Wednesday, April 30, 2008

John Zorn's Cobra + Text of Light 4/29/08

I had to get some experimental in before I get to some regular awesome music at jazzfest. I was in quite a different world tonight.

Right before they started playing at Roulette, some of the musicians were tuning up for a few moments at the same time. It already sounded excellent and I knew I was in for a special treat. I'm so glad I thought to make a reservation as most or all of the people seemed to have one. There were lots of seats, but there were also several people standing, kind of like at the ABB shows at The Beacon. There were probably 100+ people there.

It was a benefit for Roulette, which has existed for 30 years. Zorn debuted Cobra in 1984 there. I knew it was some kind of game, and expected lots of improvising, but that was about all I knew. Oh, I also knew that all of the artists were great great musicians who've been AROUND the block in the improvising realm.

It was really cool. It reminded me of Butch Morris, but the musicians were leading a lot of the calls. They would raise their hands and if Zorn acknowledged them, they could give the signals for what they wanted to happen. It was all improvised, just the structure was somehow directed. There were also many times where one of them would put on a headband and then start playing. Zorn would put on a hat every time, and then take it off to signal that the headband-wearer was supposed to stop playing and take off the headband.

It was wild and a lot of fun to watch. It also sounded excellent. There were times where he would keep pointing around the room and everyone would play something for just a moment. I can't describe it that well, but it was really cool.

I had to do some surfing on this, and here's some stuff I came up with:

The artists:
John Zorn
Zeena Parkins
Jim Staley
Ikue Mori
Sylvie Courvoisier
Mark Feldman
Okkyung Lee
David Watson
David Weinstein
Shanir Blumenkranz
Kenny Wolleson
Eyal Maoz
Annie Gosfield

I definitely have to see more of Zeena Parkins. I see her listed at The Stone a lot, but hadn't seen her play until tonight.

I wanted something else after that. It was over at about 9:20. That means I have just enough time to walk over to The Stone for the 10pm show, whatever that is. I took my time, even stopping at McNally Robinson, this awesome bookstore on Prince St. I'm starting to plan a trip to Germany, and especially Berlin. I thought "maybe they have a good book on Berlin". I couldn't believe it when I noticed a display with several books on Berlin, sitting there waiting for me. My intuition was in full swing!

I made it to The Stone right at 10, and there were people in line waiting for them to open the doors. Not a lot of people, but it was still wierd. I decided I wanted to be surprised and didn't ask who was playing. I must admit I was a little worried because it seemed the people attending were mainly young hipsters. What was I in for? I walked in and paid my $10, sat in my usual front row center seat, and noticed a screen and projector set up. Uh oh, what was I in for? I felt a little better when I saw 2 electric guitars plugged in. There was also a turntable/dj setup. Hmm.

They came up from downstairs around 10:15. It was DJ Olive and 2 very different guitar players and old, like 1929-1940 experimental films. It reminded me of Space during a Greatful Dead show, only spacier. These guys were playing guitars with bows and sticks and holding them up to the amp. And, I was into it. Not out of my mind into it, but I wasn't bored and was interested in seeing what was on the screen or watching what the musicans were doing. It was very mellow, though and I also felt like sleeping. I think one guy did fall asleep. It was interesting and very different.

10 pm
Text of Light
DJ Olive (turntables) Lee Ranaldo, Alan Licht (guitar)
With projections of early experimental films

Yeah, I'm ready for some good old funky music and whatever else I run into for the next few days!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

AAJ Resources for Musicians

I'm not sure how I got on this mailing list, but it looks like good info to pass on to musicians. The more who use it, the better the resource will be. I love AAJ and read it religiously every month. I do use the on-line calendar tool sometimes to find shows. I'm hoping more people will enter their gigs on it. Please pass this on to anyone you think might be interested.

Dear Fellow Musicians:

All About Jazz continues to develop free tools and services geared for
jazz musicians. You may find other great services out there (like
MySpace), but none are committed to jazz and jazz musicians like AAJ.
Please support out efforts by spreading the word about our offerings.

Our new (free) calendar service is a time-saving tool that will help you
deliver your concert schedule around the web. Our new advertising
service allows you to promote your live dates to local AAJ readers. Read
on for the details...

