Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lisle Ellis @ Zebulon 3/22/09

Timing gigs at Zeb is a whole art unto itself. It was listed as 8:30, Rashanim is on later, and its the type of artists who are usually close to schedule. My best guess is they would go on around 8:45. Given that they finished at about 9:45, that was probably the case. I didn't get there til about 9:15.

I enjoyed it thoroughly. Michael Wimberly was behind the kit, sans any of the interesting percussion instruments I saw him with the night before. Angelica Sanchez was adding a layer of beauty on the keyboard. The horn section was awesome - Darius Jones is always great. There was another guy on sax and clarinet. There was a great trombone player. During one piece, he had his muffler hooked up to his laptop and had some interesting non-trombone sounds, very futuristic. Lyle was as great as always and so was his music.

I would have loved to stay for Rashanim, but that would be counter-productive to my busy week ahead.

Music Now @ The Brecht Forum 3/21/09 Sunday, March 22, 2009 8:45 PM

Even though I slept til 11 I was pretty tired and felt like staying in. I had a busy day and would have been happy watching HBO all night. But, before making the final decision, I just had to check the options, including AAJ. I then changed course and ended up at this nice multi-band show for a mere $10.

I'm pretty happy as I got 3 nice sets of music. I couldn't keep my eyes open toward the end, so I missed the last ensemble, but the rest was all good.

It started with Ras Moshe's Music Now Group with Kyoko Kitamura on vocals, Tom Zlabinger on contrabass, Daniel Levin on cello and Anders Nilsson on guitar. Ras had his tenor and flute. It was very good. I'm pretty sure I've seen this group at The Brecht Forum before. With the Allmans in town, I'm very focused on the slide guitar. Nilsson kept grabbing my attention with his slide and soulful playing. Tom Z was awesome on the bass. I loved how the bass and cello were next to each other. It definitely highlighted the differences.

Next was Guiseppi Logan, who is apparently one of the great old-timers. He's still got something left in him. He played bass clarinet and alto sax while Matt Lavelle played trumpet and bass clarinet and Francois Grillot played bass on some standards like Caravan. Don't let the music books fool you, they were stretching it out at times. It ended with a nice little bass clarinet face-off jam.

I was getting very droopy during that set. Roy Campbell was supposed to be next, but they switched and The Nioka Trio was coming up next instead. All I had to do was see Michael Wimberly setting up his percussion and Nioka get out her beautiful electric cello that looks like an anchor and I knew I'd be able to stay up for this.

I was further intrigued when Michael Wimberly pulled out that thing with the spokes that Billy Martin was playing just the night before. I asked and found out it is an aquasonic and Michael doesn't put water in it. I suspect Billy doesn't use water, either. It looks like this is THE video on how its used.

It was one phenomenal piece and all they had for the evening, in spite of the audience cries for more. The dancing was great. It started out more modern. Then the dancer left for a bit, allowing us to focus on the musicians. She left in jeans and came back in a skirt. Her 2nd part was still modern, with a sprinkling of African here and there.

The piece was fantastic. Someone asked if she is Reggie Workman's daughter. I never got the answer.

That was it for me. I had to miss Roy Campbell, Joel Freedman, Hill Greene, Tom Zlabinger, Tor Yochai Snyder, and Ras Moshe. Oh well.

The ensemble also included Lewis Barnes on trumpet and Leslie Parker on dance/movement. This was phenomenal and well worth staying out past 10pm on a Sat night.

Dumpstaphunk @ Highline 3/20/09

It probably would have been good to stop at Small's for the last set first, but I didn't. I forget how I'm not that into Dumpstaphunk. I was at one time...

I remember when Ivan first unveiled Dumpstphunk at Jazzfest. They probably formed sometime since the last jazzfest, when Ivan didn't have a band and he was sitting in with EVERYONE. I mean, he was sitting in all over the fest all day and then I'd see him again stopping by at countless night shows. I was so happy to see he put together his own band. At that time, he had Tony Hall, Nick Daniels, Raymond Webber, and Ian Neville but he also had Mark Mullins and Jun Yamaguchi and a couple more. I was so impressed and they were great. Then there was another jazzfest when they had a gig with Skerik the night of The Original Meters Reunion. That was off the hook! There were a few other horns that night, also. Dumpstaphunk hasn't completely done it for me since. I'm sure there was 1 or 2 since that I enjoyed, like I seem to recall a gig at Austin City Limits or maybe NOLA. They need a guitar player, some horns, and more energy.

