Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Paul Motion Octet @ Village Vanguard 7/29/08

I've really warmed up to the Vanguard. I'm not going to be able to stay away in Sept. Check out that lineup! I also couldn't miss this octet. I decided close to 5 yesterday that last night would be good, so I called and made a res for 9. It was a show you don't have to have a res, but you can get a better seat if you do, and as I learned with Brian Blade, they treat you a little better. I think they treat you pretty well regardless there.

I now know where I want to sit and they're pretty laid back about that. I got a great seat right up front where I could basically see as much as possible. The only one I couldn't see at all was Matt Maneri. The saxes were up front, on the floor in front of the stage. Tony had a soprano and tenor. Chris had an alto, tenor and baritone. They always played different ones. To my left was the piano, out on the extended stage. It's kind of neat how they can add stage. Matt was behind the piano and I couldn't see him because Tony was blocking him for me. Next to Matt on the perimeter was the upright bass and then in the very back center was Jerome Harris on the other kind of acoustic bass. Over to my right was Cardenas and behind him Ben Monder on guitars. They both brought a different sound and I loved it when they played together.

Right in the center of it all was Motion. I could see him better than any other time, but he was still obstructed a little. He would pull me in often to just focus on his playing. I love how he hits the cymbals. There was one tune where whatever he was doing really got me. It was a little repetitive, and somewhat grooving, while the rest of the music was a little lively.

It was so rich. They featured different people at different moments. Everybody got plenty of solos, but there were also awesome moments where we'd get the 2 guitars or the 2 saxes each playing different things that melded really well.

This was an allstar lineup and they were at their usual level of greatness. If I had to choose a favorite moment out of all the great ones, I would say it was Jerome's solo, which I enjoyed immensely.

They were offering the 2nd set for a 1 drink minimum, not even an additional cover. I didn't want to stay up, but I'm sure it was great.

This is well worth it.

July 29 - Aug 03
Chris Cheek-sax, Tony Malaby-sax, Mat Maneri-vla,
Ben Monder-g, Steve Cardenas-g, Jerome Harris-b,
Thomas Morgan-b

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

When You Wake Up in the Morning ...

I've been wanting to write this story for a while, and I'm pretty sure I haven't done it yet.

It was a previous year at Jazzfest. I think it was 2003 or 2004. I was still Meters-crazy and I ended up going to many many George shows, which were mainly Meters cover-bands. I saw George, Russell, Brian, and so and so. George, Stanton, and 2 others, The Funky Meters, George Russell, and some others, George, June, ... Etc, etc, etc.

I remember loving every show, but realized later I overdid a little. I couldn't help myself. I mean, it was only 1 of what, 3-7 shows in one night after all. I think over the 2 weeks I probably got at least 8 George shows, as a wild guess.

Anyway, what I really remember was every single one of those shows George sang "When you wake up in the morning, before you eat your breakfast, you gotta get down, down, down" I got back from Jazzfest and that song infiltrated my entire being. I found myself with an enormous urge to get down every morning before having my breakfast, which is usually after I get to work. I didn't have that song, but I did have "Papa Was a Rolling Stone".

I remembered how we had a dry spell of The Funky Meters after having them in NYC often enough for me. I saw they were playing at the 930 Club and I took a road trip to visit relatives and hit the show. That show was awesome. The crowd was so into it! I remember when they broke out "Papa Was a Rolling Stone", the crowd started singing the chorus before the band started singing. George was pumped about that. It was a great moment for me. In that same show later, the crowd voluntarily and on their own did the Fiyo on the Bayo thing, something New Yorkers stopped doing after Tramps closed.

Anyway, I ended up putting "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" every morning for 2 weeks and getting down before eating my breakfast until I got it out of my system. It was a fun post-jazzfest time.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Airto @ Dizzy's 7/27/08

I'm glad I made it to the last set of this run. I had to wait in the no reservation line, and I didn't get my exact spot, but I found a better spot. It's the seat right in front of the sound guy. That's where the guests and no cover jazz people sit. I only sit before the show starts and then there's more room to dance a little to the left of the sound guy. It's on the other side of the kitchen door from my old spot. It's good because I don't have to watch so much food go by and I'm not in anyone's way.

We were told in line that Flora wouldn't be there due to an illness in her family. While I always hate to hear any news like that, I was glad to be spared her singing, which is quite different.

It was a great set. Much more straight ahead than what I experienced a few years ago at Telluride Jazzfest. It was funkier and they had more band members at Telluride. I really enjoyed last night. We got a killer drum solo toward the end.

Kenny Werner also got me out. He was his usual greatness. The guitar and bass were pretty good as well.

I found this listing with lots of info when I was looking for the names of the band members this morning.

Airto Moreira with Toninho Horta, Kenny Werner and Mark Egan.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Stone 7/26/08

I didn't get my proper nap yesterday, so I was too tired to do much. I was curious about the 8pm set at The Stone, so I figured I'd start there and see how much energy I had. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it through that one set. I did like the sound and would have enjoyed it in spite of the exhaustion. The problem was how loud the bagpipes are in such a small space. I stuck it out as long as I could because it was interesting. But, the bagpipes were overpowering everything and I was incessantly complaining in my head about how loud it was. I tried to move to the back for a bit, but it was just too loud.

I realized there didn't look like any way to quiet them down and they are extremely loud. Louder than anything I've ever heard. Except maybe that bass Bill Laswell was playing at the Highline Scotty Hard benefit. I had to duck out for that as well.

On my way home I bought earplugs. I considered going to Jazz Gallery or Jazz Standard, but I was too tired and was a little afraid of music after that.

The cimbalon was pretty neat looking. It looked like Burr just brought his pedal steel as I didn't see a clarinet in sight. That probably made sense due to the bagpipes.

It was interesting to take note of the bagpipe sound and watch how Matt played them. He had the thing you blow through, but he would take a breath while there was still music coming out, so there was air left. Whenever he started them up for a new song, there was a quieter, lower sound before they got going. I would like to try it again with earplugs sitting in the back and see if it still bothers me then.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cristhian Rodriguez @ The Stone 7/24/08

This was the perfect aftershow Thurs night. I was debating about Jason Hao Kwang at The Living Theatre and this solo clarinet/bass clarinet gig with someone I never heard of. I think I was in the mood for more clarinet.