1. Let AAJ Power Your Gig Calendar - Free!
2. Promote Your Concerts Locally at AAJ
3. Promote Your Music with "Download of the Day"
4. Link to Your New AAJ URL
5. Add YouTube Tags to your Profile
6. Add Your SonicBids and MySpace URLs to your Profile
7. Musician Profile Tips

Thanks for reading!
Michael Ricci
All About Jazz

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bill Frisell Quintet @ Village Vanguard 4/26/08

Back to the Vanguard last night for another phenomenal set of music. It was excellent! I loved how they face each other and are really into it. It's definitely more like they are playing for themselves and we are lucky enough to be invited.

It was so nice to see Tony Sherr on the bass again. It seems it's few and far between lately. He was really into it and a lot of fun to watch. He is a really great player.

I loved the drummer. I think this was my first time seeing him.

It was very lively. I also love how they don't take breaks in between songs. They do let me dance there, but it was too crowded to do so last night. I simply moved around a lot in my seat and enjoyed watching everything I could in such tight quarters.

He mixes up a lot of different genres, but it all seems to come back to jazz in some way. The last song was especially riveting and really made me want to get up. It was an arrangement of that Dizzy Gillespe song. The one where people would say "salt peanuts" often. There were no vocals whatsoever, which I love.

The next set was sold out, so there was no chance of staying. I just got lucky the week before, probably due to passover.

Apr 22 - Apr 27
Second Week!
Chris Cheek-sax, Ron Miles-tpt,
Tony Scherr-b, Rudy Royston-d

It was great and very satisfying. I had some friends with me, and when we parted I considered heading over to Banjo Jim's for Brooklyn Funk Essentials. But, it was getting chilly. I stopped at home and then decided I was satiated and could be happy making it an early night.

Scott Amendola Band + Bill Cole Ensemble 4/25/08

I finally got to see Scott Amendola Band. There was only 1 set, at 7:30 and I knew I had to be there. It was awesome. Very grooving, made me sorry they won't let you dance there. I was pretty tired, but the music definitely woke me up.

Jenny Scheinman and Nels Cline were both amazing and the stars of the show. The special guest was Charlie Hunter. I should have known when it said guitar, bass. I was glad to see him because I prefer seeing him in different guises. I'm just a little sick of his trio. Even though he changes up the people, it seems like the same thing. I am impressed with Amandola and his music and will definitely keep an eye out for him in the future.

Scott Amendola Band [7:30 pm]
Nels Cline guitar - electronics
Jenny Scheinman - violin
Scott Amendola - drums, electronics
Very Special Guest - electric guitar, bass

Then I went on to something even more amazing. It was one of those very special avant-garde treats, for only $10 at the Brecht Forum. I got to sit up front, right in front of Bill Cole and Billy Bang, which was awesome.

This was an allstar lineup. I had only seen William Parker and Billy Bang before. They are both stellar and amazing, so I knew it would be good. Good is quite the understatement. That show is still lingering today.

It was a Neues Kabarett production. They said they are going on hiatus for a few months. They somehow get grants and then commission great artists to do whatever they want. Actually, it looks like most of the grants come from NY state. Awesome! Tax dollars going somewhere worthwhile!

I really hope I can see this again. I'm hoping they will do it at Vision Fest, it seems like a great forum for it.

Here's something about this ensemble, although the people were a little different. No Cooper-Moore, for one thing.

It started with Bill Cole playing the Didjeridu, which sounded amazing. In addition to William Parker, there was another great bassist, Shayna Dulberger. She was equally amazing. It was also fun to watch her. She's not as tall as many upright players, and she's able to groove and move around to the music than most.

2 bassists and 2 drummers. That always gets my attention! Warren Smith was also fun to watch and was really happy to be there. He played vibes and xylaphone at times as well. He was awesome. Atticus Cole added a lot with his 3 congas, djembe, cymbal, and windchime looking things.

The tuba was beautiful. Actually, he had a tuba and smaller looking tuba, which I think is called a euphonium.

Billy Bang was my 2nd amazing violinist of the evening. He's right up there with all the greats, possibly surpassing all of them. I only saw him once before. It was when Tonic was still opened, but it was presented by Tonic somewhere else. I always thought it was the Abrons Art Center, but now that I've been there more recently, I don't think so. It was a great venue in the East Village or Lower East Side. You went into the building, up the stairs, and paid. Then you walked through a crowded large room with art and out the back door. Then down the staircase into a beautiful amphiteatre with lots of chairs and plants. His ensemble played out side and I was able to dance in the back and it was amazing. I always wanted to see him again, but it hadn't worked out until the other night. He blew me away again.

