Friday, October 31, 2008

Joe McPhee’s Intimate Conversations featuring Mikolai Trzaska @ The Living Theatre 10/30/08

I don’t know if I’ve seen Joe McPhee before or not. I feel like I have, but I can’t remember. He was very excited to be playing with Mikolai Trzaska from Poland, who just flew in the day before. It was awesome. It was that great improvised stuff with a tenor, alto (sometimes bass clarinet), and drums. Every moment was excellent. I need a category for that type of music, I’ve heard this segment of avant-gard enough now. It’s very improvised and wonderful, but would appeal to a lot of people. Not out there at all, at least from my perspective. I guess some may think it’s a little out there when the drummer was drumming softly and McPhee and Trzaska were playing percussion on their saxes by hitting the keys, without having the instruments up to their mouths. So, I guess it’s definitely not straight ahead, but only a few steps away in the improvising genre. Whatever it was, it was excellent and the type of thing you see at Vision Fest.

Anthony Coleman Confronting The Current Paradigm @ Roulette 10/30/08

Back to Roulette for another great one. It started with Alex Waterman’s piece, “The Other of Language” for violin and cello. He played cello and Jennifer Choi played violin. It was meant to show the difference in the 2 instruments and how you can’t get the same sounds out of each. It was excellent. I haven’t seen Alex Waterman in a while, but I definitely enjoy it when I do get to see him.

Next there were 6 short solo piano pieces by Anthony Coleman. He’s always phenomenal. It was also fun watching him tape and untape the music on his stand quickly in between pieces. Lately I’ve been wondering how artists keep their music straight and together. You have to be organized given their vast repertoire.

Then there was an incredible 4 pieces played continuously by a string quartet. Alex Waterman, Jennifer Choi, Cornelius Dufallo on violin, and Stephanie Griffin on viola. I’m always interested in string quartets. It started when I stumbled on DBR at the WFC during lunchtime one year. He had a string quartet in the middle of a piano, laptop, drumkit and he played the violin also. Then, I would find myself occasionally reading a novel in which the main character was in a string quartet. That happened about 3 times, and gave me even more perspective. The playing last night was incredible and when they stopped, I found I wasn’t ready for them to stop.

Then there was a piece with Coleman and Waterman, I think he said it was called “Tenths and Tensions”. That was awesome and I heard sounds from the cello I don’t recall ever hearing before.

Then there was a short intermission. I got excited when I saw what the next band was looking like. Michael Attias on baritone and tenor (or was it an alto?), Ashley Paul on reeds, Doug Wieselman on reeds and guitar (including a bass clarinet!), Alex Waterman with his cello I was falling in love with, Eli Keszler and Dave Shively on percussion and Anthony Colman. They did 5 pieces in something called “… It Was In A Hotel”, which I think was written after 10pm in Boston sometime.

That was incredible. There was a small amount of vocals from Ashley that always had me take note. It really worked well. Waterman impressed me even more. There was one point where it sounded like air blowing and none of the horns were playing at that moment, just Waterman. I didn’t know a cello could do that! The percussion was great. There was a big gong in front of one guy so I couldn’t really see what he was doing. Whatever I could see looked very interesting. I hadn’t seen Doug Weiselman in a while. I used to see him a lot. I think a lot of it has to do with the Steven Bernstein and Tonic void.

That was great and I was revved up and knew I had to go to The Living Theatre after that.

Anthony Coleman Confronting The Current Paradigm
Anthony Coleman - composer/pianist with... Jennifer Choi, Cornelius Dufallo - violins Stephanie Griffin - viola Alex Waterman - cello Marty Ehrlich - bass clarinet Doug Wieselman - reeds and guitar Michael Attias, Ashley Paul - reeds Stephen Gosling - piano Eli Keszler, Dave Shively - Percussion
Something happened and a lot of new work came out of it. Please come and find out what. Tonight's program includes Artifacts for String Quartet, Flat Narrative for Bass Clarinet and Piano Quartet, Six Short Pieces For Piano, the Band Project was in a Hotel...and More!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Robert Sudduth Trio @ The Stone 10/29/08

The thing that especially intrigued me, in addition to Trevor Dunn being in it, was the “special guest drummer”. I didn’t know who he or Rob Sudduth was, but the music and playing were stellar. The drummer is Enzo Zirilli from Italy, and I sure need to see him more often if I can. I had to look him up as he’s someone I should look for when I’m traveling the world through music.

This music was soulful and just amazing. It was so nice to see Trevor in it. I wanted a cd, but I didn’t see any. There were a lot of people attending who spoke a different language or had a heavy accent. I’m guessing they are more known in Europe. I was surprised to see Robert Sudduth lives in NY. I need to look out for him more going forward.

Robert Sudduth TrioRob Sudduth (saxophone) Trevor Dunn (bass) and a special guest drummer
New compositions for tenor saxophone, bass and drums

Radio I-Ching @ Otto’s Shrunken Head 10/29/08

It was listed as 8:30 and I thought it was likely it wouldn’t get started until 9:30. I knew I wanted to go to the 10pm show at The Stone and since Otto’s is close to me, I figured I see if I could catch any of the Radio I-Ching. It started at around 9:15/9:20 with an Andy Haas solo for about 15 minutes which was pretty good. With his electronics and sampling he had a very big sound. The drummer and guitar joined him at around 9:30 and I got another 15 minutes of great music that lifted me up. I did consider skipping The Stone, but I was too curious about it and I’ve been having a good time there lately, so I left.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wu Fei & Erik Friedlander @ The Stone 10/28/08

I went home and took care of my cat and then went back out again to The Stone. I just couldn’t resist what looked to be an incredible show. It sure was. In a word, SOULFUL. I mean, really full of soul! Stellar, touching music. For the most part, it seemed like each of them would start one of their songs and the other would fall in with their own improvisational accompaniment. It was superb. I had to buy Wu Fei’s cd after that. It has Fred Frith and Carla Kihlstedt on it. I was blown away by her singing, which really touched my soul.

I also realized how guitar-like that big guzheng can be. She even played the slide for a bit. I think Erik made it even more soulful and brought it out with Wu.

They are playing together again at Barbes soon. Hopefully there will be more opportunities as they fit really well together. I love the cd I got, but live was even better.

The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró @ WFC 10/28/08

That was amazing. It was about 1.5 hours. Every single detail was very well done. They filmed it for WYNET and it will be aired on 11/11 at 11:00.

They started with a short interview with Bobby. He got the idea after he went to the Miró Retrospective at MOMA in 1993. He created this composition in 23 parts, for each painting. It was also supplemented with narration for some of the pieces that went very well. I also liked how they didn’t show the artwork on the screen the whole time the music was playing. I like to focus on the music and what is happening on stage.

I did buy the cd, which is released on Tzadik in the Composer Series. The booklet in there shows the 23 paintings. It’s phenomenal.

The personnel were a little different than what’s on the cd, but all of them are great.

I got my Ned Rothenberg bass clarinet. He also filled in the flute and soprano sax parts, which are played by Michel Gentile and Jane Ira Bloom on the CD. He was spectacular. The music that was written for these instruments had a lot to do with it. I think the bass clarinet and the soprano were probably my favorite parts in the stellar, everyone shines amazing work.

