the NOLA pays tribute, which I was looking forward to. I don’t think Donald Harrison made it, and I’m not sure who was on drums. It was good NOLA style jazz that you might catch at Snug Harbor. I left in the middle of it, but it was great. I just knew I needed to pace myself on the sleep thing. I think I left around 10:40.

9:15pm New Orleans Pays TributeKent Jordan (fl) / Marlon Jordan (tp) / Donald Harrison (as) / Darrell Lavigne (p) / Elton Heron (b) / Alvin Fielder (dr)

I am sorry I chose to miss this:

10:15pm Anderson / Jordan / Parker / DrakeFred Anderson (ts) / Kidd Jordan (ts) / William Parker (b) / Hamid Drake (dr)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Vision Fest + Scrapomatic + DTB 6/10/08

I have the Vision Fest pass, so I figured I could get there for a little bit before going up to the Hard Rock. Last year, Vision Fest was at the Angel Orsanz and I could only go the first night because I was going to Montreal. I remember waiting in a long line to get in. When I got in, it was during the Opening Invocation, so I was glad I didn’t really miss anything. Then, I was blown away by this huge avant garde orchestra put together by William Parker. It was really amazing. My recollection of the past few years when I’ve gone is it runs pretty close to schedule, which may or may not be true.

Anyway, I got there at 7 and the 10-15 min Opening Invocation was around 7:25-7:40. I think the 1st group started around 7:50/8:00pm, but I can’t really remember that well. I couldn’t get much info at all about the free Derek Trucks Band show, and I was very worried about missing any of it. I love them, and I realize I haven’t seen them since Montreal this time last year. That’s too long. Also, I grab any opportunities where there is standing room only on the floor for them because they do play in seated venues often and I want to dance. The little I could find out about this Rolling Stone private party is that it was real, doors at 7pm, and I finally found mention of it on Dave Yoke’s myspace page that Scrapomatic would probably be on at 8pm. Still, it was weird. Therefor, I left Vision Fest a little earlier than I would have otherwise, probably around 8:15/8:20 and got on the F train up to 42nd.

What I did see I really liked. I got to see everyone solo and this is a great group. I hope to get to see them again, and it’s likely.

7:00pm Opening Invocation with drums, chanting, and strings
Hamid Drake (drums) / Patricia Nicholson (chanting) / William Parker (strings)
7:30pm Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet
Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet) / Matt Bauder (ts, cl) / Mary Halvorson (g) / Evan O'Reilly (g) / Jessica Pavone (vi, b)) / Tomas Fujiwara (dr)

I got to the Hard Rock maybe 8:40 or so. I was amazed my name was actually on the list. I mean, it seemed too weird, just get an autoreply with no info saying “see you at the show”. I went in and Scropomatic was on, there was free lite beer, free bratwurst sandwiches, and free peanut butter cups. In other words, it was a party and I was invited. I finally found out from Scott that Rolling Stone did something like this last year, the show was G Love and Special Sauce, at some other corporate venue, and they were giving away free beer and some kind of hard liquor. He said he thought there was some announcement with MTV earlier. OK, so as much of the mystery is solved as I guess it’s going to be. Rolling Stone wanted to have a party for some reason, and just needed bodies to come and enjoy it.

When I arrived, Scropomatic was on. It was a lot of fun. They are good. I haven’t seen them for a few years. I thought they had a tuba, but maybe I’m thinking of another band. Kofi sat in for the last song. I think they ended around 9ish.

DTB came on at around 9:30 and played til 11, including the encore. It was awesome. I was able to get up front, right in front of Derek, with Yonrico in the background, and for some reason there was a hole of space over there and I had enough breathing room to dance. It was awesome! I did have to move for the last 20 minutes because it was getting a little more crowded. If I hadn’t been spoiled with all the space most of the show, it would have still be OK to stay up there, but I was spoiled. It was also good to get the perspective from farther back on the floor anyway, which was still very close.

That is one of the best bands that exists. I love them. When I could take my attention off Derek for a bit, Yonrico was blowing me away. He is so much fun to watch because he’s so into it. He is one of the happiest-looking drummers. Susan was there and came out quite a bit. Kofi was as great as usual. There were times when I would find myself drawn into the bass and the Count. And, every moment of the overall was great. I hope they start coming around her again a little more often. I realized how much I miss them.

