Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mark Dresser @ Cornelia St Cafe 11/28/10

I loved how they started, the piano strings sounded so great.  The bass strings had a similar, pretty, tinny sound.  I loved those sounds and was glad the set was sprinkled with some of those as well as many other great sounds.  Tom Rainey started off playing the kit with his hands.

It was a fabulous set of experimental jazz with a great sax, trombone, piano, bass and drums.  The horns certainly didn't hold back in the small room.  They wailed at times.  They also played quietly at times.

I thoroughly enjoyed the set.  It was a Sun night after a holiday, so I opted out of the next set.  I'm sure it was great.

Well, well, well, lookie here, "hyperpiano" is the instrument listed.  I feel like I hit the jackpot when I found this link.   I've been fascinated by this ever since I saw Sylvie Courvoissier for the first time.

Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto saxophone;
Michael Dessen, trombone;
Denman Maroney, hyperpiano;
Tom Rainey, drums;
Mark Dresser, bass

Tom Beckham Group @ Cornelia St Cafe 11/23/10

It was a good jazz set.  It kept me interested and was a good show to get some music in before taking off for Thanksgiving.

Here's a little interview of Tom on Cornelia Street's blog posted the day of the show.

Tom Beckham, vibraphone, compositions;
Chris Cheek, saxophones;
Henry Hey, piano;
Matt Clohesy, bass;
Greg Ritchie, drums

Another One For Woody @ Roseland 11/22/10

My expectations were far surpassed with this show!  I got there just before 8 and was surprised the opening band was already well into their set.  It was Warren, McCain and Kevin Kinney.  I got the last few songs.  It was rather mellow yet good.

Then there was a setbreak and then North Mississippi Allstars, but no Chris Chew.  Apparantly he isn't with them anymore.  Huh.  Too bad.  The Luther/Cody duo was good, but not the same.  There were some guests sprinkled through.  The last song, which was a completely different special band for the night, was awesome.  That cinched for me that I was definitely in the right place.

Another set break and then the phenomenal Government Mule.  I so love this band.  The bass player is unbelievable.  They did about half the set on their own and then started bringing out the guests.  I already don't remember much except that I loved it and I was blown away throughout, especially without the guests.

Another, longer setbreak, and then a huge reminder of how come this version of the Allman Brothers Band was one of my very favorites for so long.  If you think about it, the $100 face value/$117 TB ticket price is lower than many of the good ABB seats at The Beacon.  And, even better, everyone on the floor has to stand.  The band was so on!  I didn't realize how much I miss Derek.  He was incredible.

They eventually morphed into special guests and other amalgamations.  It was all so great.  There was an awesome Whipping Post encore.  Then, just as I was leaving, another Wish You Were Here encore!  It all ended at around 1:45ish - way longer than I originally anticipated.

Yes, that was indeed a very special night.

Here's some video and the setlist from Hidden Track.

Here's a great rundown from someone with a better memory on Jambands.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ches Smith & These Arches @ University of the Streets 11/21/10

I walked in at 8:15 and was told they just started that minute.  My jaw dropped when I moved the entry curtain and walked in to see Marc Ribot playing the hell out of his guitar!  I braved a quick walk in front of the band and a pretty much full house to score an awesome seat just left of center in the 2nd row, which is up a big step from the floor.  Once I sat, I was again elated to see Tim Bern on baritone sax!  Tony Malaby was absent, but the 3 regular band members: Ches Smith, Andrea Parkins, and Mary Halvorson were all present.  And boy was everybody present!!!  This show was non-stop amazingness from beginning to end!  This is a dream band playing the best way possible!  It was hard to pay attention to any one they were all too enthralling.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ellery Eskelin @ Cornelia St 11/20/10

The 2nd set was awesome.  I think it was 1 hour and it flew.  Nasheet was so great on the drums and Ellery is always great.  Gary is great, I'm just particular about the organ and I only like some organs.  Ellery seemed to love everything he played, so it's a block I have.  It was a wonderful end to a wonderful evening.

Ellery Eskelin, tenor saxophone; Gary Versace, organ; Nasheet Waits, drums
Inspired by his mother "Bobbie Lee" who played Hammond B3 organ professionally in Baltimore in the early sixties, veteran saxophonist Ellery Eskelin explores the organ trio format with stellar bandmates Gary Versace and Nasheet Waits.

Bill Frisell Disfarmer @ Music Hall 11/20/10

Yet another phenomenal, way special show in Nov. in NYC!  I didn't read the listing or know what this was.  This project is a slide show of some photos from depression-era Arkansas and Frisell compositions inspired by them.

The photographs were incredible.  They were all portraits of people and all were exquisite.  Everyone looked really good.  They were various ages.  It started out showing various pictures of men.  After several excellent music pieces, the slide show moved to the women.  Then it would be a woman holding a baby for a bit and the occasional man with a child.  Then children together and families and then ensembles.  It was very cool to see this right before Thanksgiving.