The people on the CD who were also performing last night were Wayne Horvitz on Rhodes, harmonica and electronics, Neal Kirkwood on piano and accordion , Ralph Alessi on trumpet, John Bacon and Bobby Previte on drums, gong, vibraphone, marimba, orchestra bells, chimes, and small percussion. Zeena Parkins played harp beautifully last night, Elizabeth Panzer plays it on the CD. We had Shane Endsley on the other trumpet last night instead of Lew Soloff. Christian Muthspiel conducted. Jamie Saft is on the CD on piano and rhodes, but wasn't there for the performance.

I loved the instrumentation. I loved the 2 trumpets and having both vibraphones and marimba. The cd says trumpet, flugelhorn, and piccolo trumpet. I don’t remember the other 2, but they were probably there and I wasn’t paying enough attention.

I was really sad to see it end. I highly recommend checking it out on WYNET on 11/11 at 11 AND I highly recommend the CD.

Here’s some more from Bobby’s website. There’s also some tracks up there and a documentary about the piece:

Projects: The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró

"In the bigger picture, it updates the very spirit of western composition"
- Ken Smith, GRAMOPHONE magazine.

Joan Miró was one of the twentieth century's greatest artists. The 23 "Constellation" paintings were perhaps his greatest achievement.
In 1993 the composer Bobby Previte went to the Miró Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and saw them all, (together for only the third time in history), and was stunned.

The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró is a cycle of 23 movements for each of the 23 "Constellation" paintings by the great artist Joan Miró, painted during World War II.

Commissioned by the City of Birmingham, UK, Constellations was performed in February 2004 on a seven-city tour of the United Kingdom, and at the Teatro Nationale in Milan Italy in May of 2005. The multi-media program is approximately one and one half hours long, and includes projected slides and text.

A CD on Tzadik Records is available worldwide.

You could sense a painterly hand at play in even the earliest bands and records put forth by percussionist and composer Bobby Previte, but The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró might just be his magnum opus. Inspired by his feverish reaction to an exhibition of tiny but explosive canvases by the Catalan painter, Previte accordingly constructed 23 short pieces, each one densely packed, profusely colored and just free enough to allow his players’ personalities to come through. And when your band includes Zeena Parkins, Ned Rothenberg, Ralph Alessi, Shane Endsley, Wayne Horvitz, Neal Kirkwood and John Bacon, you definitely want to give them room to glow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Peter Apfelbaum & the NY Hieroglyphics @ LPR 10/26/08

Back to Le Poisson Rouge, my current favorite venue seeing one of my favorite bands. They are really awesome every single time. There was Dave Phelps on guitar, Josh Roseman on trombone, a great trumpet, 2 tenors with the last name Jones, Dafnis Prieto on drums, an electric bass, and Peter on tenor and piano. They did a lot of instrumentals for the 1st 40 minutes or so and then brought out the African singer, Abdoulaye Diabate for the rest of the set, which was a little over an hour. It was awesome and very grooving for me. I got my favorite spot with the high table in the back where I can get up and dance.

I love the atmosphere and I love how dark they keep it. It’s got a wonderful vibe. I tried the food, which was OK. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either. I expected it to be super great, given how great everything else is there.

They were off to Seattle for another gig. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the next show.

Zeena Parkins @ Roulette 10/25/08

I hadn't really read the listing, but I was interested in whatever Zeena wanted to do at Roulette. I think I expected a solo. I was thrilled to see the setup and performers when I walked in.

It was a large ensemble with interesting percussion and wineglass stations. John Zorn was there as an audience member. I also noticed a woman in the back of the performance area and it looked like she was wearing plastic wrap over her clothes. I thought it was some kind of fashion statement.

It started with the girl in the plastic wrap moving around in the back. She had a microphone strapped to her under the plastic. It sounded really cool. She had other interesting roles throughout that piece, like sawing cardboard. She was the prompter for the last piece as well.

Once the others started playing in the 1st piece, we had Ned Rothenberg on bass flute, another woman on flute, Zeena conducting, 2 trombones, and I think Anthony Coleman on piano. I can't quite remember if Coleman played during that piece or not. Ikue Mori was also there and was great throughout the whole thing.

That piece was called "We Got Lucky". An except from a soundtrack for DD Dorvilier's movie of the same name. Created for her piece, Notthing is Importanttt (sic). Premiered at The Kitchen in 2007.

After that, Zeena went to the harp, another guy came up to conduct, and 2 percussionists came up to play some drums. I loved the drum cadence and this was probably my favorite piece of the night. Anthony Coleman was definitely in this piece. This was probably my favorite of the night. It was called "Daldals pt 1 and 2". The listing says Puzzles/Multiple activities. Mancini meets Schoenberg at a 3 ring circus.

Next one of the drummers moved to the vibraphones. I can't remember what Ned was on, maybe clarinet. I know I was sad to see he didn't bring the bass clarinet, just the bass flute, flute, and clarinet.

The next piece was conducted by the same guy, and there was someone playing the vast array of wine glasses. Ned went over by the wineglass guy and played a keyboard. It was called "Thingworld" and was a piece for metal, glass and harp.

Then there was a 10-15 min intermission.

When they came back, they did a game where the girl that was wearing the plastic at the beginning was the prompter. It's called "Lace Piece" and is a generative work for any number of players based on 5 distinct pieces of lace and a set of stringent conditions.

Each player had a paper with the 5 pieces of lace glued to it. The prompter had 4 of those papers sitting out in front of her on the floor. They all looked the same to me. The lace pieces were all quite different. To me, an observer that's not a musician, it just seemed like a long improvised piece with 5 different parts. Here, there was another percussion station, we still had the wineglasses, vibes, Ned on bass flute and clarinet, the other flute, drum, Zeena on a different type of harp, Anthony Coleman, and the 2 trombones. For one of the 5 parts, it was just percussion playing.

The whole thing was good and I enjoyed it. I was very tired and it was the night it rained hard. Still, I'm glad I made it out for this.

ZEENA PARKINS: right after
Commissioned by Roulette with Funds from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust

A dense array of crisp contours, sophisticated color studies and deskilled gestural marks, tonight Zeena Parkins presents a collection of pieces for four loudspeakers and large ensemble, including:

Christine Bard, Anthony Coleman, Erin Cornell, Miguel Frasconi, Christopher Mcintyre, Loren Parkins, Jim Pugliese, Josh Quillein, Ned Rothenberg, Jane Rigler, Jim Staley.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone @ The Stone 10/23/08

After Iridium, I quickly made my way down to The Stone for the Halvorson/Pavone Duo. I got there just in time, they were just about to play. I took the seat in the front row, right on the end. It turned out to be a good seat because I could see all without the music stand obstructing my view.

They had to stop and restart a couple of times due to sound issues. They eventually gave up and decided to play acoustic. I’m not quite sure exactly what that meant. They had mics for the vocals, and Mary still had her pedals. Jessica’s viola wasn’t hooked up at all. There was still some kind of knocking sound coming from Mary’s equipment, but you could only hear it when they weren’t playing.

