Thursday, February 26, 2009
The show was great. I had very low expectations due to the venue and crowd. I didn’t make it to that Tribeca Rock Club show back then, but I did attend a couple of rare K3 shows at 55 Bar after that. I think I remember hearing the TRC show didn't go so well, and therefore, I thought they might not translate well to another, larger venue. However, I have no clue whether this was actually the case. It's just a thought that was in my head and may have no truth to it at all.
Anyway, last night was a lot of fun. I liked the 2nd set even more, when the crowd thinned out a lot and I could get closer. I thought both sets were good, though. It is different here than the teeny tiny 55 Bar and being 5 feet from the band. I think I may like being a little farther away since it gets so intense. Although, I do have some remembrance of being more blown away at the tiny space.
feat. Wayne Krantz, Keith Carlock & Tim Lefebvre
the return of
KRANTZ CARLOCK LEFEBVRE
Wednesday, Feb 25 @ Sullivan Hall, NYC
it's a warm-up gig for a new studio recording
(studio? last one of those was in '96..)
happening the first week of March
for the Abstract Logix label
(label? last one of those was in '96..)
should be good
I got there just before it started at 8:30. He did some solo piano stuff and was then joined by a bass and drums for a few. It was good. It was more straight ahead than I was expecting. I was also tired and it was making me feel quite mellow, even though it wasn't super-mellow music.
After the solo and trio pieces, they brought up a trombone and a singer. The trombone was more lively, and it was waking me up a little. I left during the next song, which was a Blues number. It was good, and more lively than I'm making it sound. I just wasn't in the mood for it.
Heikki Sarmanto at St Mark's Church
Feb 25, 2009 - 08:15 pm
with Jeannine Otis, vocals.
The MAGIC SONGS CD is a musical collaboration between Heikki Sarmanto, noted Finnish composer, and Jeannine Otis, vocalist. The CD, released globally by Warner/European Records, explores the poetry of Eino Leino as translated by the late Aina Swann Cutler through Heikki's music. These songs have become classics and are listened to all over the world. The collaboration between Heikki and Jeannine highlights the best of the possibilities of cultural exchange.
Heikki will also perform some of his other original compositions and be available to meet immediately after the concert.
Place: Saint Marks Church in-the-Bowery, located at 131 East Tenth Street on the corner of Second Avenue.
This concert is open to all who can attend..
The suggested donation is $10.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
This was 2 sets of really stellar music that crossed a lot of genre borders. In spite of crossing genre borders, it seemed seemless and just a style of it's own. I bet this would appeal to almost anyone. I'm so impressed that Adam can manage such a large group and make it all work so well.
I must get to 55 Bar to see Leni Stern. She was amazing and so soulful. Brahim Frigbane had me amazed at his oud playing. There was a cello solo that was incredibly beautiful. There seemed to be a large part of the world representing in various instruments. It's so nice to see so many drums from around the world all blend so nicely. I'm so glad Ned Rothenberg mainly played the bass clarinet.
There was one piece where most of the artists put down their regular instruments and played wooden recorders or flutes. It was so nice. The percussionists kept their instruments.
They will be there again in May and I highly recommend it. It started a little after 8:30, they took a short break (10-20 min) at around 9:20ish and then ended at around 10:45.
Adam Rudolph\'s GO Organic Orchestra
Mon Feb 23 - 8:30 PM
performer: Adam Rudolph,
Composer and Artistic Director Adam Rudolph has constructed music using innovative and experimental means without the use of western music notation. Rudolph will conduct the woodwind players through music/letter grids, language themes, Indian Ragas and song forms to create the moods, movement and sonic gestures.
The percussionists have been learning Rudolph's rhythm concept:"Cyclic Verticalism", whereby polyrhythms (used in African music) are combined with rhythms cycles (used in Indian music). Utilizing these elements in an spontaneous way, elements will weave what Rudolph calls an "audio syncretic music fabric" that serves as a platform for improvisation and self expression.
Go: Organic Orchestra is an ensemble (with both Los Angeles and New York based groups) and a conducting/performance concept that can be taught and peformed anywhere. The musicians listed below will be appearing in performance with Go: Organic Orchestra on one or all of the Monday evening concerts. Additional musicians will be performing: the exact line-up and instrumentation will be determined the night of the performance.
Unique in the realm of approaches to improvisational conducting, Go: Organic Orchestra utilizes a composed non-linear score consisting of sound and motion elements. These include tone rows, synthetic scales, melodies, linguistic shapes, intervallic patterns, textural gestures, modes, ragas, maqams, and plainchant. The score serves to provide material for both the improvisations and the orchestrations. Motion and forms and are generated through the application of the composer’s rhythm concept "Cyclic Verticalism" whereby polymeters are combined with additive rhythm cycles. In concert, the composer conducts the musicians in a spontaneous way by using a variety of hand signals to cue and orchestrate the score and direct the improvisations. He seeks to generate unusual relationships of sound against sound, form against form, and rhythm against rhythm in a non-linear, ever shifting kaleidoscope of music images: weaving an "audio syncretic music fabric". The music is "organic" in the sense that the compositions and conducting serve as inspiration and context for the musicians to express themselves in the moment by using their instruments as an amplifier for their inner voice. Through listening and imagination the conductor and performers inspire one another to create emotional colorations of sound. Rather than the score being a set of instructions of what, how and when to play, the non-linear semiotic (symbols) of the written music are an invitation to discover the potentialities of what can happen when transformed into syntax as expressed through the hands and breath of a group of virtuosic, imaginative, and soulful improvisers.
