Friday, July 31, 2009

Iverson, Reid, Motion @ Village Vanguard 7/29/09

I bought a ticket on line the night before because I was worried I would forget to make the res. It looked like you could eventually get in without one, but the rain may have been a factor. I got there around 8:35 and the front section, everything in front of the aisle gap to get to the bathrooms, was getting somewhat full but not packed. I chose to squeeze myself into the 2nd row just left of center and had a great vantage point. I could see the whole bass, Iverson on his keys, and most of Motion. There was a guy up front blocking a little of my view of the drum kit, but I could see enough to make me happy.

Paul Motion always impresses me. He makes it look like he's barely playing yet its always the perfect thing to do, whatever he is doing. He's so unique. I don't know anyone who reminds me of him or who I've ever seen come close to his style.

It was awesome to see the other 2 up there with him. They were as great as ever. They did a lot of standards and a couple of Reid's and Iverson's. The set was about 70 minutes and they left us with a good one from The Bad Plus, a ballad that I can't remember the name to.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Butch Morris @ The Stone 7/28/09

I thought it was going to be the typical (if there is such a thing) Butch Morris conduction lecture. I'm very interested to see that again. However, I can wait as long as necessary. I was so glad when I came in to see Okkyung Lee and Alex Waterman on cello and Charlie Burnham on violin. It was all strings and the other 4 bassists, 2 violas, and violin were as great as the 3 whose names I do know.

We were all sweltering in there, though. It was a 45 min set of unbelievable greatness. I feel kind of guilty I couldn't stick it out for the 2nd set. Usually I try to think if they can play in it, the least I can do is listen and enjoy. I just wasn't up to it.

7/28 Tuesday (MP)
8 and 10 pm
Butch Morris "Does His Thing"
Butch Morris (conduction)

Marcus Roberts @ Dizzy's 7/26/09

And another NOLA jazz man, at least Jason Marsalis. I just check on Marcus Roberts, he's from Jacksonville. It was awesome to see the lightening in the big windows behind the band. I got my usual dancing spot and enjoyed the last set of the run. We even got an encore. I'm not sure if they did that each set or not. It was a great show.

Marcus Roberts Trio w/Rodney Jordan & Jason Marsalis
Featuring Marcus Roberts, piano; Rodney Jordan, bass; Jason Marsalis, drums

Terence Blanchard @ Jazz Standard 7/26/09

I'm glad I was able to make it to this. Terence had car trouble and didn't get there until the end of the 2nd song. I was enjoying the other 4 up there so much I didn't really mind. It was a pleasant surprise to see how much Terence added, though. I mean, yes, he was the main reason I went, but I also knew he surrounds himself with greatness. The sax was really awesome as was the piano. I already knew the bass and drums are great. It was a nice way to come back into town.

Terence Blanchard – trumpet
Walter Smith III – tenor sax
Fabian Almazan – piano
Ben Street – bass
Kendrick Scott – drums

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Eloise Laws

I just back from a work trip to the San Francisco area. I did spend a couple of days in SF, but none of the music was grabbing me. I did make it to Amoeba Music, which is still the best record store I've ever been to. I got lots of interesting world music compilations and a few other interesting buys.

Anyway, I had the privilege of being at a private event where this singer, Eloise Laws, was also a guest. She was persuaded to give us a taste of her talents and sang this amazing a cappella song that blew me away. She had everyone snap their fingers to add a little rhythm, and even that was perfect. I'm getting chills again thinking about how great it was. At first she did it in a more classical style, but then as she went on, she moved into the jazz style. I did some googling and hope I get another opportunity to hear her again.

Cooper Moore : Digital Primitives @ Zeb 7/19/09

This was excellent! I got there at around 8:15 and they were on. I think it was about two 45 min sets, with a short break in between. These musicians are each so incredibly talented. I was really into all of it. The drum solos were outstanding.

There was also a piece where both Assif and Chad were playing thumb pianos and it sounded awesome. At some point Assif put his down and picked up the sax, but Chad kept playing his.

Cooper-Moore had that awesome homemade 1-string bass that I love, keyboards, his homemade jaw harp, and a banjo or lute, that I suspect he may have made himself. He sounded awesome with whatever he was playing.

All of this was already stellar and top-notch. Of course, Charlie Burnham brought it way over the top. He's amazing.

Yup, there was no contest this was the show for me in spite of all the great options that night.

7/19/2009 8:00 PM at Cooper Moore : Digital Primitives
Digital Primitives
Cooper-Moore on Handcrafted Instruments
Assif Tsahar on Tenor Sax
Chad Taylor on Percussion
Special guest - Charles Burnham on Violin and Mandolin

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Upcoming: Charlie Hunter Residency @ Rose Live

And this is only one of the reasons to stay in town this August.

