Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stanton Moore Trio w/Anders @ Brooklyn Bowl 9/23/10

I had no idea who would be in the Trio, it was listed as "Stanton Moore Trio + Anders Osborne".  I wasn't sure what that meant, but I like Brooklyn Bowl much more than Sullivan Hall, and it's been a while since I've seen STM or Anders.  I got saturated with STM about 4 or 5 years back.  It was a jazzfest where I saw Stanton's Trio, Quartet, and Quintet way too many times.

It was a 1 hour set with the Trio and the 2nd set was 1 song with the Trio and then Anders joined them.  Will Bernard and Will Blades were the rest of the band, which was cool.  I hadn't seen THAT variation of STM yet.  It was good, but I would get a little bored at times.  I definitely enjoyed each of them at various times, and it was fun, it just wasn't one of those blown away amazing shows.

Once Anders took the stage things took a turn.  I'm so busy with work I could only stay for a couple of songs.  It's been so long since I've seen Anders I was surprised.  I forgot how good he can be.  He rocked!  The 2nd song was a little slow and a good time to make a break for it.  I did a much better job of timing the train, I was on the platform a few min before 11 and it came within a minute.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Blackbird Parlour, Williamsburg

On my way to the train, I had to stop and listen to a great boogie-woogie piano at The Blackbird Parlour.  I think the sign out front said Uncle Leadfoot is the piano player.  All the windows and doors were open, so I could stand outside, right next to the piano.  It reminded me of Austin.  Fun!

The Inbetweens @ Lovin Cup 9/21/10

I finally got my full set.  This is my favorite Mike Gamble project that I've seen.  However, there are many Mike Gamble projects that I've never seen since he usually plays in Brooklyn.

It's an awesome trio.  The music is beyond jazz, it's got a little of a psychedelic feel, but that's not the best way to describe it, either.  It's new and creative music that would appeal to a lot of people, not just the experimental music crowd.  I see from their myspace page that they selected experimental/indie/nu jazz as the genre. 

The venue is wonderful and raises the bar.  Having continuous live music is huge.  The drinks are Manhattan prices and not quite as strong as I like, but I can deal.

Michael Gamble- guitars ( Noah Jarrett- basses ( Conor Elmes- drums and cymbals

THE INBETWEENS emerged in the summer of 2002, from the roots of collective improvisation, curiosity, and like minds. Before they were the Tweens, they each lived in Boston, where they each spent time gigging and studying at the New England Conservatory of Music with gurus such as Bob Moses, George Garzone, John Lockwood, and John Abercrombie. In the fall of 02' the boys migrated to Brooklyn, where they each spent an entire year eating, sleeping, and rehearsing in a cozy lil' 3-bedroom apartment, appropriately lodged "inbetween" Brooklyn's own Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery. Since then the trio has completed a self-titled debut album at Clinton Recording Studios, in Manhattan, and has been performing regularly in the Northeast and the midwest. Some listeners consider them a power trio, but their energetic musical conversations draw in people from all backgrounds: popular to improvised. The Inbetweens are not afraid to enter uncharted territories. They trust each other and take risks for the sake of the music.

Charlie Hunter @ Cameo Gallery 9/21/10

Charlie has been doing a Tues night residency here for the month.  I just found out about it at Cochemea's show, but I couldn't make it last week.  I'm sorry to say I will have to miss next week as well.  However, this was phenomenal.

It was a Charlie and Matt Chamberlain duo.  I hate to admit it, but I'm just not a fan of Chamberlain.  Sure, he's technically great.  I can dance, so it's not like I can't feel his playing.  It bothers me that I can't pinpoint what it is I'm not crazy about.  The only thing I can come up with is he's more subtle in his playing and I like intense.  I was coming around as the show went on.  I still can't call myself a fan, though.  It doesn't make sense.

Anyway, it was a fabulous show.  I was into it and loving it.  They took a setbreak and there was another fabulous band out front to watch while waiting.  I got caught by that band, and went back in for 15 min of the Charlie set before choosing to leave at 11:30 in favor of sleep.  Then I had to wait on the subway platform for almost 20 min for a train.  I need to figure out the timing of the trains better.