Sylvain Leroux –Tambin
Fulani Flute, C Flute
Ze Luis – C flute, Bamboo Flute
Michel Gentile – C and Alto Flute, Bamboo Flute
Kaoru Watanabe – Noh Kan, Fue, C Flute
Steve Gorn - Bansuri Flute, Hichiriki
Pyotr Gazarov– C flute, Bamboo Flute
Batya Sobel – Oboe
Sara Schoenbeck – Bassoon, Sona
Ned Rothenberg - Bass Clarinet, Shakuhachi
Charles Waters – B flat Clarinet
David Rothenberg - B flat Clarinet, Seljefløytes
Avram Fefer - B flat Clarinet
JD Parran - Contra Alto Clarinet, Kalimbas
Graham Haynes – Cornet, Bamboo Horn
Amir Elsaffar – Trumpet, Santoor, Bamboo Horn
Stephen Haynes – Trumpet, Conch, Didjiridoo
Steve Swell – Trombone, Bamboo Horn
Peter Zummo – Trombone, Didjiridoo
Charles Burnham – Violin
Sarah Bernstein – Violin
Trina Basu – Violin
Jason Hwang – Violin
Mark Chung– Violin
Tom Swafford – Violin
Curtis Stewart – Violin
Melanie Dyer – Viola
Stephanie Griffin – Viola
Kirsten Jerme – Cello
Kenny Wessel – Electric Guitar, Banjo
Leni Stern – Electric Guitar, Ngoni
Marco Cappelli - Acoustic Guitar
Brahim Fribgane – Oud and Percussion
Harris Eisenstadt – Drum Set, Kutero
Jonathan Singer – Tabla, Mridngam, Percussion
Matt Kilmer – Frame Drums, Percussion
James Hurt – Batajon, Percussion
Chris Dingman – Vibraphone
Stuart Popejoy - Acoustic Bass Guitar
Alex Marcelo – Acoustic Piano
" I caught a performance Go: Organic Orchestra down in SoHo last spring and was swept away by what they were doing. It was fascinating and ahead of its time, in the best possible way. I loved every minute of it. " - Marc Meyers, jazzwax.com " I was fortunate to have attended two nights with Adam Rudolph's Go: Organic Orchestra at Roulette a few months back and was blown away by Adam's distinctive blend of jazz and world music as well as his conducting." - Bruce Lee Gallanter - Downtown Music Gallery "The music, performed by a large ensemble of wind and percussion players, rose like vines from hand drummer Adam Rudolph's written instructions and hand signals. And it truly is organic -- a blend of gentle sustained dissonance, heaven-crashing rhythm jams, and individual improvisations. No joke: a startling and involving development in roots music, with more to follow." - Greg Burk, LA Weekly More info: http://www.metarecords.com/go.html
Sunday, February 22, 2009
It's a nice small theatre. I had no idea what it was, I was just curious enough to want to go. I was going on the DMG listing below.
I did think it was going to be something like live music. Most of the sounds were pre-recorded and played loudly. Still, the music was great and it was an interesting thing for me to see. A lot of the symbolism was beyond me, but I got some idea of what was going on. I did just google "Astronome" and read some of the reviews about this theatre piece. I don't know what I can say about it, but if you want to know more, you should do the same.
I liked it and it reminded me a lot of Secret Chiefs 3 stuff. The music and theatrics were somewhat dark. I think it had a happy ending, but I'm not quite sure. It also wasn't THAT dark. It's the kind of stuff that appeals to my own dark side, at least on the music end of things.
A VERY SPECIAL EVENT!
Richard Foreman is one of the most important theatre directors in the world, and has been a personal hero of John Zorn's for over 30 years.
This theatre/music piece is the historic first-time collaboration for two masters of the bizarre (both MacArthur geniuses) who individually have challenged, enlightened and entertained adventurous audiences for decades.
ASTRONOME: A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is a work dominated by ecstatic groans, grunts and babbling, and explores the initiation of a group of people into a world where ambiguous behavior alone leads to freedom--perhaps under the tutelage of the necessary "false messiah." This is one of those events that can only happen downtown - culminating from a chance meeting in the street - independent of any special grants, funding, institution or administration.
Based on ASTRONOME, the intense second CD of a series featuring Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn and Joey Baron, Richard Foreman's staging of it is
Please make a special effort to see this once in a lifetime event, opening FEBRUARY 5th and RUNNING FOR ONLY TWO MONTHS through APRIL 5th at
the ONOTOLOGICAL-HYSTERIC THEATRE
@ St Marks Church in the East Village, 131 East 10th St on Second Ave!
to purchase tickets, go to:
This was listed as a rare treat. It was also supposed to have Charles Gayle, but Sabir Mateen came and subbed for him. I really hope they do it at Vision Fest with Gayle. It's going to be at Abrons Art Center this year.
I have to admit I didn't really miss Charles Gayle, it was so incredibly amazing.
Cooper Moore, hand crafted instruments / Tony Malaby, tenor sax / Sabir Mateen, tenor sax / William Parker, bass / Nasheet Waits, drums
Really, William Parker was there, and I was likely to choose this night regardless, so it wasn't a huge disappointment. I'm so glad that Parker was my first bass player after seeing Chris Wood for days. played with him and was on his drumheads, cymbal, and reeds. This was a collaborative piece arranged by Patricia Nicholson Parker and included 4 dancers.
It was great. I didn't quite get the dancing, and I'm more into the music anyway. Still, I enjoyed it a lot. It was stellar. It lasted about 45 minutes.