Regardless, it was a great 40 minute set for me. While I’m normally not crazy about vocals, I love theirs. It’s definitely not overpowering, and I guess the words are “slightly off-key”. There’s something touching about the vocals, like they hit some spot in me that needs to hear it. Their playing was as excellent as usual. In a way, it was a treat to hear Jessica without the electrification. She seemed challenged and was reluctant to do one of the songs they did anyway. I certainly didn’t notice any lack.

This is something a lot of people would like. It’s not really “out there”, and every one needs to see Mary Halvorson on guitar, it’s definitely something special. They said they are playing Issue Project Room next.

John McNeil/Bill McHenry Quartet @ Iridium 10/23/08

I had this on the list of potentials, but I wasn’t sure I was going t make the trek uptown. There was something in the listing in The New Yorker that made me really want to go. I haven’t seen Bill McHenry in a while, and I really should get to more of his gigs. All I knew was whatever The New Yorker speculated about and that it was a quartet with a sax and trumpet. Sounded good!

I can’t find the name of the bass player and drummer, but they were great. Everyone was great and I definitely enjoyed the set. They said they took old jazz tunes from the 40s and 50s, tunes that might have been considered pushing the envelop (my words, not theirs), and put a fresh coat of paint. It was relatively straight ahead to me, but very enjoyable. I was completely engaged for the 65 minutes. They actually started at 8:25, slightly early. I guess they were looking forward to it. You could tell each of them were enjoying listening to the music played by the others as we were.

It’s also good to get to Iridium now and then. I like the vibe and the setup when it’s not in super busy setup mode. You easily forget where you are in the city.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Red Commie Storm @ The Stone 10/22/08

These 3 are all great, worthy of improv night. I also haven't seen anything ultra creative in a while, since September, probably that night at The Delancy.

It was awesome. I've seen Wu Fei before. At improv night and that time at The Stone when Carla Kihlstedt was curating. She was the one at the March Improv Night with the large string instrument I couldn't identify. It turns out she is Chinese, not Japanese.

She said she's always been intrigued by the Red Communist Party in China. Her family wasn't involved, but she noticed members always got good benefits in China. She was also fascinated by Chairman Mao. I remember a Chinese friend used to talk about him occasionally. I've also brushed up against Chinese history in my tea explorations. She got me more interested.

The music was phenomenal. 3 great string improvisers that fit very well together. I loved their interaction. Seabrook stuck to the banjo. I'm not sure if he even brought the guitar. Wu did some chanting/singing, like she did that March Improv Night as well. It was awesome and only about 45 minutes or so.

Last night:
Red Commie Storm
Wu Fei (guzheng) Trevor Dunn (bass) Brandon Seabrook (banjo, guitar)

Here's the one from 2005 that I still think about:
8/17 Wednesday
8 and 10 pm
Wu Fei, Carla Kihlstedt, Ikue Mori, Sylvie
Courvosier, Kiku Day
Wu Fei (gu zheng) Carla Kihlstedt (violin) Ikue Mori (electronics) Sylvie
Courvosier (piano) Kiku Day (shakuhachi)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gutbucket @ The Stone 10/21/08

I finally got a chance to see Gutbucket. All I knew was that they play Zebulon sometimes, which is good enough to check out if they are at The Stone. They started strong and energetic. I immediately put it in the avant-rock category. The sax was especially energetic, jumping around a lot and moving big constantly. The guitar was pretty energetic as well.

I enjoyed it a lot at first. I started getting tired of it later, due to the short songs and it all seemed very similar to me. I think it’s just a matter of personal preference as well as the venue. It would be nice to see what they are like another time at a larger space. I was starting to not like the energy of the sax jumping around so much. I was surprised it bothered me.

I did especially like the bass. I also enjoyed the first ½ hour before I started changing my view. Toward the end, there was a bass solo that I really liked. They are all talented musicians.

They did have a lot of people for a late Tues set. Most of them already knew their stuff and really like them. Looking at their bio, it looks like they would appeal to many fans of good music.

GutbucketTy Citerman (guitar) Adam Gold (drums) Eric Rockwin (bass) Ken Thomson (saxophone)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rashanim @ The Stone 10/19/08

Ok, its official, I had an A++ weekend. The Rashanim closer was awesome. They had a substitute bass player, Yoshi. He was awesome, playing a lot of interesting melody at times.

They sat in chairs, probably to help them play quieter than usual due to the venue size. I thought it was going to be acoustic, but it was electric. That was fine because I had my earplugs, knowing it would be hard for them to play quietly the whole time. Its exciting music.

They did only play 1 loud song, but there were moments of loudness in the rest.

It was phenomenal. These are topnotch musicians with phenomenal music. I was so sorry when it ended, I could have used another hour. They played a lot of stuff I've heard them do before, but in a quieter, more relaxed way.

Jon Madof (guitar) Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (bass) Mathias Kunzli (drums)
Rashanim returns to The Stone to perform music from their three Tzadik releases as well as material from a new project based on the biblical prophets.

Wayne Horvitz and Sweeter Than the Day @ The Stone 10/19/08

I'm so glad I saw Martin at Blue Note the night before. When the show was over he mentioned that Wayne Horvitz was going to be at The Stone and it would be great. I wouldn't have gone to the early set otherwise.

It WAS great. It fit in well with my weekend music. It was bluesy, funky, quiet, and uplifting, not all at once, just at various moments. It kind of ran a lot of the gamut of soulful music. They were all great. I'm not sure if I'd seen any of them before or not. I had my living room seat, but I kind of wished I could get up and dance. I was eying the spot on the other side of the room, next to the seats, but it was too late. There were people sitting in my other dancing spot between the seats and the wall.

It was really great and I was into all of it. The quiet parts were the 2 songs where Sara Shoenbeck sat in with her bassoon. For the first of those, it started with just her and Wayne for a while and then the guitar and bass joined in, there were no drums. The other one had everyone playing quiet. It was the more different part of the set.

The rest, both before and after, was either bluesy or funky or both. It all still had an experimental flair. I tended to be fixated either on the piano or guitar, but I loved the bass and drums in the background.

It was also nice to be back at the Stone.

Wayne Horvitz and Sweeter Than the Day
Wayne Horvitz (piano) Timothy Young (guitar) Tim Luntzel (bass) Dan Reiser (drums)
Songs from "American Bandstand, Sweeter Than the Day" and their newest CD "A Walk in the Dark".

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Galactic Story

This is a little disjointed and not quite chronological. I just feel the need to write more about my history of seeing Galactic.

The first time I saw Galactic was an accoustic show at Green Dolphin Street in Chicago. It was during the 2 years I lived there, so it was sometime between 96 and 98. I hadn't heard of them before, but my friend John was steering me towards lots of great stuff and told me this was a great band out of NOLA.

I was surprised when Houseman came out as I didn't quite think he fit. I wasn't into jazz at all except when it brushed up against my other stuff. At least, my story was I didn't like jazz. I certainly liked that acoustic set at Green Dolphin Street. I also remember the first live music I went to when I moved there was at The Green Mill and I enjoyed that.

I remember there were lots of tables there, but we stood in the back and danced. It was 3 sets for 1 cover. I have a cassette tape of a portion of it, I'm not sure where it is now.