We did get some awesome solo numbers, but this was quite a 1.5 hour show at The Stone.

I walked in and there was a guy sitting in a seat with a trombone and the setup was very elaborate. There were 2 setups with about 2 dozen wine glasses of various sizes and filled with various amounts of water. There was vibes with 2 triangles of different sizes hanging above and in front, a cymbal, and some blocks off to the side. There were also various percussion things behind the wine glasses. And a mic.

Cristhian went all out and invited many people to give us a little mini bang-on-a-can type show. He told us about each piece before we heard it and a lot was influenced by the bang-on-a-can marathon he went to 2 years ago.

The opener with all those instruments was a guy who did a score for a film using all natural sounds. He invited the vibe/percussion guy, a soprano sax, and another percussionist to try to recreate the music live with instruments. He also played and I wish I could remember the name of the piece, but I can't right now.

That was awesome and about 25 minutes. Heavy on the percussion with the soprano adding a lot. It was also black, which was great because it helped me notice the differences between that and the clarinet.

Then Cristhian came up and told us how he started as a classical guy and then he heard a record by Evan Ziporyn entitled "This is Not a Clarinet", which has music for clarinets. It changed his life. He played 2 pieces from that. I just discovered that one of the few Bang-On-A-Can CDs I have is Evan Ziporyn's "Frog's Eye". I asked the seller at the marathon to suggest a few that could be considered on the funky side and that was one of them. I can't remember it right now, but I know I liked the 3 that I got. Cristhian played the 1st one with the bass clarinet and the 2nd with the regular clarinet.

Next he had another bass clarinet come up and they did this great duo of his composition that was inspired when he saw 2 marimbas playing at the marathon. It was really awesome.

Then, he had a trombone quartet come up and play his composition he wrote for a saxophone quartet. It was great.

He did one more bass clarinet duo piece and a couple more solo pieces.

Every single moment was awesome. It ended at 11:30, which is the curfew for that place.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wollesonics @ Roulette 7/24/08

I highly recommend you go tonight since it’s your last chance. They spent 3 days setting up for a 2 night phenomenal performance. Just to see the setup is worth the whopping $15 admission. There’s tons of percussion instruments all over the place and quite a few contraptions that look like they took some time to build. There are about 10 performers or so and it’s mainly awesome percussion. There’s a little bit of trombone at the end. We follow the story of the mouse who heard a sound and was compelled to investigate. I’ve seen earlier versions of this story develop over the past year as Kenny has been using it in his projects. The first time I heard it was around the beginning of the year at Zebulon. He may have started it before that. Now, it’s a pretty elaborate and cool story.

Just go, you won’t be sorry.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

National Underground 7/23/08

I was looking for at least a little music and had decided on the Balkan thing at Drom. But, that was postponed until 12am due to the band having traveling weather problems. I do hope they made it because a lot of people were there waiting.

I just wanted a little music, so I tried to think of what I could do. I was thinking The Zinc Bar is usually a good bet, but I didn't feel like going that far. Then I remembered that I've been curious about The National Underground, and it's relatively close. Actually, it's very close unless I'm walking home in a torrential downpour, which is what happened last night. In that case, those 12 blocks feel very far.

I didn't realize there is a downstairs until I left, so I didn't get to check that out yet. I was sucked in immediately due to the Dixieland band playing upstairs. There's no cover upstairs. Downstairs has a cover and they said a band every hour.

I enjoyed the band so I stayed til the end of the set and got about 1/2 hour. I looked hard for a tip jar and didn't see one, so I'm assuming there is none.

The place looks kind of like a honky tonk (not that I really know what that is, it's just what it felt like to me). The piano is a cool looking white wooden thing. This band also had a banjo, clarinet, sax, trumpet, trombone, and drummer. I especially liked the clarinet and the banjo.

It's got a nice vibe. I saw the menu when I was walking out, the choices are hamburger or cheeseburger.

The upstairs is small and there's some comfy places to sit a little farther back from the band.

It looks worthwhile to stop by on the way to other places in the area.

Monday, July 21, 2008

UB313 @ Zebulon 7/21/08

I went to see a little of Marshall Allen last night. I was hoping it would start a little earlier due to being Sun night, but they waited until 11pm to start. It was interesting to see that a lot of people showed up around 10:30. There were a lot of people there for the music, but there was also the neighborhood crowd that was there to hang out. When the music was loud, you couldn’t hear them, but you could when it was soft. A lot of them cleared out around 11:15/30 or so, and then it was mainly people interested in the music.

I stayed until about 11:45, but I was pretty tired so I left during a softer part. They started with Marshall on the sax. He moved to the keyboard for the next couple. The other sax guy who’s awesome and always with him read a poem for a bit. I’m not sure if it was Sun Ra’s or his own. The next piece had Marshall on EVI. Then, he went back to the sax for the soft number.

When I decide to leave early, I like to leave when the music is still going on. Sometimes, I will wait through setbreak just so I can leave with music in my head.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Joshua Fried's Radio Wonderland @ The Stone 7/19/08

I was intrigued to see what this was. I had very little idea based on the description. I thought I'd do this and then Banjo Jim's, but I bailed after this show due to being sick of the heat. I'd been out all day and I wasn't sure what kind of AC Banjo Jim's has. I just wasn't prepared to find out and didn't feel like drinking.

This was very interesting. It was pretty crowded. I got my front row seat and found out that the first 2 rows on both sides were mainly taken up by NYU students in a Music Technology class. They've been having various speakers come in and now they are going to a few shows. They are going to Stomp tonight. I got a little nostalgic for my college days.

It started with Joshua Fried walking up from the back with a boombox and he was fiddling with the radio stations. He kept changing the station like he was looking for something good. He briefly got a Led Zeppelin tune and my automatic reaction was "leave it there!". Talk about flashbacks! I remember that one summer after my Freshman year in college I went back to my Mom's in the summer and my sister and I shared a car. We got along pretty well with it and we had a deal when we were both in the car. If we were searching around the stations and got a song one of us liked, we had to leave it there. I remember she was reluctant to go down to WMMR and WYSP because there was a good chance one of my songs would be on and that it would continue to be good for me until commercial. Hey, I can't help it if there was an abundance of excellent music on the radio back then. They now call it "classic rock" but back then it was just called "rock" and it was mainly the great stuff from the 60s and 70s. It was the 80s, so there wasn't very much good contemporary music then.