Thank you Rolling Stone! I’m so glad I got to be there!

Monday, June 9, 2008

4 Duos @ Zebulon 6/8/08

That was really good. I thought it was a great concept, have a few drummers in one show and have them each bring a +1 to play with for about 20 minutes. It was exciting to see who they would show up with.

The first set was Ches Smith and Okkyung Lee. That was great improvised avant-garde. I’ve seen both of them in many settings now and I know that anything they participate in will be good.

Next up was 2 drummers I never saw before, Kevin Shea + Fritz Welch. That was good noisy avant-garde experimental improvisation. It was kind of chaotic and fun.

After that was Mark Guiliana + Tim Lefebvre, and that was some kind of long song. There had to be plenty of room to improvise in that. That had me really dancing for most of it. I think it went across a lot of the spectrum of funk to rock. It was very grooving at times and I was losing myself a little dancing in the crowded place, so I had to be careful. It did get a little quiet at times, I mean quiet on the funk-rock continuum line, which isn't THAT quiet. It ended with something harder and louder and rockish. It was great and well placed in the lineup. I’m not sure if I ever saw Guiliana before, but I’m going to look out for him.

All of the drummers so far also had some kind of congs or various metal things to band on, like bowls, etc.

Next and last was Ryan Sawyer and a singer that a lot of people knew, but I never heard of. I think he said his name is Tande, but I’m not really sure. The singer had a little table set up on stage, with his on mic and some kind of electronic box, so he was also doing “electronics”. At the very start, there were lots of people talking and Sawyer had started with the brushes on the drums, and the electronics was making an interesting sound. Sawyer gets up and continues using the brushes on the drums as he walks around them and then comes out to the audience and shakes the brushes several times around at them in a way that seemed very much part of the show. He goes back onstage and then shakes the brushes a few times into the mic and then sits down. That was a very clever way to get everyone interested and to shut everyone up. I mean, genius.

It was wonderful. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, Ryan Sawyer is one of the great drummers. The singer was really a vocalist/electronics and they were definitely doing a duo performance. It was great.

There was originally also supposed to be Dan Weiss + 1. It was soon clear that they were done, and later I looked it up to see he’s got some gigs in Nova Scotia and that explains that.

Again, I think it was a great concept and I really hope they do it again sometime.

I should also mention that most people were great listeners and there for the music. It’s just the only “problem” with the venue is it is also a neighborhood bar. I don’t mind because they are so laid back about everything that it’s probably essential they don’t institute any type of “policies”, like a “quiet policy”. It’s nice that you really can stand anywhere and the server may have to push by you, but they never give you a hard time. I try to be aware of when I’m close to being in their way and stay out of it as much as I can. Still, it’s hard in such a little place.

ZebulonJune, 8 2008 at DUO EXCHANGES,A Drummer + One...5 differents Duo...zebulon, williamsburg, 11211Cost : freeWITH... Ches Smith+1 Ryan Sawyer+1 Dan Weiss+1 Mark Guiliana+1 Kevin Shea+1

Friday, June 6, 2008

Buzz Universe + Henry Butler + The Lee Boys 6/5/08

After The Stone, I headed over to Sullivan Hall. Buzz Universe started at about 9:30 and they were pretty good. I enjoyed it even more than the Wash Square Park show a few weeks ago. I’m sure part of it had to do with the club atmosphere and also they may have been more selective in their material since they only had a 1 hour set. I had a lot of fun dancing and there was plenty of room for it. There were also enough people to make it fun.

Sometime during the show, I was the last to know that Warren was expected to sit in with The Lee Boys later. As time went on, it was clear it was going to be the 2nd set. Cool, I can run up to The Cutting Room with Juls and her friends for some Henry Butler. I also had someone who offered to text me from Sullivan once Warren was about to hit.

Henry was awesome! We walked in at about 10:35 and he was on the 3rd song of this solo piano gig. We walked right up front and found a great dancing spot right by the stage, and out of everyone’s way. I am so thankful for that. It was really great. I forgot what a good singer Henry is. He was really grooving at times. His mellow stuff was beautiful. I enjoyed his poetry. It was so much fun!