Now, when Warren steps in its a whole other story. I was blown away yet again with how one guy can step in and save the whole show. He was unbelievably awesome, made everybody sound good, and blew me away. He made staying out so late on a Friday quite pleasurable.

I left right after his extended sitin pretty elated.

Claudia Quintet @ Cornelia St 3/20/09

I walked in towards the end of the 2nd set and was very happy about my choice. The music was great and intense. I was especially happy with the vibes in the midst of all of those great musicians.. Its been so long since I've seen Matt Moran, I forgot he exists. I used to see him in all kinds of great stuff at Tonic, including The Claudia Quintet.

The 2nd set was awesome. There were some loud talkers back by the bar, which caused me to take a seat up front. That was a good move because everything sounded better up there. I really enjoyed watching Matt. He had a old-tyme type microphone at times, the kind that helps amplify but uses no electricity. It looks like of like a collapsible sip cup.

They were only going to do one more and asked us to vote based on the titles. I really wanted both, and I'm so glad both got a lot of votes even though the one about Denmark toilets was the clear winner. They surprised us and did "Jazz Envy" after that after all. AND they featured Gary Versace on accordion for that one. It was awesome. Gary was there instead of Ted Reichman, listed below.

I walked by 55 Bar on my way to Highline. I was contemplating seeing Chris Potter and Mark Turner. It was midnight, the first set was still going on (or they hadn't cleared the room, more likely), and there was a big crowd waiting to get in for the 2nd set. Boy did I have flashbacks to waiting outside much earlier than that, sometimes in bitter cold weather, to get into Wayne Krantz or Uri Caine's Bedrock. Needless to say, I didn't feel like waiting around or dealing with the tiny space. I need to get over that.

John Hollenbeck, composition/drums/percussion; Drew Gress, bass; Ted Reichman, accordion; Chris Speed, clarinet/tenor sax; Matt Moran, vibraphone

Tremble & Quake @ Roulette 3/20/09

Another great way to make it up to myself that I couldn't see Clapton with ABB at The Beacon. I REALLY enjoyed Wu Fei and Billy Martin. I was front row center and I was more present than ever before.

It was wonderful watching Billy play and listening to the numerous sounds coming out of all of his various instruments. He started out mainly playing gong bells on the floor. He occasionally hit the bamboo reeds in that portion. He was on the floor right in front of me, so I could see everything. He moved on to various bird call things. I also got to learn about the difference in various shells-on-strings shaky things played in the same hand as bells on strings. He also had a couple of tambourines. I never noticed just how adept he is with one finger and a tambourine. He's getting pretty used to the berimbau. Oh yeah, and he played the drumkit and a bunch of other stuff at times.

Billy and Wu are great together. This is probably my favorite project I've seen her in. Well, maybe its tied with the duo with Eric Friedlander. She said the first time she and Billy played together was at The Stone. I got the impression this was their 2nd gig together. I think they are meant to play together a little more often.

It turns out the lyrics she was singing were Mandarin tongue twisters she learned from her father. She was great and I had fun watching her when I could tear myself away from Billy for a bit, which wasn't often.

I saw Taper Bill, who sent me to The Santos House for Melvin Gibbs and Vernon Reid and DJ Logic. The door guy thought they probably were almost done and I wasn't feelling it, so I decided to save the 17 bucks and stick with my original plan and head over to Cornelia Street.

March 20, 2009
Tremble and Quake, - Wu Fei with Billy Martin
Guzheng experimentalist/vocalist Wu Fei has worked with the likes of John Zorn, Fred Frith, Erik Friedlander, Elliott Sharp, and Cecil Taylor. A native Beijinger now based in Brooklyn, the artist-composer will unfurl acoustic vignettes for guzheng (ancient Chinese zither) and voice, including music from her latest album of chamber works...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kirk Knuffke Trio @ Roulette 3/19/09

Well, if you can't see Eric Clapton with The Allman Brothers, this is the next best thing. At least, my chosen next best thing for what is going on tonight. It was great. It was new music written for this performance and commissioned by Roulette and The Jerome Foundation (not sure if I spelled it right).