They did 3 long pieces, which were all stellar. The last one, was a Persian song that was proposed by Warren Smith. Parker played that reed instrument he sometimes does and Shayna held down the bassline. It was wonderful and that's what is still lingering in my head. It had a very interesting drum beat, kind of like a military cadence. Then the melody was repetitive, but awesome. They played that melody over and over in different ways. Sometimes the reeds, violin, and euphonium all played together, sometimes duets or trios, sometimes solos. There was also an awesome bass solo, an awesome drum solo, and an awesome violin solo.

Just amazing and I will definitely keep a lookout for that again.

Friday, April 25
9:00 pm
Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble
World Premiere Brecht Forum Commission
Featuring Bill Cole with Billy Bang, Atticus Cole, Joe Daley, Shayna Dulberger, William Parker & Warren Smith

Some more intersting info and old reviews:

Russo Russo Russo @ Piano's 4/24/08

I am so glad I made it to Piano's in time for the end of A Big Yes And A Small No. I was completely blown away. I mean I was gone in euphoria for most of that last song. It helped me realize that what I saw at Highline for the Scotty Hard benefit wasn't as great as they could be. I do admit I don't like their singing. I would really prefer if they had no singing. Still, I was blown away regardless.

The rest of the night was great, but it never got to that level. I love those Russo Russo Russo nights, where Joe Russo plays with all the bands. I don't know how he does it, there wasn't much of a set break for any of the bands. He sang for a song in the American Babies set, and he's pretty good. I was surprised.

I did enjoy American Babies, but I think I liked what they did at Highline at the Scotty Hard benefit a little more. I do want to see more of them, I have a feeling they grow on you. Metzger played with them, I'm not sure if he's usually in that or not. He was great and it's been a while since I saw him.

Ginger & Friends included Joe Russo, Scott Metzger, Eddie the door guy from Tribeca Rock Club, a viola, another guitar, and I think someone else in addition to Ginger. It was great loud rock. The only problem was that after each song, Ginger talked for at least 5 minutes. He was funny most of the time, but I'm a purist. I want continuous music and like it when there's room for spontaneous improvised jams. I stayed for about 3 or 4 songs and then decided that was enough great music for a night.

Ches Smith & These Arches @ The Stone 4/24/08

I started at The Stone for an excellent band, Ches Smith and These Arches. I am so impressed they actually came up with this mixture of great artists. The songs were all composed by Ches and were each unique and different.

Toward the end, I was wondering if he wrote the compositions with these particular artists in mind. Their own unique styles really came out in each piece. I also started wondering about Todd Sickafoose's Blood Orange. It's the same music, but fresh and different each time. It's because it's always a different group of artists.

At the very end, Andrea Parkins commented to the other musicians that they all created something. That helped me get part of my answer, in that they each brought their own unique style to it.

It was really great and I hope they do it again. I found myself caught up in a different player for a moment, and then switching over to someone else. It all sounded great.

4/24 Thursday (JC)
8 pm
Ches Smith and These Arches
Tony Malaby (saxophone), Andrea Parkins (accordion, electronics), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Ches Smith (drums)

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's possble to reserve John Zorn 4/29

There is an upcoming benefit concert at Roulette next Tues. John Zorn's Cobra $20. I just called and made a no obligation reservation.

Yeah No @ The Stone + some odds and ends 4/20/08

I tried to go to Peter Brontzman and Han Bennink at Roulette. Now, I do know that it’s a good idea whenever possible to double-check to make sure the show is going on before venturing out, regardless of whether I have a ticket or not. All kinds of things can happen, and I could be mixed up about the date/time or something. I didn’t do it last night and arrived about 7:45 to an empty Roulette. I figured I got mixed up. Well, I was ready for some music, and that means head up to The Stone for the 8pm set, whatever it is. I got there just in time, and it was packed. When I can’t sit up right up front, I prefer standing so I can see better and so I can move a little.

Oh my, was that amazing. Everyone thought so. The applause were so long and meaningful, we even got an unplanned encore. Then, another round of major applause. It was one of those “I’m so glad to be alive in NYC” moments. Just stellar avant-garde. Only a little out there at times. Incredible.