Anyway, besides the nostalgia element, this guy was pretty cool to watch. He eventually hooked the boombox up to his system and took a small sample of something. Then he would just keep building off of it. I think he had some other sample already in there, so he was working with 2 original recordings, I think.

He turned it into a whole DJ set with his unusual system. If he turned the steering wheel, he could adjust the tempo. Sometimes he'd get the sound of a race car zooming, I'm not sure how he did that, but maybe it was something with the speeded tempo or something already programmed in. He had 3 or 4 black shoes turned over on a stand. He hit the heels with drumsticks and different sounds would emerge depending on which sole he hit and how he hit it.

Later he took another sample from the radio. It was a classical bit. He turned that into a huge funky DJ thing.

He also had a pedal that made a different kind of sound. It seemed like he was programming all of these different sounds and the way it worked into his laptop on the spot. It was impressive.

Then he called a trumpet player to the stage. Well, this was actually 2 trumpets stuck together somehow. One had a mettle muffler thing on it. In between both was a circuit board. Everything was hooked up to a laptop. This was the most electric trumpet thing ever. It did make regular trumpet sounds, but there were also some crazy sounds that were fitting in with Joshua when he put it in a different mode and hit the valves.

Quite unusual. I think I liked it for something different. I'm glad to see I've opened up a bit, as I'm not sure I would have liked it at another point in the past.

Joshua Fried's Radio Wonderland
Joshua Fried (shoes, steering wheel, boombox, laptop, programming)
Joshua Fried's RADIO WONDERLAND turns a live FM feed into recombinant funk, all controlled by an actual steering wheel, old shoes and laptop--all LIVE.

Marcus Roberts Trio @ Dizzy's 7/19/08

Summer is great in NYC. I love staying in town. I got a haircut appt a few hours after I called, and there was no problem getting into Dizzy's without a res. I found out they don't take reservations the day of the show. Often, especially on the weekend, if you don't have a res you have to wait a while in the no res line before getting in. I had no problem getting in early for the 7:30pm set. I went early just in case because I've stood in that line enough and I like my spot over by the kitchen where I can stand next to the chair and dance a little. Most people probably wouldn't want it, but I don't want to risk it. The other bar stool seats get kind of tight.

If I don't get to Dizzy's every now and then I feel some kind of lack. I don't go very often because it's so expensive, far, and it's all straight ahead jazz. I like all jazz, but I can get bored with the regular stuff if I go too often. But, I do believe Dizzy's is guaranteed to have stellar music every single night, so I have to go a few times a year. Also, it's nice to see the view overlooking central park. You see the tops of trees and then the east side skyline. It feels fancy, without being stuffy. They are very nice there.

I didn't know who Marcus Roberts is or what he plays. I just knew that anything with Jason Moran and Roland Guerin is going to be excellent. I love them anyway and that's what brought me there. I loved that set! I was up pretty quickly, it had a nice groove to it.

They started with a song dedicated to Cole Porter and Nat King Cole. I think they played a couple more Cole Porter tunes. I'm not familiar with his music, but probably wouldn't think I'd like it based on no info. I thought he as a showtune guy, but maybe not. I think they did a Duke Ellington tune and some originals. It was all excellent and that hour went by quick!

I'm glad I looked at the listing again. I couldn't remember why I had Marcus Roberts on my list as a potential, but I knew there was some reason why I really wanted to go. I just looked up his bio, I'm wondering why I didn't know about him.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cecil Taylor/Tony Oxley @ Vanguard 7/18/08

This is one of those Village Vanguard runs where it's likely you can get a res the day before for the 9pm show and it's easier to get one for the 11pm. I thought I'd probably be heading uptown early, so I opted for just the 11pm. When I got there, I saw that a lot of the 9pm patrons stayed for an additional $10 cover, no minimum.

It was great. These guys are probably over 70 and they still got it. It took them a little effort to get up to the stage, but once there they dazzled. It started a little late, around 11:15-20 and ended at around 12:10.

It was awesome. It seemed Cecil was improvising , but he had music papers with him that he kept shuffling and pulling something out of a big stack. I could seem them from where I was sitting and it looked like a bunch of scribbles, or an interesting sketch. I then realized that's what's happening a lot when I think they are improvising, but they have music in front of them. I've noticed the artists often refer to them as "charts" and not music. They are just some kind of map to what's going on with lots of room to stretch out. These looked more like "sketches" than "charts", with even more room to stretch out. Oxley just played it as he felt it, which is easier for a drummer, especially a well-seasoned drummer like him.

I hadn't hear of Tony Oxley, but he's been around. I was intrigued by his setup, which you can get an idea of in the picture on his wikipedia page. He has what kind of looks like a giant cowbell, but not exactly. He's also got some interesting drums and a unique setup. It looks like it's all held together by some kind of tape.

Here's a good review of the first set on Tues from the NY Times.

I was mesmerized and enjoyed the whole set. It was well-received by all and got lots of applause after each piece. Taylor was awesome and had some beautiful slower parts as well as an intense playing. Both of them were fun to watch.

Radio I-Ching @ Otto's Shrunken Head 7/18/08

Originally, I was thinking I'd go up to Lincoln Center for The Budos Band, but then it got too hot. That's kind of good because this was a great show to be at. Otto's is on 14th in between B and C. It's very easy for me to get to, but it's also relatively easy for a lot of people. It was nice to see a good crowd there for an early Fri show. I think they were bringing people over from the bar as well as people like me who came expressly to see them.

I got there around 7:40. I get the impression they started at 7:30 because they played until they were kicked off the stage a few minutes after 9:00. I know they are great, but I forgot how great they are. It's an avant-garde cover band. They do all covers, but all in their own way. I love that. It blends the familiar with something completely new and different.

They also cross all genres in their cover selections. And, they pick great songs to cover to begin with. At one point they did a Duke Ellington followed by the Bad Brains. Both were awesome.

They always had me moving at least a little, but often had me really dancing to the groove or rocking out to the well-done noise.

These are top-notch musicians. Don Fiorino has various guitars, a banjo, and I think he was playing an electric bass when I walked in. He's really talented and very versatile. He also had that lap guitar. He was playing it with a cocktail glass for a time, before he got someone to go to the bar and put some liquor in it.

