Monday, June 29, 2009
I know they've blown me away before, so I'm not quite sure why I wasn't that into most of it. For the most part, I was kind of bored. They had me dancing at times, but for the most part I couldn't get into it. It looked like most of the others attending were into it, though.
I will probably give them another try another time.
at The Stone and its bound to be good. It was a good 1.5 hours of jazz. Kermit was excited to be playing with these 3. The guitar was great. Actually, whenever I really engaged and listened to any portion it was great. I was in the mood for out there, but this was fine for getting some Kermit Driscoll Quartet
Brooke Sofferman (drums) Terrence McManus (guitar) Kris Davis (piano) Kermit Driscoll (bass)
I was drawn to this due to the time, venue, and the names on the listing all looked foreign. I figured it was some kind of World music from some culture. I hadn't paid enough attention to notice it was a radical Jewish music project. I love those! Ok, I love almost any kind of cultural-inspired music.
We got a nice program booklet. The project uses Yiddish poetry of and compositions of Basya Schechter. The program also provided us with the English translation of the poems.
Baysa sang and played guitar and oud. The musicians were great. I loved the trumpet and the strings and the percussion. The percussionist has some very interesting instruments. A lot of them are things I've never seen before. Every time I looked at him, he was playing something completely different. He also had a doubek, floor tom, and other familiar things.
It was a great one hour set. They had just finished recording and were in good form for the performance.
Basya's Schecter's Heschel Project
Basya Schecter (oud, guitar, voice) Uri Sharlin (piano, accordion) Megan Weeder (violin) Yoed Nir (cello) Rich Stein (percussion) Frank London (trumpet)
Yiddish poetry of Abraham Joshua Heschel set to music
I love this band. I don't think I've known about them, but it was awesome. They were just coming off a European tour. I was debating about going out, and I love anything Marty Erlich is in. What pushed me over to the "yes" was seeing that would be playing bass. You can never get enough Brad Jones!
What is very interesting is that I was most enthralled with on the drums. It may have had something to do with proximity, I was sitting in "the other front row" and could see him the best. I could see everyone except Ray pretty well, though. So I'm sure it was more than just proximity. He just had the house kit and a cowbell. There was something about all the different ways he was playing it that had me. I did have plenty of opportunities to listen and watch the others, and they were all amazing. This is a very talented quartet. Of course that's what I expected.
Friday, June 26, 2009
They were probably going to end the 1st set right then, but after they ended the piece(s), Kenny commented how quiet we all were and asked if he could experiment with us. I was all for that! He had us all do various things like rub our hands together or quickly stomp our feet or play our jaws, etc. It was quiet and fun. It also got me to appreciate the audience. There would be a little talking from time to time, but overall everyone was there for the phenomenal music.
It ended at around 1am. The djembe guy had just gotten there and clearly wanted everyone to continue. He was still trying when I left. I assume he wasn't successful, but you never know. It was a wonderful way to end the weekend and well worth the additional tiredness I'm experiencing this week. This is definitely one of my very favorite shows ever.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Regardless it was awesome and there wasn't too much talking.
Thursday - Sunday, June 18 - 21
* Dave Douglas – trumpet
* Vincent Chancey – french horn
* Luis Bonilla – trombone
* Marcus Rojas – tuba
* Nasheet Waits – drums
The setup was quite interesting, and I was very intrigued. No drumkit, but the piano was out there was a pie plate on it. That got me interested and curious. I got there early so I could get a good seat. I then heard the door guy telling people Chris Speed and Ned Rothenberg are there and I got very excited. Then I see Eyal Maoz come in and get more excited. I will be sitting next to him, so I got out my earplugs for easy access. Then I see Annie Gosfield come up and I'm REALLY psyched. It does look like there was a drumkit for the 1st set because the rug is up there, but with nothing on it.
This night was a big winner. It was nice to have less artists than usual.