Search & Restore presents... Charlie Hunter Brooklyn Residency

Sunday, Aug 23 8:00p
at Rose Live Music, New York, NY
Price: $10 - $30
Age Suitability: None Specified
Tags: There are no tags.

Brooklyn, NY: Guitar virtuoso Charlie Hunter will be camping out in Williamsburg this August, playing four consecutive Sundays at Rose Live Music on Grand Street. The Rose residency is being presented by NYC‚s energetic progressive jazz promoters at Search And Restore, in conjunction with the ‚Brooklyn Experiments‚ series, which normally holds down Sunday nights at Rose.

And the experiments look to prove particularly fruitful in Brooklyn this August. In addition to performing material from his latest release ‚Baboon Strength‚ (with keyboardist Erik Deutsch and drummer Tony Mason), Hunter will take this opportunity to premiere new music written for his upcoming album before stepping into the studio on September 1st and 2nd.

Hunter, who is known for laying down simultaneous bass lines, rhythm, and lead guitar on custom seven- and eight-string Frankenstein guitars, will play three consecutive dates in duo form, featuring a different drummer each week (Tony Mason on August 9, Bobby Previte August 16, and Adam Cruz August 23). The fourth and final show on August 30 is set to be a blowout, with Eric Kalb on drums, and adding a full brass section composed of edgy Brooklynites Eric Biondo (trumpet), Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), and Alan Ferber (trombone). And one can only begin to imagine the cast of surprise guests that will be dropping by all month.

Search & Restore and Brooklyn Experiments present...
Guitar Virtuoso
Brooklyn Residency, August 2009
Sundays @ Rose Live Music
345 Grand St., Brooklyn, NY 11211
$10 advance / $12 door ($10 with student ID)
advance tix available at

8 PM doors, 2 sets each night
performing material from his latest release, "Baboon Strength", plus a sneak peek at all-new music written for his upcoming album...

Sunday, August 9
Charlie Hunter DUO
Charlie Hunter (7-string guitar)
Tony Mason (drums)

Sunday, August 16
Charlie Hunter DUO
Charlie Hunter (7-string guitar)
Bobby Previte (drums)

Sunday, August 23
Charlie Hunter DUO
Charlie Hunter (7-string guitar)
Adam Cruz (drums)

Sunday, August 30
Charlie Hunter w/ BRASS
Charlie Hunter (7-string guitar)
Eric Kalb (drums)
Eric Biondo (trumpet)
Curtis Fowlkes (trombone)
Alan Ferber (trombone)

Jazz Night: Oscar Peñas Quartet @ Barge Music 7/16/09

Yes, I made these plans with some Brooklyn friends before I realized MTO was doing the Sly & the Family Stone thing. Oh well, I did have a nice time with the friends and I'm glad I finally made it to this venue. It's a barge, that sits on the river in Brooklyn. The band plays in front of the windows that look out on the downtown Manhattan skyline. It's a small space with seats with cushions. My friend with a bad back needed a couple of cushions for his back. I was pretty comfy just having the regular cushion under my butt.

The band was great. Lots of Latin-sounding straight ahead jazz. The bass was very interesting. It was electric, yet somewhat mellow. I was digging the sound. I also learned that Brazilian choros came about at the same time as Ragtime was emerging in the US.

It was a nice time and a nice intimate venue.

Jazz Night: Oscar Peñas Quartet

Oscar Peñas, Guitar; Dan Blake, Tenor and Soprano Saxophones; Motohito Fukushima, Bass; Franco Pinna, Drums

Charlie Hunter/Doug Wamble/Tony Mason @ Jazz Standard 7/15/09

Oh my God! This is the stuff you can never possibly dream up! And to think I almost missed it. I had forgotten Wed was the last night, but my intuition sent me up there for the 9:30 set. Had I thought it through, I would have done both sets. Man oh man! All of three of them were blown away amazing. Doug made me almost cry several times. That slide! Charlie did this amazing very long improvised intro that lasted long and was incredible. Somewhere along the way, he switched from the 8-string to the 7-string. I think he had it when I saw him at The Stone recently. I think it really works well. I've really been appreciating him even more since that show.

There was a special guest singer, Leah Siegel and she was incredibly worthy of sitting in with this greatness. She sounds good on myspace, but live in person, she's REALLY got it. Doug informed us we only scratched the surface of her capabilities.

I think that was my first time seeing Tony, but he definitely fits in with the high caliber drummers Charlie usually gets.

This was definitely one of my favorite shows of the year.