During our show, Juls got a text that the 1st set of The Lee Boys was over already. That was weird. Things were much speedier than typical Sullivan Hall shows. It couldn’t have been a whole hour. At 11:40 I got the message that they would be on soon. I waited 1 minute, and then realized I better get my butt down there because I don’t want to miss any of it. The others I was with are big Henry fans, and I must admit I didn’t want anything slowing me down. So, I quickly let them know I was leaving and I’d see them down there.

I saw that 5th Ave was closed for roadwork, so I went to 6th. As I was quickly walking down, I noticed that there were many people trying to get cabs and none were open. I kept a lookout for a cab, but I did a run/walk and ended up not getting a cab and made it there just about 2 minutes after they started! Yeah! I made it from 24th & 6th to Sullivan Hall in 15 minutes! That was kind of amazing, and well worth the effort.

Warren was up there, Marco was up there, these Lee Boys I’ve never seen before, and it was great. There was also good space, not too crowded. It was just really great. I danced in the back for a while and then eventually decided to get closer. At some points, there were only 2 or 3 people between me and the stage. It was just great. Oh, and after the 1st or 2nd song, Krasno came and sat in for quite a while. It was great. They played for maybe 45 minutes, give or take. Then it went back to just The Lee Boys with Marco, which was good because I was curious to see that. I wanted to know if I should make an effort to see them again. I will say it was fun, but it’s not something I would necessarily go out of my way to see again. I didn’t feel like I needed a cd. I was really digging the bass when Warren and Kraz were in earlier.

Before that show, Scott told me they were like the Campbell Brothers. Sure, I can see it described as that, but really, no way. I only saw 1 pedal steel up there and there’s something very special about The Campbell Brothers. They have some kind of soulful quality in the music that’s tough to come by.

I do want to emphasize they were pretty good. I just have tons of music to see all the time and I’m saying I don’t know if I’d sacrifice something else to see them. I certainly would see them again if it fit into my schedule, or, of course if they keep making friends like the company they were keeping last night.

Improv Night @ The Stone 6/5/08

I went to the 8pm set. The first set of my wonderful night that would include 3 more quite different shows at 2 more venues. It was a very fun night.

Anyway, I've now figured out what they tend to do for Improv Night is Zorn brings some of his friends and the curator(s) bring some friends and then they split up into different mini-bands and all come out at the end for the grand finale. It's all completely improvised and you never know how it's going to turn out. It's also kind of fun when you get there because most of the artists are downstairs and you just see the setup. I did see Shanir when I got there, so I was already happy. I couldn't remember who the curators were, so I was intrigued about who would be playing the other bass and the piano. Other than that, there were no other instruments out already and no white chairs for musicians set up. Hmm, could this mean lots of horns?

It's hard to get all the names because they only give them at the end and very quickly while people are clapping. I took some time to check out the schedule and see if I could figure out who some of them are, and I can't.

It started with 3 saxes and a trombone: Louis Belogenis on that little curved soprano that looks very pristine and almost looks like a toy, John Zorn,a tenor, and a trombone. It was very frenetic, chaotic, lots of squeaks and squawks. It sounded great, though.

I couldn't get over how Zorn was wearing one of his hoodie things. He had a The Dreamers T-shirt on underneath. Anyone who's been to The Stone knows it can get rather hot in there. That's especially true for the performers. I always figure if they can do it and play for us, I can go and patronize.

Next up was Anthony Coleman and Brad Jones. That was awesome. Coleman had emptied his pockets before beginning and put his keys, cash, and a few other things on top of the piano. Later, we would see him put all that stuff on the strings, looking for more stuff to add weight. He was so great and enjoyable to watch. I had the perfect seat, the one in the front row all the way next to the wall on the inside of the V, in front of the "stage". That meant, I could see some of the piano keys and since the piano was on the other side of the room, I could also see everything that was happening in the reflection in the lid. I love that, especially when it's a pianist who likes to play the strings.

After that, Brad Jones was about to go downstairs, but Zorn and Shanir came up and Zorn told him to stay. 2 big basses and Zorn. That was very cool. Zorn did a lot of sounds that fit in really well with the basses. Bass-like sounds. He then "deviated" from that for a bit and came back to similar sounds later. It was really good.