Andy Haas plays a curved soprano sax the whole time, with pedals and it works really well. Then there's the drums that usually have me going. It's a great combo with very experience musicians.

They sound different with each song, but it's always a great sound. I still love their first cd, and I'm glad I got to pick up the new one last night.

They really didn't want to leave and after the normal time they'd end they did another 4 songs or so. They ended with a Led Zeppelin cover. By that time, the Otto's people were coming over a lot to tell them it's time to go.

Originally, I was thinking I'd go to Jazz Gallery for the 9pm, but that was so much more my style that there was no way I was pulling myself away.

Ottos had the air blasting and it felt really good in there. I didn't feel too cold until toward the end, but it was barable and I get cold very easily. There's a big bar in the front and then the back is just about music. It's a nice setup. They're playing there again on Mon, 8/18, and it's very much worth checking out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Don Byron Plays Junior Walker 7/17/08

That was awesome! A little too danceable for a place you can't dance in, though. I kept thinking how great it would be to see that in NOLA.

It was really excellent. I'm considering going back while they're still there through Sun.

I decided to go last minute. I was getting things done at home and had planned to go to the drum solos at The Living Theatre. Then, when I glanced at my list of potentials, I noticed David Gilmore and Rudy Royston were in this band. I decided to get up there. I had forgotten Brad Jones and George Colligan were also in it until I got there. Brad was playing the regular electric bass, as opposed to the upright electric bass I saw him with last time at The Stone.

I even loved the singer. For the first song he was kind of chanting. I can't remember who Don Byron said it was, but he said he was being contrarian. He didn't play just Junior Walker.

I have to admit, I didnn't know who Junior Walker was and almost never read the Jazz Standard descriptions ahead of time. I do know when David Gilmore is on the bill it's going to be some kind of grooving jazz. I wouldn't classify last night as jazz, but I guess some would. It was "get down music".

I'm putting the whole description from the Jazz Standard listing below.

I was fully satisfied and since it ended a little before 11, I decided not to go to the drum solos gig after all. I need to save myself for tonight anyway.

Don Byron – tenor saxophone & clarinet
David Gilmore – guitar
George Colligan – Hammond B-3 organ
Brad Jones – bass
Rudy Royston – drums
Dean Bowman – vocals

In December 2005, composer/instrumentalist Don Byron launched a new group dedicated to the music of a true soul legend, the Motown saxophonist and singer Junior Walker (1931-1995). This stellar aggregation recorded and released (in October 2006) Do the Boomerang: The Music of Junior Walker—Don’s sixth album as a leader for Blue Note Records. With its head-turning interpretations of “Shotgun,” “(I’m A) Roadrunner,” and “What Does It Take To Win Your Love,” Don Byron’s Boomerang “is a complete departure even from his other pastiches, which explored music as far afield as klezmer and blaxploitation soundtracks…But Do the Boomerang doesn't set Junior Walker spinning in his grave; if anything, it's got him on the prowl.” (Michael J. West, Washington City Paper)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Improv Night Part II 7/16/08

Yes, I made it to both shows. How could I not? I was also very curious how they do the whole night. Do some artists come late? Do they do any of the same mashups?

Anthony Coleman was now there and we lost the bass clarinet. The mashups were all different. It was also phenomenal.

Before the show, I was talking to a singer in the audience. As we were talking, I got to my usual lamentation about missing Tonic and she told me John Zorn just told her there's a venue opening that is supposed to fill the void. Boy did I perk up. That's all she knew, but I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.

It started off with Coleman and Erlich and of course it was great. I'm so glad Erlich got a chance to shine. In the first gig you could tell he was great and adding a lot but it was nice to get him in a duo.

Then we got a really great band: Zorn, Maoz, Pride, and Blumenkranz.

After that. was a stellar performance with Syllvie, Cyro, and Jeremiah. At one point Cyro brought his shaky thing connected by cord over to the piano and started jamming with Sylvie.

I also should mention that Cyro broke out more percussion stuff for the 2nd show.

Then we got a phenomenal solo performance by Shanir.

The next one is fuzzy, but I think it was Coleman, Pride, and Cymerman.

Then Sylvie, Shanir, and Eyal.

That was nice right before the big jam at the end. Coleman didn't feel like sharing the piano, so he and Sylvie took turns.

Improv Night Part I 7/16/08

Wow! That one may be my favorite so far!

Walking over, I heard a drum kit in Tompkin Square Park and immediately thought "I hope there's a drummer tonight. I hope there's a percussionist, too, and I want it to be Cyro Baptista."

I walk in and I'm told there's no seats but I can have a cushion. I tell him I like to stand. I get out of the way for a musician who just came in and see its Marty Erlich. Cool. I also spot a front row seat, right next to the drum kit. Oh yeah! Then I see Cyro walk by and I visibly get very excited.

I start telling the guy next to me how happy I am when I spot Sylvie Coivossier and practically scream. The guy tells me he has no idea who these ppl are, but I'm getting him excited to find out. I notice Shanir's bass in the corner and a guitar that looks like it might be Eyal Maoz's. Its gonna be a good one!

First up is Sylvie and Zorn. He starts playing in that wierd way for a while and it resulted in him spitting on a few of the people on the floor. Later, he was playing wonderful melodies, still very avant-garde, but it was more what you expect to hear out of a sax. It was fantastic and it just kept getting better as the show went on.

Then we have Cyro, Shanir and Eyal. All I have to say is they should be a band. Cyro started off doing voice percussion and beating his chest for a while. They covered a broad range and it was phenomenal.

Then came the reed section. Marty and Zorn on sax, Jeremiah Cymerman on clarinet, and Micheal Lowenstern, the 2nd half of this month's curator. It was more subdued than the other night (Albert Ayler birthday celebration) and really great.

Then we get Mike Pride, Sylvie, Shanir and I think maybe someone else. I'm a little fuzzy on this one but I know it was great.

I think next was when we had 2 clarinets and a bass clarinet and Cyro. Cyro started out playing the drums on the kit with brooms and boy was it grooving. The whole thing had an African feel to it. There was even one point where it felt like we were in the jungle.

Then it was Sylvie and the bass clarinet and it was really phenomenal. That really showed off the low tones and I loved it.