Wolf Trio @ Lovin Cup 9/21/10

I went to see Charlie Hunter in the Cameo Gallery, the  performance space in Lovin Cup.  I saw all of these bands listed and didn't know what that would mean.  Imagine my pleasant surprise to see a Scott Metzger led trio on stage in the front room.  They were playing something groovin and funky and I was thoroughly enjoying it.  They did some songs along the lines of surf rock.  I got about 45 min, including the Blues tune I couldn't leave until it was over.  It was worth missing 2 minutes of Charlie for.

I enjoyed the bass player.  The drums were alright.  I could feel them, I'm just spoiled.

I also think a mastermind came up with Metzger, Hunter and Gamble all at the same venue.  I wonder if it's the same mastermind who contrived this continuous music, all good, between 2 rooms, one for tips and one for a cover.  They also do a great job of bringing around the tip jar which maximizes the band's revenue and helps make it likely they will come back.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Masada String Trio @ The Stone 9/19/10

It was a full house and a $25 cover.  I had a decent standing spot along the wall in the middle.  I could see well. About 20-30 min in,  they asked for the A/C to be turned on.  That made it a little less uncomfortable for me - I'm not sure if it made a difference up front.  It was interesting for me to see that I could ignore the sounds of the A/C without a problem but if someone is whispering very softly, I have a cow.  I have a feeling I can ignore whispering just as easily if I so desire.

The music was fabulous.  I will never get tired of this band.  Each of the musicians are outstanding.  Every note is breathtaking.  Really.  The music draws me in and fills me with elation.  I can't believe it can be this good.  It isn't just the musicianship, it's the soul ... The feeling.  It's incredible.

Masada String Trio—HABORYM Mark Feldman (violin) Erik Friedlander (cello) Greg Cohen (bass) WORLD PREMIERE PERFORMANCES of music from their new CD on The Book of Angels series! TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Bad Plus @ Bowery Ballroom 9/15/10

This is the way I like to see TBP!  Bigger room, longer set, and we're all standing and listening.  Everyone is into it.

They were great.  They played some old favorites and some pieces from the new album.

David King caught me the most.  There was a point close to 1 hour into the set where David was talking to Reid who passed it on to Ethan.  Then the piece started with a great drum solo.  I thought they were deviating in a big way and David was calling for drums, a long drum solo, in the spirit of the venue.  I also had high hopes they were going into some improvising.  While that wasn't the case and a familiar song came through once the other 2 joined in, it was still great.

Sam Newsome did I think a 40 min set, ending at 9:40.  TBP hit the stage at about 10 and played til 11:30.  They came out and did a 2 song encore.  Then they responded to the crowd's request and gave us one more.  I'm not sure if they left the stage again or not ... I had gone downstairs to buy the CD and went back up for the music.

They are celebrating 10 years together.  I love that they named the CD (also available on vinyl) "Never Stop".  I certainly hope not!

I then bought my 3rd CD of the evening and I must say they are all great.

Here's a CD review:

Sam Newsome @ Bowery Ballroom 9/15/10

A simple google search and I knew I wanted to see this guy.  He was awesome on the soprano sax and my 2nd solo gig of the night.  Everyone was listening and loving it.  He filled the stage and the room with his music and presence.

He likes to play complex stuff.  He plays it well.  While it's complex and appears hard to play it is also quite engaging to listen to.  I loved it.

I got his solo CD and it's just as good.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Marc Ribot @ LPR 9/15/10

He must have started right on time and the set including encore was 1 hour in length.  I got 40 minutes of this amazing set. 40 minutes of solo Ribot greatness.  I had to get the CD.  It's as awesome as the live set.

Marc Ribot - "Silent Movies" CD Release
Wed., September 15, 2010 / 7:00 PM
Doors Open: 7:00 PM
Show Time: 7:30 PM
Silent Movies will be officially released on September 28th. Advance copies will be available for purchase at this performance.
This is a first come seated event. Seating is limited and not guaranteed; please arrive early.