Next was a female bassoon player, I think her name was Carla, but I'm not sure. She played with Anthony Coleman and I think the tenor sax from the first act that I don't know. Now Coleman had brought up 2 cans of diet coke and some large duct tape. He was throwing the cans on the piano strings and playing it that way, or hitting the keys for the strings the diet coke was on. He also used duct tape on some of the strings. It sounded great and was quite interesting. I remember I did like the bassoon and that I enjoyed the whole piece, since I enjoyed every moment of the show.

Next was Shanir, Louis Belogenis on tenor, and the trombone. That was awesome. Shanir especially shined. He was grooving for a bit, then he'd do other things. It ended with an incredible bass solo with Shanir using the bow. That may have been my favorite part of the night. It was awesome.

The last subset piece was Anthony Coleman, Brad Jones, the bassoon and I'm pretty sure the trombone. I might be getting this a little confused with the other bassoon piece. It was awesome. I was into how cool it was to have the bassoon and trombone playing together. Today, it now hits me, BASSoon. Cool! Caused me to see this in wikipedia: "The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family that typically plays music written in the bass and tenor registers and occasionally even higher."

Then, the grand finale with everyone was great. Sometimes they would all be playing at once, others it would be subsets for a bit. Belogenis had his soprano for this.

And this was only the start of my night! I will write up the rest later.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vision Fest!

I just want to say how psyched I am for Vision Fest next week! It is very well-run and has some of the most talented creative musicians out there. Here's a good interview with Patricia Nicholson Parker.

I'm so glad I'm in town the whole week. It's going to be interesting when I look back because it's insane how many music options there in the next few weeks.

3 Bands @ The Living Theatre 6/4/08

Another great RUCMA event! I was especially excited about this because aside from Burnt Sugar, it was a bunch of people I never heard of. I know I can trust RUCMA and it's likely I will like whatever they do.

I got there around 7:45 and got the last 1/2 hour of Burnt Sugar. It was awesome! A trombone, trumpet, alto, tenor, 2 guitars, a keyboard guy laying down some serious bass, freakaphone, drums, violin, and a cool japanese drum.

The violinist, Mazz Swift was the curator and played with each band. I don't think she ever played with Burnt Sugar or Monkeyworks before. She was great.

I got down in my dancing spot for Burnt Sugar, and was very happy. It was interesting that a lot of people came for just that and left after their set. Then, a new crop of people came for the 2nd act and left after that. Some stayed.

The 2nd act was interesting and different from my usual thing. It was more like avant garde classical. It was mellow, but kept me interested the whole time. I did get a little tired of it toward the end, but that was no big deal. It was just an accordion and a violin and they sounded really good together. They met when they did a Zydeco gig together in Europe. The accordion and violin go together very nicely.

I loved the last band, Monkeyworks. I would have to classify it as "avant jam". I don't see it here, but I thought that one awesome guy played a great electric mandolin. Maybe it was a guitar that was shaped more like a mandolin. He sounded awesome. There was the electric drummer and another percussionist that played that Peruvian box drum, a cymbal, and then he grabbed a snare from the drum kit. The bass player was kind of different, and I liked the "jamminess" of it. The reed guy played soprano sax and bass clarinet. The accordion was awesome. After a song or 2, they invited Mazz up for the duration of the show. A little later, the japanese drum guy came in and played through to the end. The other accordion from the 2nd set came in for the last couple. It was fun and great. Here's a description from their website.

Members of Burnt Sugar
Greg Tate: Conduction / Avram Fefer: Alto Sax / Mikel Banks: Vox/Freakaphone
Derrin Maxwell: Poet / Meret Koehler: Drums / Dave Smith: Trombone
Ben Tyree: Guitar / Mazz Swift: Vox/Electric Violin / Paula Henderson: Baritone Saxophone

Egdetveit & Swift
Johan Egdetveit: Accordion/Composition / Mazz Swift (of MazzMuse): Violin/Vocals

Kevin Brown: Bass / Alan Camlet: Drums / Jeff Eldredge: Accordion/Harmonium/Keys
Steve Meltzer: Percussion/Electronic Percussion / Steve Peckman: Reeds
Jim Stagnitto: Trumpet/Cornet / Ian Smit: Guitar

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Free DTB 6/10

I saw this floating around the internet. I sent the email and got the autoreply rsvp that I'm in. I do have a conflict with Vision Fest, but I'll figure that out. I also need to try to find out more about this show.