After I moved to NYC, I would occasionally go to Galactic over the first few years, but they weren't doing it for me. I stopped going.

Then, I met Jen R. at a Phil show. They were the amazing Phil shows I didn't know I'd like until I went to one. Yes, the ones with Warren and Jimmy Herring. Jen told me this was new territory for her and that she was into WPS, The Meters, and Galactic. That one conversation did a lot for me. She got me back to BBs, which was great back then. I was turned off the place when I went to War and there were seats on the dance floor. I thought that was wrong. She explained they usually don't have seats for the funk shows, and it can get pretty crowded.

She also planted the Galactic seed again, and after that I would give them a try every now and then. I would still get bored and leave their shows early. But, I kept trying very occasionally when they came to NYC.

Then I went to jazzfest for the first time in 2002. I loved their jazzfest set. I was also starting to hang out with a lot of Galactic fans, so I was being advertised to just by their enthusiasm.

The next year at jazzfest, I saw Stanton in many different guises at the night shows and I was impressed with all of them. I think the first one was at the Shim Sham Club with Johnny Vidocovich. There was almost no one there and I was one of the few up close to the stage. I remember it as I was standing right up front, in the center with my jaw dropped at how impressed I was. That was also my first time seeing Brian Coogin and I was very impressed. I think Mark Mullins was in it. I can't remember who else right now, but I remember they were all the greats I now see whenever I can.

Anyway, that's when I fell in love with Stanton's drumming. I proceeded to get to many of his gigs that fest, although I may have only seen Galactic at the Fairgrounds.

Then I started to see Galactic more. I remember having incredible spiritual moments at a Twiropa show when I was down there one Halloween. I think it was on 11/1. I think I had a few amazing ones before that.

What really made me get completely hooked was when they decided not to have a singer anymore. That whole tour was full of many special guests. I remember them at Irving Plaza with many guests and at one point, Joe Russo, Eric Bolivar, and Stanton were playing the kit together! I was in my glory. There were some good shows that year.

Then I remember seeing them the first Thurs of Jazzfest one year at Tips and Leo opened. It was good. But, after that, they started touring with Leo. I don't think it was all of Galactic and they called it something else. That was good the first time at BBs and after that, my recollection is it started to fizzle. It was also at first that Leo was on his best behavior and just reverted back over time. I think that was another time period where I wasn't crazy about Galactic, but still tried every now and then due to the enthusiasm of my friends.

There was one year where it just happened to work out that whenever I traveled for music, Galactic was involved. They were really doing it for me then. I went to DC to the 930 Club. I went to NOLA and saw them around Halloween. I saw them a few other places I can't remember. I started loving them more than ever before. Having lots of conversations about why I now like them when I didn't.

I was all set to go to the 10th Anniversary show, which didn't happen because of Katrina.

I started getting more and more impressed when I'd see them at Tips. I remember seeing them the only Mardi Gras I ever did, which was the one right after Katrina. I was in my glory at that show. It was REALLY sold out. I remember a new friend I had just met tried to get in by paying the door guy $100 and it wasn't happening. I was so glad I learned a few years ago to buy for Galactic in advance.

Even when they had those rappers, I still thought they were great.

Last night just reminded me of what can happen when they are on. I forgot how awesome it can be. This is one of the few bands that arent' always consistently great that I will still go to see.

Bobby Previte's New Bump @ Blue Note 10/18/08

We got there around 1:10am and they came on a few minutes later. It's not unusual for bands to start late there. Bobby told us they would do one long set.

I took my dancing spot up by the soundbooth and continued the great time. I was so loose and ready to go and heavily influenced by the previous show.

It was Bill Ware on vibes, Brad Jones on electric bass, and Ellery Eskelin on sax. I've seen each of the 4 of them in many guises and love them all. This combo was awesome. There was a moment where I was wishing for Skerik on sax, but that soon dissipated and I was very happy with Ellery.

It was super grooving at times, while still being jazzy. Even the mellower parts had a groove to it. You should know by now I'm never that good of a judge of grooviness, I can feel and move to anything that I connect with.

It was a great place and time to see them. I think it was the perfect after-show. I think it ended close to 3, maybe a little earlier. As people left, I was able to move down to the first level and be closer to the action. I always love that. It also wasn't too crowded, which is when Blue Note is good late night.

OK, now I'm really happy to be home. I think NYC is the best place on Earth, but coming back from Germany was the first time I wasn't as thrilled with it as usual. I thought that was odd since I don't see myself living anywhere else and I don't tend to like to leave too much. We also have way more stellar music options here than even Berlin, which is a little dreary as a downside. I guess I just had that great of a time.

Galactic @ Fillmore 10/18/08

Galactic!!!! As much as I loved Fri, last night was blown away amazing. Fri was just a warmup. They really didn't even need the extra horns, but it was nice to have them there. They did some of the same songs, and some different.

The intensity and music quality was way up there. There was so much energy! This was one of my favorite Galactic shows of all time.

They were on fire. Stanton was at his top level. The guitar blew me away, I'd have to give Jeff Raines the MVP award. Both nights, I was impressed with Rich Vogel on keyboards. I'm surprised by that because I used to think he shouldn't even be in the band. We got a great, long bass solo from Robert Mercurio, who had his mother in the audience. Ben Ellman is consistently good.

I woke up from my nap just before 8pm, so I couldn't really make to the early shows I was looking at. I decided to check out the opener, Raul Midon. I've got to admit, in spite of the high recommendations on him, I wasn't too thrilled about seeing a solo singer-songwriter guitar player. He was pretty good, and had me dancing. I don't think I'd make a special effort to catch a whole show, but I am glad I got to check him out. I would go early if he's ever on the bill for something I'm attending.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Galactic @ Fillmore 10/17/08

Oh yeah! Oww! That was an awesome, high energy, Galactic at their best show. I finally decided to go last night when I opened the latest email from Galactic yesterday afternoon and saw this:

Galactic is out on the road with New Orleans heavyweight horn players Shamarr Allen and Corey Henry. This weekend they're hitting up the big apple at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza, and tickets can still be purchased online. These shows will feature our friends Crown City Rockers, and on Saturday night Raul Midon will make a special appearance as well for what's sure to be an exciting show.

I was so glad to see they added a couple of horns and aren't doing rappers this time. I've been feeling horn-deprived since I got back to NYC. I didn't realize until they came on that the horns are from Rebirth. That immediately brought the expectation up a lot. A trumpet and a trombone full of energy!

I know Galactic can pull it off without any help, and this was like seeing them at their best, regardless of the extra talent. They started with a couple without the extras and it was awesome.

They did all the great songs and said tonight's set would be different. I would think they would do some of the same songs. Although, as I think about it, I've had times where I've had several of their CDs in my ipod and every time one of their songs came up in shuffle, I was very happy. So, I don't think it matters what they do when they play like that.

I came early because I wanted to check out the Crown City Rockers. They weren't for me. It was OK at first (I got there during the set). Then they started this great groove, and the lead rapper ruined it by asking if we liked hiphop and then the music stopped so he could do a solo rap. I shut down on them after that. He was also annoying in that he was constantly demanding audience participation like waving hands or screaming.

Galactic came on at 10:20 and played 1 long 2 hour set and a 2 song encore. It ended around 12:30.