Silent Movies, the new release from guitarist Marc Ribot, finds him taking another surprising step in a career filled with unexpected turns. One might expect a program of solo guitar music from Ribot to be filled with bracing atonality or studies in texture. Instead, Silent Movies is filled with performances of gorgeous contemplation that linger on the mind long after they are over. The album reflects Ribot's fascination with movies and contains pieces intended to function as music for films: some are adaptations of music he has actually written for films, others for classic silent movies that he scored for his personal amusement, still others for films of his own imagination. His goal is to explore, as he says "the strange area between language and spatiality that exists partly in between music and visual image, and partly as a common property of both." Whatever the inspiration, Silent Movies is replete with beautiful melodies and quietly wistful playing of a sort seldom heard from Ribot and delivers a program filled with gentle, haunting songs that evoke the feel of a different time. As he says in the CD's liner notes, the recording project "did indeed have the feeling of having walked backwards into the beautiful frame of a silent movie."

Widely recognized as one of the great guitar slingers, Ribot’s distinctively edgy and impassioned sound can be found recently on albums by such diverse artists as Norah Jones, Allen Toussaint, McCoy Tyner, Marianne Faithful, John Zorn, Shemekia Copeland, Jakob Dylan, Dan Zanes, Joe Henry, Richard Hell, T-Bone Burnett, Jolie Holland, and The Black Keys. He also appears on the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Grammy Award-winning album Raising Sand and its upcoming follow-up, as well as The Union, the collaboration between Elton John and Leon Russell. He has played on such film scores as the recently released “The Kids are All Right,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Walk the Line,” and “The Departed.”

It is on his own albums, however, that Ribot finds his true voice. Performed in complete takes, with only minimal atmospheric overdubs, Silent Movies was partly inspired by his experience preparing for a live accompaniment of the Charlie Chaplin film The Kid at Merkin Concert Hall in January 2010 as part of the New York Guitar Festival. Some tracks were composed for “El General,” Natalia Almada’s documentary film about Plutarco Elías Calles who ruled Mexico with an iron hand from 1924 to1935 and still others for the unreleased movie “Drunk Boat.” All of the compositions were written by Ribot except “Sous le Ciel de Paris,” the title song from the classic French movie by Julien Duvivier that was made a hit by Edith Piaf among many others.

Whatever the inspiration, Silent Movies is replete with beautiful melodies and quietly wistful playing of a sort seldom heard from Ribot. The album is almost a polar opposite of his last release Party Intellectuals (Pi 27) with his band Ceramic Dog, a rock power trio going for it in an all-out sonic assault, and nothing like his last solo recital Exercises in Futility, a study in extended technique for the guitar. Given the luxury of three days in the studio, Ribot delivers a program filled with gentle, haunting songs that evoke the feel of a different time. As he says in the CD’s liner notes, the recording project “did indeed have the feeling of having walked backwards into the beautiful frame of a silent movie.”

Cochemea Gastelum @ 92nd St Y Tribeca 9/10/10

This was an awesome funkdown.  It was somewhat in the style of The Budos Band and somewhat different as well.  There were some Latin grooves incorporated into some of the pieces.  Lots of great horns and lots of percussion - just the way I like it!  The 2 trumpets were awesome.  The baritone from The Budos Band was great to have around.  Cochemea was as great as always on the alto and tenor saxes and alto flute and electronics.

The keyboards were great.  Tom T was a special guest on bass for the first few songs.  There was also a guitar.  A drum kit and 2 percussionists made me very happy.  One of them was Elizabeth-PupoWalker.  I felt a pang of missing La Buya.

Cochemea's project has an element of being new and fresh while having the Old School element as well.  If I had to characterize it I would say "La Buya meets The Budos Band and they take a right turn together". 

I got the CD.  It's really great.  I'm very impressed with the quality.  There’s this one song, “No Goodbyes”, as I listen to it on CD I get all mushy inside.  I enjoyed it live, but it’s a rare thing where I like the studio version even more.  Of course, I’m writing this as I come off of a Bad Plus show, so maybe I’ve been “mushed up” already.  (I write these in my BB while it's fresh, and then it sometimes take me a bit to get to the editing and posting).

It was great!  Get the CD!

Cochemea Gastelum Presents The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow / Mocean Worker

Cochemea Gastelum, one of NYC's most in-demand saxophonists, celebrates the release of his solo debut. Gastelum has been a key player in the blossoming new soul and Afrobeat scenes that have leapt out of Brooklyn to take the world by storm in recent years. The versatile musician has performed and/or recorded with a diverse group of artists, including Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Archie Shepp, Paul Simon, Antibalas, Public Enemy, The Roots, Robert Walter's 20th Congress and Amy Winehouse. His influences and collaborations are eclectic, but with The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow, his solo debut, Gastelum carves out a whole new sound. Co-produced by Adam Dorn (AKA Mocean Worker), the record ranges across the global rhythmic horizon, from Afro-centric jazz to keyed-down "Low Rider" jams, to vintage boogaloo, raw soul, lilting Brazilian strains and beyond. The project was inspired by a dream he had that related back to his Native American roots. With this debut release, Cochemea Gastelum at last steps out, front and center, reaching from the past into to the future while remaining in the ever-present now.

Brian Wolfe - Drums (Michael Leonhart & the Avramina 7)
Jeremy Wilms - Bass (Fela!)
Al Street - Guitar (Sugarman 3)
Victor Axelrod - Keys (Antibalas/Ticklah)
Elizabeth Pupo-Walker - Congas (La Buya)
Neil Ochoa - Percussion (SiSe)
Dave Guy - Trumpet (Dap Kings)
Eric Biondo -Trumpet (Antibalas)
Jared Tankel  - Baritone (Budos)
Cochemea - Electric Sax, Flute, Tenor Sax

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kurt Rosenwinkel @ Iridium 9/8/10

It was a great, lively, jazz orchestra.  In addition to Kurt, there were a bunch of saxes, trombones and trumpets, a bass clarinet, drums, and piano.  Carlos, the piano player, composed many of the pieces we heard.  We got a kickass guitar solo to start off one of the pieces.  It was big brass at it's best.

The listing:
Kurt Rosenwinkel With Portugal's Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos for 'Our Secret World,'
Releasing on WOM Music - September 7, 2010

Kurt Rosenwinkel has always given us music that has conveyed a sense of masterful story- telling & breathtaking imaginative reach. His significance to the ever-evolving jazz tradition in fact transcends the oft-cited lineage of jazz guitar in much the same way that Thelonious Monk and Wayne Shorter both impacted colleagues much beyond the scope of their respective instruments. For what has perhaps distinguished Kurt more than anything is his one-of-a-kind compositional voice - full of mystery and power, marked by an effortless marriage of high complexity and simple, undeniable emotional appeal. These qualities, hallmarks of Kurt's output from the beginning, are apparent perhaps as never before on a new big band release, Kurt Rosenwinkel & OJM: Our Secret World.

In recent years, Rosenwinkel has had several opportunities to play his music with a number of different big bands, from a Nonet at the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland to the famous Concertgebouw Orchestra in The Netherlands, and he grew tantalized by the expanded textures that a large ensemble could offer his far-reaching compositions. Then in 2007 Rosenwinkel got a call from the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos (OJM), a Portugal-based big band with an impressive track record of collaborative projects, ranging from Portology with Lee Konitz and Ohad Talmor, over Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos Invites Chris Cheek, featuring the acclaimed American saxophonist, to performances with Maria Rita - the highly successful and critically acclaimed daughter of Elis Regina.

Following a series of successful concerts in Portugal in 2008, Rosenwinkel and OJM decided to pursue this recording project, which took place over a 6 day period in September 2009. 'We had three days of rehearsal which were totally intense - 12-hour rehearsals with almost no breaks,' Rosenwinkel recalls. 'What made the whole project work was the attitude and enthusiasm of all the musicians. I really felt that everybody was supporting me, supporting the music, and really giving their best. It was a great challenge for them and they rose to the occasion. The spirit that was present during the whole thing was just beautiful.'

Now the OJM can add to that collaborative track record Our Secret World, a set of Rosenwinkel compositions heard in gripping new arrangements for large ensemble. Our Secret World is Kurt's third release on the independent Wommusic imprint, following 2009's acclaimed Standards Trio offering, entitled Reflections and his 2008 album entitled The Remedy - Live At The Village Vanguard (initially distributed via Artistshare).

The specific Rosenwinkel cuts heard on Our Secret World were chosen solely by OJM arrangers Carlos Azevedo and Pedro Guedes, with no advance input from the composer with the one exception of track 4 'Dream of the Old'. 'I've got to hand it to them,' says Rosenwinkel. 'They chose the hardest stuff from my repertoire. I was psyched - it gave me a really good indication of how serious they were.'