Tuesday June 10th
Derek Trucks Band, with special guests Scrapomatic.
Hard Rock Cafe, NYC 7:30 pm
RSVP to:
include your full name and they should auto email back

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Marc Ribot & The Lucien Dubuis Trio @ Drom 6/3/08

Incredible! That was awesome! I can't wait to hear the cd, which might not be for a couple of days.

I now know to watch out for this Swiss Trio even without Ribot. It reminded me a lot of Garage A Trois without the special effects. I think they did a song that GAT does.

Every moment was awsesome. I think I love the contrabass clarinet even more than the bass clarinet. It has such a great sound. The last song was especially grooving and that's when we got to see what the electric bass can really do. Ribot solos were incredible. The drummer was awesome.

I had no idea what this was, but I was looking forward to it ever since I found out about it a couple of weeks ago. I think it exceeded my high expectations.

The good news is they are in the process of making a new cd. I'm hoping that means they will play in NYC again when it's ready, if not before. I see the trio is playing at Zebulon on Friday along with Gutbucket. I just might have to get there.

Marc Ribot & The Lucien Dubuis Trio
The Lucien Dubuis Trio (Switzerland) is lead by alto saxophone, bass clarinet, and contrabass clarinet player Lucien Dubuis. With bassist Roman Nowka and drummer Lionel Friedli they create avant jazz both modern and primitive; one concept driven and resolved to use the teenage language of revolution. Marc Ribot, occasional collaborator and full time admirer of the trio, recently returned from his third trip to Europe to perform with the lads. He joins the group for a performance in New York, where the trio is recording their newest album.

Favorite Jazzfest Moment

That little Batiste on stage the other night reminded me of my favorite jazzfest moment. I finally remembered where I put this story, that I wrote in 2005.

At that time, It thought the closest I would ever come to seeing The Original Meters was that night I saw each of them in different shows. Little did I know that I would see them all together in an amazing show a few fests later. After that, I saw them in NYC, Vegas, and FL. After that, I found myself done and wanting The Funky Meters back.


My favorite jazzfest moment:

My first jazzfest was 2002. I had wanted to go for years, but I used to have an exam that week. I was already seriously into The Funky Meters and had started exploring other NOLA music.

I was in a state of complete joy for the entire fest - I go for the whole thing. I go all out and see as many night shows in the clubs as I can as well. The music helps me stay awake, but my legs usually tire out. Often The Funk makes them move any way, though.

I found myself that year constantly being pulled to stages based on what I was hearing while walking by. There were some days where I wanted to leave early (I rarely stay for a whole headliner show so I can get some sleep for the night). I usually left for the day when my legs felt like they couldn't move another step. Yet, on my way out, always, I would hear something and think "what's that I hear", and my exhausted legs would just start taking me towards the sounds. This happens to me a lot at jazzfest.

One day, I thought I was about to collapse so I started leaving. Almost made it out of the gate, but then, "what's that I hear". Funky. My feet were taking me to the Kid's tent of all places. The Kid's tent! I walk in and there is a 10 year old drummer on stage, Alvin Batiste, being coached by Russell. The other guys were seasoned musicians I do not know. Well, little 10 year old's band had me dancing what was left off.

If I had to pick just one, that's the one. At least at the festival.

The one for the clubs was the 2nd Sunday night. Started at the Orpheum Theater to see The Funky Meters. Then onto Howlin' Wolf to catch the last couple of songs for a Cancer benefit - Zigaboo, Teresa Anderson, John Gros, and some others. Then, quickly up to Blue Nile to catch the end of the Leo Nocentelli with the Batiste Brothers set. Back to Howlin' Wolf for Zigaboo's Funk Review whole show.

Each band did the Meters song "Africa". Waiting in line to get into Howlin Wolf for the Zigaboo show, I had The Funk for the first time. For the real first time. There was no music and I couldn't stop dancing. Someone in line asked me what song was in my head and I told him "Africa". I was really going at it. I didn't stop dancing until 7 am. It was amazing.

