Monday, November 23, 2009

Leah Siegel @ Bowery Electric 11/21/09

Yeah, there were all of these incredible music options that I would normally have been at, but I had other plans. I had a lot of fun at a party earlier, and a couple of my friends were going to see Leah after, so I decided to go to hang out. It was also nice to try something different, and a rock band was more what I was in the mood for.

At first, I thought this was where CBGBs was, and I felt like a traitor. I felt a little worse when I saw that I liked the space. I'm glad to see it's not the space, so that was all for nothing. The funny thing is I was never crazy about it. I did like CB's Gallery a little more, but I rarely went to raunchy CBGB space. It was before I got into the Freestyle Music Series type stuff and my time in NYC was after I was exploring the music that usually went on there. I do remember liking the few shows I was at there, I just never sought it out or explored it on a whim like I've done so many other places when I was figuring out what I liked through trial and error.

Anyway, Bowery Electric downstairs is a nice room. It's got nice wood floors, a good bar, and lots of seats. Still, it was easy to stand on the dance floor. It was rock, but not super loud get down kind of rock. Most of the people were really into it, they just sat. After the set, they started rearranging the room to become a dance club.

I enjoyed the music. She sounds similar to Norah Jones and I liked the music enough to move to it. That's always my sign.

The Tori Ensemble @ Roulette 11/20/09

It was actually The Tori Ensemble + Special Guests Ikue Mori, Min Xiao Fen, Sylvie Courvoissier and Zeena Parkins. OK?!! The special guests, as great as they are, and the regular NYers I see as much as possible, Erik Friedlander, Ned Rothenberg and Sotoshi Takeishi, weren't even the big reason I wanted to attend this. It was the chance to explore Korean Traditional musicians fusing with American greats.

I've been wanting to get exposed to Korean ever since I overheard Ned Rothenberg telling his friends he was going to see something at the Korean Ministry of Culture a few years ago. It was a Sun night at the Freestyle Music Series at Jimmy's No 43. It was probably before 2007 and therefor probably before Ned started playing with Korean Traditional musicians. I remember I was intrigued by his description. You probably know how faulty our memories are, so this one could be complete ca ca. I have a notion Ned was talking about how inventive Koreans are and how funk may have originated through them. Since then I took an introductory Korean tea ceremony class and attended a demonstration where the Korean Tea Ceremony was performed with music (not live music). I was loving how every move the participants made was completely in sync with the music. It was so cool.

This show was phenomenal. It was an Improv night, with 1.5 hours of various improvised pieces in various formations of the 10 artists.

Let's see how much I can remember.

It started with Yoon Jeong Heo on geomungo-zither and Min Xiao Fen on pipa. Aha! Now I know she plays 2 pipas! I was sitting in the front row, so I got a good look at them.

Next came Zeena Parkins on harp, Kwon Soon Kang on vocals and Sylvie Courvoissier on piano.

Erik Friedlander on cello, Young Chi Min on percussion, the changgo-drum, and Ikue Morie on laptop were pheonemenal. Ikue stayed out there for the next piece, which included Satoshi Takeishi on percussion and I think Sylvie and maybe someone else.

So, it's all becoming a blur. I do remember there was one piece with just Korean artists and then one with the NY representatives. It was all truly awesome. Satoshi had various percussion instruments on the floor and it reminded me of a very simple and different type of drum kit. There were drums and other stuff around him. Young Chi Min also played a daegum-flute.

The program is great. I'm talking about the printed program. I got a lot of info about everyone and learned something new about each of them. I now know that the tribal flute Ned plays is a shakuhachi-flute. He's been studying it for quite some time.

I also noticed that same groove that is always played differently by Ned. It came up for a few moments when he was on the bass clarinet. I love it, which is why I always notice when it emerges.

This was really great. I need to keep my eye out for more Korean over time.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Doug Wamble @ Bar Next Door 11/19/09

I wanted something, but my prepared list of potentials wasn't it. I checked nah, that wasn't it, either. I made a final attempt to consult my AAJ print edition. I stopped reading as soon as I saw Doug listed. Without knowing it, that was exactly what I was looking for!

I got there probably toward the beginning of the break. They came back on a little after 10:15. They didn't realize they were scheduled to play til 11:45, so they went back to some of the material from the 1st set as well as some unplanned material. Lucky me who missed the 1st set!