I really didn't think I'd go tonight, but now it's a must. There's a different opener, and Scott was speaking very highly of them. I really want to go to some of the Neus Kabarett 10th anniversary at The Brecht Forum, so I don't think I'll make it for that. But, you never know. There's a lot of time between now and tonight. I'm also looking forward to Bobby Previte's New Bump at Blue Note late. I can't put off seeing them any longer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Machiko Ozawa's JUSTADUO plus @ The Stone 10/17/08

This was different! It was awesome as well. I couldn’t quite remember what it was I wanted to see at The Stone, but I did have a mental note that I either needed to sit up front or stand. When I went in and got my favorite front row center seat I realized it was because there was going to be a tap dancer.

The duo is Machiko Ozawa and Justin Hines. They did several different songs as a duo before having anyone else join them. The percussion was vast. There were various drums, he took the bass drum from The Stone’s kit, a cowbell on the floor with a foot pedal to hit it with a stick, many blocks, and other stuff.

Machiko mainly played violin. And she played it quite well. She mainly played standing on her tap wood and had her tap shoes on for most of the time. Except for the 1 piece where she took off her shoes and socks and rolled up her pants and then put her feet in a bucket of water. She used that to make sounds as part of the music by slowly lifting her feed out of the water. It worked. Then she put her shoes and socks back on pretty quickly to do a duo with the pianist and her violin.

Before that, one of the duo pieces had Justin wearing interesting gloves that looked like they had thimbles on each of the fingers. It was a great tool to play some percussion instruments. At one point during that piece, he left the performance area and played the wall, empty chairs, and whatever else he could find on his journey around the back of the room (toward the front door). That was also the piece with the tap dancing. It was fun watching them feed off of each other. It was also interesting that a lot of the tap was done on the regular floor and she mainly played violin on the tap block. She did start the tap dance up on the block for a while, but then moved to the floor.

There were a few pieces where she brought out a cello and another violinist. The other violin didn’t play much, though, maybe for one piece. He’s not even listed.

The set was about 1.25 hours and it was awesome. It was very lively and enjoyable.

I do think it’s interesting that I haven’t heard one live horn since I’ve been back. I’m sure that will change after this weekend.

Machiko Ozawa's JUSTADUO plusMachiko Ozawa (violin, tapdance) Justin Hines (percussion) Sean Katsuyama (cello) Makia Matsumura (piano)A japanese versatile violinist and tapdancer, Machiko Ozawa will perform her original compositions influenced by wide range of music such as classical, latin, asia, middle eastern, tango and avant garde. Keep eye on her feet for a mean tap dance.

Ted Mook performs Daniel Rothman & Ezra Sims @ Roulette 10/17/08

When I was Berlin I started thinking I’m not broad enough. I need to expand my live music horizons a little more. I think what I really meant is I want to check out more people I don’t know. I’m starting to see a lot of the same people all the time. Of course, these people are great, it’s just nice to keep expanding.

That’s what led me to Roulette last night. I didn’t know who any of these people were and didn’t really know anything from the description. It was about celebrating the music of Ezra Sims and Daniel Rothman. I had no clue what it was, but it was Roulette, so worth a shot.

Before he began, Ted Mook told us about how the program changed many times since the beginning due to personnel issues – people are busy. It ended up being Mook doing some solo cello pieces, then some duos with pianist Eric Moe. Then he did this long cello solo.

I like cello and piano and the music was good. It was more like classical than jazz. I was glad to explore something different, but I don’t think I need to get into classical at this time. I was probably being too critical, but I just didn’t like the vibe there. After about 45-50 minutes of music they had an intermission because it was scheduled. There was only 1 piece left and there were a lot of pages up on the piano, but would it have been more than 30-45 min? And, I think that was a different pianist. Maybe Mook played with him and then I could see needing a break. I waited a little bit, but I didn’t want to risk missing out on the 10pm show at The Stone. I also figured I’d had enough. OK, and I had time to stop by one of my favorite bookstores, McNally Jackson.

It was good and my head was moving to the music. It just wasn’t something I need to much of. October 16th @ 8pm Interpretations: TED MOOK performs Daniel Rothman & Ezra SimsPansonority/Luminance: Music of Ezra Sims & Daniel RothmanEzra Sims, one of the pioneers in the field of microtonal composition, celebrates his 80th birthday with a special performance of two masterful pieces String Quartet #5 and Clarinet Quintet. Composer Daniel Rothman presents his String Quartet and a work especially written for Ted Mook. Sean Carney, violin; Christian Hebel, violin; Liuh Wen Ting, viola; Ted Mook, cello; Gilad Harel, clarinet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Peter Bernstein/Kurt Rosenwinkel Quartet @ Birdland 10/15/08

Birdland! I'm now realizing what a great place it is. I had a mental block based on the location, expense, and set times. I started getting over that the time I went to the early Wed show. Still, I wasn't doing too much to make it back.

Now I know. Its steps away from the 42nd St E stop, if you exit at 44th and 8th. If you go to the bar, the $30 cover includes a drink, which means it's not that much for the level of music they get. The set times might actually be an advantage, making it easy to go there and other shows in the same night.

The bar is also in great proximity to the stage. The tables look comfortable and it's not to tight. That's a $30 cover AND an additional 10 min. There's very close tables for a $40 cover + $10 min, but I don't see myself ever needing that.

The show was awesome. I was impressed with all of them. Kurt Rosenwinkel is now on my list of people to keep an eye on. I did have a good dancing spot. Peter Bernstein was awesome as well. I think I've seen him before, but I'm not sure. I really dug his sound and way of playing. It was nice to see another quartet with 2 guitars. The last time I saw that was in Berlin at the Sat night jam.
Wednesday through Saturday, October 15 - 18 @ 8:30pm & 11pm
Music Charge: $30 General Admission, $40 Orchestra
Two of the greatest jazz guitarists in the world, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Peter Bernstein compliment each other's distinct voice with their contrasting styles. According to the LA Times, Peter Bernstein possesses "the ability to play standards like he is inventing them on the spot," and Jazztimes calls Rosenwinkel "Easily the most original guitar voice of the decade." Together, their new band explores the outer limits of the jazz guitar tradition, and in the process, perhaps, redefines it. The quartet features Eric Revis on bass and Jason Brown on drums.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ribot/Grimes/Taylor @ LPR 10/14/08

I found out that Marc Ribot, Henry Grimes, and Chad Taylor were playing at Le Poisson Rouge at 10:30 at around 8ish. I had planned on going to Zebulon for Daniel Carter and Simon Lott, which was the early show. I figured I could get in both. I wasn’t thinking when I went over there. While it was listed as 8pm, it probably woudn’t start until at least 9:30. It’s really hard to figure out that place. I think Cooper-Moore started more on time, but most start at least an hour late. I got there at 9, but it looked like they were in no hurry to start. I had my Moroccan Mint tea and they were about to come on at 9:40, but I had to go as I didn’t want to miss a minute of the LPR show. Oh well, it was worth a shot. Next time I know. It was interesting it also included one of the trumpet players that Daniel was jamming with when I saw them in Tompkins Square Park and a bass player. I’m sure it was good.