Kenny had a very interesting metal bell-type thing attached to one of his drums. It sounded good and looked shiny and pretty. I enjoyed watching him hit it with the brush and the stick and how he used it. I was in the front row and could everything perfectly.

Lisle Ellis is incredible. He had a skinny acoustic bass plugged into an amp. Sometimes I would forget about the other 2 and just listen to him.

I never saw Kirk Knuffke before. He's great. His playing was very attention-grabbing while being somewhat subtle, not in-your-face at all. There were some moments where I forgot about the other 2.

The music was new and creative and never "out there". I'm very glad with my choice.

Kirk Knuffke Trio

Thu Mar 19 - 8:30 PM

performer: Kenny Wollesen, Kirk Knuffke, Lisle Ellis,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ela Orleans and Kevin Shea @ The Stone 3/18/09

I was pretty tired tonight, but wanted to do a little music. Since nothing was grabbing me in the listings, that meant I would head out to The Stone for whatever, the early set.

Hmm, some interesting electronics, a drummer whose look reminded me a little of Kenny Wollensen, and a nice lady sitting in front of a lot of electronics who was instantly likeable. Scott the taper/picture guy was there, which usually means it will be good music. It was.

I was impressed with how well it all integrated. Ela did lots of interesting sampling and playback while she sang, played slide guitar, and violin. The drummer was great. I felt pretty good after I left and it's still lingering. They started at 8 on the dot and played til about 8:50, so that was pretty nice as well. I can get some laundry done.

3/18 Wednesday (TD)
8 pm
Ela Orleans and Kevin Shea
Ela Orleans (sampler, guitar, violin, vocals, keyboard) Kevin Shea (drums)
Melodic sound collages haunted by all the best musical ghosts from John Barry to Pierre Boulez.

ABB @ The Beacon 3/17/09

I couldn't stay away any longer, not that I had any intention of staying away. Still, I was dragging my feet about when to go and how to get tix. I woke up with ABB songs in my head and knew I would be going that night. I was busy at work but every now and then I'd feel like singing an ABB tune. I finally got online at lunchtime to see if there were any tix available. That's what I do every year - there's always some newly released tix around now or a little sooner. Low and behold the best available orch seat was in Row BB (that's 2nd row) seat 13, whch was off to the left side. That makes the astronomical price a little easier to take!

I was a little concered about it being St Patty's Day, but I knew that might be a good thing. That turned out to be a nonissue, thankfully.

It was great. I could see the front line really well. The screen wasn't easy to see, so it wasn't distracting at all.

I like the renovationns. The place looks real nice. There were more rules, but the staff is pretty nice and it wasn't that bad, if there had to be all of those rules.

The show was good. They often had the guitars and bass pointing toward me and I could see them really well. It also turned out that I had a little extra room for dancing. There was no seat in front of me.

Warren and Derek had many amazing blown away moments. It is such a privilege watching them. Oteil was amazing and caught a lot of my attention. Someone at setbreak mentioned he thought Oteil had 8 strings. I wondered how that would work. I checked 2nd set, and he has the usual 4. He can do a lot with those 4, though.

There was one part, I think it was during the New Instrumental in the 1st set, where Derek had a lot of soloing. I thought everyone sounded better during that point because of Derek. I could hear the drums and the bass much better and it was a very magical moment.

It was pretty cool to hear Please Be With Me, since I've heard it on the Duane Allman anthology many times. I did have some moments of missing Duane and wondering what things would be like if he were around today.

Brian Mitchell sounded good and I'm glad he sat in a lot.

Overall, it was a good show. It wasn't quite the level of greatness I've become accustomed to with them. I think I've gone full circle and I'm back to not wanting to pay the high ticket prices. I know there are some very special guests I'll be missing, but I kind of doubt I'll make it to any more this year. You never know, though.