Yeah No
Jim Black (drums) Cuong Vu (trumpet) Skuli Sverrisson (bass) Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet) Ted Reichman (red accordion)

I did later see that the Roulette gig moved to Clemente Soto Valez at 7pm instead of 8. Oh well, it’s OK since I got something else that was truly great and special.

I did go over to Sullivan Hall later for Surprise Me Mr. Davis, which is The Slip with Nathan Moore. I’ve just really wanted to see The Slip since 2 of them played with Marco in that last Jan run. I had no idea what this show was. I saw there were 2 opening bands, and I tried to time it so I would miss both of them. I ended up getting there just as the 2nd opener was ending. I went up front to wait it out. They were playing a James Brown album, which was great. This guy up front in a suit started clapping way out of time and I kind of got worried. I asked him in a very polite way if he was going to clap during the show. He said “yeah, right in your f***ing face”. Then told me how they wore their suits for this show. I smiled and said I was going to move then. Inside I wasn’t so happy, and realized I didn’t want to be there even before that interaction. I did want to check it out, though, so I decided to stick around and if it grabbed me, I’d stay as long as I could.

It did grab me at first. It wasn’t what I was in the mood for, it was kind of “Southern meets Rock” (not Southern Rock). Something like the 2nd or 3rd song was really awesome and kind of funky. I was incredibly impressed with The Slip musicians. I just wasn’t in the mood and ended up leaving early so I didn’t have to be too tired today.

You’d think I would just go home. But no, on my way home I had the brilliant idea to stop by Banjo Jim’s (which is kind of out of my way). I was very curious about The Hounds, which listed Andy Hess on bass. I had no idea what that was,either, but the last time Banjo Jim’s made a big deal about getting to the show it was awesome. They were on set break when I got there, and there was no Andy Hess in site. Still, I don’t know what possessed me, but I decided to stick around to see a little of the next set, which started around midnight. It was good, but not as good as the billing, although I wasn’t quite in the mood for it. They had a pretty good pedal steel guitar guy that never played with them before. Everyone else in the listing was there, except for Andy Hess. I did see different people on their website when I looked today. It was more soulful l than the Sullivan Hall stuff, but The Slip musicians were higher caliber. Most of the songs were too mellow for that late at night.

It was also kind of a drag that they complained in between each song about not making enough money. I mean, there are 6 of them playing for tips at a tiny place for all of their friends late on a Sun night. What did they expect? I don't think they have a cd, which is usually a good strategy for getting some better income at a low-paying gig.

Anyway, it might be better than I thought and I was just in a mood to not be so happy. Still, I’m not going to try to get to their other gigs this week.

9:30 pm till late The Hounds!!!
Jason Blum (guitar, slide and vocals), Jason Darling (guitar and vocals), Gabriel Gordon (guitar and vocals), Jesse Murphy (keyboards and vocals), Andy Hess (bass) and Shawn Pelton (drums) - there's no place else to be!

So, that set at The Stone would have been fine for me. Maybe a little Garage Mahal would have been nice. No big deal as there is plenty of great stuff coming up right before I hit jazzfest.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Devin Phillips & New Orleans Straight Ahead 4/19/8

This was a great free show at Dizzy's on Sat afternoon. It seemed like 75% of the people knew someone in the band.

I had never heard of any of them, which was especially why I wanted to go. They are a post-Katrina thing. Some guy in Portland set up 80 hotel rooms for displaced people at the time. I'm not sure if they were all musicians or not. He got them instruments and gigs. Devin Phillips & New Orleans Straight Ahead was one of the bands put together as a result. They were all living in NOLA at the time. Since then, Devon has relocated to Portland, I'm not sure about the others.

The Rhythm Road is a project supported by Dizzy's and I think others where they send bands to different parts of the world to teach, perform, and bring jazz around the world. This band went to Africa. At the end of the set, they had a short Q&A. They went everywhere I want to go, all the major music countries. They went to a lot of West Africa and The Congo. I wish I was with them! It sounds like an awesome experience. They talked about how great it was to be in the place where the roots of jazz came from.

The last tune was Aiko Aiko. Devon learned to play it when he was 4 years old, and they play it every gig. They said the Africans went wild over it. They loved it and danced the way they dance to their own music. Of course they have good taste!