The results are indeed serious, and stunning: Azevedo brought a firm yet sensitive touch to 'Our Secret World' (from Heartcore), 'Zhivago' (from The Next Step), 'Dream of the Old' (from The Enemies of Energy) and 'Turns' (previously unreleased, though long part of Rosenwinkel's live small- group sets). Guedes weighed in with a poetic reimagining of 'Use of Light' (from Deep Song as well as The Next Step).

In addition, Ohad Talmor, a saxophonist and gifted composer in his own right, was approached by OJM to arrange two of Rosenwinkel's pieces, 'The Cloister' (from Deep Song) and 'Path of the Heart' (from The Next Step). 'Ohad was a special case,' says Rosenwinkel, 'because he did something completely radical. We met before the session and I told him, 'Go ahead, make new sections, do whatever you want.' And he ran with it. His arrangements are like a cubist reorganization of my songs, using what I wrote as RAM. He put it in a bag, shook it up, and saw where it came out.'

There are a host of details to be savored on Our Secret World, from the high-pressure intensity of 'Turns' to the aching microtonal inflections on the out-chorus of 'Use of Light'; from the explosive reeds soli on 'Zhivago' to the doubling of bass clarinet and Rosenwinkel's vulnerable singing voice on 'Dream of the Old.' Even with Talmor's more extensive and sweeping rearrangements, the elusive qualities and melodic intentions of the original pieces still lurk deep within.

Together, all the arrangers involved in Our Secret World struck an ideal balance, emphasizing different aspects of Rosenwinkel's identity and highlighting a quality summed up by The Ottawa Citizen's jazz critic Peter Hum: 'It's a special triumph when art like Rosenwinkel's makes the strange so familiar.'The biggest challenge, Rosenwinkel recalls, was serving as 'the main narrative or protagonist voice leading a big band. It requires great strength to be the melodic voice that's supported by that much energy. You have to figure out how to make yourself the final element that's going to crest the entire arrangement and unify it. You have to invent the way to take it from here to there. You have to choose your moments, strategize about how to enter and how to exit, with what attitude, in what register. I couldn't just walk in and play my song as I knew it. It's a kind of artistry that's specific to being a soloist with a big band. That was a unique challenge for me, and I think a real milestone.'

A native of the great jazz city of Philadelphia, Rosenwinkel studied at Berklee in Boston and gained his first formative professional experiences in bands led by Gary Burton and Paul Motian. He soon became a major force on the New York scene, gaining a reputation as an innovative bandleader, composer and improviser. He displayed a strong command of jazz tradition and a great love of standard tunes, but also a determination to articulate his own language and create on his own terms. Following his early albums East Coast Love Affair and Intuit came four highly regarded discs on the Verve label: The Enemies of Energy, The Next Step, Heartcore and Deep Song. In particular, Heartcore, produced by rapper Q-Tip (formerly of A Tribe Called Quest), revealed Rosenwinkel's openness to sonic exploration beyond jazz.

The Remedy: Live at the Village Vanguard, Rosenwinkel's 2008 double-disc effort preserved that aesthetic newness in the context of a live acoustic quintet. As Jon Garelick of The Boston Phoenix wrote, 'Here is tonal, song-based jazz that's free, loose, swinging, technically accomplished, emotionally warm. ... Rosenwinkel proves the pop truth that anything can be a hook - a few chords, a rhythm, any refrain that sets up or satisfies expectation.' Rosenwinkel followed The Remedy with a compelling 2009 return to jazz standards on Reflections, hailed by's Jacob Teichroew as 'one of the most exciting albums of the year.'

In 2003, after many productive years in New York, progressing steadily as a leader while racking up sideman appearances with the likes of Brian Blade, Joshua Redman and Danilo Pérez, Rosenwinkel relocated to Europe - first to Zurich, Switzerland, then to his current home in Berlin, Germany. He now heads the guitar department as a tenured professor at the Jazz Institute of Berlin and has two young sons, Silas and Ezra.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Joey Baron/Bill Frisell @ The Stone 9/6/10

Before they began, they introduced each other and Joey lamented about how wonderful it is to have this space, The Stone, in existence.  I couldn't agree more.  It was beyond sweltering, but I just connected to the truly awesome music and like a super hero, it helped me bear with and sometimes even forget I was in a sweatbox.

They started off with a more avant-gard, somewhat free piece.  I think it was the 2nd piece where Bill played in a soulful, American Roots type manner that took us all higher.  I absolutely loved what Joey did with that.

The last piece had the most incredible and intense drumming that was sheer bliss.  What a way to leave!  It was all incredible and amazing and I was again blessed to be there.

 Joey Baron and Bill Frisell Duo Joey Baron (drums) Bill Frisell (guitar)

Upcoming: Brooklyn Guitar Festival

It's every Sunday this Fall at Rose Live.  Looks awesome!  I'm especially looking forward to 10/17.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Frisell/Motion/Lovano @ Village Vanguard 8/31/10

Just stop and imagine how incredible this trio can possibly be.  We have an extraordinary Jazz-Americana guitarist, a powerful and stellar saxophonist, and a unique and incredible drummer who fits in anywhere doing his unique thing.  That was a thought process I had in the middle of this amazing set of killer music.

For the first piece, the drums had me hypnotized.  I could hear greatness from the other instruments, but my attention couldn't leave the awesome sounds coming from Paul Motion.  I don't recall him playing so intensely before.

Joe and Bill each had me captivated at different parts of the stellar set.  This is one spectacular trio.

Now I want to see something even more unlikely. 
or Frisell/Motion/Zorn
or Frisell/Lovano/Ches Smith. 
Oh, better yet,  Ribot/Zorn/Frisell/Motion/Skerik/Billy Martin/Steven Bernstein/Cyro Baptista.  As long as I'm dreaming.

And I should mention the Vanguard recently changed the minimum drink policy.  There is still a 1 drink minimum, it's just not included in the price of admission.  They reduced the cover $10 and require you to purchase 1 drink.  It works out for the non-drinkers who used to have to pay $10 even if they just wanted 1 soda.

Cobra @ Yoshi's 8/28/10

Any chance to see this experimental music game is a worthwhile experience.  It's also fun to get the experience with a bunch of musicians I rarely or never get to see.  This 13 piece ensemble was heavy on the percussion and electronics.  There were a couple of familiar faces, Scott Amendola on drums, Mark Dresser on bass, the 3 I saw the other night: Wollesen, Dunn, and Burger.  And then of course, the star among stars, Fred Frith, the Bay area version of Marc Ribot.  I'm saying each coast has a phenomenal and versatile avant guitarist.  I would love to see the 2 in a duo guitar show at Roulette sometime.

I still can't figure out how they play.  I think if someone puts a hat or a headband on and Zorn puts a hat on, that person gets to direct who plays until either one of the 2 takes off the hat.  It did look like there were some instances where Zorn was the only one with the hat.  I didn't get that.  The only thing I can think of is that's when he can call on people without them raising their hands.  There were also times when Zorn would raise his hand and then a bunch of musicians would raise their hands indicating they wanted to be called on.  Sometimes, a musician would hold up a number of fingers, like 2 and then point to 2 people they would want to play.  Sometimes a musician would hold up 2 fingers and then 4 fingers in succession.

Zorn also sometimes used cards to prompt.  He has different ones.  Sometimes he slowly moves the large displayed card down or up.  I know sometimes that indicates get softer or louder as the card is moving.  Sometimes it indicates get faster or slower.

The music itself was great.  I enjoyed some parts more than others. There was a few second hiphop portion toward the end.  I loved the times it was all percussion.

For Saturday's finale Zorn will present his improvisational "game piece", Cobra. The rarely performed game is based not on a set of notes, but on a set of rules and cues/signals from the prompter (Zorn). It will feature some 14 players, including Frith, Patton, Trey Spruance (Secret Chiefs 3), Joan Jeanrenaud (Kronos Quartet), Scott Amendola, Wollesen, William Winant, Burger and many more.

Cobra is

fred frith guitar
trey spruance guitar
scott amendola drums
kenny wollesen drums
william winant perc
rob burger piano
dave slusser keys
mike patton vox, electronics
chris brown electronics
david rosenboom electronics
timb harris violin
joan jeanrenaud cello
mark dresser bass
trevor dunn bass
john zorn prompter

Native New Yorker and enfant terrible John Zorn has had very deep ties with San Francisco since his first visit here in 1974. His yearly visits have deepened his connection with local musicians and venues and many of his closest collaborators still live right here in the Bay Area. This special three night series showcases him performing with many of San Francisco's best musicians in improvisational units, and includes the world premiere performance of his popular tribute to the Bay area ALHAMBRA LOVE SONGS, his first ever duo concert with California's Guru extraordinaire Terry Riley and of course his legendary game piece COBRA, featuring an all-star Bay Area lineup.