I got to LPR around 10:20, bought a ticket at the box office for $15 and was told to go downstairs to the front bar. They hadn’t finished setting up or something. I got a chance to examine the bar more closely and I’m happy to say there is plenty of variety. They have almost anything a person would want. There was plenty of whiskeys. We were allowed into the main space at 10:30 and they started at 10:35ish. I am in love with this place. They are now offering memberships, which probably makes sense for them to do. I’m amazed this place exists.

It was as great as expected. I was wearing out and had to leave at about 11:40 while they were still playing. It killed me to do it, but I was too tired to enjoy it anymore. It was awesome and a great place to see it. It was also a great welcome home show for me. I know I’m bound to get a good first show back, but that was extra special. They said this was their only NY show ever, but with the exception of last year. What does that mean? Whatever it means, they don’t play NYC too often so it was a very good idea to go.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Like I said, I only made it out to Hamburg music one night, Thurs 10/9. I did find some options for each night, but they weren’t compelling enough to get me there since I was on an earlier schedule and hanging with friends more. I would have been at The Spencer Davis Group at Downtown Blues Club on Sun night if I didn’t have to get up so early to fly. That I really wanted to do, but I knew it wasn’t a good idea.

I did some research before I left as I found this good listing of jazz clubs:

I checked many of the website links for the days I would be there so I had a pretty good idea of what was going on before I left NYC.

I found one good publication that I bought and 1 good free publication, but there wasn’t really anything beyond what I’d already researched.

For Thurs night, I went with a friend to Birdland for the Tues night jazz jam. It’s a nice place. It’s set up more like a NYC jazz club with communal seating. It’s not fancy or anything, which I like. There is no cover on Tues nights. There are also many seats behind the stage.

The first to play is the Benedikt Jahnel Trio. They were in town promoting their new cd and said they were playing the next night somewhere else. My friend bought the cd, and I realized I had planned to go see them the next night at Stellwork. I chose it solely based on the cd name, “Modular Concepts”. I thought it might be avant-garde. It turned out to be more straight ahead, but very good.

After that there was a setbreak and then the jam began. For a lot of the early part, a trombone guy was “leading” it, but it was very collaborative regarding what they were playing and very congenial regarding who was playing. A guitar, the trombone, drums and bass came up. The trombone guy spoke English and asked for a pianist. A guy came up with a big book of music. The trombone guy was at first put off that the guy had to read, but later when it was clear he could play, would occasionally pick up the book to show the bass player what they were about to play. The drummer played a few and then an older man came up and got on the kit and was very good. A trumpet had joined at some point, so we had 2 horns. There were other times when there was an alto and a trombone. I thought the guitar was very good.

Overall it was pretty good and I stayed for 2-3 hours. It was no where near the level of the A-Trane jam on Sat night in Berlin, but it was good and fun. The place was very crowded early on and thinned out later. They were still playing when we left.

Munich 10/7/08

I did some research for Tues. A good source for some listings is In Munchen. It doesn't have everything going on, though. I was intrigued by the listing for a Blues Rock band. After some surfing, I saw they were on tour and would be playing at Quazimodo in Berlin. I already knew that is a place with good music, even though I didn't make it there. Then I found this Youtube video. Oh yeah, this is it.

The place is Titanic City, the band is the Henrik Freishlader Band. It was a blues club with good drinks in the basement. The band was as good as the video and I was very happy. They did 2 long sets with a short setbreak in between. During the 2nd set, the guitar and bass left the stage and there was an excellent 20 min drum solo. And, everyone was attentive and listening. It was fantastic.

Munich 10/6/08

I was very impressed that my friend in Munich was able to find some good music on Mon, the day after Octoberfest ended. I got off the train at 8:30 and she whisked me off to the concert. Actually, I had options like getting food, etc and I chose the music route.

It turned out to be a 3 band concert at a place called Feirwerk Orangehouse. It was about the size of Sullivan Hall. They were Indie Bands and pretty good. It was also nice to take a break from jazz as well.

The first band was Kristoffer Ragnstam from Gothenburg Sweden. We got there in the middle of their set. They were pretty good. They were more on the rock side of Indie Rock. I enjoyed it a lot and gave my friend kudos for finding something good on a Mon.

There was a short setbreak and then the next band from Reykjavik, Iceland called Borca came on. The first song was beautiful. They had 2 guitars, drums, 2 trumpets, and a bass. I thought they were good, but it got old after a while. The electronic samples that played over all the sound started getting irritating. It all started sounding the same. It might have been the mix. The last song was fun and a bunch of people joined them at the end playing different percussion and such. It turned out that was the next band.

Another short setbreak and then the last band, also from R
eykjavik, Seabear came on. That was great. They had a lot of interesting instruments. One girl played the violin and a harmonica with horns. There were 2 guitars and a bass. They had the same drummer and trumpet from the previous band. There was also a girl that played keys, langspil, toy autoharp, and some percussion. One of the guitars also played an accordion-type thing, no keys, it looked like a wooden box that fo. For the last song, the 2nd band came out toward the end and sang with them.

Seabear did an encore. The main guy was tuning up and then started playing a few bars of Louie Louie. He then decided they may as well go with it, and the band played it for a bit. It was a lot of fun. Then they did the real encore which was good.

I'm so glad to get something different. I don't tend to explore Indie so much because you'd have to go through a lot of bad bands to get to the good ones.

We did try to go to Jazzbar Vogler for the Mon night jazz jam after that, at around midnight, but the jam was over. We decided to stay and have a drink and I liked the vibe and the place.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Berlin 10/5/08

1 more day in Berlin and I'm gonna make it count. Sun has music all day, so it wouldn't be a problem. I missed the jazz brunches, but got to Yorckschlösschen around 3pm. They were on set break but it was going to be a funky jazz jam. This is a great place. There's lots of NOLA stuff around and its got a great vibe. The music was good. It wasn't the level of the night before, but still pretty good. NOLAish music and blues. It was fun for 45 min.

I then took a cab and met up with my friend at A-Trane. I was thrilled to see
Johan Leijonhufvuud on stage. He was the one jamming with Kurt the night before. He does something different every Sun. It was great. The piano may have played the night before. There was also a great bass, Pepe. The drummer was awesome as well. The 1st set ended at 5::10ish. They took a 20 min break and then played for another 45/50 min.

I went back to Kreuzberg to the Exploratorium Berlin. This was 2 sets of stellar improv. I got there around 8:20. Beside the Cage Quintet was on and played til 9:10. The 2 percussionists faced each other. There was also a guitar/electonics and 2 trombones. It was phenomenal and may as well have been at The Stone. The space was much nicer, though. I think there was free wine and beer at setbreak. Maybe there was a donation box, but I'm not sure. They had nice wine glasses also. I was taking a break, so I didn't partake.

The Phoobsering, a sax and piano duo was phenomenal. They played for about 40 minutes straight. They met behind the piano and agreed to do another short piece. This was also stellar.
Sonntag, 5. Oktober 2008, 20 h
beside the cage quintet
* Oliver Demand - Posaune
* Moritz von Woellwarth - Posaune
* Sascha Demand - E-Gitarre, Tischgitarre
* Ralf Kleinemas - Schlagzeug
* Thomas Winger - Schlagzeug
„...improvisierte Musik der keineswegs nur diskreten Sorte. Die Gitarre ist das zuweilen dröhnend aufrauschende oder mit Haltetönen die Luft durchspießende Zünglein an der Waage eines vielgliedrigen Klangkörpers, der neben aller Verliebtheit in kleine Geräusche und in Stille keine Angst hat vor Klangballungen und perkussiven Anstößen oder Zwischenspurts.“ (R. Dittmann / Bad Alchemy)

* Antonis Anissegos – Klavier
* Frank Paul Schubert - Saxophon
Der stark europäisch geprägte Background, die Lust am Experiment und die Entwicklung einer eigenen Sprache sowohl auf dem jeweiligen Instrument als auch im Zusammenspiel geben der Musik des Schubert-Anissegos-Duos ihr Gesicht. Fernab postmoderner Stilzitate gibt das Duo ein positives musikalisches Statement ab, bei dem die Frage, ob diese Musik komponiert oder improvisiert ist, in den Hintergrund tritt.

I took a cab back tob-flat and met up with my friends. My one Berlin friend loves live music and has kind of gotten out of it in recent years. It sounds like he's going to start doing it more again. Ah, my work here is done. 2 more converts.

The band was a phenomenal 14 piece eclectic band. The composer and musicians are quite diverse and they seemed to go all over the map. They can do avant-garde, big band, groove, Mahler, etc. I loved it and it was a great way to go out.

Kaspar Ewalds Exorbitantes Kabinett (CH-Basel)
Progamm: RiTtER
Regula Schneider (cl, voc), Roland von Flüe (solo-sax), Beat Hofstetter (ss), Sascha Armbruster (as), Laurent Estoppey (ts), Beat Kappeler (bs), Lukas Thöni (lead-tp), Daniel Woodtli (solo-tp), Heiner Krause (horn), Bernhard Bamert (solo-tb), Jan Schreiner (bass-tb), Philip Henzi (F.-Rhodes, p), Christian Schmid (e-b), Gregor Hilbe (dr).
In diesem Frühjahr hat KEEK während einer Intensivphase ein neues Programm mit dem Titel "Ritter" einstudiert und wird dieses im Herbst 08 während zweier Wochen, auf einer Tournee durch die Niederlande und Deutschland, einem internationalen Publikum vorstellen.

The “EXORBITANTES KABINETT” is a Swiss big band founded in 2001 by Basle-based composer Kaspar Ewald. His compositions for the Band are all rooted in funk, moving between jazz, film music, drum ‘n’ bass, minimal music and new music. Yet, they always remain fully committed to the “holy groove”. The “EXORBITANTES KABINETT” consists of 15 first-class musicians including a singer, who have either emerged from the Swiss jazz scene or have a classical background. Despite their diverse origins, the personalities in the band all share a wide sphere of interests ranging from African-American music to contemporary sounds as well as the desire to further expand on the latest developments in music. At the beginning of each year, the Band begins to elaborate on a repertoire made up of Kaspar Ewald’s pieces, which will then be performed live at various festivals and concerts throughout the year.

Berlin 10/4/08 - late

Next we got a cab over to A-Trane. We were told it was sold out but we wouldn't have any trouble getting into the late night jam session. We had a drink in the nice Italian place across the street. We were paranoid about not making it in later, so we started a line at about 11:55. That was a good strategy because we were allowed in a little early and got the last 15/20 min of the Blues set for no cover. It was great. I danced up a storm.

eb davis (voc/harp) nina t.davis (keys/voc) willie pollock (sax/voc) don marriott (tp/flgh/voc) jay bailey (g/voc) carlos delalane (b/voc) lenjes robinson (dr)

The jam was even better than I expected. Someone on the AAJ board said it would be great and Kurt Rosenwinkel was likely to play. I kept thinking no way he'd be there on my night. I also thought if he was he'd only play a little, not the 2+ amazing hours he did play that night!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. It started with a phenomenal guitar trio. The drummer was awesome and really into it. They were all awesome. I heard them invite Rosenwinkel up, but he probably wasn't there yet. After a bit a piano joined. A singer came up for a couple. They had changed drummers by then. Then Johann Leijonhufvud came up with his guitar and soon Kurt joined him. Those 2 then stayed up there nonstop for over 2 hours. I was in my glory and eventually got up to dance. I hadn't danced since the blues earlier. Kurt got off just when the original Trio came back up. The owner said something to him and he came back up to play 1 more with them. They did one more after that with the singer and ended at 4am. That was definitely the highlight of the trip for me. Kurt Rosenwinkel was also the only musician I saw the whole trip that I've seen before.

He just appeared on my radar after he recently played with The Bad Plus. I said I had never seen him before, but later found out I saw him a few days before in the Brian Blade Fellowship. I just couldn't see him that night, but I was very impressed with his playing. I have a feeling I've seen him other times as well. I just checked his website and wikipedia page, and I feel I must have seen him at other times. I also see he is at Birdland this week, so maybe I should try to get there.

Berlin 10/4/08 - early

Sat the big agenda for the day was to go to the Musical Instrument Museum in the Philharmonic. That was a lot of fun. It seemed to be about old European instruments, as there was no African and almost no Eastern instruments. It was really cool. I got an idea of how they got to the piano and the sax. A lot of the strings were already perfected way back then.

That night we went to a completely different part of town. This place, Badenscher Hof, wasn't in my detailed book of 6 maps. I was a little worried about that, but I really wanted to check out the experimental afro-jazz. We took a cab and I was relieved the driver knew of the club. I was no longer worried.

The venue was awesome. Lots of pictures of jazz artists on the wall and a poster advertising the club with a picture of Miles Davis. I wonder if he played there. We were happy to see they served food. We opted for naps instead of a big dinner. All the tables were reserved except the one right up front. Great! After some trouble with the German menu I had a delicious pasta with veggies dish and we were able to finish right before the music started. It started with Arcadius Didavi doing a solo with his voice and some percussion thing attached to his shin. He was the leader and the only African. Then Hannes Kies joined him with a Guinean flute. I can't remember if Arcadius played another instrument then or not. Then Arcadius did a solo with this little homemade guitar. He told us this is where blues and funk came from. He was speaking French and German, so I could only catch a little. I think he mentioned Benin, which would make sense since that's where Lionel Louke is from. For the next song, Hannes came back and played either the soprano or more African flute. They were also joined by Matthius Klause-Dauter on piano. For this piece, Arcadius played that little guitar like a percussion instrument. I think he then did an electric bass solo. Then I think they did a trio piece. He played electric bass and Hannes played soprano for the duration. It was phenomenal. Then there was a short set break.

Then it was like a completely different band, even though it was the same people joined by a trap drummer, Dimitris Christidis. It was now an awesome modern jazz quartet. They did Green Dolphin St and something else I recognized. That set was about 40 min or so.

Experimenteller Afro-Jazz

Arcadius (e-bass,perc,vocal)

Hannes Kies (sax,flute)

Matthias Klause-Dauter (piano)

Dimitris Christidis (drums,perc)

Arkadi spielt und singt mit seiner Bgerliner Band zum ersten Mal im „Hof“ original afrikanische Musik, Songs mit Jazzeinflüssen.