The 1st piece was a guitar duo. Eyal Maoz and Yoshie Fruchter, sitting right by me. Yoshie was next to and a little in front of me and Eyal was angled next to him, kind of like the 2 of them and the girl next to me are sitting in a circle. I think I've seen Yoshi before, but I'm not quite sure. He was great. There were moments where I thought his guitar sounded more like a cello. I'm not quite sure how he was doing it. He had an interesting tool that looked like 3 long screws attached together at one end to a round thing. He would sometimes play the strings with it, making some interesting and wonderful sounds. Eyal was doing something similar with his fingers playing the strings. This was a great piece and a great way to start it off.
It was nice to follow the guitar duo with a sax duo. Chris Speed on tenor and Ned Rothenberg on alto. I probably don't have to tell you how stellar that was.
Keeping with the theme, we then get a keyboard duo, if you consider the beautiful grand piano a keyboard. Dan Kelly and Annie Gosfield. Kelly does some interesting playing of the piano strings using pie tins. It was a very nice vibrating sound when he left a pie tin on the strings and played the keys - it was similar to a drone. It was nice to have all the great electric sounds coming from Annie. They sounded great together.
Next up was a trio. Annie stayed up and was joined by Chris Speed and Yoshie on guitar. There's always one I can't remember that well, and this is the one this show. I must have enjoyed it.
Then I was happy to see Ned Rothenberg come out with his bass clarinet. He was joined by Eyal Maoz and Dan Kelly. That was great. Ned's awesome on all of his instruments, but my absolute favorite is when he plays bass clarinet.
After that it was time for the grand finale with everyone. Ned stayed with the bass clarinet. It was very nice to have just 6 artists. It was well done. Once they finished the piece, they gave us another short piece.
It was awesome!
6/20 Saturday (MB)
8 and 10 pm
JOHN ZORN IMPROV NIGHT—A Stone Benefit
John Zorn (sax) Ned Rothenberg (sax) Dan Kelly (piano) Annie Gosfield (keyboards) Eyal Maoz (guitar) Yoshie Fruchter (guitar) Dougie Bowne (drums) and many special guests
Saturday, June 20, 2009
It was such a treat to get this ensemble in such an intimate setting. It's part of why I love the place so much. I'm so happy they gave us so much music in that one set.
Don Byron's Swift Boat
Don Byron (clarinet, tenor sax) Ralph Alessi (trumpet) Kermit Driscoll (bass) Ben Wittman (drums)
Friday, June 19, 2009
There was one part toward the end of the 1st set where the guitar was especially interesting. He was interesting all night, but this part might be described as Middle Eastern or Pink Floydish. It was great whatever it was. There was another part where he was playing with a bow.
This was an incredible show with an incredible band. The first set was about 50 min and the 2nd was about 30 min and then an encore. The new cd is called "Houseplant", so they had a bunch of houseplants they were giving up for adoption. That was cute. They already sold out of the CDs they had, so he had to buy some from Downtown Music Gallery to resell at the gig. I like it - got to support DMG.
SearchandRestore.com Presents: Jim Black's AlasNoAxis CD Release Show $14/$10 with student ID
Featuring Chris Speed - tenor sax
Hilmar Jensson - guitars
Skuli Sverrisson - electric bass
Jim Black - drums & laptop.
The only other night I made it to was Sat. It just worked out that way. I saw the end of Rob Brown's set, which was incredibly awesome. I should have gotten there sooner. This is one phenomenal trio with Nasheet Waits.
When I got there, it was pretty crowded downstairs, so I went upstairs to the loge. It is so much better up there. I usually don't like up, but its awesome at Abrons.
I also loved the Quartet. I didn't know about him. He's awesome. He came out on his own chanting and drumming, eventually making himself comfortable at his expanded drum kit. The other guys gradually came out and joined in, with coming out last. It was excellent. I wanted to stay, but I was too tired.
Vision Fest is awesome! I wish I could have enjoyed more of it, but what I got was fantastic. and
Otis Grove opened and they were good and funky. I. got about 3 or 4 songs. I liked it more when they really rocked out with the guitar. They closed their set with Whipping Post.