It was awesome. 2 guitars and a bass. For the most part, I didn't miss the drums. I can at least say it wasn't a big deal they weren't there and the music was awesome. I'm glad it was an extra-long set. I loved the planned portion of the set. It was enough. It was a little more mellow than the unplanned portion. It made it difficult to tear myself away a little after 11:30.

The other guitar had an electric and a pedal steel. It was an upright bass. It was really great, and I love this trio.

Thursday, Nov. 19th. DW Trio with Jeff Hanley on bass and Rich Hinman on guitar/pedal steel at La Lanterna. 3rd and MacDougal.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

James Weidman @ Jazz Standard 11/17/09

I chose this for Marty Ehrlich and Brad Jones, but now I know James is great and all of his sidemen were phenomenal. The vibes were awesome. Anything with vibes and trombone is bound to be great. It started with a piano trio. Then they invited Jay up. After that, I think they had Jay take a break and invited the 2 horns up. They did also play some tunes as a sextet. It doesn't say it, but Marty had the bass clarinet also. I don't remember seeing him with it. It was awesome! This was a great set and very worthwhile.


  • Ray Anderson – trombone
    Marty Ehrlich – alto sax, clarinet
    Jay Hoggard – vibes
    James Weidman – piano
    Brad Jones – bass
    Francisco Mela – drums

Three Worlds is James Weidman’s fourth album as a leader, and its original compositions, striking arrangements, and spirited execution combine to demonstrate his mastery of the art of jazz. Tonight at Jazz Standard, an all-star septet will enable James to deploy the various lineups featured on Three Worlds, from the trio arrangement of the timeless African-American spiritual “Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho” to exuberant ensemble performances like “Razz 2.0.” James Weidman has been a valued sideman and accompanist in many settings over the past 20 years, from Abbey Lincoln and Steve Coleman to Kevin Mahogany and Joe Lovano. Three Worlds is an important marker of his growing significance as a bandleader and composer

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MMW @ Nokia 11/14/09

I hearby declare Medeski, Martin, and Wood my current favorite band. They do it all, and they do it all excellently! They are 3 of the most talented musicians in existence today. Its actually a bit overdue, this choice.

This show was a great one to make the realization. I can't remember enough details to give a good detailed write-up. I'll just make an attempt to give the dribs and drabs I do remember. I recall being very pleased from start to finish.

It started with a great drum solo by Billy. Chris and John came out soon enough with Chris on an electric bass. At some point in the first set, they invited Eddie Bobé to sit in on the timbales and small congas. That was great. It also allowed me to again appreciate how well the 3 know each other and how they create together. Of course, I have very few of their CDs, so I don't know what's a song or even what's been played how many times before. That's one of the things that makes them so great, its all awesome without any familiarity.

I don't remember many specifics in the 2nd set, aside from loving it. Each of them had me super appreciating them at different times.

Yes, I love this band!

Fela! 11/14/09

I couldn't risk not seeing this again. I only tried to get there once at the 1st theatre. I really wanted to go, I just didn't want to commit to a time slot. Even after Brian's great review, telling me how worth it it was.

So, I got online sometime in the past couple of weeks and selected a matinee that looked like it would work. This solves a lot of the commitment issues because there's not as much sacrificing during the day. Plus, I love getting down in the afternoon.

It was awesome! Fantastic! I hope to get there at least once more, hopefully a couple more time. Forget it's a Broadway show, or a show period. It's an awesome concert where you get great insight into the great Fela Kuti. I've been wanting to explore and learn about him for a long time, but hadn't taken the time yet. I love getting it through a medium that delivers in a few hours. Its also better than a film because you get the live music experience to boot.

It is so well done. The band slowly started jamming before showtime, which was an enjoyable way to begin. They then did their best to make it like we were at the Nigerian club, Shrine, where Fela always came back to. It was in a bad neighborhood, and he attracted press and the Army.

The music and dancing was phenomenal. I also left knowing a lot more about Fela's life and who he was. They even gave us the words to the songs and some clips in a very tasteful manner in the top portion on the backdrop.

I loved the Break It Down portion where they showed us in simple terms how Fela created afro-beat. He came up with the drum style and the guitar style. They showed us what music influenced him.

I left feeling satisfied I got a great show. I was enriched with insight into Fela. I also left hungry to go a little deeper. I think it was perfect for a first foray. I have a good base now, in addition to the CDs I own, for more exploration. I should start with seeing this again.