Berlin 10/3/08

Fri night it was time for some experimental music. What sparked the desire to go to Berlin in the first place was hearing it's the other place for experimental, along with NYC. I was thrilled when it was pretty close to our place, and an easy walk. The place is called Kulturhaus Mitte. You walk through a courtyard and get to a really nice small concert space. There were about 80-100 people there. We got some of the last seats and it looked better to sit even though I couldn't see everything. The performance was the Theremin Song Projekt. I've had an interest in the theremin for quite a while, and now I will make more of an effort to get to the Thermin society's gigs in NYC.

This was stellar! The guitar kept making me think of Marc Ribot. It was awesome and he had that rootsy sound at times. The piano was also phenomenal. How do I describe the theremin? Barbara Buchholz looked kind of like she was playing the air piano very very slowly. Here's her home page with a picture. It made such awesome sounds. It started with her, the guitar, and piano. After a couple of pieces a singer came up and was another instrument. She sang familiar pop tunes in her own way. I think there were 2 song with her. I think they went back to the trio then, but I'm not quite sure. A bandoleon player came up. And I think the guitar took a break. It was about an hour and stellar from start to finish. Actually, it looks like the myspace pages says it was an accordion. I thought it looked more like a bandoleon, but probably not.

Barbara Buchholz (Theremin)
Anna-Katariina Holmerús (voc)
Christian Beckers (p)
Andreas Hermeyer (acc)
Jan Krause (sampling, live-electronic)

Then I kept thinking I wanted more experimental and might take a chance on Lenin On Tour at the Jazzdor. As we started making our way there, I kept thinking I wasn't really in the mood for a bunch of Lenin stuff, there was even going to be a film. We also started realizing it wasn't as close as I thought. We switched to Plan B, which was b-flat. When I looked up the address, it turned out we were standing very close to it, so it was definitely meant to be.

I love this place! It looks like a small warehouse, but a much better vibe. There are lots of tables and a nice bar in the back. I found a dancing spot behind the tables. The band was the Big Bazaar Orchestra. I had been resisting it because it was another big band. I was happy to see that just like the night before, it was more modern than I expected and completely different from the night before. This had a tenor, alto/soprano, vibes, drummer/percussionist, guitar, vocalist, and contrabass. Now I remember I almost didn't go because it had a vocalist. She was good and fit right in. It was awesome. The drummer didn't have any of the traditional kit. It was his own kit with congas and bongos and a cymbal and a bunch of other stuff. This show was awesome and I danced my butt off. We got about 1.5 sets.

Katharina Debus (Vocals) Jorgos Psirakis (Soprano-, Altosax, Composition, Arrangement) Oli Bott (Vibraphone) Alfred Mehnert (Percussion) Adonis Bloomfield (Percussion) Roland Fidezius (Bass) Andreas Dormann (Baritonesax, Bassclarinet)

Modern Jazz, Weltmusik aus Berlin
Jorgos Psirakis (ss, as, comp, arrang), Katharina Debus (voc), Oli Bott (vib), Alfred Mehnert (perc, lyrics), Andreas Dormann (bs, b-cl), Roland Fidezius (b).
Diese drei Städte verkörpern den musikalischen Mix des Big Bazaar Orchestra. Deutsche und englische Texte treffen auf mediterrane Melodien und Afro-Kubanische Beats. Die Besetzung der Band orientiert sich am Sound des Jazz. Dafür sorgen Saxophon, Bassklarinette, Vibraphon und Kontrabass. Die Percussion führt uns in die Klangwelt Kubas, Afrikas aber auch in die Berliner Clubs. Aber über allem liegt die Alt-Stimme der charismatischen Sängerin Katharina Debus.

Berlin 10/2/08

Berlin has a high level of great music! There's so much more to explore. I guess I'll have to make another trip at some point.

I was staying in a friend's gallery in Mitte. Its the new part of East Berlin. I. got the feeling it is akin to the East Village. It is hard to compare Berlin to anywhere else, though. My mind kept wanting to compare, but there's too many differences.

I ended up with a partner in crime, a girl from South Africa. She was also staying in the gallery, visiting the same friends. I think I opened her up to seeing more live music and she talked about putting together some gigs in Johannisburg. Cool.

I got in late afternoon and we went to get some food. I immediately started the hunt for the ways to find the listings. There's only so much you can do online when you don't know the city and don't speak the language. I did put a feeler out on the AAJ message board and got a good jumping off point.

It didn't take long to find out it would be worthwhile to purchase Tip Berlin. Its like Time Out NY. It didn't have EVERYTHING, but neither does TONY or AAJ. It had a lot though. Enough to get me to some phenomenal shows.

I had my nap and then we all went out to dinner at a famous Berlin spot, Clarchens Ballhaus. This place was established in 1913 and is a hot trendy spot for dancing. The band was doing a soundcheck when we got there, and I knew the music would be mediocre. I was expecting the same of the food, but it was pretty good. This was also my Berlin friends' first time there, and they said its well known that they've continued to have good chefs. It was nice to watch the dancing for a bit and see the trendy in crowd start showing up all decked out.

I knew I need to get to A-Trane ASAP, so that was on my agenda for my first evening out in Berlin.

We took a couple of trains to get to the french cafe area, Savignyplatz. I think it is in the Charlottenburg area of town. We asked someone where the club was and found it pretty easily. Its awesome. I love the vibe and the way its set up. Its kind of like the Vanguard, but a nicer vibe and not as tight. I was able to get a dancing spot off to the side with some room.

The band was Fredrik Lundin Overdrive, an awesome 10 piece. Fredrik plays tenor, soprano and flute. There's a guitar/dobro, 4 trombones, a trumpet/flugelhorn, and 2 drummers. That's right, 2 drummers! That's what drew me to this gig. One trombone also played a euphonium. As I write this I realize I got quite a few trombones this trip. I was pretty impressed with this instrumentation and even more impressed with the music. They did a planned encore and then we wanted more, so they did a short version of the first song. We got there right when they were starting the 2nd set, so we got quite a bit of the wonderful show. It was a good first night.

fredrik lundin (sax/fl) krister jonsson (g) henrik gunde (p/rhodes) jens kristian uhrenholdt (b) emil dewaal (dr) jonas johanssen (dr) maj berit guassora (tp) mads hyhne (tb) ola nordqvist (tb) klaus löhrer (tb)

Germany Overall

I just got back from 2 great weeks in Germany. I was able to write up a lot of my music experiences on the trains, which is good because there is lots to say.

Overall I am very impressed with the quality of music in Berlin. There's still a lot I didn't explore. I stuck to jazz there and got some phenomenal shows.

I loved how relaxed Munich is. I was able to spend a couple of days in other music genres. I went the Mon and Tues after Oktoberfest and had a great time and got some good shows.

I was mainly in Hamburg to attend the Kane's workshop. I did make it to Birdland for the jam session and had some fun. While I didn't spend as much time looking, it seemed Berlin blows it away on the music front. The only other thing I wanted to go to but didn't was last night's Spencer Davis show at Downtown Blues Club. Other than that, I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I should give it another chance, though.