I was completely blown away by the greatness on the stage after that. This was another one of those dream bands that I never could have possibly dreamed up myself. Billy Martin, John Medeski, , and . Amazing! They got funky at times, free and improvised at times, and just incredibly awesome in every single moment.
The only problem is that any talkers were very loud. I would say that 80% were completely into it, but that other 10-20% kind of dominated to an extent. The waitress was especially loud, and I don't remember her being so disrespectful of the music like that before. Its a shame because I saw how people seemed to stop ordering from her so she couldn't be so disruptive.
I will say none of that diminished my enjoyment of the incredible music I was so fortunate to be a part of. They did one long set.
In the middle of the set, Scotty Hard and a bass player came out. Brad Jones left the stage never to return. I was a little disappointed. The electric bass player was fine, I was just really digging Brad. It got a little more crowded up front, so I moved to the back.
After a bit, they took a super-quick break to change it up a little. Then we had a mini set with Joe Russo, Big Sam, Medeski, Ellis, Hunter, and Billy played cowbells. It was awesome.
Then, that was it. Otis Grove came back on for the next set, but you can't follow that. There was something weird about that, since it was previously announced there would be a late set with Joe Russo and Big Sam. I thought that's why they started earlier. I wasn't actually disappointed. The music I had the privilege of witnessing was just too phenomenal. Yes, the stuff dreams are made of.
Someone put up some vids, so you can see some of the awesomeness for yourself.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I wanted to stay for Butch Morris. I like how he was going to conduct poets and musicians. But, I have a big night tonight, so I felt I had to leave.
Douglas R. Ewart and Inventions
Shaku Joseph Jarman - flute, sax, poetry
Douglas R. Ewart - winds, percussion, voice
J.D. Parran - flute, clarinets and bass sax
Donald Smith - piano
Thurman Barker - drums and vibes
Amiri Baraka - words
Billy's music is usually exciting and lively and this was no exception. I had a good amount of chair dancing since Abrons Art Center doesn't really have anywhere I can stand and dance. I was pretty hooked for this entire 1 hour set.
Billy Bang - violin
Ted Daniel - trumpet
James Zollar - trumpet
Ahmed Abdullah - trumpet
Dick Griffin - trombone
Russell Carter - drums
Sunday, June 7, 2009
"Qin" means Chinese instruments. The "Way of Qin" is called "Qin Tao". Today we talk about Qin Tao again following our music lecture on May 17th by Dr Ye Mingmei through performance of old Chinese instrument -Gu Qin. We are going to introduce another Chinese music instrument – Guzheng today.
Qin is No. 1 skill to master among four literary arts. Most of those instruments have a long history. “Qin Tao” includes Tablature, Aesthetics, Music Scale and Notation. Learning “Qin Tao” and listen to the ancient music bring relaxation, beauty and virtue to life.
There are four types of ancient Chinese instruments: 1st. Wind - Dizi, Suona; 2nd. String-Er Hu, Jinghu, Banhu. 3nd. Plucked-string Gu Zheng, Gu Qin, Pipa; 4th.Percussion - Luo, Gu.
Unfortunately many beautiful ancient Chinese songs were lost. Today we still preserve some famous melodies, such as:
Ambush on All Sides (Shi Mian Mai Fu)
Spring Now (Yang Chun Bai Xue)
A hundred birds pay homage in the phenix (Bai Niao Chao Feng)
Spring river moon night (Chuang Jiang Hua Yue Ye)
The moon reflected on the second spring (Er Quan Ying Yue)
The Gu Zheng or Zheng is a traditional Chinese musical instrument. The “Gu” means “ancient”. Guzheng belongs to the zither family of string instruments. The Japanese “Koto”, the Mongolian “Yatga”, the Korean “gayageum”, and the Vietnamese “dan tranh” are all transformed from guzheng. It is the parent of all of these instruments.