Patricia Nicholson's A State of Mind: dancers: Miriam Parker, Daniel Wilkins, Jason Jordan, Julian Barnett; musicians: Cooper Moore, Jason Kao Hwang, and William Parker called out sick again. This is the 3rd time it happened when I've gone to one of his gigs. Its one reason I try to get to them as much as possible. They said he haas the flu.
Friday, February 20, 2009
JUNE 9TH THROUGH 15TH ABRONS ART CENTER @ The Henry St. Settlement& The ANGEL ORENSANZ FOUNDATION
Marshall Allen & the Sun Ra Arkestra
Fred Anderson · Billy Bang · Rob Brown · Peter BrötzmannRoy Campbell · Ernest Dawkins · Douglas Ewart · Charles Gayle
Milford Graves · William Hooker · Jason Kao Hwang · Kidd Jordan
Joe McPhee · Butch Morris · Joe Morris · Ras Moshe · Sunny MurrayZim Ngqawana · William Parker · Michele Rosewoman
Matthew Shipp · Lisa Sokolov · David S. Ware
Vision Festival XIV will present more than 50 events, including music and dance performances, poetry readings, film screenings, visual art projections and a beautiful site-specific installation by Jorgo Schäfer, all on two stages. Arts For Art will be hosting three panel discussions, open to the public, which will serve to engage dialogue on pertinent issues in today's music industry and community.This year's festival will honor the lifetime achievement of Philadelphia jazz legend, Marshall Allen, leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra, with a full night of performances on Wednesday, June 10th.
I got there and sure enough, they did have the whole room utilized. I got my name checked off and was told I had to be seated by the hostess. I asked if I could stand, and I had just seen Scott, who informed her I wanted to dance. She told me there’s no dancing because you need a special license. I kind of went back into my old pattern of being upset about that. I quickly realized there’s nothing I can do, and I have to make the best of it. I found a standing spot I liked, and took her over there and asked if I could stand there. She told me there’s no standing, and started taking me toward the way back to the barstools (I didn’t want to be at the bar because it was too far from the stage). Without giving it a thought, I hear myself ask her if there was anything way up front. Phew! My being realized there was going to be talking and if I have to sit I want to be as close as possible. It was a very good move and I was the 2nd table in on Medeski’s side, right in front of him. Good enough!
They came on a lot later than previous nights, something like 9:15ish. I thoroughly enjoyed the 1st set. I had a good time chair-dancing and there were lots of awesome moments. I did find myself forgetting Cyro was there, until he’d grab my attention and then I’d remember quick. I wouldn’t say the first set was mellow, but it was definitely a lot more mellow than the 2nd set. The first set seemed a little more experimental.
The 2nd set seemed funkier. I had a few glasses of wine, and I don’t drink that much anymore, so I was getting loose. There came a point where I could no longer be contained in my seat. There were a couple of people dancing near me, and I got up and had to start getting down. The next song was quieter, and therefore the chatter was louder. I couldn’t take it, so I went back to my seat where it was easier to ignore the murmur. I think there was a lot of talking the entire performance, but I was pretty immune to it. I heard a murmur occasionally in the background, but my close proximity to the stage made it inconsequential.
There was no ignoring Cyro this set. I also thought it got more Latin sounding.
I loved the piano parts. Medeski spent a lot of time with all of his instruments. He started each set on the piano and again blew me away with every note and everything he did.
There was more funk til the end, and more people dancing. That was it, I went back up to my spot and let it all go. I was so happy.
Of course there is now the anti-climax of it being over. I think I’m a different person than before the run. I think I appreciate a lot the experimental music I go to even more. I’m looking forward to my next musical adventures, which will be soon. There’s a bunch going on this weekend. I hope to get to something tonight, but I probably have to take a nap first.
I am so very glad I did. I got there at 3:05, and they came on stage about 1 minute after, just enough time for me to get comfy. The audience was sitting in front of the stage with a curtain drawn behind us to separate us from the regular people wining and dining in the big room. I suspect the curtain won't be used tonight, but I don't really know.
They came out and Billy told us they hadn't done a soundcheck yet, and they aren't going to use the PA, so they were going to play something acoustic to begin. OK! I think it was about 15 minutes of awesome music.
Then they sat in the front of the stage and talked about their history.
Billy started. He comes from a musical family and his brother plays the drums and helped get him started and interested. He grew up listening to rock and later was playing in Broadway shows. Somewhere along the way he got interested in jazz and that's when he started meeting jazz artists. I think the guy he mentioned who brought him together with John and Chris is named Bob Moses. He also talked about how a life-altering moment, I think before the jazz, was when he took a Brazilian Samba class at Drummer's Collective. That pointed him toward a whole other world of African, etc. He later brought that influence to MMW when they formed.
Chris went to the New England Conservatory because he wanted a stepping stone to NYC. He's from CO and got interested in jazz out there. He knew he needed to be in NYC, but it was easier for him to go via Boston. He studied under someone I know of but can't remember at the moment, one of the greats. It sounds like what made a huge impact was the stories of touring his great teacher would tell. He toured with Herbie Hancock and Jack de Johnette. Those stories got Chris further interested. He did end up quitting school early and moved to NYC where he found the downtown music scene and got immersed.
He was a sideman for Marc Ribot for a number of years. Later he told us a little about what that was like. There was one tour where Ribot had him play guitar. Chris said it was because Ribot didn't want a regular guitar player because it was too likely they would play cliche and he wanted someone fresh. Chris also told us Ribot would sometimes make his drummers play standing up, so they wouldn't play so cliche.
John started more in classical. He brought the modern classical influence to MMW. They used to tour around in the RV listening to an eclectic mix of music, between the modern classical, Billy's world stuff, and then the regular stuff like Led Zep and James Brown, etc. It sounds like that is how it kind of all came together.
John spent some time showing us the Hammond B-3. He was a piano guy, but started playing the organ at the New England Conservatory. Later, he needed something to tour with. They were touring the college circuit a lot in the early days and there often wasn't a piano or it wasn't up to par. He found he didn't like playing the digital piano. Over time, he discovered more and more keyboards, like the clavinet, Wurlitzer, and something else. His cache of instruments grew accordingly. He plays a mellatrone, but it started smoking last night, so he didn't have it that day.
Ahh, someone asked what that one instrument he was playing last night was. I was very curious. It's an electric koto and someone gave it to him. It sounded great and I loved the song that they played with it.
John was showing us a lot about the B-3 and Leslie speakers. He was telling us how Hammond and Leslie didn't get along and Hammond would continually make plugs that didn't fit the Leslie speakers. Yet, no one wants to play the Hammond with the Leslie. I don't have time, but here's a link to check out later. When Medeski was talking about the stops on the organ and showing us stuff, I realized that the phrase “pulling out all of the stops” probably comes from the organ. Sure enough, it does.
I didn’t quite get it, but there are many variables for the organ in how playing a particular key can sound. Of course, Chris also mentioned that’s how he has his own techniques to vary the sound of playing one string, just like Billy does in hitting a percussion.
Medeski didn’t get a chance to tell us about the clavinet, but I got some idea of the differences when they played the final short piece. They were already out of time, but they gave us a nice 5-7 minute jam before ending. It sounded similar to the organ, but funkier and deeper.
Billy showed us some of his toys and explained how he got some of them. Like, the pipe he found under the Manhattan bridge that had been run over. He also showed us his newest. It was a very large cowbell. He had a mechanic cut a large rectangular hole and he inserted a rod so he could scrape the rod. Now I know the things I wasn't sure if they were gongs or bells, he referred to as "gong bells". I was calling them "congs" because Ches Smith uses them a lot and he has a solo cd called "Congs for Brahms".
Someone asked Chris something to the effect of why he didn't stretch out more with his instruments. I thought that was a little weird. But, it worked out because Chris didn't mind the question and ended up showing us some of his range of what he can do with those 3 instruments. That was awesome. He showed us how he gets the bass to sound like a theremin by putting a drum stick in a certain place and playing the strings with the bow. He explained how he likes his acoustic to have gut strings and for the strings to lay a little higher. He showed us how he can use the bass as a drum and how he can put something under the strings of his fender to make a poofy sound. While Chris was showing us his basses he started getting funky with the Fender with those strings under the strings (I’m not exactly sure what they were). That’s when John joined in and Billy followed suit and we got this awesome funky jam I guess a little more than ½ way through the 2 hours.
There was something about how Scofield called them and told them he loved their work. He just wanted to do anything with them. It evolved into Sco would write the music and they would be his backup band and arrange it. That’s how the first album came about.
They told us how Chris and John used to play at The Village Gate on a night where they had duos playing for people who wanted to talk with live jazz in the background. At some point, they started allowing those gigs to have drummers, and that’s when they hooked up with Billy. I guess some things never change, I'm talking about the talkers during the jazz shows.
We got a little insight into the different types of crowds in different parts of the country and the world. There's one country where People are beating each other up as a sign of affection and that they are enjoying themselves. It sounded crazy. It might have been Norway, which is I think where I the story of people ramming each other on the sidewalk as they pass is the local custom. I'm not sure about any of that, though.
They also talked about how some of the tracks on some of the CDs are really just improvised in the studio on the spot.
I got a sense that a lot of what they do happens organically, and some is structured with some kind of plan.
They wanted to have a group with no leader, and it works well for them. I got the sense it isn’t challenge-free, but it works really well. They organically fell into roles while playing and while not playing. They said Billy became the team mechanic and Chris took care of keeping track of the money and I can’t remember what John’s example role was. In the beginning, their headquarters was basically in Bill’s father’s basement, where there was a good computer and photocopier and other tools. That’s where the mailing list started.
I left very happy. There was so much left to learn about, but then again, you can’t really absorb it all at once. I think it was perfect. I’m sure I’m misremembering a little, and I must have forgotten some stuff, but that’s the essence. I hope I get a chance to attend something like that again. It would make a good night at The Stone, a lecture from MMW. I guess even that would bring too many people to fit. I really would love it if Chris would play in the downtown scene more.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I thought a few of the songs in the 2nd set were similar to the night before.
I enjoyed it very much, in spite of the challenges. It was shorter than last night, the first set was 51 minutes and the 2nd was an hour and 6 (gotta love the tapers for keeping time easily). They encored with Crosstown Traffic, which was a great way to leave us.
I am continually impressed with these 3 and they each blew me away at various moments.
It was interesting that Billy told us at the end that their first gig ever was at The Village Gate. It would be cool if they could possibly attempt to recreate that some day. I wonder if there are any archives. They have each of their shows archived now, maybe then?
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I like the venue. You walk in and there’s a café where they had a no cover artist playing early. The will call went very smoothly, and I just had to give my name. They have a coat check, but they also had unreserved seats inside, so it didn’t really make sense.
When you walked into the space, first there is a bar on the left and some tables to the right. I think you can see the stage from the bar, as long as there isn’t a column in the way. They put a table to set drinks down in front of that one column, which was convenient. There are lots of removable, quite comfortable seats facing the stage going way back. The seating space is kind of rectangular, although there are also some seats in front of the bar area on the right side of the stage. The farthest seats look like they are way back, but I didn’t walk back there to see how it was. There is a also another table area that is up a step and to the left of the stage. That looked like a good spot to be.
I chose a great standing spot, kind of in front of the bar, just behind one seat and to the right of another. It was the closest and probably one of the best standing spots. I could see everything, and wouldn’t really get bumped much. The only problem was I was also close to the chatter. There wasn’t a lot of chatter back by the bar, but some people were talking and the sound really carries there. After a while I couldn’t take it and chose to move to one empty seat in the 7th row on the left. It was only about 10-15 feet from my prior spot, but it was easier to diffuse the chatter.
They had a food menu, with bar food and sandwiches. There weren’t many people eating, but it looked and smelled good, of what little I could tell. The drinks were the usual Manhattan prices. They had no bottled water, but the glass of tap water tasted good. They use all glasses and have some big bottled beer people can share.
Overall, I like the venue, I just wish the bar was outside of the performance space. The announcer did ask people to be quiet right before the 2nd set. That worked for a while, and it wasn’t that hard to tune out. I kind of expected more talkers.
The show was phenomenal. The sound is awesome! They started with something that seemed improvised, although I wasn’t quite sure at the end. Medeski was playing the strings inside the piano in a unique way. I love it when people do that, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him do it. It was awesome. I also started wondering why I never see Chris Wood listed at The Stone, when I’ve seen Billy Martin and John Medeski there. Why isn’t Chris ever on the improviser circuit? He just seems to do The Wood Brothers and that’s it. I would love to see him in other guises. It seemed kind of improvised, but then got more cohesive as it went on. They touched on a lot of genres with that piece, jazz, groove, out there. I was very happy I chose that show. I had been debating about trying to catch some of The Bad Plus at Bowery Ballroom, which I know I would have loved, but this seemed even more special.
After that, it seemed they were playing songs for the rest of the set. Who cares, whatever they did was awesome. They did some really funky cover when I was still standing, getting down, I mean. They would play a jazz tune now and then. Everything they did was stellar. This is such a great band. The first set was a little over an hour, like maybe 8:15-9:30 (probably a few minutes less).
The 2nd set started out very interesting. Medeski had his melodica hooked up to an interesting fan-type box that looked a little like a briefcase. I don’t know what else to say, but hopefully someone more knowledgeable will write about it somewhere. It sounded awesome. I think they were reading music for a good portion of that song.
There was also one piece during the 2nd set that was kind of avant-noiseish. I loved it.
Billy mainly had the drum kit and some bells and a just a few toys behind him. He did one incredibly intense solo that put me in heaven. He also did some awesome soloing at various points in one tune, kind of like jazz drummers do sometimes. But, Billy was more intense than a lot of the jazz drummers. He was amazing with whatever he did during the night. I can say that about each of them. There were some extra special Medeski moments during the 2nd set.
The 2nd set was an hour and then they did about a 20 minute encore.
Ahhh! I can’t believe I still get 2 more shows. They really should do the club thing more often.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Here's what it is in their own words:
SearchAndRestore.com is the go-to place for live jazz, improvised, and experimental music in New York City. The site features daily show picks and full calendar listings; venue profiles for every space in the five boroughs to see live jazz and improvised music, organized by size, location, affordability, student friendliness, and more; artist interviews and features; concert reviews; exclusive audio, video, and photo content from throughout the scene; editorials from a cast of characters currently presenting, performing, or otherwise furthering new jazz and improvised music; and a whole lot more.
The site is for seasoned veterans, as well as anyone who wants to see great live jazz in New York, but doesn't quite know where to start. (As it turns out, we also feature a wide variety of other incredible progressive music not typically considered "jazz"). Our aim is to bring more people out to more shows, and keep everyone posted on what's happening. It's all part of our greater mission to build a sustainable community for this music in NYC and beyond.
I got there early, at about 9:40. I was told John Zorn just left and wouldn't be performing for the 2nd set. That was no problem for me. I was told some people actually left when they heard that.
It started off with the pianist (her name is something like Jia), Laura Ortman on violin, and Shanya Dulberger on bass, I was very happy to see her. It was Excellent.
Next came the drummer, Ned Rothenberg on alto, John Natchez on baritone, and Matt Lavelle on bass clarinet. Now, he had 2 bass clarinets of different sizes. A quick wikipedia skim tells me that one may have been in another key. I'll have to read the whole entry later, as I really dig the bass clarinet. I think Ned may have just come in for the 2nd set, either that or he had stepped out in between sets. He's definitely an adequate substitue for Zorn.
For the next piece, the pianist and violinist were back with Lance Grabmiller on electronics and Shannon Fields on guitar. Shannon is this month's curator, and he was the unnamed guitarist from the last Improv Night I was at, a little over 2 weeks ago.
Then came Shanya, Matt and the drummer, who also played xylophone. I've seen him before, but don't know his name yet.
This was followed by an awesome duo with the piano and Ned on alto.
Then the violin, guitar, and John Natchez switching between that piccolo or alto horn and baritone sax, and Lance did the final piece before the grand finale.
I like the last piece with everyone. It was maybe 15 minutes long and got quiet and loud at different points. I could hear at of them at different times.
It was another good one. I think it's always well worth the price and important to come out and support The Stone. I also love how I usually learn about someone new, that I didn't know about before.
The other night was of course different, it was a performance in a church with stellar musicians. It too was awesome. I was in the back dancing, as usual. They played the album straight through. There was a vocalist toward the end who sang the prayer. It was about an hour in total.
If I were to pick the bass player, I would have chosen Hill Greene in a minute. He was as awesome as I would have expected. Michael Wimberly was incredible on the drums. He had me a lot. He had a long drum solo toward the end that was amazing.
Special Valentine's Day Concert:
A Love Supreme
Words and music by John Coltrane
Roy Campbell, trumpets and flute
Louie Belogenis, tenor saxophone
Andrew Bemkey, piano
Hill Greene, bass
Michael Wimberly, drums
Beth Anne Hatton, vocals
Jacqueline Lewis, speaker
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The fact that it was listed as a trio wasn’t swaying me, I wanted to see it regardless. All 3 of them are phenomenal, and I only saw it once, at jazzfest last year.
I was pleasantly surprised when I got there and the quartet just came on stage. They just couldn’t list the 4th due to corporate commercial issues.
The show was amazing. It was as great as I remembered it from last spring. I got the CD, Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet, and it is just as good as what I saw last night and last year. Each of these musicians are outstanding. They had each of the 3 do a solo again and I loved that, too.
Abigail Washburn with Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee and other banjo great
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The guy is amazing. Therefore, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to see him in a trio at Jazz Standard. It was awesome. Such a great place to see him. I also went because Ari Hoenig was in it. He was awesome. He did an incredible drum solo toward the end. I loved the bass player. This was my first time seeing him.
It's going on tonight as well. I highly recommend it.
Kenny Werner Trio featuring Johannes Weidenmueller (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums)
It addition to 2 full drum kits, one guy played trumpet, flugelhorn and euphonium. He did this killer euphonium solo at one point. I just looked him up, and it is Kelly Pratt from The Arcade Fire.
Stuart Bogie played tenor sax and clarinet and sometimes percussion. There were some blown away tenor and clarinet moments with him. It looks like he's from Antibalas.
Jon Natchez played baritone sax, alto sax, bass clarinet, and either alto or piccolo horn, I'm not quite sure which.
I wish I caught the other drummer's name. He was awesome. Nick Petree was there and awesome as well.
The music was all new and creative, but it also had a lot of structure to it. Some of it had a marching band type cadence. Some of it reminded me of Jewish Klezmer type stuff. It was all phenomenal. Right up my alley.
Jon Natchez (brass, woodwinds) Kelly Pratt, Stuart Bogie (woodwinds) ? (drums) Nick Petree (drums, percussion)
Monday, February 9, 2009
Next was a trombone solo. His name is Willie Applewhite and he's currently getting a Masters in jazz at Julliard. The rest of the performance was a duo.
Cooper-Moore brought out a smaller harp and played it while holding it on his lap. This was a very beautiful duo piece. I wasn't thinking New Age, but after that piece, Cooper-Moore announced "we are not a New Age band". Then he quizzed us on who was the first New Age artist. We got a couple of good guesses from the Zebulon guys, but Cooper-Moore informed us he thinks it was Bill Evans Peace Piece. He told us to download it, but, of course the guy from Zeb told us he'll play it for us after the set. Of course he would have it in his extensive music collection.
Now, I already knew it wasn't a New Age band, we next get a great tune with the funky bass. That interesting homemade bass that I love.
Right before the next piece, he tells us he went to Ethiopia recently. I think he said it was his first time in Africa at all. He didn't expect to find out the drumming in East Africa is different from West. It is slower and more mellow. The piece they did was phenomenal. He had 2 drumheads on his lap, kind of, with a drum brush in his right hand for the smaller head and 2 drumsticks in his left hand for the larger head. Sure, it was a slower rhythm, but it was still a lively rhythm that I loved. It kind of reminded me of my favorite song from the new Zorn stuff the night before.
Then he did this awesome solo piece with his homemade jaw harp. He said he had to because your babies don't like it when you bring them out and then don't play with them. It was phenomenal.
The last piece was another duo where he played the 2 drumheads. It had a Latin sound and I loved it.
It ended at around 8:30 and I loved every minute. True to his word, they played Peace Piece right after the set ended and it was beautiful and mellow.
They started at around 8:10-8:15. Zorn tells us they were going to try to play new material and then play some of The Dreamers later. We discovered as the show went on, this was their rehearsal for the recording they were about to do the next day. Nice! I like it! We don't have to wait 3 months for the record to first hear it. Its also likely we'll get another live show for the cd release. Yeah!
What can I say other than that this music is blown away amazing. They were all amazing in each part. Still, at different moments I was caught by different people. I remember Jamie Saft hooked me in on the 1st tune with his piano. Trevor Dunn and Joey Baron caught me a lot. Ribot of course had me freaking out at times. I love Kenny on vibes. Cyro was as great as always.
There was one tune in the middle that was clearly my favorite in a bunch of great music. If I hadn't been in the middle, I would have had to jump out of my seat and start really dancing. It took a lot of control to stay seated.
The music definitely had the same feel as The Dreamers. there were 2 points were Zorn asked them to start over as they were playing too fast. It was rehearsal after all.
After an hour, they left the stage for 2 minutes. They came out and went right into The Dreamers, playing the 1st 4 (I think?) songs in order. It was so nice to see it live now that I've listened to the cd several times. I got to see what is going on with a better perspective. It was stellar.
When they left the stage, most of us figured they were done. They did just play their butts off for a long time. Manny from DMG got us to do the "encore applause" and they came out and did the next Dreamers song.
It was so awesome. I didn't get my nap in, and I was so satisfied I was done for the night.
John Zorn: The Dreamers/O’o
Saturday, February 7 8 pm
Marc Ribot, Jamie Saft, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn, Joey Baron, Cyro Baptista, John Zorn.
Two sets of music presenting The Dreamers and the World Premiere of The Dreamers Volume 2 (O’o) in one exciting concert! Named for an extinct Hawaiian bird whose delightful song will never be sung again, O’o is the exotic and charming follow up to The Dreamers, one of Zorn’s most appealing projects. Featuring the same dynamic band of masters from Zorn’s inner circle, O’o presents more lyrical and adventurous instrumentals exploring World Music, Surf, Exotica, Minimalism, Film Soundtracks and more.
There was a line out front when I got there around 9:50ish. I asked around and found out it was a solo show for someone from Iceland. I was told she's in a lot of different bands and she plays a lot of different instruments. It was more intriguing once inside, hearing how many people were under 19 and therefor paying the reduced $5 cover. I also saw the guy that films a lot of the RUCMA gigs at The Living Theatre.
There was a piano out with a red light shining onto the strings. The lid wasn't open all the way.
Kría Brekkan came to play at around 10:20ish. They basically turned the lights off so you there was only a dim red light on her and the piano.
I was interested for a bit. It was basically her high-pitched singing with piano accompaniment. The mic had a little bit of electronic effect, I'm not sure if it was just reverb or if there was more to it than that.
She occasionally also played the handheld tape recorder. I think she was playing fast forward or something unusual. That was interesting.
After a while I started getting bored, though. After the show it was clear a lot of people enjoyed it. It just wasn't my style. I do appreciate knowing what else is out there. She reminded me a lot of someone else, maybe Tori Amos or Jewel. I'm out of touch with mainstream anymore, so I have to go back over 10 years. Since I've been in NYC, I stopped listening to the radio at all, at first due to reception.
I just want to say that is THE best seat in the house. I was blown away by what was going on and see, hear and feel everything perfectly. I was in heaven! The drums were especially appealing in the midst of a bunch of great musicians doing great things.
I was also happy to see Zorn playing more traditional sax. Its such a rarity. The next piece had him playing in the more creative way I've become more accustomed to at the Improv Nights. Its like he's kissing the sax while playing it. I tend to prefer the more traditional jazz playing. He's really phenomenal.
The show with the encore ended at about 9:30. I thought there was going to be 2 sets. Oh well. Short as it was, that was the best show I've seen all year. Until the next night, that is. Then, both shows qualify as the best I've seen in 09 so far.
John Zorn: Masada Sextet
Friday, February 6 8 pm
John Zorn returns to the Abrons with the US premiere of his hot new Masada ensemble. The classic quartet of Zorn, Dave Douglas, Greg Cohen, and Joey Baron are augmented by the spectacular pianist Uri Caine and percussionist extraordinaire Cyro Baptista. The evening features two sets of Masada material old and new by this dynamic super band.
The first and last piece were Monk compositions. The 2nd was Helen's piece she was required to do to graduate from the Thelonious Monk Institute. There was another piece and then a few of Ron Carter's compositions.
Next was a long piece that was inspired by the museum pieces Helen selected. It was a piece in 4 movements with a coda. I see from the listing this was a specially commissioned suite inspired by the female deities of the Himalayan pantheon. She composed about the rhythm of the art. It was pretty cool how she chose a bunch of art that had dancing figures. I would have liked to do the after-tour to find out more about them, but I had to rush off for the Zorn stuff.
Harlem in the Himalayas: Helen Sung/Ron Carter Duo;
$18 in advance/
$20 on the day of/
$7 Student Stand-By
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART
150 WEST 17 STREET, NEW YORK CITY 1 www.rmanyc.org 212.620.5000 x344
Featuring the premiere of a specially commissioned suite composed by Helen Sung inspired by the female deities of the Himalayan pantheon. Helen Sung has been called "one of the brightest emerging stars in jazz today." Breaking stereotypes as an Asian-American female jazz pianist and composer, Helen’s work in classical, jazz, and popular music gives her a compelling, unique voice. A graduate of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, she has gone on to work with such masters as Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, and Wayne Shorter; and with luminaries including Steve Turre, T.S. Monk, and Regina Carter. She is also a busy bandleader; her project NuGenerations was selected as a 2009 Rhythm Road ensemble and will tour as American musical ambassadors. Helen’s experience at the Monk Institute inspires her to remain involved with music education through workshops and performing with arts organizations benefiting young people.
Friday, February 6, 2009
It was $20 with no drink included, usually at Small's it includes a drink. I was told when I came in there was plenty of standing room up front. They had removed the bar stools so we could double-up at the bar. However, no one was, instead they were crowding in the back. I chose to move up and got an excellent spot for seeing and dancing. I don't know if the draw for everyone was also Chris or not. This definitely lived up to expectations.
It was stellar. The music was captivating and lively. I thought they were all on Chris' level. I'm not sure if I ever saw Obed before. I have seen him in the listings a lot lately as a sideman. Now I know. He definitely goes on my very long list of excellent drummers I love. I wonder if he plays other genres besides jazz. He certainly adds a lot to the music with the jazz drumming.
I'm glad I'm able to make it over to Small's a little more lately. I went a very long period without going there much. It was one of the first places I started my jazz explorations. I love how there's a mirror behind the piano so you can see the pianists hands. It's pretty cool.
Joe Martin (bass) group featuring Chris Potter (sax), Obed Calvaire (drums), Danny Grissett (piano)
Thursday, February 5, 2009
They were all stellar. Myron Walden really blew me away. There was a moment where I was reminded of A Love Supreme and I had to listen to it a few times the next day. Myron was way different that that and phenomenal.
I left during the last song, at around 11:20. It was awesome and I hope to get to this again.