The set was awesome. They did their own arrangements of tunes by Louis Armstrong, Bechet, and a few others. They were all different and all great. Each of the musicians is very talented.

It was well worth getting up and out early.

The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad Program presents
Devin Phillips & New Orleans Straight Ahead
Featuring Devin Phillips, saxophone; Mark DiFlorio, drums; Eric Gruber, bass; Andrew Oliver, piano.
FREE Admission-first come, first served

Bill Frisell 858 Quartet @ Village Vanguard 4/18/08

I'm still blown away by how awesome that was. I made a reservation that day for the 9pm show. It was my first time seeing Bill Frisell, and I am extremely impressed. I'm assuming those were all his own arrangements.

I walked in at 8:20 and was able to get a seat right up front. The one on the other side table in the booth area on the left-hand side, right next to but slightly behind Jenny Schienman. A really great vantage point. It was already packed, and almost full to capacity. I was so glad for that seat because I noticed chairs for the band and that they would be sitting the entire time. I realized I couldn't remember what exactly this quartet was comprised of. I read the Vanguard advertisement with the monthly schedule, and I realized this was a string quartet. I was a little worried it was going to be chamber music and very mellow and I was too tired for that.

I guess it was chamber music, but it was quite different and very lively. It was stellar. Amazing. I was completely mesmerized the entire time. I am so impressed with all of them. It was also great to see Jenny on the violin. I have to go next week to see her again and Tony Sherr on bass.

I do remember thinking how I really need to see this again this run. Well, I got my chance when they announced that you could stay for the 2nd set for $10 no minimum. Oh yeah! Sleep can wait. I think I liked the 2nd set even more, if that's possible.

The first set I was mainly mesmerized by Jenny's playing. However, I could notice how awesome the rest of them were. Kang was doing some very interesting things on the viola. It got kind of avant-garde-ish at times. This music was not like anything I've heard before, so it's even harder to describe than usual. I didn't really hear much out of Frisell that first set, but I was still impressed with his compositions and I did like what I did hear.

2nd set brought me more appreciation for Frisell's playing. I had many aha moments that set. Roberts was the super-duper star that set. I do feel like I was in the presence of real greatness from each of them, though.

I have to figure out when I want to go next week, because I must see this sextet at least once. I hope I can stay for the 2nd set again. Hmm, the monthly schedule said sextet with the 6th being Jenny Scheinman, but the website says quintet. Whatever, I'm there!

Apr 15 - Apr 20
Jenny Scheinman-violin, Eyvind Kang-viola, Hank Roberts-cello

Apr 22 - Apr 27
Second Week!
Chris Cheek-sax, Ron Miles-tpt,
Tony Scherr-b, Rudy Royston-d

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Tiptons + Luminescent Orchestrii @ Drom 4/17/08

Last night was one of those tough decision nights. There was so much going on. I was drawn to the 8pm shows, Bobby Previte/Ikue Morie @ Swing Space or Christian McBride @ Tribeca Performing Arts Center. But, I just couldn’t get it together to get out that early. I figured I get to the Vanguard for Bill Frisell. However, when I got there, I saw the 9pm show was sold out and I knew I couldn’t stay up for the 11. I walked by many of the jazz clubs in the West Village, and saw lots of good options. None of them were grabbing me, though. I decided to get over to Drom where I knew I’d like the international flair of the music.

It was awesome. I love The Tiptons, but haven’t seen them for a few years. They had a different drummer than Olivia Pupo-Walker, who was pretty good. I have been wanting to see Luminescent Orchestrii for a while. They play Barbes often. I am very impressed with them. 2 violins, a guitar, a drummer that started by playing only a marching band bass drum and then eventually got on the kit for a bit, and upright bass. They do a lot of styles of world and all are good. I was dancing up a storm at times, and I wasn’t the only one. It was a lot of fun.

I would have liked to stay for the NY Gypsy All Stars, it was just too late for me. They do tend to play there often.

Here’s a link to the event details:

I really like Drom. The sound is really great. They have advance tickets on-line using google and there are no additional fees. I get the feeling there is no minimum, either. You are allowed to dance. What more could a person want? I guess that there were no columns in the way of some of the sightlines and that there were a standing area in front of the stage. Still, I bet on some nights people make their own dance floor up front. It’s a great place.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jim Campilongo + Club d’Elf @ Galapagos 4/16/08

I finally made it to the This is Our Music series at Galapagos. I wanted to go last time, but I was too tired to head to another borough. Really, it’s kind of silly of me since it’s closer than a lot of places in Manhattan. Also, it’s tough to ignore Brooklyn, it’s got too much awesome music, etc.