Charlie Hunter – 7-string guitar
Doug Wamble – guitar, vocals
Tony Mason – drums

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Curtis Fowlkes—Catfish Corner @ The Stone 7/11/09

This was awesome. I wish I caught the names of the drummer, bass player, and pianist. Everyone was excellent.

This is a new ensemble, even though I just found this old AAJ article, so some of this music was probably around. He did his own and some other's compositions.

It had a good groove to most of it. I was very impressed with how big the bass sound was on the upright acoustic. Everyone had their moments and I enjoyed it in totality.

Curtis Fowlkes—Catfish Corner
Curtis Folwkes (trombone, composition) and his new band

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lily Sparks @ Webster Hall 7/10/09

I've been hearing that my friend's band, Lily Sparks is really good. I also knew this was an important night for them. They made it to the finals in a contest and it was important to come out and vote for them. It was also a chance to see them on a big stage.

I thought they were great. It's good rock with stellar vocals. I was dancing and really into it the whole time. I also had a lot of fun.

It was painful to listen to the other 3 bands I saw, though. Add the Webster Hall factor into the mix and the volume, way too loud. It was still nice to be out and I wanted to stay til the end and see the results. There were something like 14 bands, but when I got there they had a schedule posted, so I left and came back for Lily Sparks, who came on at 9:35.

Now, it wasn't quite clear how they chose a winner. It seemed like it was all about votes, which were done by raising your hand after the performance. You could vote as many times as you wanted. They had a couple of people with clickers counting the raised hands. I had been up in the balcony looking for my friends earlier and I saw a judging area, so I wasn't sure if crowd votes were all there was too it. It turned out it wasn't ...

The last band clearly had the most people. They'd been drinking all night and weren't the usual music fans I'm accustomed to being around. I was reminded of being at an old rock concert in the 80s or at a Giant's game. Sometimes a cross between both.

We were all shocked when Lily Sparks won the whole thing. They are now going to Germany next month to perform in a festival. They were clearly the best band of what I saw and deserved to win. It turned out they used the crowd votes to whittle it down to the final 8 and then the judges selected from there.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Upcoming: The Highline Piano Series

I see myself attending many of these nights

Monday, August 17
Part of The Highline Piano Series
File Under: Rock, Jazz, Jam Band
Doors at 7:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
$18 adv, $20 at door

Tuesday, August 18
Part of The 2009 Highline Piano Series
File Under: Jazz
Doors at 6:00pm, Show at 7:30pm

Wednesday, August 19
Part of The 2009 Highline Piano Series
File Under: Singer/Songwriter, Jazz
1st Show: Doors at 6:00pm, Show at 8:00pm
2nd Show: Doors at 10:00pm, Show at 10:30pm

Thursday, August 20
Part of The 2009 Highline Piano Series
File Under: Singer/SongwriterDoors at 6:00pm, Show at 8:00pm

Friday, August 21
Part of The 2009 Highline Piano Series
File Under: Jazz
1st Show: Doors at 6:00pm, Show at 8:00pm
2nd Show: Doors at 10:30pm, Show at 11:00pm

Saturday, August 22
Part of The 2009 Highline Piano Series
File Under: Country, Folk, Singer/Songwriter
Doors at 6:00pm, Show at 8:00pm

Sunday, August 23
THE MCCOY TYNER TRIO featuring Gerald Cannon and Eric Kamau Gravattand special guest GARY BARTZ- THE JONATHAN BATISTE BAND
Part of The 2009 Highline Piano Series
File Under: Jazz
1st Show: Doors at 6:00pm, Show at 7:30pm
2nd Show: Doors at 10:00pm, Show at 10:30pm

Monday, August 24
Part of The Highline Piano Series
File Under: Rock, Classical
Doors at 7:00pm, Show at 9:00pm

Tuesday, August 25
Produced by Jill Newman Productions
Part of The Highline Piano Series
File Under: Jazz
1st Show: Doors at 6:00pm, Show at 8:00pm
2nd Show: Doors at 10:00pm, Show at 10:30pm

Wednesday, August 26
Part of The Highline Piano Series
File Under: Country, Singer/SongwriterDoors at 6:00pm, Show at 8:00pm

Friday, August 28
Part of The Highline Piano Series
File Under: Singer/Songwriter
Doors at 6:00pm, Show at 7:00pm

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nir Felder 4 @ The Stone 7/8/09

Jim Black drew me in and I'm so glad. This was a stellar straight ahead show. In addition to those below Aaron Goldberg was on piano. They were all amazing. Nir reminds me somewhat of Kurt Rosenwinkel - something about his sound. Jim was awesome, just playing pretty straight ahead. For the last tune, he wailed on the kit using his hands and blew me away. I loved it!

Nir Felder 4
Nir Felder (guitar) Chris Lightcap (bass)
Jim Black (drums)

Summer Heat @ Local 269 7/7/09

I had plans earlier, so I could only make it to the last set. Still, it was great to continue with more trombone. This was one I had to make a special effort to get to and I was not disappointed. It was very good and I love the instrumentation.

Summer Heat
Brad Farberman, guitar
Steve Swell, trombone
Dave Sewelson, bari sax
Francois Grillot, bass
Dave Miller, drums

Josh Roseman Group @ Local 269 7/6/09

I had to stay for most of the next set. I was very much rewarded. This one had 2 great trombones and a stellar cast of characters. It was awesome and kind of hard to tear myself away. I got back from FL like an hour before and was itching for some music, so I'm glad I could make it. Tyshawn really impressed me.

Josh Roseman Group
Josh Roseman, trombone & electronics
Oscar Noriega, alto sax
Curtis Hasselbring, trombone & guitar
James Carney, keys
Tyshawn Sorey, drums

Steve Swell 5 @ Local 269 7/6/09

I finally made it to the new location for RUCMA's gigs. It's a great small bar in a great location. It was so nice to see so many people out. I got a dancing spot right up front and was completely captivated by the awesome music. I mean, look at the lineup, it was bound to be amazing. They were reading music, but I suspect they had some room to stretch out at times. There were a few talkers in the back, but it didn't bother me once I moved up front.

Steve Swell 5
Steve Swell, trombone & compositions
Rob Brown, alto sax
Chris Forbes, keys
Hill Greene, bass
Michael T. A. Thompson, drums

Jeff "Tain" Watts 4 + 1 with special guest Nicholas Payton @ Jazz Standard 7/1/09

I will never get tired of Tain and his music. I think most of it was familiar, but I do recall he mentioned a new ballad. Whatever, it was awesome. He's always mixing up with the stellar lineup and is so amazing to watch. He barely looks like he's playing, yet he's so powerful! We also got a trombone sitin that was awesome. All the solos were incredible. They featured everyone on basically every tune. It was so lively, even the 2 ballads they did back to back. I think it was around 90 minutes of wonderfulness.

Wednesday - Friday, July 1 - 3
Jeff "Tain" Watts 4 + 1 with special guest Nicholas Payton
Marcus Strickland – tenor saxophone
Nicholas Payton – trumpet
Lawrence Fields – piano
Chris Smith – bass
Jeff “Tain” Watts – drums
Jeff “Tain” Watts’ presence on any stage, whether as a crucial sideman or take-charge leader, is a sure sign of high-energy, high-quality sounds in the offing. Tonight, Tain has assembled one of his best-ever bands, featuring the articulate saxophonist Marcus Strickland and New Orleans–bred trumpet star Nicholas Payton. Watts, his latest CD re­leased through Dark Key Music, blends percussion with politics, swing with sarcasm, and improvisation with irony on an all-original program. “More and more I am enjoying composition as much as playing,” says Tain. “All good music has a common ground, whether it’s Beethoven, Ellington, or Prince...It’s all good. I’m just trying to be musical.”

Jen Shyu @ The Stone 7/1/09

I had a nice, detailed post I was working on and I accidentally deleted it. Now my memory is a little fuzzy, but I'll try to recap.

It was awesome. I figured she would have some instruments and it wouldn't be just voice. She has a great voice, which is like an instrument. She sings in English, Taiwanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.

She started off on a 2 string Taiwanese Moon Lute. It's a beautiful instrument and it sounded great. I loved listening for the different sounds that could come from the 2 strings. She then moved to piano. I think after that she did a moving solo voice piece in which she was also performing the sad piece. It was great.

Then she did a few with the piano before eventually going back to the moon lute and ending with the erhu.

It was all so well-done. I think it was over an hour and captivating from beginning to end. She's very talented.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cyro Baptista @ The Stone 6/27/09

It was listed as a solo but I suspected there would be others. There were some really great others. Brian Marsela on various keyboards, John Lee on guitar, and Chikako Iwahori, the tap dancer. I scored a seat in the front row, right in front of Cyro.

While it wasn't a solo show, and the friends were phenomenal, it still felt like a solo show somehow. It was probably because I was sitting right in front of him and was fascinated with everything he was doing. He had a lot of stuff. He had a couple of hand drums and a bass drum, his barimbau, aquasonic (without water), scrunchy things, shakeres, tambourine, the metal woofer type thing, and a whole lot more. It seemed like his typical setup for the most part, which is awesome. I was reminded of some of his Banquet of Spirits stuff at times. At the end, he told us they got together that day and came up with the material.

It was very well done. I left feeling very happy. The whole band is so full of talent.