Josh Roseman's EXECUTION QUINTET featuring:
Josh Roseman - trombone
Ambrose Akinmusire - trumpet
Myron Walden - sax
Peter Apfelbaum - analog organ bass
Rudy Royston - drums
It was a great show and good to get to something completely different from my "usual". Philip Glass told us how this annual benefit comes together. They book the performers and when it gets closer, he gets some kind of idea of how it will go. Then, the day before everyone gets together and the producers get out of the way and let the magic happen. Over the course of about 5 hours they organically decide who is going to play what and when. They run through it once the day of, break for dinner, and voila, we have a benefit show.
The monks started us off with a blessing. At first just vocals and then they played some interesting looking horns and percussion. The instrument part sounded somewhat melancholy.
Next came Antibalas to lay down some afrobeat grooves. They did 1 or 2 songs and then were joined by Angelique Kidjo. They did "Gimme Shelter" in their own way.
Then everyone left except Angelique and she was joined by an excellent guitar player. It was a beautiful piece.
Next those 2 were joined by Keb' Mo' for another great piece. I was even more impressed with that guitar player for this one, and I loved him in the previous.
Then, a whole new band. Zack Glass with the Patti Smith Band (no Patti yet) doing 2 Zack originals. I enjoyed these soulful songs. For the 2nd song, Phil Glass played piano and another guy played flute.
Then it was 2 Vampire Weekend songs. This was a good way for me to get an idea, they were joined by a string quartet and 2 percussionists from Antibalas. I enjoyed it a lot. I don't think I need to go out of my way to see them again, but I did like this special thing.
By now I know I can mainly characterize the show as "mellow music that keeps you engaged". It was definitely different from my "usual".
The next piece was awesome. I think he said it was called "Prasaad", or something like that. It was Philip Glass, the string quartet, and 2 soprano saxes. One of them was the flute guy from an earlier piece. This was probably my favorite piece of the night. It was really beautiful.
Next came 2 songs by The National. I never heard of them before. They did 2 new songs.
Next was this solo guy with a Tibetan guitar and a nice voice. After that he switched to a regular guitar and was joined by keyboards, drums. A shaker/percussionist, electric bass and a string quartet.
Next up was Patti Smith and her daughter Jesse. Patti read 2 poems and Jesse accompanied her on piano.
Then there were 2 Keb' Mo' pieces with different people. They were very soulful.
Then we had Steve Earle. I think he did a solo for the first tune and then the Patti Smith Band joined him for the 2nd tune.
After that we got a rock medley by the Patti Smith Band to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the day the music died. They were then joined by Patti for "Not Fade Away". Then they did another familiar tune I can't remember.
There was 1 final song with everybody up on stage. It brought into perspective just how big that stage is.
I enjoyed it and I'm glad I went. Its good to get out out of my usual genres every now and then.
Monday, February 2, 2009
The show was great. It was a 1 hour set. Everyone in it is excellent. I like a quintet with a sax, guitar, and piano. The music was also different and creative yet down-to-earth. Gamble was the only one with any pedals and effects. It added a surreal element at times. Pete was great on alto. It was on the frenetic side and very interesting.
Pete Robbins, alto saxophone, compositions;
Cory Smythe, piano;
Mike Gamble , guitar, electronics;
Thomas Morgan, bass;
Tyshawn Sorey, drums
Alto Saxophonist/Composer Pete Robbins + Silent Z
Recording Live at The Cornelia Street Cafe
I got there at around 9:40, in the middle of the 1st set. I'm really loving how the F train can take me to a lot of venues. It was a quick walk and then 2 stops and then a really quick walk.
I was very happy with my choice as soon as I walked in. All I remembered was Nasheet Waits. I didn't see the drummer, but he sounded great. I eventually noticed there were 2 tenors and some vibes as well as a great bass. It took me a while to realize the drummer wasn't Waits.
During the first set a vocalist from Toronto sat in for 1 song. She had a nice deep soulful voice. The 1st set ended at around 10:15ish.
The 2nd set started with a mellow piece with just Dan and 1 tenor. It got lively after that. It ended at around 11:30 and I enjoyed it very much.
George Garzone; Mark Shim, saxophone;
Dan McCarthy, vibraphone;
Michael Bates, bass;
Unfortunately, I didn't get all the names. The first piece was Craig Taborn, John Zorn, a trombone and the drummer. The trombone played quite a bit during the set. There was another trombone, who only played in 1 piece besides the grand finale. I've seen him before, but can't remember his name.
Next was a beautiful piece with Okyyung Lee on cello, Matt Manieri on electric viola and Lotte Ankers on soprano sax. I saw the soprano in a whole new light. I already loved it, but there was something special about it in this piece with the 2 strings. It seemed like the high end of a clarinet. It wasn't as high as the soprano sax can be, though. The piece was beautiful.
Then it was John Zorn, Jeremiah Cymerman and both trombones. This was the one piece with the other trombone I already mentioned.
Next was a very soulful piece with the guitar, piano, drums, and tenor. The only pianist for the night was Taborn. The tenor was played by Lotte Ankers. I've seen the guitar on other Improv Nights and I think he's great. I have to make more of an effort to find him on his own gigs. I'm very curious.
Craig stayed up for the next piece with. the trombone and Matt Maneri. Matt played beautifully.
Next we got Cymerman, drums, tenor, and guitar.
The last piece before the grand finale was Zorn, Okyuung and Maneri. It was quite different than that earlier piece with the 2 strings and the soprano.
The grand finale with everyone was awesome.
The whole thing went from about 8:03 to about 9:10. It was great and well worth the $20. I also have to support the place whenever possible.