I really enjoyed Jim Campilongo. He’s got a great bass player with him. I was so happy I could dance without hassle. I only saw him once before at the Living Room, it was rather late since he plays Mons at 12am. I think it was after a Bustle in Your Hedgerow show a couple of years ago. I was kind of drunk and got mad when they made me stop dancing and left early. I always wanted to make it back. He also plays 55 Bar from time to time, but that’s another no dancing spot. He plays all different styles and his music is great. There were up tunes and down tunes, blues, bluegrass-ish, and many things in between. All good. I enjoyed it. Afterwards, he kind of thanked me for dancing and then mentioned how you can’t do that at the Living Room. He said they need some kind of special license. I informed him that the law is only if 3 or more people are moving in a synchronized fashion. He got a kick out of that.

That was also my first time at Galapagos, even though I wanted to go many other times. It’s great. This was in the back room and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Tonic. It was quite different also, but it had a feel kind of similar. Chairs in front, sound guy upstairs in a little loft, not a lot of people there, lighting kind of low and on the dark side. I didn’t miss Tonic quite so much while I was there.

Next up, after a wait for them to get some sound issues figured out, one of my favorite bands, Club d’Elf. I was psyched to see 3 percussionists! Oh yeah! 3 percussionists, Matt Maneri on electric viola, and Mike Rivard on bass. It was as awesome as it always is. Always different, and always great. It’s a shame more people don’t know. Bummer, I don’t see the 3rd percussionist listed, and he was great. He played all hand percussion, both acoustic and electric. Electric! I don’t know what that thing was but it sounded great when he played. On all the super intense drum jams, he was playing a djembe in one hand and balancing another drum on his lap. It was all awesome.

Toward the end, the Knucklebean fans started showing up and they seemed to like d’Elf. I would like to check them out sometime, it was just too late for me. However, there was some kind of problem with the train, and they were temporarily suspended due to an ongoing police investigation at 6th Ave. I was able to get a cab and share with a few people without too much of a hassle. Still, I keep forgetting to find out more about alternatives for when the train isn’t working right. I think there are more trains at Lorimer, which is a quick walk.

Anyway, it was another great night and I hope this series continues.

Wednesday, April 16, 8PM Doors, $10
This Is Our Music II
Curated by Brad Farberman
This Is Our Music presents the finest in exciting and adventurous sounds, with an
emphasis on autophysiopsychic music. Unexpect the expected.
8:30PM – Jim Campilongo Electric Trio: Jim Campilongo (guitar), Brad Jones
(bass), Tony Mason (drums)
9:30PM – Club d’Elf: Mike Rivard (basses), Dean Johnston (drums), Brahim Fribgane
(oud, percussion, voice), Mat Maneri (electric viola),
11PM - Knucklebean: Brad Farberman (guitar), Adam Minkoff (bass), Nick Anderson
(drums), Matt Silberman (saxophones), Matt Thomas (saxophones), Kevin Moehringer (trombone), Ben Syversen (trumpet), Phil Rodriguez (trumpet)

H-Alpha + Uri Caine @ The Stone 4/15/08

A wonderful double-header at The Stone the other night! I left fully satisfied and elated.

The 8pm set was H-Alpha. It was amazing. There was a good amount of people there, mainly foreigners. It reinforces my desire to travel and see where these great people are playing in other countries. They seem to get a much bigger draw everywhere else. I am again stating how lucky I am to be able to get this music at all and that they love NYC. Also, I tend to prefer the small venues and less crowded shows, so it does really work for me here. I am very curious to see the reception they get in other countries and to check out more people that may not get here.

Anyway, I got my front row center seat in spite of the crowd and walking in at 8pm. They started about 2 minutes later. I was completely mesmerized watching Jim Black. He amazes me every time. The percussion tools sitting on the floor right by him look like a pile of junk. I think some of them probably are junk items. He’s so creative and such a phenomenal drummer. I am also continually amazed by Ikue Mori. I put her laptop playing on par with any of the great instrumentalists I see at The Stone. She adds so much and the sounds are wonderful. I never thought I’d every say anything like that. Briggan was equally awesome and this was just a stellar show.