Charles Gayle @ The Stone 11/13/09

There was so much going on, but this first set was the only thing I managed to make it to. I was so glad to see Lisle Ellis and Michael TA Thompson would be accompanying him. It was his first time playing with Michael, and they hit it off very well. I'm not sure if he played with Lisle before, but I certainly enjoyed it.

He played sax for most of it. The drum solos were awesome. When Charles went to the piano, Thomas mainly played percussion. He had this really cool thing I never saw before. It looked like a bunch of wooden squares strung together and I like the sound it makes. The bass solo was awesome. There was also some avant-call-and-response, playing somewhat simultaneously, between the piano and the drums. I think a new alliance was formed that night.

Charles finished up on the sax.

It was a good choice on my part, if I was only going to do 1 set of music.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Underground Horns @ Nublu 11/12/09

I was finally feeling better and I needed something. This was a great choice. It was a fun brass band with 2 drummers. How can you go wrong? I also needed to get to Nublu for some of this jazzfest. I keep trying to get back, but I've been unsuccessful so far. This was the first band, scheduled for 9. They came on at around 9:30. I had to get out of there or risk getting sucked in to the next band. It looked like a relatively quick changeover.

Ceramic Dog @ The Knit 11/10/09

Nice space! Nice band! I never made it to Luna Lounge, which was the last venue in this space. I wasn't as adventurous in Brooklyn then. It's a major improvement over the Main Space at The Knitting Factory Tribeca location. The stage is bigger and at a better level. There are no columns and it feels better. The sound is also better.

There were a number of people there, but it was only about 1/4 full.

I got there at 10:30ish and they were on. It was awesome. The music was somewhat melancholy, but there was also a variety. It was all new music. Eszter played melodica, violin, and sang some songs. That first one she and Ribot were both singing in French.

It was absolutely fantastic. I was going to leave early, and I couldn't. They did a 1 hour set and then an encore.

They did Break on Through, but it was a completely different arrangement since their last album. I really hope they record this.

Tues Nov 10, 8pm
Knitting Factory Brooklyn
Just back from their European tour with newly developed material..
Ceramic Dog w/guest Eszter Balint, 10pm
Chris Cochrane Trio, 9pm
Guest opening act TBA, 8pm

Billy Martin's Mystery Riddim @ The Stone 11/10/09

This was awesome! Billy is one of my favorite drummers ever. He's also one of my favorite percussionists ever. And, there's nothing better than a drummer/composer.

This was mainly Billy expanding what he can do with great accompaniment. He was definitely the centerpiece and star, but it was great to have this expansive view.

There were 3 other percussionists. That was so much fun! They were often playing the same types of instruments and it was just cool. They started off each with a conga and a cool stick. They had gongs at times and other stuff I'm not sure what it was. Billy started with the kit. Each time he got on the drum kit, I completely fell in love with his drumming anew. I can't believe it, but I think he went up even higher in my appreciation. I must be feeling even deeper about great music than ever before.

Billy also played some other stuff, including the aquasonic (no water), berimbau, thumb piano, etc.

Shazaad was awesome on guitar. Kato had many awesome ways of playing the electric bass. He played it with a bow at times. He also put a metal disk somehow over the hole, it was like a tiny cymbal, and it sounded great.

It was fabulous and a really great set to be at.

Mystery Riddim
Billy Martin, Shahzad Ismailey, Kato Hideki (electronics, guitars) Jed Koziner, Steve Honoshowsky and Ronald Stockwell (acoustic percussion)
The Mystery Riddim set will consist of new compositions by Billy Martin for this unique ensemble interspersed with solo drum interludes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Marco Benevento & Friends - Live in NYC: The Sullivan Hall Residency DVD

I bet this is great. I remember them filming and I remember how awesome the shows were. The Billy Martin/Calvin Weston/Marco/Skerik show was unbelievable. I was at most of the shows, so you can get my remembrances back in the blog archives. It's all a blur now, so I need to get the DVD.


All five nights of Marco's historic January, 2008 Sullivan Hall residency were recorded in high-definition video with multiple cameras, along with multi-track audio recording. Each of the five nights featured a different grouping playing Marco originals, covers and improvisations. A DVD has been created highlighting the best moments of these shows, along with behind the scenes interviews.

This DVD can now be pre-ordered at the link below. All pre-orders will receive five additional unreleased videos from the residency:

Please spread the word and support this independent project produced by The Royal Potato Family & Shine A Light Productions.