The modern-day Gu Zheng is a plucked, half-tube zither with movable bridges and 21 strings, although it can be very from 15 to 25 strings. The Zheng strings were formerly made of twisted silk, though by the 20th century most Zheng players used metal (mostly steel) strings. Since the mid-20th century most players use steel strings wrapped with nylon.
The Zheng has a large resonant cavity made from Wutong wood (firmiana simplex). It existed since the “Warring States Period” and became especially popular during the Qin Dynasty. That’s why Zheng has another name called Qin Zheng. Until 1961, the common Gu Zheng had 16 strings, although by the mid-20th century 18-string Zhengs are also in use.
In 1961, the first (1st) 21-string guzheng was introduced by Master Wang Xunzhi. He also invented the “S-shaped” left string rest, which was quickly adapted by all Guzheng makers and is still is used by today. Master Wang Xunzhi is also the founder of the Zhejiang Zheng style. The “S-shaped” curve allows for greater ease in tuning the strings and for broader pitch ranges by adding more strings to the instrument. The 21-string Zheng is the most commonly used nowadays, but some traditional musicians still use the 16-steel-string Zhengs, especially along the southeastern coastal provinces of China and in Taiwan.
There are many techniques used in the playing of the Guzheng, including basic plucking actions (right or both hands) at the right portion and pressing actions at the left portion (by the left hand to produce pitch ornamentations and vibrations).These techniques of playing the Guzheng can create sounds like waterfall, thunder, wind howling and many more. Plucking is done mainly by the right hand with four plectra (picks) attached to fingers. Some players use picks on both hands. Plectra are used solely on the right hand for the use of melodic purposes and the comparison to the left hand which is used solely for ornamentation. Ancient picks were made of ivory and later also from tortoise shell. Unlike piano, the Guzheng’s pentatonic scale is tuned to Do, Re, Mi, So and La, but Fa and Ti can also be produced by pressing the strings to the left of the bridges.
The Zheng is like martial arts, has different styles. Two broad playing styles can be identified as Northern and Southern. The northern styles are associated with Henan and Shandong while the southern styles are with the Chaozhou and Hakka regions of eastern Guangdong. Now there is another new style call Zhejiang which I had mentioned before, was founded by Master Wang Xunzhi in 1960s.
Courtney Chen is our guest speaker and performer of Gu Zheng. She has been learning Gu Zheng for more than 10 years. She is going to play 3-4 classic Chinese music and also introduce the background of the beautiful classic music she plays.
From the listing:
Erik Friedlander "can do things with a cello that should have a reasonable listener fearing for her life," says PitchforkMedia.com. A virtuosic veteran of NYC's downtown scene, Friedlander has backed John Zorn, John Darnielle's Mountain Goats, Laurie Anderson, and Courtney Love. New York's Erik Friedlander is a unique cellist whose work blurs genre borders. He is a composer and an improviser, a classical musician and a jazzbo.
They did a better job of describing him in the listing:
Both sonically vast and melodically accessible, Colin Stetson is an absolute master of the saxophone. Stetson's compositions and ability to tell a musical story are what makes him an innovative musician. Alex Green of Caught in the Carousel has deemed Stetson "the Roger Federer of avant garde instrumental music." Aside from his work as a soloist, Stetson has brought his unique voice on winds and brass to stage and studio with dozens of artists, including Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Antibalas Orchestra, Medeski Martin and Wood, Sinead O'Connor, LCD Soundsystem, and Anthony Braxton.
Here's the listing from Cornelia Street Cafe's website:
8:30PM ROB DUGUAY QUARTET
Willie Applewhite, trombone; Tyler Blanton, vibraphone; Rob Duguay, bass; Nadav Snir-Zelniker, drums
Rob Duguay Quartet is an assembly of world class musicians who share an appreciation for cutting-edge modern music while simultaneously embracing the traditions of swing, bebop, and Latin styles of jazz. Duguay’s compositions are circular creating nice avenues for positively flowing improvisations (often swinging) and typically avoid common jazz forms (i.e. 16 and 32 bar forms). Rob Duguay Quartet performs original compositions running the gamut of musical styles and pays homage to such greats as Sonny Rollins, Cedar Walton, Wayne Shorter, Charles Mingus, and Duke Ellington by playing some of their jazz not-so-standards.