Next up was in many ways even more incredible, although quite different. They were reading music the entire time while the first set seemed more improvised. The music was composed by the great Uri Caine, who just blows me away. That was my first time seeing him at The Stone and I need to make more of an effort to hit there any time he is playing. He’s great no matter what he plays, but there is something extra-special when he has a nice piano in front of him. I sat opposite him in the front row, next to Jim Black. I could see him sometimes plucking the strings in the piano in the reflection in the lid. That was pretty cool as I never get to see what they are actually doing when they do that.

Every moment of both sets was awesome.

4/15 Tuesday (CB)
8 pm
Ikue Mori (laptop) Jim Black (drums) Briggan Krauss (alto saxophone)

10 pm
Uri Caine Berio Project
Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Jim Black (drums, electronics), Uri Caine (piano)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Upcoming - The Fire Eaters play raw soul

This looks good. I'm assuming for the Black Betty show, he means Thurs, 4/17.

Play Raw Soul!

Tuesday April 15th 8, 10 & 11:30 pm
2751 Broadway New York NY 10025
Tuesday April 15th 8,10 & 11:30 pm

Thursday April 15th 10ish
366 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn NY 11211

Eric Kalb drums (Greyboy Allstars, Dap Kings, John Scofield, Deep Banana Blackout)
Adam Scone organ (Sugarman Three, Mofro, Hotpants Sextet)
Cochemea Gastelum saxophone (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings,Budos Band,20th Congress)
Al Street guitar (Sugarman Three, Hotpants Sextet)
and featuring special guest
Johnny Griggs on congas and percussion from James Browns classic band



Marco & Friends + Cooper-Moore 4/11-13/08

I had a good time at the Marco shows last weekend. I think Krasno was stuck somewhere due to flight issues, so he didn’t make it. I think a lot of people were disappointed and many left or were just hanging back by the bar on Sat night. There wasn’t a huge turnout, probably also due to the funk shows that I opted out of. I just over-funked and since I’m going to NOLA soon, I don’t really need to see NOLA people right now.

I loved the Marco shows. Both nights had a trombone player, Fri was Curtis Fowlkes of MTO and Sat was Gianluca Petrella. I liked both of them. Petrella was a little spacier.

Fri night, toward the end, Marco started playing songs and had Nikki Gillespie on the drums and Kinninger sitting in. I preferred Previte, who just seemd to play the perfect thing throughout the whole 2 nights of improvisation. Marco started playing that Galactic song and it was fun to see what Briggan would do with it, since he didn’t know it. Later, Kinninger kind of showed the 2 horns how it goes and then they played that. I definitely like all the improvisation before it went there more.

Sat night had less people, since a lot cleared out kind of quick. But, I enjoyed it even more. It was spacey and I was amazed by Previte. I also prefer Sullivan Hall when there’s plenty of room, so it was better for me all the way around.

I was disappointed that I tried to go to Charles Gayle first at The Living Theatre and he called out sick again. It sounds like it wasn’t related to the last time at Zebulon, they said he had an eye infection.

I did get some great experimental jazz at Zebulon on Sun night. The Cooper-Moore quartet was awesome. The piano player is only 19. His teacher sent him to Cooper-Moore for lessons and he said he needed to play in his band. He didn’t need lessons, just good people to play with. A lot of the music was the 19 year-old’s compositions, which were great. The sax player was fantastic. He played a lot of Coltrane-style jazz. He was really great. The drummer made his own drums. I’m very curious since the kit looked like any other kit. He was awesome. And, I love Cooper-Moore and was again impressed with how he can play those instruments he invented himself. That bass was pheonomenal. He also played his own variation of the jaw harp, which was plugged into a pad with buttons and a pedal. When he stooped down while playing it sounded more like a whistle. When he stood upright it sounded more like a jaw harp.

I was a great weekend for music, and I’m happy with my choices. I got to dance without being crowded and had a great time.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Welcome to Buffalo + Dave Douglas 4/10/08

I started at the Stone for the Burgon/Dunn duo. It was excellent! I mean stellar! It was very quiet, but great avant-garde at it's best. They are both top-notch and it was awesome to see them in that way. Just 2 string instruments, playing in very different ways, and sounding awesome.