Set 1: Don’t Want You No More, It Ain’t My Cross To Bear, Trouble No More, Rocking Horse, Soul Shine, You Don’t Love Me, New Instrumental, Please Be With Me (w/ Tommy Talton, Scott Boyer and Brian Mitchell), All My Friends (w/ Tommy Talton, Scott Boyer and Brian Mitchell), The Got Song (w/ Tommy Talton, Scott Boyer and Brian Mitchell)

Set 2: Takes a Lot to Laugh, a Train to Cry (w/Sheryl Crow, Brian Mitchell), Midnight Rider (w/Sheryl Crow), Can’t Find My Way Home (w/ Sheryl Crow, Brian Mitchell), Statesboro Blues, Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More, Hoochie Coochie Man, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (w/ Scott Boyer and Brian Mitchell), Black Hearted Woman > JaBuMa > Black Hearted Woman >The Other One Jam

Encore: One Way Out (w/ Tommy Talton, Brian Mitchell, James Van DeBogert )

Monday, March 16, 2009

11th anniversary of c.o.m.a @ abc no-rio 3/15/09

I finally made it to ABC No Rio for the Sun night COMA gig. This was a special anniversary festival evening. They do have regular avant-garde/experimental shows there almost every Sun.

Last night started at 6pm and probably went til 11ish. I was there about 8:30-10:30. It was pretty cool because each ensemble got about 10-15 minutes and then it was on to the next one. So, I got to check out quite a few new and different people I wasn't familiar with.

I like the space. Its just a big room with seats and some art exhibits. They would play at different ends of the room to keep it flowing, aiming for as little time as possible in between acts.

It worked pretty well, they seemed to only be a little behind the ambitious schedule when I left. They would simply ask everyone to turn their chairs around if the next act was at the other end of the room.

I walked in at the end of the piece with violin and something else.

I loved Paradigm Refrain. I need to find them for a full show at some point. That was the most electic I saw, but once they left there was no bass amp for anyone else's use.
It gets a little blury until the end, when I saw Shayna Dulberger and Bonnie Kane.
During the blur, I think it was a quartet with a sax and a couple of duos. I remember there was a schedule change and we had Ben Lee on guitar with Justin, a percussionist after the quartet with Blaise and a duo.

There was something that had me dancing more, and I loved it, but can't remember anything about it.

I guess that's what happens when I see a lot of great music in very short intervals. I kept thinking it was kind of like watching a bunch of short films.
The Upcoming C.O.M.A schedule for 2008: what is C.O.M.A.?????????????????? C.O.M.A. - citizens ontological music agenda - started March 1998 and has presented improvised music on Sunday evenings at ABC No-Rio 156 Rivington NYC . ABC No-Rio is near the Delancey J and F train station between Clinton St. and Suffolk St. ...the sets are 35-40 minutes followed with an open session at the end with various configurations of players. C.O.M.A. is an open series for all creative improvising musicians whether they're melancholy, slightly deranged, extremely moody, happy beyond comprehension, geniuses in their own minds, or just down right normal who want to experiment, develop their craft and expand the limits of the imagination.... there is a $5.00 suggested donation at the door for the musicians. This Sunday ....... March 15th 2009 from 6:00-11:00 PM The 11th anniversary of c.o.m.a @ abc no-rioThis will be an operational benefit for abc...lights..water...heat....The set lengths are from 10-20 minutes...alternating performance locations in the 1st fl gallery...front ... back... side ... corner...a good time for the audience...Donations will be actively pursued....suggested $5-10.00 ..... 6:05 Sean Meehan dr, David Watson pipes, 6:20 Tor Snyder gtr, 6:30 Jamie McLaughlin vx/p, Katt Hernandez vln, 6:45 Tom Zlabinger bs 6:55 Tom Shad bs gtr, Katie Down vx/misc 7:10 Francois Grillot bs 7:23 The Project: Michele Smith fl, Charles Ramsey gtr, Raymond Todd trb, Andy O'Neill dr, Tom Blatt bs 7:40 David Brahinsky trpt, 7:50 Mossa Bildner vx, 8:03 David Freeman, tabla & Blaise Siwula bs cl 8:15 Richard Keene reeds, Billy Stein gtr 8:30 SFLV –Clifton Hyde gtr, Robyn Siwula vln/vla, Motoko Shimizu vx/toys, 8:45 Paradigm Refrain: Marco Buccelli dr Nico Soffiato gtr Giacomo Merega bs 9:00 Blaise Siwula t sax, Sten Hostfalt gtr, Andy O’Neil dr, James Luke bs, 9:16 Paul Pinto vx, Claire de Brunner bassoon, Ken Silverman gtr 9:31 AND - David Powell , Nico U., Arturo Roldan, 9:45 Ben Lee gtr, 9:55 Lex Samu trpt, Will Woodward bs Enrique Haneine dr 10:05 Bonnie Kane reeds Shayna Dulberger bs, 10:15 Dave Miller dr, Dave Schnug sax and Trevor Lagrange bs 10:30 Ras Moshe reeds 10:40 Killer Bob- Dave Scanlon gtr, Max Jaffe dr, Rob Lundberg bs.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sparks Orchestra @ Roulette 2/14/09