Steve Gadd & Friends @ Iridium 11/8/09

Sometimes I'm very in the dark. I never heard of him, but thankfully that's no longer the case. Wow! He's an amazing drummer, but the whole band together was unbelievable. I love a baritone in the band!

Joey DeFrancesco played amazing organ and trumpet. There was a great call and response part between him and Ronnie Cuber.

The guitar was awesome. I really loved the instrumentation.

The music style was so much more than I expected. Based on nothing, I thought it would be stellar straight-ahead jazz. Boy was I exhiliaratingly surprised! There was some lively jazz in there, but also funk, blues, and groove. Everything was superb. I loved every minute.

It was also a great set to be at. The set was 1.5 hours, including an encore. I heard that was the only time they did an encore after the 1st set. I think Steve had a lot of special friends there that night.

Now I'm wondering what else is out there that I don't know about yet.

From the Iridium website listing:
Steve Gadd and Friends with Special Guests Joey DeFrancesco, Ronnie Cuber and Paul Bollenback

Steve Gadd
Possibly the most recorded drummer ever, the modest and retiring drummer who burst onto the New York scene in the early seventies quickly went about his quiet work of redefining the nature of modern drumming. His influence became so vast that it would be difficult to measure. In Japan they called him “God”, while in Cuba, he was the “Papa”, such was the pervasiveness of Gadd’s effect—on the musicians with whom he played and on other drummers, many of whom copied everything from his fills and his unique drumset to his clothing and beard! He’s performed and recorded with all the legends including Eric Clapton, James Taylor, and Paul Simon.

Joey DeFrancesco has come a long way from All of Me, his recording debut as a leader made in 1989 as a fresh-faced 17-year-old. From the get-go, the Philadelphia native established his credentials with virtuoso technique and an innate soulfulness that he brought to bear on the hulking Hammond B-3 organ which belied his young age but spoke of his deep Philly roots under the tutelage of his father, Papa John DeFrancesco, a B-3 burner in his own right. Through the 1990s, Joey was widely recognized as spearheading a renewed interested in the Hammond organ, an instrument that had fallen out of favor among musicians and the public since its golden period during the 1960s and early 70s. Joey dazzling facility was once described as by guitar great Pat Martino, himself a veteran of many classic B-3 sessions. Today DeFrancesco is regarded by organ aficionados as the baddest B-3 burner in the business (a claim supported by his five consecutive DownBeat Critics Poll awards for 2002, 2003, 2004, 3005and 2006).

Ronnie Cuber is a baritone sax player strong enough to bring out the lyricism of the weighty instrument. While he plays traditional jazz in the style of Pepper Adams and Nick Brignola, Cuber also has led Latin sessions and appeared on dozens of pop recordings as an in-demand sideman. Cuber was born on Christmas, 1941, in New York. When he was 18, he appeared in Marshall Brown's Newport Youth Band at the Newport Jazz Festival. Three years later he was in Slide Hampton's groups and spent the 1960s working with Maynard Ferguson, George Benson, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman and Lonnie Smith.During the next decade, Cuber performed on a slew of recordings and embraced distant ends of the woodwind family by playing flute and baritone sax on Eddie Palmieri's 1973 record, Sun Of Latin Music. While working with Lee Konitz in the late '70s, Cuber featured the clarinet and soprano sax alongside the baritone in his arsenal. He recorded his own Cuber Libre in 1976 and released a succession of traditional jazz records in the '80s and '90s, such as Live At The Blue Note and The Scene Is Clean (Milestone). In the 1980's he was a member of the Saturday Night Live Band for 5 years. The slew of pop musicians who have recruited easy-going Cuber for sessions include Chaka Kahn, Paul Simon. In 1998, Cuber played on and arranged The Three Baritone Saxophone tribute disc, Plays Mulligan on Dreyfus Records, and has arranged and recorded on 6 Mingus Big Band cd's for Dreyfus Records. Aaron Cohen/Downbeat. His latest recording ‘Ronnie’ is on the Steeplechase label.

”Not one jazz virtuoso could put the definition of jazz into words, but all agreed that you know it when you hear it. That's the way it is with Paul Bollenback. It's bona-fide playing, unambiguous, up-front and powerful,” summarizes George Benson, a long-time friend. His debut recording, Original Visions, as a leader with Challenge Records, is one of the most creative efforts by a guitarist in recent memory. Double Gemini, his second CD, features four of his own compositions and won the title of CD of The Month in Jim Fisch's distinguished jazz column in 20th Century Jazz Magazine. It won the same award from the renowned jazz radio station WBGO in Newark, New Jersey. Challenge Records has recently released his third recording, Soul Grooves.