Rova Sax Quartet @ Yoshi's 8/28/10

This was a spectacular  saxophone quintet.  Zorn was the 5th.  I didn't know the other 4, I believe they were all Bay Area folks.  It was stellar.  There were some people in the room who didn't realize they were going to an avant garde show and didn't like it.  Some of them left.  Some of them, much to my dismay, chose to have conversations during the set.  There weren't many of these, but they all seemed to be sitting near me.  I would say 70% of the room did know this was a possibility and seemed to enjoy themselves.

I loved it.  There were a couple of little straight saxophones.  I kept asking around to find out what they were, but no luck.  One guy played a baritone sax and that little baby one.  One guy had the baby and an alto.  Zorn had his alto of course.  I can't remember the other's instruments but it was all wonderful.

On Saturday, August 28 Zorn teams with ROVA Saxophone Quartet, the Bay Area's stalwart improvisors. ROVA has been at the forefront of experimental music since forming in San Francisco over 30 years ago. The Quartet (made up of Bruce Ackley, Steve Adams, Larry Ochs and JonRaskin) have been frequent collaborators of Zorn.

From website:
 For over a quarter of a century, the Rova Saxophone Quartet has been acclaimed and widely recognized for its vital role in extending the horizons of today’s genre-bending music. With its potent mix of compositional creativity and stellar musicianship, Rova explores the synthesis of composition and collective improvisation in ways that challenge, excite and inspire. Positioning itself in a dynamic musical nexus, Rova has become an important leader in the music movement that has its roots in post-bop, free jazz, avant-rock, and 20th century new music as well as drawing inspiration from traditional and popular styles of Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States.

In noting Rova's role in innovatively developing the all-saxophone ensemble as "a regular and conceptually wide-ranging unit," The Penguin Guide to Jazz calls its music "a teeming cosmos of saxophone sounds" created by "deliberately eschewing conventional notions about swing [and] prodding at the boundaries of sound and space..." Likewise Jazz: The Rough Guide notes, "Highly inventive, eclectic and willing to experiment, Rova [is] arguably the most exciting of the saxophone quartets to emerge in the format's late '70s boom."

Inspired by a broad spectrum of musical influences - from Charles Ives, Edgard Varese, Olivier Messiaen, Iannis Xenakis and Morton Feldman to The Art Ensemble of Chicago, John Coltrane, Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman - Rova began, in 1978, writing new material, touring, and recording, including adventurous collaborations with such like-minded colleagues as guitarists Henry Kaiser and Fred Frith, saxophonist John Zorn, and Italian percussionist Andrea Centazzo.

In its early years, Rova also shared the stage in collaborations with fellow trailblazers Kronos Quartet and Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. A 1983 tour of the USSR and accompanying PBS documentary highlighted the first five years of Rova’s existence. In 1985, the Rova Saxophone Quartet incorporated as the not-for-profit organization Rova:Arts. Founding member Andrew Voigt left Rova in August 1988 and was replaced by Steve Adams. Otherwise, the personnel (Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin and Bruce Ackley) has remained the same throughout these 30-plus years, giving the group a consistency and sensitivity that has enabled its ever-evolving and highly nuanced explorations into new musical territory.

Aleph Trio @ Yoshi's, San Francisco 8/27/10

As great as the 1st set was the 2nd was even better.  It was Zorn, Wollesen and Dunn improvising to some Wallace Berman film.  The filmmaker's son was there to tell us some stories about his father's work and how "Aleph" was sitting under Tosh's desk for quite a few years after his father's passing before he realized he should put it out to the public.  I'm more into music than film and I must admit the film didn't do much for me.  The music was killer, though.  I love when Zorn plays, and a trio is even better.  I especially loved the last piece they did, right after Tosh Berman spoke.

10PM: ALEPH TRIO plays for Wallace Berman… with John Zorn sax , Trevor Dunn bass, Kenny Wollesen drums and films by Wallace Berman