This was the annual year-end Improv Night and they try to make it a little more special. I keep saying I want to get there early, but again I got there at 9:55 and they were already on and it was already pretty crowded. After about 8 more people, they declared it sold out. It was very hot, but it's only an hour and the music helps me forget the heat and stuffiness.
There were so many people, many of them only appeared once. I just couldn't get going in time for the 8pm show, I'm sure that was great as well. They couldn't do the grand finale with everyone at the end. There wasn't enough room. There were lots of people on the floor up front.
When I got there, Sylvie Courvoissier and a clarinet player were on. It was such a nice pairing of instruments. It sounded great and set a nice tone for the evening.
Next, it was Mark Feldman, Shanir Blumenkranz, a drummer, and then someone got Sylvie to stay up. It was awesome. Later, I heard Zorn refer to the drummer as "Jerry". When I googled "Jerry, drums, Tzadik", I get Gerry Hemmingway, which looks like it might be him.
Then John Zorn, Ikue Mori, and Eyal Maoz come up. Zorn suddenly sees Craig Taborn is about to go downstairs, so he asked him to stay up. I got the feeling he just got there, so he wasn't there for the first set. He curated January, and it looks fabulous. I'll be gone for 2 weeks in the middle, but I have every set I'm in town on my list of potentials. It was a wonderful combination of musicians and I loved the music.
Then I got really excited when I saw Billy Martin come up. He did an incredible duo with an alto I don't know. I was kind of glad to be stuck in the back so I could move a little more than if I was sitting.
Craig Taborn and Okyuung Lee did a beautiful piece. Feldman had set me up to be in "string mode" earlier, so I was so glad to get some more.
The next piece was by far my very favorite: Billy Martin, Ikue Mori, Cyro Baptista, and Chikako Iwahori, the Tap Dancer in Beat the Donkey. Cyro played the barimbau, and I remembered that I've seen him play it a number of times. I noticed it more the other night at the Billy Martin solo, probably because he had more energy on it since it was so new for him. For this piece, Billy was on the kit, but still played some percussion and Cyro did his percussion thing standing next to Billy. Chikako was standing back by Ikue for a while and then danced sitting in a chair for a bit. She got up again toward the end. It was a tight space.
It was 10:56, and Zorn came up with some people and said "all right, one more". It was Gerry's idea. It was Zorn, Gerry, Sylvie, and Shanir. A very nice way to go out for the last Improv Night of the year.