Concert of the Secret Guardians @ The Stone 11/7/09

Yes, it was unfortunate I was too sick to make it to The Stone on Fri night. I heard it was outrageous, but I already knew that. I still felt pretty bad on Sat, but I'm happy to say I got the energy to get to both sets of this. It was more than a consolation prize. It was phenomenal.

I would call it stellar jazz/psychedelic/jam music. It was incredible. 2 contrabasses, drumkit, Medeski on piano and Tisziji. Really amazing. This was so worth it. I'm really happy.

Medeski was playing a few things similar to the solo I saw him at the other night. And, of course he also played a lot of different music. Tisziji is an amazing guitarist. He really had me. The was an extra special show.

“Concert of the Secret Guardians”
Tisziji Munoz (guitar) John "lam sobo" Medeski (keyboards) Ra-Kalam Bob Moses (drums) John Lockwood, Don Pate (bass)

Sexmob + Special Guests @ Sullivan Hall 11/5/09

I was feeling pretty sick, but I had to go. I am so glad I made it and stayed til the end! I got there at about 10:15-10:30 and they were already on. While I love it when the 4 core members are there, I also love the various substitutions they are sometimes forced to make. This time it was Trevor Dunn on bass instead of Tony Scher. Nice! My first Sexmob with Trevor. It was phenomenal.

It wasn't too long after I got there they invited 2 guitarists to join them. Eric Krasno came out. It was better than I anticipated, I had trouble since I heard he was going to be there seeing how he could possibly fit in with that ensemble. Will Bernard eventually joined in and fit much better. He has been playing with Steven since childhood after all. Later, Adam Rogers took over in Krasno's spot. Kraz had his moments, he just never struck me as an experimental music type.

Anyway, the whole thing was truly awesome, anyone who was up there. Doug Weiselman came up and blew us away with his grooving clarinet. There were parts where Ben Perowsky took over the drums and Kenny got out his tenor sax. I think I knew Kenny played sax, I think. It was nice to add more brass.

Medeski showed up during the 2nd set. I just remember loving it and having a great time. I think I couldn't control a scream every now and then, but I couldn't actually even talk. I might have been delirious toward the end.

DJ Logic spun a super funky set in between live sets. He also jammed with band for the 2nd set. I'm appreciating him more and more these days.

It was well worth the effort. This, by the way, was a Scotty Hard benefit. I love how the great musicians come out and support him.

Sex Mob & DJ Logic w/ John Medeski & Eric Krasno plus Will Bernard, Doug Wieselman, Adam Rogers, Ben Perowsky / plus other surprise guests! / Otis Grove opens the show / A Benefit for Scotty Hard
at Sullivan Hall

Medeski solo @ The Stone 11/4/09

I was sick last week so I didn't get out that much. Still, I have to smile when I think about how great, uh, spectacular those few shows were. I can't complain.

I got a seat right behind Medeski, which was awesome. Everything he did was blown away amazing. I'm having trouble remembering details, but I think he played every note on the piano. There was one part where he was jamming on the high notes that was killer. I would see him do that again in a great band on Sat night.

I think he played a melodica or that other thing that is similar. That memory is blending in with many times I've seen him, so I'm not quite sure.

I know he played the sruti. I got to see it super close up for the first time. I went to great pains to try to figure out what it was called on the internet. I hadn't succeeded yet when I saw the guy I was sitting next to the next night. He had asked John the name and gave it to me. I found some interesting info about free reed aerophones with bellows and a bunch of other instruments that I'm sharing here.

The sruti is really cool. Its got a drone sound and I could see how he could change it by moving the keys. He often was playing the piano at the same time. Here's a demo.

There were some grooving parts of course. The last one was a familiar emotion-evoking piece reminiscent of The Bad Plus. It was all beautiful. I think every emotion was evoked from one time to another throughout the set.

He paused in between pieces. I seem to recall it being a long set, I think 75-90 minutes. Of course, its all blending by now. I put most of my efforts into finding the sruti instead of writing it up asap, so I forgot a lot by now.

I also found this piece about Medeski and the melodica that I haven't read yet: