Friday, May 29, 2009

Composer's Workshop Ensemble @ BPC 5/28/09

This was simply listed as "Warren Smith, $6". I love Warren Smith and I was curious what he would be doing. I got there at 8:15, just before they came on. I was surprised to see so many musicians up on stage. 2 tenors, a soprano, baritone, and alto for saxes. Warren and the other vibraphone/drummer took turns on each instrument. Euphonium, cornet, 2 trumpets, trombone and percussionist that mainly played congas. Oh, and a guitar and an upright bass. I think that was it last night, but there are more on the CD. It was actually a CD release party. I go the CD and love it as much as the show.

I danced in the back the whole time. Lots of great solos. I love the music. It has a wide range. There's even some free and improvised music at the end. Somewhere in the middle they did a Beatles tune, which was the only one not on the CD.

Here's a better listing than what I had seen earlier:
Warren Smith’s Composers Workshop Ensemble
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery (between Bleecker and Houston Sts)
East Village Map
Subway: B, D, F, V to Broadway–Lafayette St; 6 to Bleecker St Directions
Tickets: $6
Percussionist Warren Smith is legendary for his sensitive playing in free-jazz contexts, but he has also worked with pop stars like Aretha Franklin and Van Morrison (even appearing on the latter’s epochal Astral Weeks record). Tonight he leads a large ensemble stocked with fellow veterans, including Cecil Bridgewater, Joe Daley and Clare Daly.
May 28 8pm

Upcoming: Bang on a Can Marathon

Here's the skinny:

Bang on a Can Marathon
May 31, 2009 12:00pm
World Financial Center Winter Garden, New York, NY

The Bang on a Can Marathon 2009
May 31 – 12 HOURS of LIVE MUSIC!at the World Financial Center Winter Garden
220 Vesey Street12pm (noon) – 12am (midnight)
Co-presented by the River to River Festival® and arts>World Financial Center
Bang on a Can’s annual incomparable eclectic super-mix of genre defying music!
On Sunday, May 31, a swarm of musicians and composers from all over the world will descend on the Winter Garden in New York City for 12 HOURS of uninterrupted live ear-bending border-crossing music from around the corner and around the globe. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Here is a complete list of this year's composers and performers (note that set times are approximate and subject to change):
Andy Akiho's Steel Pan Nonette performing new work by Andy Akiho
Signal performing Trance by Michael Gordon
Solo tabla performance by Sandeep Das
DITHER & Friends performing Eric km Clark's exPAT: Deprivation Music No. 4

Todd Reynolds String Quartet performing Stringsongs by Meredith Monk
Solo performance by Bill Frisell
Your Bad Self performing We Didn't Know, Snowball, and Blacktop by Ted Hearne
Smith Quartet performing White Man Sleeps by Kevin Volans
Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen performing Ground, vol. 3 by Jeppe Just Christensen

Lionheart & Ethel performing excerpts from John the Revelator by Phil Kline
Build performing Imagining Winter and In the Backyard by Matt McBane
Bassist Henry Grimes performing with drummer Andrew Cyrille
Smith Quartet performing The Sinking of the Titanic by Gavin Bryars
Bang on a Can All-Stars & Bill Frisell performing new work by Bill Frisell

Ars Nova Copenhagen conducted by Paul Hillier performing Three Stages by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen and Rise Up, my love by Howard Skempton
Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen performing Braun KSM 2 by Jeppe Just Christensen
Ars Nova Copenhagen performing For love is strong by David Lang
Smith Quartet performing Folk Music (Daithi's Dumka) by Joe Cutler
Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen performing excerpts from On This Planet by Anders Nordentoft

Wu Man performing 12th Century Pipa piece Night Thoughts
Ken Thomson's 9-headed Saxophone Monster performing Rut by Ken ThomsonAthelas
Sinfonietta Copenhagen & Ars Nova Copenhagen performing Thirst by Julia WolfeShiau-uen
Ding performing Haemmerklavier III: One Man Band by Moritz Eggert
Victoire performing Like a Miracle, I am coming for my things by Missy Mazzoli

Wu Man, Sandeep Das, and Brooklyn Rider performing Sulvasutra by Evan Ziporyn
Solo performance by Ryuichi Sakamoto
Bang on a Can All-Stars & Ryuichi Sakamoto performing new work by Ryuichi Sakamoto
Bang on a Can All-Stars performing Horses of Instruction by Steve Martland
Performance by Tortoise

Click here for a YouTube playlist of Marathon 2009 Artists, or check out artist bios and press clips in our press room

Spontaneous River @ Galapogos 5/27/09

Wow! 27 strings, 1 drumkit that was sometime played like a string, and 1 violin/composer. It was a very full stage.

You can see below there were many great musicians there. It was very nice. I had to leave at about 10:45ish, but what I saw was superb.

I don't know quite how it worked. Jason sometimes made typical conducting signals, sometimes held up cards, and sometimes signaled by playing his violin at the musicians. He also took a solo at one point, turning around to face us.

There were solos and parts where one section would play. I liked when just the guitar section played - it was quite interesting.

I wish I could have stayed til the end, but I'm tying to balance a heavy workload and get to as much live music as possible.

10pm: JASON KAO HWANG/ SPONTANEOUS RIVERVIOLIN: Henry Grimes, Sam Bardfeld, Sarah Bernstein, Trina Basu, Mark Chung, David Soldier, Rosi Hertlein, Marlene Rice, Curtis Stewart, Elektra Stewart, Skye Steele. VIOLA: Judith Insell, Nicole Federici, Eric Salazar. CELLO: Tomas Ulrich, Kirsten Jermé, Daniel Levin. BASS: Michael Bisio, Ken Filiano, Francois Grillot, Clifton Jackson, David Chevan. DRUM KIT: Andrew Drury. GUITAR: Bradley Farberman, Cristian Amigo, James Keepnews, Dom Minasi, Dave Ross, Tor Snyder, Hans Tammen. COMPOSER/CONDUCTOR/VIOLIN: Jason Kao Hwang.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hans Tanneb & Improving Orchestra @ Galapagos 5/27/09

I got there at about 8:45, but still probably got most of the performance, which ended at 9:30ish, maybe a little later. It was stellar.

There was a flute player. He played the flute, piccolo, and contrabass flute. He was awesome in each. I love the sounds coming from the contrabass flute, beautiful and deep. It was my first experience with it. It looks heavy and hard to play.

I enjoyed my dancing spot in the back. But, I couldn't quite see everything due to the conductor or other musicians blocking my view. It looked like the trombone player had a smaller version as well as the traditional. I was looking forward to getting a better look after it ended, but they drew the curtain. Oh well. It is classy to have a curtain.

The bass was quite interesting. Its a large acoustic bass, not contrabass. I loved that deep sound as well.

The percussion was awesome. I wish I could have seen all the stuff he was playing on the floor.
There was a point where I was looking for an Indian instrument and then I realized it was Briggan on alto. I figure he had that sock in it. I loved that sound.

Everyone and every moment was awesome. One more highlight was the flute jam with Marty Erlich and the other guy. But, it was all great.

Mari Kimura (vio), David Soldier (vio), Jason Hwang (vla), Tomas Ullrich (cel), Marty Ehrlich (bcl, as, fl), Briggan Krauss (as, bari), Chris McIntyre (tb), Robert Dick (fl, cbfl), Dafna Naphtali (voice, live sound processing), Denman Maroney (p/kb), Ursel schlicht (p/kb), Stomu Takeishi (b), Satoshi Takeishi (perc), Hans Tammen (composer, conductor, concept).

Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo

It's really nice. I mean REALLY nice. It's beautiful - outside and in. It's got a wonderful vibe, good energy. I felt great in there.

You walk in the door and there is a small foyer with all glass looking into the space. There are glass doors into the space on each side. They were only allowing entrance on the right side, where the girl taking the cover is. The door on the left side is right by the bar.

Still. It doesn't take much to walk by the glass to get to the bar. For most of the first set, I stood right in front of the glass foyer windows, under the balcony. The sound was excellent, even under the balcony. I thought it was a little better downstairs than on the balcony.

There are clusters of seating areas, large areas where about 10 or more people can sit in comfy seats, aside from where you walk over to each area the rest has a railing around it and is surrounded by a foot of black-dyed water. The affect is beautiful. There are I think 6 of these seating areas downstairs with lots of sitting room up in the balcony and a few comfy chair with backs at the bar.

The upstairs balcony is in a horseshoe around the stage with tables and chairs. Some are up against the rail. Some of the seating doesn't have backs (I think, or it has low backs). There is a small service bar up there that wasn't in use that night.

There was one waitress and one bartender working, which is all they needed. The bar downstairs is small enough that they probably never have more than one on downstairs and possibly one upstairs. The selection looks good and the stiff drinks are high Manhattan prices.
Overall I love the place and it blows the last one away, for an art space. Its funny that they moved due to rent and were able to find an old stable that works so much better.

Here's a photo tour from the website. It doesn't really convey how nice it felt to be there, though.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ron Miles Quartet featuring Jason Moran @ Jazz Standard 5/26/09

This was excellent! It was similar to another Ron Miles gig I saw recently at Jazz Standard and just as good. I was blown away by each of the musicians at various times. I especially liked the Ornette cover, but the whole thing was awesome.

The drum solo at the end of the Ornette tune was amazing. It was very African. It was hard for me to stay seated for that one, very hard.

Ron Miles Quartet featuring Jason Moran
* Ron Miles – trumpet
* Jason Moran – piano
* Todd Sickafoose – bass
* Matt Wilson – drums

The Music of Sun Ra and Stockhausen: Respect Sextet @ LPR 5/24/09

This was really awesome. I'm even more in awe of Sun Ra and what he accomplished. He really influenced everyone in some way.

Everyone played some kind of percussion at some point. The bass player stuck with his big old bass, but played that as a percussion at times. There were some very interesting out there cubes that had interesting sounds. Two of the horn players jammed with them for a while, one playing it with his mouth, the other with his hand. It's hard to describe.

One guy played bass clarinet and tenor sax. Another played trombone and euphonium. Then there was the trumpet, and I think slide trumpet (I don't remember him actually playing the slide instrument in front of him, but it seemed too small to be a trombone). The piano, keyboard guy was awesome. I loved the drums and bass. The whole thing was spectacular.

Here's their bio from the LPR listing. I want to see more of them whenever I can. It was nice it was pretty full in the seated format that night.
FORMED IN 2001, The Respect Sextet is a powerhouse ensemble dedicated to performing a wide variety of improvisational musics. Relying on their explosive energy, rare telepathy, outstanding musicianship and a deep friendship, Respect pieces together free improvisations, original compositions, free jazz classics, television commercial jingles, text pieces, jazz standards, game pieces and more into "a whirling collage," shouts Exclaim! Magazine, "that ransacks and reshapes the entire jazz tradition, from New Orleans march to Misha Mengelberg, Sun Ra to Charlie Parker." The group comprises Josh Rutner (reeds, radio, toys), Eli Asher (trumpet, toys), James Hirschfeld (trombone, jamespectronics, toys), Malcolm Kirby (bass), Red Wierenga (piano, keyboard, accordion, redspectronics) and Ted Poor (drums). After releasing three limited-edition live CDs, (respect.), (respectacle.), and a mini-CD (respookt.), Respect introduced The Full Respect, a studio melange in which "all those outlandish musical gestures and experiments are distilled," as critic Chad Oliveri wrote, "into a frighteningly efficient package." The Full Respect was named #3 Jazz CD of the Year by Jazz 90.1FM, and music from the album was featured in the short film Who's Your Daddy?, an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival, 2004.

In January 2005, Respect released Respect In You, a free-wheeling live recording featuring guest bassist Matt Clohesy. The album received rave reviews from jazz magazines including Cadence, ParisTransatlantic, Exclaim! and Coda, and was listed in several as one of 2005's ten best records. "Forget about the wan, self-conscious eclecticism that is the bane of the current jazz scene," wrote critic Nate Dorward, "this is the real deal, burning hard and bright."

Their newest album, Sirius Respect, (Mode/Avant, 2009), brings together the music of Sun Ra and Karlheinz Stockhausen and views them through Respect-colored glasses. In Respect's inimitable style, pieces ranging from Stockhausen's "Tierkreis" (inspired by the Zodiac) to Sun Ra's "Saturn" are juxtaposed, layered, deconstructed and re-assembled.

The Respect Sextet, through its eclecticism, its devotion to improvisation, its predilection towards swing, and its use of toys and "little instruments," has drawn comparisons both to New Dutch Swing and the AACM.

Many dialectics are at work (and play) in Respect's music, in which the serious, heady, and intellectual mingle with the light, comic, and absurd, where compositions alternate with improvisations, and where tight ensemble work coexists with loose, empathic interplay.

Jack Quartet @ LPR 5/24/09

This is a string quartet playing creative classical. They played for 1/2 hour, and I got there a little late, but the 15 min I did get was awesome. They have the tables and chairs, with seats at the bar and the place is pretty full but not sold out.

I couldn't see the instruments too well, but it looked like a traditional string quartet with 2 violins, cello, and viola. I'm not sure if it was a violin or a piano where the artist was making it sound like the high keys on the piano. I guess he had them clamped or extra tight or something. I liked the sound.

It was very interesting and I enjoyed it a lot.

Here's the description from LPR:
Praised for its "powerhouse playing" by the Chicago Sun-Times, the JACK Quartet maintains a steady appetite for today's most demanding string quartet repertoire. Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Kevin McFarland, the quartet has given high-energy performances in Europe and North America including appearances at Carnegie Hall, La Biennale di Venezia, the Lucerne Festival, and the Festival Internacional de Musica Contemporanea de Michoacan. The members of the quartet met while attending the Eastman School of Music, where in addition to learning standard and contemporary repertoire they pursued period, non-western, and popular performance styles. The quartet has studied with the Arditti Quartet at the Pro-Bio Foundation Summer School for Contemporary Quartet Music, the Kronos Quartet at the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, and members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain at the Lucerne Festival Academy. The commissioning and performance of new works for string quartet is integral to the JACK Quartet's mission, leading them to work closely with composers Helmut Lachenmann, Wolfgang Rihm, Matthias Pintscher, Aaron Cassidy, Aaron Travers, Roberto Rusconi, Cristian Amigo, Robert Wannamaker, Randall Woolf, Kirsten Broberg, Alexandra du Bois, and Samuel Adler. The quartet has worked with composition students at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and in Italy for the Intrasonus Project. In addition to working with composers and performers, the JACK quartet seeks to broaden and diversify the potential audience for new music through educational presentations designed for a variety of ages, backgrounds, and levels of musical experience.

Nicholas Payton @ Birdland 5/23/09

I made it to the last set. I would have preferred a weeknight, but I couldn't make it happen. They were fully booked, but there were only 4 ahead of me at 12 and they were still letting people with res in. There was no one in the res line, so I guess they hold them up to the last minute. Anyway, I was able to get in for a bar spot. It was pretty full, but they still has some table space for some latecomers. The manager seemed surprised. I got the idea that often you can't get in there on a Sat without a res. Since I prefer to stand, at some point the manager asked me to go up the steps in the back. It was much better than my old standing spot, over by the merch. I could see really well. I don't understand why they charge more for those tables up front - I think its a little too close.

I was drawn to the Rhodes/piano player a lot. He was excellent. I was surprised at the end when I found out he is Robert Glasper. He looks so different with the beard and he's a little older now.

The bass had me from time to time. Some nice straight ahead grooves. I just checked his bio and I see he plays in both Payton and Glasper's bands, so he might just be the link.

I love having a drummer and a percussionist. Both are great. I loved the long drum solo by Gilmore toward the end. It was probably close to 15 minutes and amazing. That says a lot about Nicholas Payton.

There was a female vocalist for one tune. I liked it when she sang along with the trumpet.

There was also one where Nicholas sang. I could have done without that, even though he didn't sing much. It was also the very mellow tune. There were still plenty of good moments in that one.

I'm definitely glad I made it. I wonder if we will be seeing more of Payton and Glasper together.

Group featuring: Nicholas Payton (trumpet) Johnaye Kendrick (vocals) Robert Glasper (piano)
Vincente Archer (bass) Daniel Sadownick (percussion) Marcus Gilmore (drums)

Gersten/Sawyer @ The Stone 5/22/09

It was supposed to be a trio, but the Lucas had another gig in Montreal. Grey said he plays tapes. Then he said he was here in spirit and held up a tape recorder. In a piece towards the end, Grey played it by having it on and holding it by his guitar in interesting ways. It was pretty cool.

It was great, on the avant-noise side. It got loud, but not too loud. I really enjoyed watching Gersten. He's very creative and played the electric guitar in many ways I've never seen. Sawyer sounded as excellent as always.

This was an excellent, rare 50 minute set. Its been a while since I've been to such creative music (last night was the first in a while). I think I'm appreciating the out there ultra-creative even more these days.

Grey Gersten, G. Lucas Crane, Ryan Sawyer
Grey Gersten (guitar) G. Lucas Crane (tapes, broken equipment) Ryan Sawyer (drums)

MAP @ The Stone 5/21/09

They only play a couple times a year, so I'm glad I grabbed the opportunity. This is an amazing creative trio.

I haven't seen much of Reuben Radding in recent times. He opened me up to even more possibilities. He plays the other side of the bridge with his bow, and really I suspect he's played every square inch of it with and without the bow over time.

The communication between the instruments was fantastic. Its always unique when you change up the improvisers. I like what theses 3 have going on.

This was definitely greatness, people ahead of their time. Each of them are worth seeing as much as possible in whatever project.

Tatsuya Nakatani (percussion) Mary Halvorson (guitar) Reuben Radding (bass)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Abdoulaye Alhassane @ The Stone 5/19/09

1.5 hours of beautiful Sahara music. t started a few minutes early. The setlist fell on the floor at one point, so I saw they had a lot of ground to cover. They had to skip to the last song to end at 9:30. It was wonderful.

They had a special guest, Baba Raymond Graham on shekere. He played it by tapping the beads. I was amazed at how loud it was. It added a lot to the music.

Idrissa Kone started on the little talking drum, played under his armpit. He moved to the djembe after a couple. Then, someone handed a package to Abdoulaye, and he pulled out a calabash, 1/3 of a large round gourd, played on a table at first and then the floor. Idrissa played that for the rest of the show. He put 2 rings on, the middle finger of one hand and index finger of the other, to make interesting sounds at times. He played it with a stick for the last, more electric tune.

The acoustic bass was great. It wasn't an upright. He played the electric bass for the last tune.

The guitar and vocals were beautiful and soulful. I was really feeling that with the bass accompaniment.

The soprano sax was awesome. It added so much. She mainly played that, but she did play the nai flute for a few tunes.

It was so good. I am so glad I got to be there. Aha! Now, I see they did Visionfest last year, and I now remember I was there and loved it. Hopefully now I will take note and know to go if I ever see him listed again.

Abdoulaye Alhassane
Abdoulaye Alhassane (guitar, gurmi, vocals) Moussa Mahaman (guitar, bass) Kali Fastaeu (nai flute, soprano sax) Idrissa Kone (tama, gasu)
Original Music of the Niger River and Sahara from Mali and Niger led by Abdoulaye Alhassane.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bill Frisell @ Village Vanguard 5/15/09

There was only one thing going on at that time that could follow the excellent LPR show. I got there at about 10:20 and they let us no res people in about 10 min later. I sat by a guy that decided to do every show of the run this time. In the past, he'd catch a set here or there. He said each set has been mind-blowing. I'm not sure if it was the same set or not. I like to think not. He thought they were each unique and artistic in their own right.

It was blown away amazing! They really feed off of each other. It's quite unique the way they create. There was so much soul oozing off of every note. It was a melding of jazz and American roots music that touches the soul. I can see why some people hit every set. I left in complete awe.

May 12 - May 17
Tony Scherr-b, Kenny Wollesen-d

Marc Ribot @ LPR 5/15/09

I got there at about 7:15 and Cotito Trio was on - probably on their 2nd or 3rd song. I think it was a better choice to have them on 1st as opposed to 2nd like they did last week. Soon after, they brought Ribot up to finish the set (about 30-40 min set in total). It was good. I enjoyed the cuchon. I did enjoy it more last week, but it might have been due to all the talkers.

The Columbian band,
La Cumbiamba eNeYe, was awesome! They were awesome enough for the talkers to shut up and listen once they got to the heavy percussion. They started out with some interesting reeds and then moved on and had us really going. Marc Ribot and Shazaad Ismaily (base) came out at about the 2nd or 3rd song and played until the end of the set. I loved this set, loved being able to really dance. This was definitely my favorite portion of the evening. I think the set was about 4d minutes, which was longer than the one last week.

Los Cubanos Postizos was great. I do have to admit it got a little old to hear the same set again. I still enjoyed it, but I enjoyed it more at the smaller space last week. I forgot to mention they had a conga player with them both this show and last week's.

Part of a week-long celebration taking place in venues around the city.
Marc Ribot's Los Cubanos Postizos / Cotito Trio with Marc Ribot / La Cumbiamba eNeYe with Marc Ribot

The Bad Plus @ Merkin Hall 5/14/09

It was nice they did a soundcheck in between sets. I like being around for those - more notes of live music. David King had arrived a hour before from NC so he didn't have an opportunity before. It was pretty cool they let that happen, because we all benefit and get a better show.

It was great. I like seeing them in halls every now and then. I was hoping for a mashup between the 2 bands, but that didn't happen.

They left us really feeling when the last song was very emotional. A lot of people gave a standing ovation. I thought it was great, but I'm so spoiled that a standing ovation needs to be more than a regular great show. I think I'm also kind of under protest that I can't stand the whole time. It was great, but I've enjoyed them even more at other times. I actually liked the Marco set a little more.

Marco Benevento Trio @ Merkin Hall 5/14/09

That was awesome! They did a song and then the radio guy interviewed Marco for a few minutes. I never knew he used a guitar pickup thingy, or that one of his toys was some kind of nintendo thing.

The set was really great. Its that type of music that stirs up a lot in me. It happens with Ribot, too. But, Marco and The Bad Plus choose a type of "emotional type songs". Its hard to describe, but just look at some of the covers they do and you can get a sense.

I was really into the bass this set, also. He was a lot of fun to watch. I often don't really see him in the dark rooms when I'm grooving. Actually, it was kind of a blessing to have to sit for this. I got a totally different perspective sitting in a well-lit room and loved the music just as much as ever.

This was perfect and worth blowing off what I'm sure was an amazing Ribot show at The Stone.

The listing:
Situated at the nexus of contemporary classical, jazz and rock and roll, The Bad Plus brings its all-out, uninhibited style to pop standards and its own compositions. They'll be joined by the Benevento/Mathis/Barr Trio—a keyboard/bass/drum combo that tests the limits of indie rock. This New Sounds® Live event is hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer.

Spiritual Unity @ Joe's Pub 5/13/09

I saw it before, at The Stone, but probably 3 or 4 years ago. My memory was that it was very mellow and I couldn't pick up on the Ayler. Well, that memory was completely false. I think I was mixing it up with some solo shows or something. This music was intense and I definitely tell it was all Albert Ayler.

Roy Campbell joined the trio after a short break and they became a quartet playing Albert Ayler music.

It was awesome. I felt the music running through me the whole time. I tried to get up to dance, but then I heard some sounds from the bar so I sat again. The sounds were blocked by that wall where that community seating area up the steps is. Much better. I've found its much better to be downstairs simply due to the noise the bartenders make. What ever happened to that awesome bartender during Terence Blanchard Katrina benefit who considered herself a professional and really knew how to do everything, including making drinks with ice, quietly? I wanted to find her again and be her agent to get all the jazz clubs and have her teach their staff how to do it.

Anyway, I had to leave a few minutes early, I was just too tired. I left just before 11:30, all filled up. I suspect it went til 11:30-11:45.

Marc Ribot Trio @ Joe's Pub 5/13/09

I got there just before 9:30. There was a good amount of people there, but it didn't look like it was sold out. I was able to get the barstool in the main area - the one closest to the stage. They did remove the stools at the bar, but I've seen the place much more crowded than it was. It was still pretty much full, just not "to the brim".

The trio is Spiritual Unity minus one,Ribot/Grimes/Taylor. It wasn't Albert Ayler stuff though. At least not discernable. It was more like what I saw Ribot/Grimes at the Rubin Museum last month.

It was excellent. It was awesome to see Ribot right after seeing that tribute show. I see how there are many great guitar players. I saw 2 do a top-notch job of interpreting his music. They were really awesome. But, nothing can really compare to the man himself. He's something unique and special in his own right. And, I can say that about everyone I saw at the tribute, Henry Grimes, and Chad Taylor. I really am blessed to live here and know about this stuff.

This is a great trio and I'm glad it exists.

Marc Ribot Tribute @ The Stone 5/13/09

I went to the first set, and it was awesome. Marco Cappelli did about 4 or 5 pieces that were very complex and challenging. He said he commissioned Marc to write 1 piece for him and he got 4. Marco was amazing. I would venture to go so far to say he's more technically capable on the complex stuff than Ribot. That's not really saying much, except that he was incredibly amazing. I also never noticed the 7 additional strings on his 6-string. They are on a diagonal and underneath in a cross-under from the typical strings.
It's also a very beautiful guitar.

That was enough yet it was only the beginning. After that, Anthony Lane came up and did some really nice solo pieces. He didn't do much with the inside of the piano, but he seemed to be warming it up for the next set. He was wonderful. He played a few pieces.

After that, there was an incredible duo of Billy Martin and Grey Gerstein. I hadn't realized that was him. I've seen him around a lot, and I've probably heard him and don't remember. Billy was heavy duty and stellar. Gerstein was awesome. He did the more soulful side of Ribot's music.

Each of those ensembles in that hour were worth more than the price of admission. It was a very special treat.

I had trouble leaving the area for Joe's Pub. Everywhere I looked, there was another of my favorite stellar artists showing up to play in the 2nd set. It was tough, but I knew there was other greatness to be experienced nearby ...

Marco Capelli, Anthony Coleman, Grey Gersten, Jon Madof, Eyal Maoz, Roger Kleier
Six colleagues, fans and cohorts of Marc Ribot pay tribute to the master in this special night of musical madness. Three performances per set feature music from several of Ribot's most beloved projects.
5/13 Wednesday (JM)

8 pm
Marco Capelli/Anthony Coleman/Grey Gersten play MARC RIBOT
Marco Capelli, Grey Gersten (guitar) Anthony Coleman (piano) Billy Martin (drums)
Marco Capelli will play material from Ribot's eclectic solo repertoire. Anthony Coleman will perform a variety of Ribot originals, and Grey Gersten will present "Dying Cowboy" and "Etude #4 Bombasto" in duo with Billy Martin.

This is the set I missed:
10 pm
John Madof and Rashanim/Eyal Maoz/Roger Kleier's El Pocho Loco Project play MARC RIBOT
Jon Madof, Eyal Maoz, Roger Kleier (guitar) Shanir Blumenkranz, Trevor Dunn (bass) Mathias Kuntzli, Ches Smith (drums) Annie Gosfield (keyboards) Rich Stein (percussion)
Three exciting young guitarists pay tribute to the master—performing material from Yo I Killed Your God, Cubanos Postizos and more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Shrek @ The Stone 5/12/09

Wowweee! This is an incredible band! 3 drummers, Shazaad on a rare guitar, an amazing bass, and Roy Nathanson on sax and middle eastern reed.

I noticed before-hand that Shazaad seemed like he might be out of his comfort zone for this gig. It all made sense when I saw him with a guitar. Chris Wood talks about Ribot had him play guitar one tour because he doesn't want people playing cliche. It worked real well. I thought Shazaad added a lot to the music.

Christine Bard stood most of the time while playing drums and various metal things. I think that was more so she could reach, she wasn't playing cliche the other night, or last night for that matter.

Ah, in my internet searching I discover this IS the band Chris was referring to.

Matt Maneri had some incredible moments with his electric viola. Jim Pugliese really held down a mean groove on the few different drums he was playing. He was especially intense in the last tune.

Rootless Cosmopolitans/Shrek
Marc Ribot (guitar) Christine Bard (percussion) Sim Cain (drums) Sebastian Steinberg (bass) Special guests

Here's what I was reading about the album I must find:
May 1998
Marc Ribot
By Tom Terrell
Downtown guitarist Marc Ribot is a veritable shape-shifting sculptor of wild electrified sonics. Madly skilled in the Hendrixian arts of feedback, wack tunings, exotic scales and crisply shredded notes, Ribot's recordings and performances are often as sensory exhaustive as they are musically satisfying (not a bad thing). Recorded in 1994, Shrek is firmly in the avant garde camp. Over ten tracks, Ribot and Shrek the band (Chris Wood, guitar; Sebastian Steinberg, bass; Christine Bard/Jim Puliese, drums) cause wreck, eschewing identifiably standard song structures for a blurry continuum of multi-layered sounds, skewed rhythms and extraterrestrial transmissions. An intense exercise in wild gravity, Shrek careens madly from the pointillistic Frippertronics of "Forth World" to the grim claustrophobia of "Romance." Well worth the listen-just don't look for a melody.

Marc Ribot Solo @ The Stone 5/12/09

Stellar! It may have been my favorite of his solo gigs. I think I've only ever seen him solo at The Stone.

He said he originally intended to play pieces from all 4 of his solo albums. But, somehow that changed and he played stuff from his yet to be recorded solo album. It was perfect.

There was an old tyme jazz tune with a Ribot spin in there. There was a rocking tune, and all kinds of other stuff.

Upcoming: Freesyle Music Series

Yeah! Back to Sundays and I hear good things about this venue.

Freestyle Music Series at Local 269
269 E. Houston corner of Suffolk

Sunday May 17th
7pm Jon Lundbom and Big Five Chord featuring Jon Lundbom, guitar, Jon "Felonious Thelonious" Irabagon, alto saxophone, Bryan Murray, tenor saxophone, Matthew "Moppa" Elliott, bass, Danny Fischer, drums
8:30pm Two Sisters Inc with Claire Daly and Dave Sewelson (bari saxes) and David Hofstra
10pm No wave legend James Chance and his piano trio with David Hofstra (bass & Dee Pop (drums)

June 7th
7pm Radio I-Ching
8:30 Joe Morris with Jim Hobbs and Luther Gray
10pm French Contraband Quartet with Francois Grillot, Jay Rosen, Daniel Levin and Robert Dick

June 21st
7pm Uncle Monk (Tommy Ramone and Clauda Tienan)
8:30 Joe Giradullo
10pm Angie Sanchez, Tony Malaby, Tom Rainey

Monday, May 11, 2009

James Carter @ Blue Note 5/10/09

There was no way I was missing this. I already missed 2 great Blue Note shows due to stubbornness about the venue.

I got my favorite seat back by the soundbooth for the last set of the run.

James Carter is amazing! He started out on baritone then moved to soprano then flute and finally tenor. Every note, every solo was completely mind-blowing! I especially loved the major baritone solo at the end of the first song.

McBride mainly played upright, but went electric for the last tune. He really held down the groove. There were pieces of some funk tunes coming out at times in the last couple of songs.
Medeski was awesome. For me, his brilliance really came out in the middle of the set. His solos weren't on par with the rest before that, but I think that was just my own experience.

Someone I ran into earlier who had already been to this told me he though Adam Rogers was the only slightly weak link. I thought Adam was great and could hold his own. His comment was really about having another giant up there, like Marc Ribot. That would have been something!

Joey Barron was as great as always. It's awesome he's playing around NYC more often lately.

This was the perfect end to a perfect weekend. What a way to come back to NYC!

I mean, this is such a great band they all get listed in the title:
James Carter w/John Medeski, Adam Rogers, Christian McBride Joey Baron
James Carter, saxophones
John Medeski, organ
Adam Rogers, guitar
Christian McBride, bass
Joey Baron, drums

Los cubanos Postizos @ Rose Live 5/10/09

What a band! Words can't describe how absolutely fantastic this band is.

By this time, around 2:30, everyone who wanted to be in the room was. I think most or all of the sitters were now up, and some people had left.

I think they were playing the album, basically in order. I love the album! Its so good live. Really, I don't think I can do justice to how awesome this was and how great it made me feel. I'm so happy I get to do it all over again at LPR on Fri. I'm also glad I got to see it in such a small space.
Here's the full listing of this great great show. It was also wonderful to have it in the middle of the day. Since I just got my batteries recharged at Jazzfest, it was awesome to leave so happy and full with stellar music in daylight! There were a lot of nice people at this show, which also added to the fun.
For Marc's 55th birthday, he will be reconvening some old bands and premiering some new over a week long run of shows in various venues around NYC from May 9 - 16th! Rose is excite to host Day 2 of Marc's retrospective with a MOTHER'S DAY MATINEE!
Marc will be sitting in with the master cajon player from Peru, with the Colombian party ensemble & revives his most celebrated "fake Cubans" w/Anthony Coleman, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez + special guests!
Sunday May 10th, 1PM doors
Bring your mothers!
BBQ provided in the garden!
$15 at the door / $10 for Mothers & children under 14! Proof of motherhood required! Enter discount code "mother"

Advance tickets have been sold out. Limited tickets will be released at the door day of show.

Cotito @ Rose Live 5/10/09 + venue description

I ducked out for a taco in between sets. They had BBQ - burgers and dogs - but they didn't look that appealing to me. The taco was awesome.

I got back in the middle of the set, but before Ribot joined them. I was disappointed to see there were still people taking up a lot of space sitting on the floor. I actually talked to each of them at the next set break and I think I convinced many of them to stand up for the next set. For the 1st 2 bands, a lot of people couldn't get in the room and had to listen back by the bar.

This is a good time to describe the venue. I didn't go downstairs, but I think I heard someone say there is a nice winebar down there. As soon as you walk in, there is a bar area. Just past the bar is a curtained off performance space. They had the curtain open for this show, so there were people standing back by the bar to hear. Again, more would have fit in the space if there weren't sitters down front.

In the performance space the stage was just a continuation of the floor. There were some cushy seats around the perimeter of the space.

You have to walk out past the space in a narrow corridor that is part of the space to get to the "garden". During the show that was kind of awkward. The back porch was a rather tight area with about 10 tables and a BBQ area. There was another area back there, outside, that was being used to store a lot of tables and chairs. I guess they will set up that area of the patio later.

Anyway, this band was great. I was grooving on the cuchon. It got even better when Ribot sat in for the last 15 minutes. He sounded great.

La Cumbiamba Eneye @ Rose Live @ 5/10/09

An added bonus of this show was that I could check out how to get to Rose Live during the day. Its actually pretty easy from the L train. I took it to Lorimar, but I found out going home its pretty much as easy to take it to Bedford.

I love this band. Marc Ribot was playing with them the whole 1/2 hour set. He started out on this little guitar-type thing I saw them selling at jazzfest. It was being advertised as easy for anyone to play. After the 1st song, he picked up his regular guitar.

Except for the very start of the set, there were at least 3 drums going at all times. After the 1st song, they brought out a singer. She was good and added to it. The set was only about 1/2 hour, from 2-2:30. They had to make time for the 2 other bands coming up.

The band sometimes plays Nublu. Now that I see Rose Live isn't hard to get to, I'm looking forward to seeing this band again. Here's their schedule:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Branford Marsalis @ Jazz Standard 5/9/09

I knew this was my only chance to catch this, so I took it. I also knew it might tough to get in. Still, the 11:30 set and being a single would likely work for me. I got there just before 11:30 and was able to get a good seat after waiting about 7 minutes. The parties of 3 and 4 who were waiting without res before me didn't make it in.

It was awesome! Tain wasn't there, bit there was another monster drummer in his stead. This was very top-notch music. It drew a different clientele, the mainstream great jazz lovers.

It was very good and a so far I've been having a great time coming off of jazzfest.

An Evening With Branford Marsalis
* Branford Marsalis – tenor and soprano saxophone
* Joey Calderazzo – piano
* Eric Revis – bass
* Justin Faulkner – drums

Marc Ribot @ The Brecht Forum 5/9/09

This was an awesome kickoff show for Marc Ribot's birthday retrospective. I loved this music. It was along the lines of modern classical. The music and band were phenomenal. It was a quick and enjoyable hour of stellar music.

The bass flute was very interesting. It was made of wood (or bamboo?) and really appealed to those of us who have "seen it all". The pieces were alternated between these fabulous solo pieces and ensemble pieces. It was all wonderful.

My favorite parts were the guitar solo done by Marco Cappelli. He played it on his lap like a drum and a lap string. You had to be there, it was amazing. My other favorite were the last 2 pieces, which were pretty intense.

It was very different and spectacular. I can't wait to hit many more of these shows this week.

Marc Ribot & Ensemble Dissonanzen with Special Guests

Scelsi Morning

Marc Ribot (guitar), Tommaso Rossi (flutes), Marco Sannini (trumpet), Marco Cappelli (guitar and bass), Francesco d'Errico (synthesizer) and special guests Christine Bard (drums) and Jenny Lin (piano).

Marc Ribot's 2003 album Scelsi Morning was a wink and a nod towards "that very tiny and probably narrowing subset of people who get the Joni Mitchell and the Giacinto Scelsi reference." Inspired by the late Italian visionary composer, the album contains no sprightly '60s pop covers. Indeed, it's one of the guitarist's most challenging efforts, further fleshed out in collaboration with new-music guitarist Marco Cappelli and his Italian-based ENSEMBLE DISSONANZEN, with whom Ribot has performed in Europe. Marc says, "What they've put together is quite beautiful. If you want to hear Giacinto Scelsi solo pieces, you'll get to hear the flute piece, the piano piece, the organ piece, the guitar piece and even the trumpet piece. It's more of Scelsi's solo work than you'll ever hear in one place in a good long time, and then you get my record thrown in, too."

Positive Catastrophe @ Jazz Gallery 5/8/09

This is Taylor Ho Bynum's new project. It is awesome, just awesome. I'm looking forward to listening to the CD. I thought the erhu added a lot. There was one girl who played the trombone and flugelbone, which looks like a giant flugelhorn. It's interesting that there are 3 flugelhorns in total, if you count the bone.

The erhu added a lot. It sounded so good with the rest and on the solos. There was plenty of featuring of various instruments. It was awesome and lively and new and I got to dance. I hope they do this a lot. I want to see it again.
Taylor Ho Bynum – cornet, flugelhorn, co-leader
Abraham Gomez-Delgado – percussion, voice, co-leader
Jen Shyu – voice, erhu
Mark Taylor – french horn, mellophone
Reut Regev – trombone, flugelbone
Matt Bauder – tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet
Michael Attias – baritone saxophone
Pete Fitzpatrick – electric guitar
Alvaro Benavides – electric bass (on Plena Organization & Contenido Adentro)
Keith Witty – acoustic bass (on Revamped & Travels Part 4)
Tomas Fujiwara – drums

Billy Bang & William Parker @ Rubin Museum 5/8/09

NOLA was great and all that, but it's nice to be back. I saw my friend I used to work with who introduced me to NOLA music and taught me a lot back when we lived in Chicago. He said he created a monster when he saw me this trip. He definitely gets a lot of the credit, but it was also experiencing jazzfest that did it. I realized a while ago how much I love live music and that I don't have to wait a whole year to get as much as possible - it's right here in my wonderful city.

I've seen some phenomenal music since I've been back. The level of quality here is unbelievable. It started with this awesome acoustic violin/bass duo at the Rubin Museum.

They selected a medicine Buddha museum piece for the special composition for the event. The whole 1 hour set was fabulous. These 2 are great together.

There was one piece where Billy played the mbira (thumb piano) and William played the kora (or something similar). That was pretty cool.

Other than that, Bill played that beautiful violin for the other pieces. There was one where William had that thing that reminds me of a recorder. He told us the name of it, but I can't remember. I know I will find out eventually.

I continue to love seeing shows there. It also got me excited about Vision Fest coming up.

NOLA 5/5/09

I had the work thing, so I was pacing myself. I did make it out for one last hurrah on the music the night before I left. I also enjoyed the city and it was nice to stay down after the fest.

I've been there at off times before, even before Katrina. I sometimes found it a little dead on certain off nights. You can always find music, but it seemed not many people around. This was usually in the Fall. It didn't seem that way this trip. There were enough people around the quarter to feel like there was life still brewing. It was a great time.

First, we had a work function early at House of Blues. It was awful, as I suspected. Terrible food, terrible music. I didn't think it was possible to get a bad band in NOLA, but leave it to HOB and a corporate function. It was a very bad wedding band. Such a shame because there's so much untapped talent in that town, they could have done way better for the same price.

I didn't stay long and headed out to Preservation Hall for the Preservation Hall Allstars. It included Shannon Powell and David Torkanowsky. They also had a great trumpet, trombone, and bass. It was awesome.

At setbreak, I went across Maison Bourbon for a little tip jar Dixieland Jazz. The music there is usually good. They broke for setbreak soon after, so I got my drink to go and headed out.

I then went up to Fritzel's for the first time. This place is awesome. The music was awesome. Better than Maison Bourbon and at least as good as Pres Hall. I loved the feel of the place. It was like you weren't on Bourbon anymore. It has the feel of a European Jazz place. I was allowed to bring my drink in and just bought a bottle of water. They were also playing for tips.

I then went back to Pres for the rest of the 2nd set. They were doing a 3rd set, but I was ready to move on. I found myself heading over to Frenchman.

There was a funky band at the place can't remember the name to. It's in between Blue Nile and d.b.a. and across the street from Apple Barrel. They usually have funk or blues and the bands play for tips. It was very funky and had the name Neville in it, but no Neville I have heard of before. I went in an danced for a couple.

I then went up to d.b.a. for the New Orleans Jazz Vipers. It was no cover, which was a problem. There was way to much talking and it was hard to enjoy, even from up front. There were some swing dancers up there. I did enjoy it for a bit, and I love that they have a bass sax. I left something in the tip jar and moved on.

I then saw that the Open Ears series was happening upstairs at the Blue Nile. I forgot I had intended to get there. I now see from the listing it was original compositions from drummer Charles Brewer and his trio. I enjoyed it a lot. I love that they have this. I think it adds a lot to the NOLA music landscape.

I still had the seminar the next day, so I didn't stick around much longer. I got all that great music and I was in bed by 1:30. It was a nice way to go out.

Trombone Shorty @ Howlin Wolf 5/3/09

I had the work convention the next day, but I still wanted a little more. I got the brilliant idea to swing by the Wolf on my way back and see if anything was still going on. It was. They charged me $10, which I thought was uncool, but I wanted in, so I paid it.

It was a lot of fun. It was better than what I've seen from his band so far. I also heard that the Drummer's Commeth show earlier was incredibly great. I'm glad because I had to bail that first time they did it at Tips FQ a few years ago due to the lackluster start.

This show was lot of fun and I now felt complete. We are entering a new era, though. No Zig to close the fest and have a show for everyone to meet up at til the very late morning. It's probably a good thing.

Cedric Burnside @ d.b.a. 5/3/09

I went over to d.b.a. at 3:30am and they told me to go in and enjoy myself without cover. It was awesome and went til 4.

I saw Cedric earlier that day in the Blues Tent for a bit. It was good, but this was way better. I didn't know he used to be in North Mississippi Allstars. The fest set just had a guitar and tambourine with Cedric. I can't exactly say who was up there that night, but you can see the listing below. Cody was there.

It was awesome. Everyone was into it and dancing. I'm glad I got to check it out. It was a nice consolation prize.

Cedric Burnside & Lightning Malcolm & friends w/Calvin Jackson, Joeseph Burnside & Cody Burnside w/special guests

Bustle in Your Hedgerow @ Blue Nile 5/3/09

I finally bailed from Tips. I'm so glad because I would have missed it otherwise. I had an advance ticket, but it was so late there was no one checking them. I didn't get there earlier because I figured I have plenty of opportunities to see them.

Well, wouldn't ya know, even though it was only 2-3 songs, it was my favorite and best show of the trip. This band is phenomenal.

As if I needed any more proof, they actually played Led Zep on the system immediately after the band ended. My first thought was "how absurd". My 2nd thought was to notice how much better Bustle is than studio Zep. Really. Way way better. At least the studio Zep 40 years ago. Who knows what it would be like with today's resources.

They did change the record mid-song, because it was ridiculous to be playing it.

Anyway, they announced another set, but people were too pooped, so it wasn't going to happen. I guess that's the one "disadvantage" to being well rested the last night of jazzfest.

Dumpstphunk @ Tips 5/3/09

What's jazzfest without at least one trip to Tipitina's? I also was hoping I would enjoy Dumpstaphunk more in NOLA, late night, with Skerik. Well, I did enjoy it more, but it was too crowded and not that much better. Skerik saved it from being a dud, but what was I missing Bustle for?

Astral Project @ Snug Harbor 5/3/09

I just had to get some Astral Project. I got there at 11:30. It was pricey, at $30 a head, but think of all the money I saved Fri and Sat. I also only stayed til a little after 12, even though it was going until 12:30.

It was awesome. Perfect. I love that band and everything they do is phenomenal. I got their new cd, and it too is phenomenal. I really think they could play Joe's Pub or Jazz Standard.

If you like excellent lively, modern jazz, check them out. They are amazing.

Brian Coogin @ Donna's 5/3/09

I was a little disappointed when I got to Donna's and found out Shannon Powell wasn't playing. I haven't seen his band, which includes Roland Guerin and Jason Marsalis, since my one and only Mardi Gras trip - the 1st one after Katrina.

But, right when I found out they weren't playing, I noticed some great piano sounds coming from inside. It was Brian Coogin! Yeah! I really wanted to see him this trip. He had Brian Seeger and a good sax up there with him. The Tin Men were going to come over for the next set - I had just left my friends at Frenchman St and noticed they were onstage at dba then.

The music was awesome and a great way to start the evening. Actually, I caught a little street music on Frenchmman, but not much.

I talked to Brian after his set, which ended a little after 11. He helped me strategize the rest of my evening and what was doable ...

Fairgrounds 5/3/09

I don't really know why I didn't make it out Sat night. There were certainly enough spectacular shows listed all night at multiple venues. Whatever. I didn't make it out and slept most of the night.

I also must say the fest that last day was a little lackluster. I did get some good music, but it wasn't on par with Sat. I left a little early, knowing I would be doing it up that night. I decided not to deal with the mob to see Neal Young - I wasn't in the mood. I did see him with Crazy Horse way way back at the Mann Music Center in Phila.

The highlights of that day were St. Louis Slim, Paky Saavedra's Bandido, and DJ Soul Sister at the Congo Square Stage. That sister sure knows how to get down. She always impresses me.

I did catch a lot more great snippets for a song or 2 in my wanderings. I definitely enjoyed myself, I'm just spoiled.

Fairgrounds 5/2/09

I skipped Fri night. I did wake up a couple of times and could have gone out, but when I was looking at the listings, nothing was calling me. Sleep was calling me much more.

I'm so glad because I'm sure I enjoyed the fest more. I was well-rested and felt perfect. I saw a lot of incredible music as I was there 11:30-7. Resting is important for the legs, also. My legs were very close to normal after being on them so much and walking down all those stairs earlier that week.

For the first time ever, I started paying attention to the critic's picks in Gambit Weekly. I had noticed they were pretty good at picking, so I owed it to myself to give them a try.

I basically started my first stay-for-a-bit in the Jazz tent for Mario Abney Quintet, which had 6 people. It was so good and lively I had to get up and dance. Mario plays trumpet and there was an alto and tenor as well as bass and drums. I don't know who any of them were, but they were all fantastic.

Next I made my way over to the Lagniappe Stage for Tony Green's Gypsy Jazz. That was great Django Rheinhardt style and I stayed for a few. I think he was playing with 3 guys from other countries.

I made the rounds and then got back to the Jazz Tent for Kidd Jordon. It was awesome. William Parker was there. Later I found out that Kidd often brings Parker down for his jazzfest gig. His longtime drummer, Al Fielder was sick. I don't know who he had instead. There was also a trumpet and 2 pianos. An electric bass joined later in the set. It was great and I stayed for the whole thing.

I made it back a little later for Ensemble Fatien featuring Seguenon Kone, Dr. Micheal White, and Jason Marsalis. There were a bunch of others up there including Matt Perrine on bass. I loved this mainly World/African with a touch of jazz band.

I had been in and out of the Blues Tent a few times and around to other stuff for a bit, like Dr. John. I did a rest of sitting on a bench out by the Gentilly exit and listened to Kings of Leon at the Gentilly Stage. I never realized that was possible before.

I ended the day with the entire Midnight Disturbers set. I enjoyed that a lot and it had everything that was missing the other night. Skerik was there as well.

Yup, my favorite leg of the trip.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fairgrounds 5/1/09

I made it there at about 12-12:30. I loved the clarinet woodshed in the jazz tent. The 3 clarinets were Evan Christopher, Gregory Agid, and Tim Laughlin. I think I got one song with Tim, one song with Evan, and then one song with all 3. Shannon Powell was on the drums and Roland Guerin was on bass. David Torkanowsky on piano. Someone named Duke was on guitar, probably Todd Duke. It was awesome.

I caught the very end of Forgotten Souls Brass Band and it sounded awesome.

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band & the Glass House Reunion with Rebirth Brass Band was awesome. It was especially great when Rebirth and Trombone Shorty took the stage. There was more of the intense horns I was looking for the night before. It was awesome.

Still, I left that set a little early so I could get to Twangorama at the Lagniappe stage. I hadn't seen them in a while. Its 2 guitars, 2 basses, and drums. It was great and held me for the whole set.

After that, I caught some of Cheik Hamala Diabate. I was sucked into the Jazz Tent earlier for them. When I noticed they were playing again later at the Lagniappe stage, I knew I would prefer that. I loved it. Cheik plays the ngoni from Mali. I'm pretty sure that was Toumani Diabate on kora, and they are likely related. Actually, I think Cheik is also in Toumani's band. I'm forgetting it now, but it was really awesome and I wish I could remember more about the instrumentation. I vaguely remember there was a singer that I liked.

I then caught some snippets here and there before leaving for the day, I guess around 5-6. I wanted to stay for Pancho Sanchez, but I was too tired.

Monophonics @ Maple Leaf 4/30/09

What do you do when there is a seemless transition into the next band and they are just as funky and just as good as the previous band? You get down, down, down. This band is awesome and the perfect after-band.

Needless to say, we stayed til the very end. The sun was up, the construction crew was ready to work out front, and it was time to get a few hours of sleep before the fest.

Yes, this was my first night in NOLA for jazzfest. I did end up taking some nights off as it evolved, but still got plenty of great music. I had to walk down 53 flights of stairs the Mon before due to that flyover, so my legs were not in good shape at first (but became fine as the week went on). I also made the mistake of showing up tired from working so much. I used to take the train and rest up during the 36 hour ride in a sleeper, but stopped doing it because Amtrak got less and less enjoyable and I started going for shorter periods.

Still, it was a great time and I will do my best to document the rest here as soon as possible. There's too much great music coming up, that I have to get it done soon.

Perrier Lounge Soul Party @ Maple Leaf 4/30/09

Technically all the 4/30 shows I went to were 5/1, but its how I track them. I often say its not the next day until I go to bed.

I had no intention of schlepping out to the awesome Maple Leaf or of going to this. It was listed in Offbeat as a James Brown Tribute featuring Tony Hall. I had rather low expectations. But, I had an offer of a ride there and back and good company, so it was hard to refuse. Here's the official listing.

It was awesome! Super funky with louder horns than the earlier show. I was very happy.

It had a sax that played with James Brown, I think a trumpet and a trombone or something. Tony Hall and Nick Daniels on bass. Excellent keyboard. Renard Poche on guitar. Eric Bolivar on drums. Yup, funky. I really wish Renard was in Dumpstaphunk.

This was perfect and I now felt I was getting my jazzfest on.

Midnight Disturbers @ Colton School 4/30/09

I skipped Bonerama in favor of a nap. I was surprised the venue is an old High School that was recently turned into an art space. I got there around 12:30ish and it was set break. I started catching up with folks. I didn't realize Brian Coogin was leading a jam session in the cafeteria or I would have definitely gone in to check it out.

I think the set was something like 1-2:30am. It was in the school auditorium. They took out some of the seats in the front to make dancing room.

The show started with some horns coming out onto the floor in the audience. More and more musicians kept coming out. It was kind of exciting. It would have had a much better effect if you could hear it though. I could hear it, and I was pretty close. But, it just wasn't powerful enough. Too bad.

They then made their way to the exit still playing, and kept playing as they went onstage. At the end, they left the stage still playing. I loved the concept.

It was also slightly disappointing Skerik wasn't there. Only slightly because this band has too many greats, and I knew Skerik had a gig at The Maple Leaf at the same time. I did think he might show later, but he didn't. There were a couple of special guests. I can't quite remember now, but I figured they were guests because they didn't have the "listen to _____ " shirts on. I love the band uniforms. They each have a different person they suggest we listen to, and I think it's awesome.

The playing was excellent, they brought it, but the sound wasn't cutting it. It wasn't bad enough to leave, but it wasn't that great, either. Oh well, I knew I would be getting plenty of great horns later.

Now that I see the listing on jazzfestgrids, I could have known what was going on. I've been very busy with work, so I didn't spend much time combing the grids like I usually do.

Backbeat JazzFest Series & Ropeadope present

Bonerama/The Midnite Disturbers featuring Stanton Moore & Ben Ellman; Troy Andrews; Big Sam, Mark Mullins, Kevin O'day and special guests 10pm

Jammin' at Colton -a free and open Jam featuring Brian Coogan on the Hammond B3/Grand Piano, Doug Garrison (Iguanans) on drums, Brian Seeger, Guitar -Peter Spring-bass, Dan Oestricher-Sax (fromTrobomone Shorty), Troi Bechet - vocals. Open to all musicians -9pm (Red Ballroom)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chris Potter's Underground @ Jazz Standard 4/28/09

Definitely a perfect show for my last before jazzfest. I am so glad I made it work. This band is amazing. It was very difficult to not get up and dance. I would love to see them at a place where you can dance. I think if they made it even more special, like with guests and stuff, they could book Sullivan Hall. Maybe a double bill with K3 would make it perfect.

It was amazing even when Chris wasn't on stage. There were also a lot of incredible parts with just Chris and Nate. This ensemble is A Plus top notch.

It was very tough not to stay for the 2nd set. Looking back, I don't quite know why I didn't.

Chris Potter’s Underground
* Chris Potter – tenor saxophone
* Adam Rogers – guitar
* Craig Taborn – Fender Rhodes
* Nate Smith – drums

Darius Jones @ Roulette 4/25/09

I'm very glad I went to this. All the music of the night was composed by Darius Jones. He seems like a very sweet person. The 2nd set debuted his new trio, and they are about to record. He said all the songs for that trio were about his family. Then he thanked his parents, who were in the audience. They seemed sweet as well. He said he won an award, and I guess some or all of this music was commissioned as a result of that.

The first ensemble is called The Elizabeth Caroline Unit. All the pieces had a vocalist. There were 2, but the listing says 3. They both have high voices. They were both extremely talented and definitely in the same caliber as the musicians. I still could have done without them. I definitely preferred Sunny Kim to Sarah Dyson. I'm sure many would enjoy Sarah, her voice was just too high-pitched for me. However, later I reflected on how I enjoy the high notes on instruments and I love the squeaks and squawks that sometimes come out of them. I'm just prejudiced against high vocals.

The music was excellent, and the vocals didn't bother me or infringe on my listening enjoyment. That happens when the voice is bad.

The first piece had the most instruments, 2 guitars, Jason Ajemian on bass, Alex Waterman on cello (I love those high notes), violin, trombone and Ches Smith. Ches played drums, triangle, glockenspiel, and a very interesting rectangular instrument I forgot to get a better look at during the set change. Sarah Dyson was on vocals.

Next was a piece with Sunny Kim, Adam Lane on bass and Alex Waterman. It was beautiful. I was loving the strings.

After that, Sunny Kim stayed up with Adam Lane, a guitar, and Ches Smith. This was the first song with words, and is Darius' attempt at a pop song, meaning more structure.

The rest had the first singer again, I think 2 more songs. I can't quite remember much. I know Darius played sax and the trombone came back up for one.

Then there was an intermission while they did a set change. We got this incredible trio with Darius, Cooper-Moore, and Bob Moses on drums. Incredible. I loved Cooper-Moore on piano. He moved on to his awesome one string bass of his own creation. I love this trio and considered going to Zeb the next night to see it again with 2 sets. I just couldn't get over there on Sun.

That was a very impressive show and I'm happy with my choice for the evening.

Here's the listing:

The Elizabeth Caroline Unit
Sunny Kim: Vocalist, Sarah Dyson: Vocalist, Lola Danza: Vocalist, Ben Gerstein: Trombone, Darius Jones: Alto Sax, Adam Lane: Bass, Jason Ajemian: Bass, Charlie Looker: Guitar, Chris Welcome: Guitar, Alex Waterman: Cello, Caley Monahon: Violin, Ches Smith: Drums/Percussion

Darius Jones Trio w/ Cooper-Moore and Bob Moses
Bob Moses: Drums, Cooper-Moore: Piano and Diddly-Bo, Darius Jones: Alto,

The Elizabeth Caroline Unit is Darius Jones' compositions for chamber ensemble and voice. This music is a vehicle for Jones to explore his love of the human voice and the unlimited possibilities with it. Darius will use three different vocalist from different musical traditions. The ensembles will vary from piece to piece. The music is about love, hope, and connection. Plus the constant struggle that we have with trying to find those things in our lives.

Darius Jones Trio w/ Cooper-Moore and Bob Moses
This music is about growing up in the church in the south. It is about the celebration of the art prayer which is apart of every spiritual philosophy. Learning spiritual secrets and wisdom from those who have walked before us is a strong tradition in the south. Come see this trio conjure up spirits.

Tonights concert is made possible with funding by the Van Lier Fellowship.

Darius Jones, is an alto saxophonist, composer, and producer. He joined the New York music community in 2005, after living and studying in Richmond, Va. Darius comes from a diverse musical background that has lead to his unique, alternative, and soulful approach to music. Jones has composed and performed in a wide variety of areas such as electro-acoustic music, chamber ensembles, contemporary jazz groups, free jazz groups, modern dance performances, and multi-media events. Darius enjoys playing with a steady group of artists and improvisers. The current bands Jones works with are the Cooper-Moore Trio, Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys, Nioka Workman’s House Arrest Band, William Hooker’s Bliss Quartet, Trevor Dunn’s Proof Readers, and Period. In New York, Darius has produced records for Korean jazz vocalist Sunny Kim and country-folk artist Mary Bragg. Jones has performed in Italy, France, U.S. and Canada. Jones has a band with Travis LaPlante, Ben Greenberg, and Jason Nazary called Little Women, which recently went on a national tour to promote the release of their first record “Teeth” on Sockets ( and Gilgongo Records (