Very good! Sparks is a duo with Tom Blancarte (bass) & Peter Evans (Piccolo trumpet). They've been playing together for a while and have developed a language and way of playing. This orchestra project was about expanding what they do for large ensembles. They had scores, and I could see from the other side of the paper that there was plenty of improvising going on. I saw the score at the end, and it just looked like a few scribbles and some pictures to me. I'm fascinated by that. But, look at the lineup, these are improvisers. Still, there is definitely a difference in having this paper in front of them than the "free form" that happens at the grand finale at The Stone on Improv Night.

There were 5 pieces in total. They started at around 8:45, played 3 pieces for a half hour, took a 10 minute break, and played the other 2 for a half hour. I don't know if I could tell when they ended and began in the first act. It started with Nate Wooley, who was very electric with his trumpet without the mouthpiece. He has a microphone hooked up to a pedal and an amp. That first piece got pretty noisy, and I got out my earplugs, which allowed me to hear better.

The whole thing was awesome. I mean, there was no way it couldn't be, given the lineup and instrumentation. I think the 2nd to last was my favorite, I don't think I can describe it, though.

Sylvie was awesome. At first she was playing the strings with a mallet and at the end she was fiercely playing the keys and I even looked around for cymbals, before I realized that was coming from her piano.

Brandon Seabrook caught my attention a lot. I don't see him as much as I would like.

They were all great and this was great and special and I'm glad I made it out. I love Roulette. It is so nice and the chairs are comfortable and they have everything we need.

Sparks Orchestra: Tom Blancarte & Peter Evans + Dan Blake, Okkyung Lee, Nate Wooley, Brondon Seabrook, Sylvie Courvoisier, and Dan Peck
Sat Mar 14 - 8:30 PMSparks Orchestra: Tom Blancarte & Peter Evans + Dan Blake, Okkyung Lee, Nate Wooley, Brondon Seabrook, Sylvie Courvoisier, and Dan Peck
Sat Mar 14 - 8:30 PM

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mike Holober & The Gotham Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Standard 3/11/09

This was a nice, lively big band with lots of brass. I had trouble seeing the reeds, and I would have liked to have taken more note of what was going on. I did see a recorder, and now know there's a recorder post brewing soon. I've been seeing a lot lately and it bring up a lot. The recorder guy also had a flute and couple of saxes. There were 18 performers I think 5 reeds, 4 trombones, 4 trumpets, guitar, upright bass, drums, percussion, and piano/keyboard. I think it's always nice to have a percussionist in a jazz orchestra. It was lively an a lot of fun.

Mike Holober & The Gotham Jazz Orchestra
* Mike Holober – piano and Fender Rhodes
* Jon Gordon, Steve Kenyon, Dave Pietro, Charles Pillow, Tim Ries – reeds
* Craig Johnson, Tony Kadleck, Joe Magnarelli, Scott Wendholt – trumpets
* Nate Durham, Bruce Eidem, Pete McGuinness, Mark Patterson – trombones
* Pete McCann – guitar
* John Hebert – bass
* John Riley – drums
* Rogerio Boccato – percussion

Kathleen Supové @ The Stone 3/10/09

This was good. It was nice how they would do a composition and then have an improvised piece and then more composition.

We were given a program, which I think is always a nice touch. I especially loved the improvising, but the compositions were pretty good. They were all different.

Kathleen Supové
Kathleen Supové (piano, electronics) Adam Fisher (cello) Emanuele de Raymondi (laptop)
Pianist Kathleen Supové will play a set that features world premieres of piano works written for her by Charles Coleman and Emanuele de Raymondi, as well as the premiere of "Mechanical Dolls" by Randall Woolf for Cello and Piano.

Marco Benevento + Brad Barr + Sean Bones @ The Bell House 3/7/09

I asked someone at MTO to point me in the direction of The Bell House and talked out strategy. I didn't know if there would be an opening band or not. Adam said it would be unusual to have only one band at that venue and I got the impression there are often many in a night. It turns out there were 3 acts.

I also had my trusty All About Jazz with me and it had the address and train info in the venue listings. So, it wasn't hard to find even though I don't know the area at all.

I got there around 9ish. It's a large warehouse in a warehouse area. But, it is fixed up nice inside and I definitely like the bar area when you walk in. The bartender was very good and attentive and it had a nice feel to it. I walked toward the end and found the box office, which is right by the door to the performance space. You get an invisible handstamp that allows you to come and go in the somewhat large performance area. There's another bar off to the left and a few, very few, tables and chairs in the back on each side of the sound booth.

Sean Bones was on when I got there, so I went in to check it out. I enjoyed it enough to stay until the end of the set. At first it was kind of reggae sounding and then it melded more toward rock. I was surprised it was their first show. They have the drummer from Rana. Now that I'm looking around I see Sean is from Sam Champion. I have to check that out sometime. I wonder why he didn't ask Joe Russo to sit in, since he was there that whole time. I see they are booked at Pianos tonight and Brooklyn Masonic tomorrow. I think I saw they will be at SXSW as well. So, it's not your typical first show when you have several gigs following already.

It seemed kind of long before Brad Barr came on to do his solo. He said he had some problems getting in that day. It was his Mom's birthday, so he was excited about that. I enjoyed it at first. I was very intrigued by how he was pulling this string and interesting sounds were happening. It wasn't a guitar string, but it was somehow attached to his guitar. I really don't know what was going on. He also had a harmonica and sang at times. I enjoyed it, but it was too much for that time at night. I think it would have been better if he was first and then Sean Bones. It got old for me after a while and I got bored and even had to step out for a bit.

Marco was good, but it wasn't quite doing it for me. The best part of what I saw was when Joe Russo sat in. I loved it then. I'm not sure what was up, but I think it was too hard to go from the stellar sound at LPR to this venue. I'm getting very spoiled with these new venues and everything is on a different standard.

I do think it was me. I also didn't stay to see what else happened. At around 12:30, I just realized it was time to leave. Interesting that there was a yellow cab sitting out front and it just felt like it was meant to be. I did read about it on and it sounds like it was more enjoyable than how I felt, so it must have been me.

Anyway, I'm glad I checked out the venue and I'm looking forward to when Marco comes back to this burrough.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

MTO @ LPR 3/7/09

I love the thought of Steven Bernstein's Millenial Territory Orchestra at Le Poisson Rouge. It seems like such a good place for them. I also love that he's playing there so much this month.

It was a double bill with Hazmat Modine. I really wanted to go, and I made it there at about 7:40 and missed about 10 minutes of MTO's set. I got there during "Darling Nicki". It was phenomenal and I was so glad I made the effort to come out so early. For the finish, Doug Wamble gets up and sings the chorus. I really like Matt Munisteri, and MTO is good no matter what the lineup. Still, Doug Wamble actually adds a new dimension of soul to the whole thing. Later he sag "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" (or whatever the name is). That was great.

The other greats were Doug Weiselman, Peter Apfelbaum, Eric Lawrence, Charlie Burnham and Curtis Fowlkes. Ben Allison was phenomenal on bass.

Ben Perowsky! To try to put it in Steven Bernstein's terms, first he mentioned how the bus doesn't go without the bus driver, then he tells us how some Chinese dish, and I think it was Chow Fun, is only as good as the oil you cook it in, the band NEEDS the drummer. While I'm forgetting the words, the sentiment is you NEED the drummer. Ben was amazing, a monster. He really made it as brilliant as it was.

It was so good, I was so enthralled and blown away. I knew I had to schlep out to Brooklyn to see Marco later. I didn't think I would do it, but that show made me want that kind of emotive playing and I've been very interested to check out The Bell House anyway. Thus, I didn't stay for Hazmat Modine. I just wasn't sure if there was an opening band or not. We did get a great sit-in for the last song with Steve Nelson, a trumpet, and sousaphone.

I forgot how great MTO is. It was in my memory, but the feeling when I hear them had been forgotten. They really are IT.

Hazmat Modine meets Millennial Territory Orchestra
Doors @ 6:30 PM
Event @ 7:00 PM

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dr. Lonnie Smith @ Jazz Standard 3/6/09

I am so grateful I wasn't into the previous show because I might have missed this run at Jazz Standard. The drummer was the only one I didn't know of, and he blew me away! It was very important to erase the memory of the repetitive generic drumming from the one song I heard at the other place, and Riley delivered! I mean, he had me going out of my mind! Dr. Lonnie Smith seemed pretty into him as well. He and the other phenomenal cast of characters were as great as usual. It was one awesome set and a wonderful way to end the evening.

Dr. Lonnie Smith Quartet
* Donald Harrison – alto saxophone
* Peter Bernstein – guitar
* Dr. Lonnie Smith – Hammond B-3 organ
* Herlin Riley – drums

Hans Blix @ Spike Hill 3/6/09

I've added SearchAndRestore to my "most useful go to" arsenal when deciding what I want to do on a given night. Right on the home page they have 3 picks for the night and they are usually phenomenal. I'm finding in spite of how I comb the listings and spend a lot of time figuring out what is going on, they usually have 1-3 shows I didn't know about listed. I'm now accustomed to checking it daily.

I woke up from my nap too late to hit the 2 options I already had for early, they were at 7 and 7:30. But, then I was intrigued by this listing for a band I never heard of and was further intrigued when I listened to some of their stuff on their myspace page. I was further intrigued to finally see a band at Spike Hill in Williamsburg.

I walked in at 10:10 and they came on 5 minutes after. They were scheduled to start at 10, so I was impressed it was pretty on time given the tightness of the schedule. I had the place pictured as possibly starting real late, but I also had a feeling it might be closer to on time from when I've walked by there.

It was a busy night to be trying it out. The bar on the stage side of the establishment was pretty crowded from spillover of the regular bar and it was kind of noisy. Still, I was able to stand close to the stage up front. I was also interested enough to dance for the first tune.

It turned out it wasn't really my thing. A lot of that had to do with the drumbeat. I kept looking for a drum machine and was always surprised to see a live drummer up there. I think it just wasn't something I was into that night. I would like to give it another try some time. It seemed like the same drum beat just playing continuously with no change at all. I hear these tracks and I wonder if it would have been different if I gave it more of a chance.

I decided I should get back to Manhattan for the last set of Jazz Standard and give this band another try on another night. I also want to try Spike Hill again when hopefully more people are there to listen. I am glad for the experience, though.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gyan Riley Trio @ The Stone 3/5/09

This was nice and a little different. It seemed a little more along the straight ahead lines for Ches Smith, but I think I'm kind of jaded, so it may not have been. They were all great. The guitar had my attention at first, but after a bit the violin/viola was really taking up a lot of my attention. He was so interesting. There was one tune where he was playing the viola like a guitar and it sounded similar to a bass. He had the funnest part in the fun song. He was also awesome with the gypsy-type stuff. Ches Smith was phenomenal. He did an incredible drum solo in the middle. The guitar was awesome.

Timb Harris (violin, viola) Gyan Riley (guitar) Ches Smith (drums)

Clockwise @ The Stone 3/3/09

I didn't want to deal with tiny Barbes or getting out there so early for Bill Frisell and the violinist. So, I went to a different string duo that was great. I was intrigued by the violin and harp pairing as well as the South African composers. It was great. I think the two are recently married and they are from South Africa, but I think they live here.

It was great. They told us about each of the pieces. I can't remember much. The first piece was inspired by the mbira. I didn't know they had that in South Africa, I know it's big in Zimbabwe. There was a piece they told us would probably make the South Africans in the room homesick. I loved that piece and now I'm very curious to explore more about it.

There was another piece where were told the harp is most resonant when playing in C-Flat. The piece required the violin to be tuned down 1/2 to B-Flat from B. Marc was happy about that because it allowed him to play more open strings. He said that usually playing "Flat" notes is rough on the violinists fingers. I love learning about stuff like that from my very layman point of view.

I enjoyed the set a lot and was sorry when it was over. I got the feeling they were going to do an encore, but the lights were turned up as soon as they stopped, so I guess they figured it was over.