Eric Clapton, Autobiography

I stumbled upon it when I was at McNally Robinson last weekend. I had to then sit down and read a little of it, the chapter on Derek & the Dominos. I know, all the chapters in there, and that’s what I was most interested in. Actually, I was on my way out, and I was compelled to sit and read it. He only had a little bit on my obsession of Duane Allman, but he did say they connected like brothers. The most interesting part was the story of flying to London with John Lennon and Lennon saying they could practice for the gig on the plane. They sat in first class and practiced! Can you imagine being on that plane?

Anyway, I have too much to read, but I might have to skim a little more of that in the bookstores over time.

Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Aché @ Joe's Pub 6/2/08

I decided on this kind of last minute. I’ve seen Bobby Sanabria in the listings often and have wanted to check him out for a while.

This show was part of TeatroStagefest, which is a Latin Theatre festival in NYC.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting his stage presence. He started by christening the audience with drops from his water bottle, saying any place jazz is played is sacred. He then told us he was going to take us from West Africa to … to Brazil to … to Cuba to New Orleans to Chicago to Kansas City and then to the center of the universe, Joe’s Pub in NYC. Something to that effect. It was also his birthday, and we all got a piece of birthday cake at the end.

The music was good. He started with a Dizzy Gillespie tune. I think he said he played with him. I didn’t recognize it, but I think he puts his own spin on anything he does. It seemed like that one song went through all the places he mentioned in the beginning. It would get jazz at times, funky at time, percussion-heavy African at times, and of course Latin at times. There was a lot of Latin feel in everything they did.

I do frown on people working so hard to get audience participation, and a particular audience participation at that. He was good at getting compliance, but still. At one point he had everyone up for a few minutes dancing. It didn’t last long, though. He got them to clap to the music a lot. I left at 10:55, I just wanted to save myself for the rest of the week. It was just before he was going to make everyone sing.

Overall, the music was enjoyable. I decided to get past the theatrics, since it was a theatrical festival. They also played for at least 1.5 hours, which was pretty good for that place.

Matana Roberts @ Jazz Gallery 5/31/08

I got there at 10:30 and got the last 5 min of the 1st set. It was good. It felt very peaceful. It was pretty mellow, so I took the front row center seat. There were about 20 people there, and many stayed for the 2nd set.

She said this project is about melody and space. It was very mellow throughout. She told us about each song, which was nice. I like it when they talk about music.

The bass and piano were great. She said she threw new music at them an hour ago and they didn't bat an eyelash. That always impresses me. Especially because this was difficult music.

I had intended to then go down to WFC for some of the Bang on a Can marathon, but I was so drained from the mellowness that I figured that was enough.

Matana Roberts GRACE
Matana Roberts - alto saxophone, Gabriel Guerrero - piano, Kevin Tkacz - bass

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Funky Meters + Dr. Claw 5/30/08

I was due for some funk, and especially some Papa Funk, so I was happy to be at BBs on Fri. I walked in a little before 11 and they hit the stage a little after 11. It was very crowded, but did thin out a little as the night went on. There was good dancing room on the sides, especially once dancers removed the barriers that waiters put up so they can walk through and serve the tables. It was good to see Art up there. George matters! I mean, I don’t think that guy ever has a bad night. Russell was in check for most of the night, meaning he kept his mouth shut and focused. There was a weird birthday moment, but someone gave George $50 to let her come up on stage, and it was very brief.

I was in the bathroom when at the beginning of the encore, it sounded like there was a little kid on stage doing the hokey pokey. I think Russell said he was a Batiste, but I’m not sure. Then they went in to People Say, but I decided to get out of there before they tried to do a singalong. Russell did say it was the last song. They did play for 1.5 hours straight, like the old days. The difference is the encore used to be another ½ hour. It was fun.

I then went down to Sullivan Hall for Dr. Claw, which had Krasno, Nick Daniels, Adam Deitch, and later Ian Neville. There was also a keyboard guy. I got there a little after 1 and it had started about 10 minutes before. I’m glad I got there when I did because I liked the first couple of songs the most. It was more like Soul Funk. I never noticed Nick Daniels singing before, but apparently he does sing in Dumpstaphunk. I haven’t seen them in a while, so it’s not surprising I didn’t notice. Ian showed up around 1:45 or so and they took about a 20 min break to let him set up. I left soon after that because it wasn’t holding me and I was really tired. I also don’t understand why they want to shine bright lights in our faces, especially at that hour.

It was good to get some good old funky music in and I had a good time.