Then a killer final improv jam with everyone. It really melded nicely.

Yeah, this is the night to see what its like to go to both shows. I'm writing it up on my Blackberry while I enjoy my peach Itea at the little French cafe around the corner.

Eri Yamamoto, William Parker, Daniel Carter @ Cornelia St. 7/15/08

So I've been wanting to see her for ages and now I see her twice in one week. Its never a good idea to miss a William Parker show.

Eri told us she had a dream she was playing with Daniel Carter, William Parker, Hamid Drake and Federico something. She told a music industry person, who was at the show, and he made it happen. Hamid and Federico couldn't make it, but those 3 were good enough for me!

It started with an Eri/Carter duo that was superb. Mellow, but completely engaging and wonderful. Then we got an Eri/Parker duo. The song was called "Subway Music" because she wrote it in the subway. She was quick to tell us it wasn't in the Summer. It was an awesome lively song that I loved.

The rest of the 40 min set was the trio. It was great. It seemed closer to straight ahead than some of their other individual projects. I was really into it. I was pretty content so I decided not to stay for the 2nd set.

Eri Yamamoto, piano; William Parker, bass; Daniel Carter , horns

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Albert Ayler Birthday Celebration 7/13/08

This was a great 3 band gig at The Brecht Forum last Sun for $10.

I got there around 7:45 and was able to get the last 1/2 hour of the Ras Moshe ensemble. I have seen them before, but they are great. It's improvised, so it's always different. I love the 2 double bass players, Todd Nicholson and Tom Zlabinger. Dave Ross was great on guitar. He was strumming the strings with his hand in quite different positions from the usual. It looked like much harder, more conducive to carpel tunnel, and it sounded great. It fit in well with the improvising. He and Ras were also in the last band, which was a tribute ensemble. Larry Roland came up to the mic at some point and read one of his poems, that I thought was great. I was also blown away by how much his voice sounds like Albert Ayler. I really felt Ayler's presence simply because of that.

The first 2 sets didn't sound like Ayler's music per se, but as we were told at the start of Matt Lavelle/Eri Yamamoto/Clif Jackson, he's in there. They were all heavily influenced by Ayler among all the other avant-garde greats. That was my first time seeing Eri even though I've been trying for years. I don't know if she still has that early trio gig every Thurs, Fri, and Sat at Arthur's Tavern, but it was kind of ridiculous I never got there. She's great. I thought she added a lot and wasn't showy at all. Clif Jackson is another good upright player. This music seemed a little more mellow, but very enjoyable.

The Albert Ayler Tribute Band was phenomenal. Ras Moshe, Sabir Mateen, Daniel Carter, and Joe Rigby each had their own alto, tenor and flute. In addition, Ras had this cool instrument you blow through that looked a little like a kazoo. The sound reminded me of William Parker's Chinese reeds but a little different. Sabir had a piccolo, Carter had his trumpet, and Rigby had a soprano. That was 16 wind instruments between the 4 of them. Larry Roland was back on one of those skinny stand-up basses. He also read a poem at one point. There was also another poet that read a couple during the performance, I think his name is Rashid Bakr (Charles Downs), I'm not sure what that means. We also had Dave Ross back playing the interesting guitar.

That set started with a poem by Rashid and the 4 had their flutes. Mateen quickly switched to the piccolo. Carter would start picking up his trumpet and some of them would pick up a sax and maybe go back to the flute for a bit. Then things started taking off after the poem. Once they got going on the saxophones they each picked up their own Ayler vibe and it got quite interesting. Cacophonous is the word that comes to mind. At times each of them were playing different Ayler pieces from different periods. It was kind of loud but really fun. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that. We did get another of Roland's poems toward the end and that was nice.

There were lots of options on Sun and I'm glad I chose that!

played in celebration of master Albert Aylers birthday
at 7pm the Ras Moshe ensemble
at 8pm ill be bringing a new set of tunes to play
with Eri Yamamoto (piano) and Clif Jackson (bass).
at 9pm,..Sabir Mateen, Daniel Carter, Joe Rigby and Ras Moshe
give it up to master ALBERT.
"if they dont like it now,.they will..."
the brecht forum is at 451 west st.
take any train to w14th and head west.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Encounters at the End of the World 7/12/08

I had a big day and didn't really feel like doing anything Sat night. I then decided to just go down to WFC for the 8pm Latin Jazz. I got there, saw a singer, and thought "uggh". She wasn't up to my ridiculously high standards I set for singers, so I left. I was walking up the west side and found myself at Film Forum. I decided it meant I wanted to see Encounters at the End of the World that DMG keeps hyping.

It was pretty good. Very enjoyable. There was definitely some beauty, but I don't think it was quite as beautiful as the hype. I had read the whole overview at Film Forum before getting a ticket. I'm glad I saw it.

There was some good guitar playing in the background at parts. The other musical thing I enjoyed was the sounds the sea lions make underwater. It sounds kind of sonic. I'm not sure if that is the right word, but that's what comes to mind. A person in the film called it "Pink Floyd" something. That was cool.

There are some interesting and different people living in Antarctica! Lots of scientists and world travelers and just some unique people. The narration, which I think was Werner Herzog was great, funny, and made the film really good.

Theo Croker + Schoenbeck/Eisentadt 7/11/08

Another great night at the Rubin Museum. Just some good old Nawlins influenced straight ahead jazz. I also just found out I won the raffle for 2 free tix to a show of my choice. They seem to have one after every show. You fill out a card with a little bit of info and they do this raffle.

I went because I wanted to see Wycliffe Gordon. He officially went on my radar after that Fats celebration last winter. I'd seen him in the listings often before that, but hadn't had the inclination to get there until after that show. He did not disappoint. Neither did any of the other guys. They were all phenomenal.

Harlem in the Himalayas: The Theo Croker Quartet featuring Wycliffe Gordon;$18 in advance/$20 on the day of
Date: Friday, July 11, 2008
Start Time: 7:00 pm End Time: 9:00 pm
Wycliffe Gordon, trombone
Theo Croker, trumpet
Sullivan Fortner, piano
Chris Mees, bass
Kassa Overall, drums
$18 in advance / $20 day o

I still had another show in me, and with no preconceived notions, that can only mean one thing, The Stone. I couldn't remember who was playing, but that really doesn't matter with The Stone. I was happy when I walked in to see the bassoon player from the last improv night and a drummer. Stellar! We all loved it so much they gave us an encore, in spite of their difficulties dealing with the heat. It wasn't that hot for The Stone.

Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon) Harris Eisentadt (drums)
Saris plays their own compositions and pieces by some of their favorite composers.

A great night on a semi-slow music weekend

Monday, July 14, 2008

Steven Bernstein @ The Living Theatre 7/10/08

That was awesome. As we know, I really miss Tonic. I especially miss Tonic most of all because it left a huge void in Steven Bernstein shows. He said that was about to change as he misses us, too. I’m glad to see that’s starting to happen, and MTO has a gig at Drom at the end of the month.

He seemed especially happy to be in Manhattan the other night. He was full of fun stories and talked a lot before each song. The show went on for about 1.5 hours before they asked them to stop because it was getting late. I think he would have continued for a bit longer if he had unlimited time.

This was a great lineup: Bernstein, Krauss, Rojas, and Black. It was awesome. It was like SexMob, but maybe a little more on the free side. Or, maybe SexMob when they are a little more on the free side. There was plenty of lively get down grooving in the show as well. I know because I saw some heads bopping in the seated section.

There’s one song on the grammy-nominated cd that Jim Black plays on. Steven told us the story, which I can’t quite remember. It involved someone asking him to make the song more danceable, and the way he wrote it, it wasn’t a job for Kenny. So, he asked Jim to play that song. This was the only time they ever performed it live and it was awesome! Afterwards, he said there is no reason to ever play it live again. I have a feeling if he ever gets Black and Krauss on stage again, he might give it another try someday. Still, I felt like he was making this one a little more special for us, in honor of being back in Manhattan for the 1st time in too long.

Marcus Rojas was awesome on the tuba as usual. Sometimes he held down the bassline and at others he really stretched out. He was mainly taking the bass part, though. It was nice to have him there.

He also told us he changed the name of Sex Mob to SexMob. He said they don’t need the space anymore.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Mastersounds @ Temptress 7/9/08

I really needed a funky get down show and I haven't been on the boat in a while, so this show was a no-brainer. It was a lot of fun and the music was great. They barely have any vocals and music is tight. There's no demanded audience participation, everyone is into it, and it really gets you moving. Their repetoire is a wide variety of different types of funk.

It was also nice that we didn't get the big storms they were forecasting, it was a very nice night. I saw 2 of the waterfalls in the East River, and they were pretty lame. Water falling down on scafolding. Falling down kind of slowly, and it really didn't do much for me. It seemed like a waste of money and resources. I mean, it's already nice to ride around NYC Harbor on a boat, I don't think people really need more of an incentive.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Turkish Jazz @ Drom 7/8/08

I saw this piano solo last night that was really good. I was engaged the whole 20 min set, and I enjoyed it a lot. He had a friend do a piece in the middle of his set. His friend seemed to be more a classical pianist while this guy was more of a jazz pianist. At least that's the impression I got, but I don't think I can really tell the difference. The jazz guy was more lively and played the keys a little "lighter" than the other guy.

This is from Drom's website:

Hailing from Istanbul, Turkey, Burak Akten’s interest in music goes back to his first love, the piano. Although his academic and professional background lies in management and engineering practices, he has been a long time student of classical music. Akten gradually began showing interest in different forms of contemporary music when he was 18, which led him to work with a diverse group of producers and DJs experimenting with new sounds. His skillful piano playing and unique compositions earned him the Best Musician Award at “The Roxy Music Days,” in Istanbul in 1998, then a well-respected competition for up and coming artists in Turkey. During this time he advanced his skills in the studio working at a music production house and producing music for commercials and jingles.

In 2000, he moved to the US to attend the prestigious University of New Orleans, where he found the opportunity to work with jazz music’s finest instructors and directors at jazz music’s birthplace.

Burak Akten’s performance tonight will combine his own interpretation of the folkloric music of Turkey mixed into a rare blend of classical, contemporary jazz and Turkish fourth harmonic structures that feature "aksak" and irregular rhythms. The program consists of his own compositions as well as well-known Turkish melodies.

I wanted to stay for a little of the next band. The problem was that the pianist had a lot of friends there and once his set was over some of his friends stayed at the bar talking pretty loudly. That place has great sound with high ceilings, so the talking sounded like a roar. I have a feeling it was affecting the band's playing as I couldn't get into it. Although, I also didn't give it much of a chance. After maybe 5 minutes I decided to leave. I just wasn't in the mood to strain to listen or to wait around for them to realize how disruptive they were being or the music to take over enough to captivate me. I do want to check them out sometime as they had an interesting setup and were more electric than a typical jazzband.

Born in Turkey, Timucin Sahin moved to the Netherlands in 1992 and studied jazz guitar at the Hilversum and Amsterdam Conservatories. He later earned a bachelors degree in classical composition at Amsterdam Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music New York. He has been commissioned by and has composed for respected chamber music ensembles and performers, including the Amsterdam Percussion Group, Jorge Isaac, new contemporary music ensemble and many others. His fascination with a wide variety of musical styles and traditions from, inter alia, jazz to western contemporary music and from African to Indian music, provides him with a rich background from which to deepen, enrich and inspire his own creative processes.

"With a voracious musical appetite that includes African, Indian and more traditional western jazz and contemporary classical music, Sahin has fashioned a sound that is an intriguing blend." All About Jazz

Official Site

Monday, July 7, 2008

Kaoru Watanabe, Tatsuya Nakatani and Adam Rudolph @ The Stone 7/6/08

This was awesome. I’m always up for Adam Rudolph, I’ve seen him many times and he never disappoints. I didn’t know the other 2, but they were great. Adam had 3 congas, a djembe, and the bass drum from the kit. He also had a few other little percussion things and an interesting horn that looked like it was from The Flintstones. Nakatani had a very interesting setup. A few drums from the kit, which he did play a little. He was really mainly using them in conjunction with whatever he put on top of them: various cymbals and lots of other type of metal things. He also had a large gong. He was fascinating to watch. Watanabe had about 6 flutes and they were really cool. I was so into the percussion I didn’t really take note of the differences in the flutes. It was a lot of frequencies and different sounds. It was great.

Kaoru Watanabe, Tatsuya Nakatani and Adam RudolphKaoru Watanabe (western and Japanese traverse flutes) Tatsuya Nakatani (percussion) Adam Rudolph (percussion)Kaoru, former principle flutist and artistic director of Japan's acclaimed taiko ensemble KODO, performing improvisations inspired by the musical landscapes of the Kabuki theater, Gagaku, and Noh with two master percussionists Tatsuya and Adam Rudolph.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mark Deutsch/JD Parran + Club d'Elf 7/4/08

I usually like to go to Montreal jazzfest around this time, but I have a wedding to go to today, so I decided to skip it entirely. I only stayed here once for 4th of July in the past several years. I'm glad there were more music options than the last time 2 years ago. I saw the fireworks that year from my friend's roof, which was nice, but I get kind of bored with fireworks. It was nice to take it easy and it was nice that it seemed more people stayed in town this year. The music last night was really awesome and I saved a ton of money not going to Montreal.

I was very intrigued to find out what a bazantar is. I got the seat up front and was able to really look at it before the show. It was a big bass that was enhanced with more strings on the side and lots of those things you turn to tighten and loosen strings. Here's some specifics.

JD Parran's set up looked pretty interesting as well. It was a little different contrabass clarinet than I saw Lucien Dubuis playing last month at Drom. I think Parran said it was a contrabass clarinet in E-Flat. He also had a lot of interesting African flutes and mbiras and some percussion shaky things.

I was really intrigued by the bazantar at first. He could just play it like a bass for a bit and sometimes there was a drone. It took me a bit to figure out what that Indian sound reminded me of. I realized the bazantar was somewhat like a combination bass and sitar.

I also love any kind of bass clarinet and the whole thing was awesome. That hour went very very quickly because it was so good. I've got to try to get to The Stone as much as I can the next 2 weeks. There's a different curator for the 2nd half of the month, who's schedule looks pretty good. I'm just very interested in exploring this area a little more. So far, it looks like music based in some math principles and very into frequencies and music that intentionally affects humans in deep ways.

Mark Deutsch and JD Parran Duo
Mark Deutsch (bazantar, banjo) JD Parran (contrabass clarinet, bamboo flutes, mbiras)
Performing and composing together for almost a decade, this duo delivers unabashed and beautiful continuity of time and timbre.

I then needed to go home and have a cup of tea before Club d'Elf at Crash Mansion. The fireworks started while I was going home and they seemed pretty close. I could see some of them, and I heard a sax and a lot of people in Tompkins Square Park. I do have to admit I get bored with fireworks after a while. I wanted my cup of tea more. It was perfect.

There were only about 30 people or so at Crash Mansion. I got the last few songs of Paradigm. They were good, but way way too loud. It was also very cold in there. I stood as far away as I could to still see. My ears hurt a little from how loud it was. I think if it wasn't so loud, I would have been more into it and it would have had me dancing. But, I could only move my head a little. I was moving more in my chair at the avant-garde stuff at The Stone earlier. The guitar player was very good. The one thing about the loudness was that you couldn't hear the talkers. I only noticed them when the band stopped to introduce.

I was glad when Club d'Elf came on it was a reasonable volume. Out of the 30 or so people, there were about 10 talkers. It seemed like most of them friends of the band or from the previous band. It seems that's the way it is often. They could get kind of loud with the talking at times. Everyone was sitting around the perimeter at the tables except for me. I moved closer to the band and was able to drown out the talking as much as I could. They had me so into it and grooving that I could forget the talking a lot.

They are always excellent. Even though they tend to play a lot of the same material, it's always fresh and different every time I see them. This was a different combination that I've seen. They are on a mini-tour and it seemed like maybe it was the Boston guys playing this time. I'm just remembering now that they alluded to the possibility of Calvin Weston sitting in. He wasn't there, but they didn't need anything extra.

It's too bad more people don't know about this. They should get much more of a turnout. It's also too bad that in NYC people always want to sit. It's not a sit down kind of band. I'm told when they play at Lizard Lounge in Boston everybody's dancing. I know I can dance to everything, but this really is get-down music that a lot of people would dance to. I think the only reason they don't in NYC is because when there's seats, New Yorkers sit. Even when there aren't enough seats, they tend to sit on the floor. It's weird.

Anyway, it was definitely worthwhile to stay in town for last night.

w/ Paradigm ( d'Elf: Mat Maneri (elec viola), Paul Schultheis (keyboards), Mike Rivard (bass & sintir) & Dean Johnston (drums)

Satoko Fujii Min-Yoh @ Roulette 7/3/08

This just looked like something I would like. I hadn't realized that I once saw her big, big orchestra at The Stone a few years ago. That was really awesome and the musicians took up more space than the audience. It was a hot day, and most of the audience was friends of one of the band members. Fujii played the piano a little bit in that show and she was great. It seems worthwhile to always have an eye out for her projects. I'll also have to look for her and the trumpet player if I ever get to Japan.

She started by standing at the piano and playing the strings in creative ways I've never seen before. It had such a big sound. I was reminded of Edmar Castenada and Anthony Coleman. It was way more than a cross between those 2,though. I think after that she sat and played the keys for the rest of the show.

This was an all-star lineup and everybody shined. The trumpet came from Japan and I see why she wanted to bring him and not get someone around here. I mean, we have a lot of great trumpet players, too, but this guy was really excellent.

She said that growing up in Japan, they didn't listen to much Japanese music. That seems to be changing, but in her school days, there was very little interest. She started getting interested recently. This project is formed around old Japanese folk music from 300 or 400 years ago. She knows some people have started exploring this, but they've used traditional Japanese instruments. She knew that didn't work and so she put together this ensemble. She tried to describe what effect this project had on her, which sounded immense. Unfortunately, she couldn't express it in English.

It had to be a lot more modern than the traditional. I mean just by having Andrea Parkins there with all of her pedals and wires, it's going to be more modern in an avant-garde kind of way. I also loved when she just played the squeeze part of the accordion, which made a wind-like sound. People do that with the trumpet sometimes, but it was better with the accordion.

The whole thing was stellar and I know I didn't want it to end.