Cover $10 www.myspace.com/jazzyrobduguay
I got there in the middle of The Smith Quartet, and I liked it. Then there was another string piece which was fine. I don't think I was quite in the mood for all the strings on the classical side of things, though.
Next was an interesting creative piece in which the solo artist was playing with cans. I think it was Jeppe Just Chistensen playing the amplified coffee grinders. I liked that one because it was so unusual. I also like the thought of cans at the Bang on a Can Marathon.
I had to duck out for the thing with a lot of choir type voices. It was very "churchy".
I can't remember much about Build and the piece they did. I think I was a little bored at first, but then it got interesting and I moved up closer to listen.
The Smith Quartet then did "The Sinking of the Titanic". It was a little mellow for my mood. It was interesting that it was then announced that they just got a twitter post that the last survivor of the Titanic just died.
Henry Grimes and Andrew Cyrille were awesome and my kind of thing. I definitely loved that.
The last piece I saw was the as yet untitled piece they commissioned Bill Frisell to compose. He played it with the Allstars, which included a bass, percussion, piano, electric guitar, cello, and clarinet. I enjoyed that piece a lot.
That was enough for me. I enjoyed the time I was there. I never realized how many vocalists and strings they have. It's a nice departure from my usual, but I need to be in the mood for it.
It was really great. I think it was clarinet, cello, drums, and, oh sorry, it's all fuzzy now. I waited too long. It was great and there were plenty of people up there.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
This is one really great band. In addition to Bobby, it was Brad Jones on the electric bass, Bill Ware on vibes, and Ellery Eskelin on sax. It was phenomenal.
Here's my prior review on this:
They took a short break and came back on without the cloaks.
It was awesome. I love the intensity. I love all the music and especially the violin and drums.
It didn't resemble the Town Hall show much, except for the killer long tabla solo. That was as wicked as before. The 3 traditional Indian guys sat on the floor, tablas, sitar, and some kind of tribal flute. There was no carnatic violin this time.
There were 2 drum kits. Awesome! One drummer was especially intense. I love loud intense drums. And this music really lent itself to it.
Then we had a great electric bass and a good guitar. I made sure to go to a set with Nicholas Payton and Bill Evans. Since I didn't have a res, that meant the late set. That was a good idea because they had the tighter "popular show" setup and it wasn't overcrowded.
There was also a keyboard player and of course Rudresh Manhanthappa. He is blown away amazing and really should have as big a following as Nicholas Payton.
It was incredibly awesome and well worth staying up for. We really screamed for an encore, but they couldn't do it. It ended at midnight.
Miles From India
NICHOLAS PAYTON – TRUMPET(FIRST 2 NIGHTS)
TIM HAGANS(NEXT 2 NIGHTS) ( USA )
JOHN BEASLEY – PIANO/KEYBOARDS (USA)
VICTOR BAILEY – BASS ( USA )
RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA – SAXOPHONES (USA-INDIA)
BILL EVANS – SAXOPHONES (FIRST 2 NIGHTS)
DAVE LIEBMAN – SAXOPHONES (APRIL 30)
PETE COSEY – GUITAR ( USA )
BADAL ROY – TABLA (USA-INDIA)
LENNY WHITE – DRUMS ( USA ) APRIL 28TH & MAY 1
NDUGU CHANCLER – DRUMS ( USA ) APRIL 29TH AND 30TH.
VINCE WILBURN – DRUMS ( USA )
HIDAYAT KHAN – SITAR/VOCAL ( INDIA )
V.K. RAMAN – FLUTE/VOCAL( INDIA )