Marc Uys (violin) Jacqueline Kerrod (harp)
Recent commissions from a range of leading voices in contemporary South African music, including Braam du Toit, Neo Muyanga and Matthijs van Dijk.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Peter Gordon / Love of Life Orchestra @ LPR 3/1/09

It was a very tough choice between this and Stebmo. Stebmo would have been it if it wasn't for 55 Bar. It IS a great spot, and artists love playing there. Its just the no dancing thing and how hard it can be to get in that turns me off. I really should get over that. I definitely didn't want to take the risk last night, though. Also, there was a perfectly good and intriguing option at one of my favorite venues, Le Poisson Rouge. If I could have done both, I would have, but they were at the same time.

I'm happy with my choice. I found this gig when I was looking at Steven Bernstein's calendar. He only plays with great bands, so I knew it would be great. It also looked kind of rare from the listing.

It turns out Peter Gordon wrote a suite. He said he was going to call it a symphony, but he's talking in the middle.

I don't quite know how to describe it. Maybe 70's acid ensemble meets jazz disco. That doesn't quite feel right, though. It was great lively different music with a trumpet and killer electric viola. There was a piano and Peter played keyboard and soprano at times. Yunior was on electric bass. The drums were hard-hitting.

It had a lot of energy and it was based in jazz. I still keep thinking about how deliberate the viola was. I really liked that. I also like how Gordon would periodically give instructions by counting off "1 2 3 4", it had an energy to it.

There was also film in the background. It was tastefully done and added to the music. There were 2 screens, just the right size, unlike at ABB. The only part I didn't like was at the very end they kept shining bright lights in our faces. That was the first time I experienced that at LPR.
Actually, I'm struggling to describe the music and I now see the listing does a good job of it:

Peter Gordon / Love of Life Orchestra
Peter Gordon, sax, synth/organ
Elio Villafranca, piano
Yunior Terry, bass
Robby Ameen, drums
Ned Sublette, guitar
Steven Bernstein, trumpet
Martha Mooke, electric viola
Kit Fitzgerald, video artist
Peter Gordon's Love of Life Orchestra (LOLO) is back with a vengeance with perhaps the hottest band yet. Since 1977, LOLO has defined the fusion of experimental composition with punk and jazz infused dance music. Chamber Disco is a set of new compositions - complex, groove-based, raw and hypnotic.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Parker/Jordon/Drake @ CSV 2/27/09

This was as stellar as it was supposed to be. I would have chosen this gig with William Parker and Hamid Drake and whoever they choose, because they are all guaranteed to be great. I was pretty happy to see this trio included Kidd Jordon, though.

I got there just before they started, at around 7:50. I really like the space. Its a small theatre space on the 2nd floor called SEA. It says capacity is 74 people on the wall. Its kind of colorful, with the stage and backdrop wall painted very colorfully. It felt very nice in there. I'm happy there were no free seats. There was still room to sit on the steps, but I prefer to stand and had a good spot. I could see, hear, and dance.

They charged $15 for 1 set, $25 for 2. It was a no-brainer for me to choose the 2.

My spot was right up front by the stage, but off to the drum side just a bit. I guess you could call the seats stadium seating. There was a wall-type thing separating me from the sitters. There were a few other people standing by me.

I bought the cd, which is also phenomenal. I got a chance to read the liner notes in between sets. That worked out well because the liner notes talked about how the recording was mainly Drake on the frame drum, Parker on the guimbri, and Jordon on the tenor (as always). The 2nd set used that instrumentation for a good portion before Drake went back to the kit and Parker eventually went back to his upright. Parker did play some of his reeds during that first 1/2 hour or so of the 2nd set.

For the 1st set, it was mainly drumkit, upright bass, and tenor. Parker did play some reeds and an interesting woodwind. The woodwind was wood, and looked similar to a recorder, but without a mouthpiece. It was very interesting and I'm sure I'll find out what it was eventually. I don't have time to look it up now.

I did look up the guimbri, because I wanted to see how it is different from the sintur that Mike Rivard plays. On the same web page, I see that people sometimes confuse the 2. The guimbri is also called the ngoni.

I loved being so close to Hamid to watch him play. He really had me so interested I had trouble being with the other 2 at times.

I loved it all. I think I loved the 2nd set even more, once they went back to the more traditional instruments, it got really grooving. I also like how they started off more mellow in that set. It was also a little over an hour.

And, I can't believe I only paid $25 to see all of that!