Natsuki Tamura - trumpet
Curtis Hasselbring - trombone
Andrea Parkins - accordion
Satoko Fujii - piano, vocal
JULY 3rd, 8:30pm

Friday, July 4, 2008

Ches Smith's Congs for Brums + Catherine Sikora Trio 7/2/08

Yes, there were 2 more bands in my already awesome night. The next batch of RUCMA gigs are all during the week, which is going to make it more of a challenge. I had the 3rd off, so this was no problem.

I only saw Congs for Brums once before. Ches played the vibe that time as well. This time, he left them at home and just brought the kit and many various percussion thing. It was a 1/2 hour set, so he probably just played the drum songs from this cd. I've wanted to get it for a while, but haven't gotten around to it yet. It was excellent and I could probably see that many times.

I've seen Catherine Sikora before at Galapagos for the This is Our Music series in May. She was in Matt Lavelle's tenor tree and I remember she was great (all of them were). They couldn't get a working amp for the bass so this set was all acoustic. It was about 45 minutes or so and great. All 3 of them were great and blended together really nicely. A good way to cap off my phenomenal evening.

10:30PM - Ches Smith's Congs for Brums:
Ches Smith (drums, vibraphone)
11:15PM – Catherine Sikora Trio:
Catherine Sikora (saxophones)
Francois Grillot (bass)
Bob Hubbard (drums)

Uri Caine Trio @ Village Vanguard 7/2/08

I had stopped by Highline last weekend and got a ticket for the thing with Marc Ribot. It was before I realized the main guy is an Italian singer and it looks like very into "performing". I forgot to check, remembering how I didn't like Aukyton. When I first realized it I thought I could still stop by and check it out, but then I read the listing in The New Yorker and knew it was highly unlikely this show would be my thing. I didn't run into anyone I thought might want the ticket and decided to hit the Vanguard instead, so it went to waste.

I didn't think it would be hard to get into the Uri Caine show at 9pm based on past experiences. I was able to get the front row center awesome seat. I never get that seat, it just worked out. All I have to say is it is worthwhile to get there very early to get that seat. It is better than everywhere else in the place.

I was also thrilled to have Ben Perowsky there. I love him and knew it was unlikely it would be super-mellow like the last time I saw a Uri Caine Trio at the Vanguard. That night a few years ago was great, but I was too tired for that mellow a show.

This show was definitely lively, great jazz. Drew Gress on bass was great as well. There was an awesome drum solo toward the end. The music covered a lot of territory. It got funky at times, more jazzy at times, it was all great.

I think they played for a little over an hour. It was a very pleasant hour and I'm so glad I decided to bail on the Highline show.

Drew Gress-b, Ben Perowsky-d

Edmar CastaƱeda Trio @ Jazz Standard 7/2/08

I had this show as a must see for this week. I mean, Castaneda in any form is great, add Jazz Standard, and a trio with drums and trombone and I will do what I can to not miss it.

I can't describe how thrilled I was just seeing the drum setup when I got there. I think there were 5 triangles, some different bells around, lots of chimes, the regular kit, and a hand drum or 2. During the show, the drummer kept pulling out more percussion stuff. It was great.

The trombone was phenomenal. I think that was a great choice. It looks like this is his regular trio and I love the combination he chose.

Edmar was great as usual. I am amazed at his playing and all the different sounds. I kept thinking about the inside of the piano and how similar it might be.

I particularly like this quote that I think was from a press article, that is in the Jazz Standard listing:
"He’s practically a one-man orchestra, the Hendrix—or at least the Charlie Hunter—of the harp, linking a train of complex and richly textured sound to a locomotive of hot pan-American rhythm"

I do wish we would see him in other people's bands as well. I tend to only see him listed with his own projects. I think he would fit in as a side man in many different guises. He would be great in a Herbie Hancock project, or Paul Motion or a thousand others.

Edmar Castaneda – Colombian harp
Marshall Gilkes – trombone
David Silliman – drums

Thursday, July 3, 2008

This is Our Music Series: July

Nice, this great series is moving to Manhattan and is now part of the RUCMA events. It's at Clemente Soto Valez, but there shouldn't be the ventilation issues that we suffered through at Vision Fest. A lot of that was due to the large crowds. Brad said they aren't playing in that theatre, but right in the area where you walk in downstairs. It should be good.

RUCMA Presents "This is Our Music"
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 @ 8:00pm - RUCMA presents…"This Is Our Music" Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center / 107 Suffolk St. (bet. Rivington + Delancey), New York, NY
F to 2nd Ave or Delancey
Doors at 7:30PM, Show at 8PM, $10/$7 for students and seniors
July, 9 2008 at Knucklebean, James Carney and Mike Gamble @ Clemente Soto Velez
107 Suffolk Street between Delancey and Rivington, New York, New York
Cost : $10
8PM – James Carney Group: James Carney (electric piano, compositions), John
Hebert (bass), Ches Smith (drums)
9PM – Knucklebean: Ben Syversen (trumpet), Kevin Moehringer (trombone), Matt Thomas (saxophones), Matt Silberman (saxophones), Brad Farberman (guitar), Adam Minkoff (bass), Nick Anderson (drums)
10PM – The Inbetweens: Mike Gamble (guitar), Noah Jarrett (bass), Conor
Elmes (drums)

Rashu Aten: Sacred Healing Gongs @ The Stone 7/1/08

This was different. On my Italy trip last year, we were treated to some gongs outside on the last night. It was pretty cool. That night, Massimo had lots of gongs and singing bowls placed in an area and he moved around a lot holding them and playing them.

The other night at The Stone, Rashu had an instrument he created with 8 gongs in half and octave hanging together on 3 horizontal metal poles. He played about 4 or 5 songs with titles. It reminded me of some of the percussion drummers use, like cymbals and other metal. I liked how it sounded. The crowd was a little different from the usual Stone crowd. They were more the spiritual healing crowd than the music crowd. Rashu did tell us a lot about the healing power. He also told us how he got into gongs in the first place. He also told us a little about what he learned from his musician friends. One song was dedicated to Lester Bowie, who was a friend of his.

Rashu Aten: Sacred Healing Gongs, CD release from St. Louis
Rashu Aten (gongs)
Rashu plays 8 mounted, chinese gongs chosen for their sound relationships. His instrument “glows and shimmers with a hypnotic repeating wave, pure and cosmic vibrations emanate from the center” (DMG) as he lays serenity on this 2 week series.