When I saw Burgon moving her harp before the show, I started wondering how she transports it. I noticed a hand-truck-like cart, which I guess is what she uses. She sounded awesome and rarely plays it in the traditional way you think of when you think harp. She does a lot of plucking. At times, when she hit the high notes, it sounded kind of like the high keys at the end of the piano. It was really cool.

Dunn was awesome and I don't know if I've seen him in that guise before. He is excellent every time I see him, including last night. He made full use of the upright, playing the sides as well as the strings. He even has a bow that he plays the strings from the other side. It was really great.

Welcome to Buffalo
Trevor Dunn (bass) Shelley Burgon (harp)
Subtle, acoustic chamber-improv.

After that I headed up to Jazz Standard for Dave Douglas & Keystone. He keeps amazing me with how diverse he can get. This was kind of like jazz meets electronica meets funk. It worked. The bass was quite interesting, it looked more like an electric cello. It was pretty intense. Douglas and Strickland mainly played lively jazz, but I liked how it fit into the whole thing. The drummer was great. The guy on the rodes was pretty good as well, sometimes adding another bassline, sometimes playing a little melody. For the most part I liked DJ Olive, but there were a few times where I wasn't thrilled. Those times when he had the spotlight. Now, I was remembering it wasn't too long ago when I was violently opposed to anything that had a turntablist. I guess I've grown.

The last song was especially grooving and it was really really hard to sit. I got jealous of the employee who was standing by the soundboard and was able to dance a bit. I should try it again, maybe they've realized nobody is going to pull cabaret license crap on them in that space.

Douglas said they were recording the set and it should be up on his website by noon today. I haven't had a chance to look. I just googled to find the greenleaf site and also found an AAJ article:

Dave Douglas & Keystone
Dave Douglas – trumpet
Marcus Strickland – tenor saxophone
Adam Benjamin – Fender Rhodes
Brad Jones – bass
Gene Lake – drums
DJ Olive – turntables
Tickets: $25 / $30 Friday & Saturday

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Zenophilia @ The Stone

Ah, The Stone. I actually almost turned down Ave B and I felt like I was going to a strange new place as I walked there. It's been too long.

It was excellent! I only knew Anthony Coleman, but the 3 Italian guys were awesome. I knew it had to be, since Coleman only plays with great people.

At first, I thought they were improvising, but then I realized they were reading music. I'm not sure if there was still room to improvise or not.

Every moment was fabulous, but there was one song that particularly had me going. The rhythm was intense. The drummer was doing some great thing, that included a lot of funky bass drum. The bass was right in synh with the bass drum. I wanted to jump out of my awesome front row living room seat! It reminded me of a kickass latenight show in NOLA. It wasn't like that, it just reminded me of that.

I bought some cds from their independent label, El Gallo Rojo. I just started listening. I'm hoping to find that one tune on one. So far, I'm liking the one I started listening to. They were $12 each, which I thought was very reasonable in today's market.

El Gallo Rojo Records presents: ZENOPHILIA
Anthony Coleman (piano) Zeno De Rossi (drums) Danilo Gallo (bass) Francesco Bigoni (sax)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Well, I’ve been working a lot lately and doing other things so I haven’t been to much music. Things seem to be easing up just in time for the explosion of great music coming up.

I did make it to Drom last Thurs. I thought I was going to finally see Chicha Libre, on a double bill with Las Rubias del Norte. Both of those bands play at Barbes a lot. However, I messed up and ended up seeing Vlada Tomova & Balkan Tales. It was great. The singer was very good and it was all about the music. There were 2 guitars, a drummer/percussionist, and an accordion. There was also a dancer at times. At the end, they had a lot of people up dancing.

I love those “mistakes” that turn into something great that I might have never seen.

Other than that, I just went to a party where lots of my musician friends from Instantaneous Transformation were performing. They were all excellent. I’ll let you know if I find out about any gigs. Bluegrass, American Roots –sounding, and some improvised fun songs. That was Sun. I did then head over to Highline for The Campbell Brothers, but decided not to stay when I saw the tables. I’m sure they were great, but I remember feeling a little lacking that time I saw them latenight at Blue Note. It’s kind of a shame to do seated shows for them.

Other than that, the jazzfest cubes
came out today, and I’m very excited. I see lots of upcoming great stuff in NYC to take me through until then.