There were 2 screens set up on each side of the amazing band.  They were the same size and rectangular shape and  each had frames.  The frames were a little different on each.  One had 3 frames:  a large rectangle the entire width of the screen, taking up about 40% of the area and the other 2 rectangles splitting the remaining area with a vertical line down the center, about 40/60 for that remaining area.  The other screen had 4 rectangles, all a different size.  Often the same pictures were displayed in very different ways on the screens.  Sometimes it would be a portion of the picture, sometimes it would be in one frame, sometimes more than one, sometimes the whole screen.  There were various views of different portraits or pieces of portraits on a screen in different frames.  It was very well done. It was fascinating how the different views made the portraits different.  It also evoked thoughts of family for me.  I loved when you could see how family members looked alike.  It was awesome when a child and parents with the same eyes were all looking to the right. Everyone in the portraits looked great - beautiful.  I loved it!

The music was fantastic.  Each musician has that new edge to an old instrument.  The bass was a little different than the typical upright.  The steel guitar was so innovative and excellent.  I already knew how outstanding Bill and Jenny are.  They were amazing as always.  I must get the CD, I was disappointed there were none for sale after the show.  The music has a wide range, but all of it had an Americana feel.

The show was about 1.5 hours.  They got a standing ovation and we got a 1 song encore with no pictures.  It was wonderful.


Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell - electric and acoustic guitars, loops, music boxes
Greg Leisz - steel guitars, mandolin
Jenny Scheinman - violin
Viktor Krauss - bass
Produced by Lee Townsend

Recording and Mixing Engineer: Tucker Martine
Mastering Engineer: Greg Calbi
Recorded at Avast Studio, Seattle (February, '08) and Sound Emporium, Nashville (May, '08)
Mixed at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley
Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York City
Production assistance: Adam Blomberg
Assistant engineers: Taylor Pollert, Jesse Nichols and Adam Munoz
Design by Evan Gaffney
Photographs on booklet back, inlay and opposite page by Michael Wilson
All other photographs by Mike Disfarmer

All compositions by Bill Frisell (Friz-Tone Music/BMI) except:
"That's Alright, Mama" by Arthur Crudup (Unichappell Music Inc./BMI)
"Lovesick Blues" by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills (EMI Mills Music/ASCAP)
"I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)" by Hank Williams Sr. (Sony/Acuff Rose Music/BMI)
"Shutter, Dream" by Bill Frisell, Greg Leisz, Jenny Scheinman and Viktor Krauss (Friz-Tone Music/Capsong/Bug Music/Split Window Music/BMI and Taylor Peak Music/ASCAP)
"Arkansas" is based on the song "Arkansas Traveler" by Colonel Sanford C. 'Sandy' Faulkner

Nonesuch Records
Song List:  
1. Disfarmer Theme
2. Lonely Man
3. Lost, Night
4. Farmer
5. Focus
6. Peter Miller's Discovery
7. That's Alright, Mama
8. Little Girl
9. Little Boy
10. No One Gets In
11. Lovesick Blues
12. I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)
13. Shutter, Dream
14. Exposed
15. The Wizard
16. Think
17. Drink
18. Play
19. I Am Not a Farmer
20. Small Town
21. Arkansas (Part 1)
22. Arkansas (Part 2)
23. Arkansas (Part 3)
24. Lost Again, Dark
25. Natural Light
26. Did You See Him?
TRT 1:11:28
"Like David Lynch, postjazz guitarist Bill Frisell has a knack for insinuating an odd haze around the most wholesome aspects of Americana. Disfarmer, named after the cranky Arkansas photographer who created gripping images of his neighbors, finds Frisell teamed with steel guitarist Greg Leisz, violinist Jenny Scheinman and bassist Viktor Krauss for a set of 26 evocative miniatures. Each one flits by like a half-remembered dream, yet paradoxically their sum amounts to one of Frisell's loveliest, most consistently affecting recent creations." - Steve Smith, Time Out, New York
"The music of omnivorous guitarist Bill Frisell reflects an eclectic range of influences .... On "Disfarmer," he draws inspiration from the Depression-era portraits of little-known Arkansas photographer Michael Disfarmer. The result is a provocative soundscape that features a mixture of acoustic and
electric guitars.... Creatively restless, Frisell is best suited for exploring vast territory and responding with imaginative integrity, which is evidenced on "Disfarmer." - Dan Ouellette, Billboard
"Exquisite." - Independent on Sunday
"Frisell's filmic themes summon up the ghosts of a lost America. The results are gently beautiful." The Times
"The tunes prove so hauntingly evocative that they conjure the spirits of long-vanished people and places without the need for visual accompaniment." - Metro
"The hymns and hoedowns of 'Disfarmer' are both affectionate and atmospheric." - Daily Telegraph
"You practically feel the Arkansas soil slipping through your fingers."- The Sun

NPR.org, July 13, 2009 -
This album is called Disfarmer, and it's by Bill Frisell. Frisell, you may
know: He's a guitar tactician with warmth and a composer of unclassifiable songs. As a solo artist, Frisell is known largely for drawing upon the affects of Americana ‹ folk, country and western, what-have-you ‹ in ways you wouldn't immediately call jazz, but which draw from jazz in a way that implies no better descriptor.
But who, or what for that matter, is Disfarmer?
Mike Disfarmer was born Michael Meyers in 1884, the sixth of seven children in a family of German immigrant farmers in Arkansas. As he grew older, he came to reject both his family and its agrarian lifestyle. (A tornado, he once claimed, uprooted him from his birth parents and blew him into the Meyers household.) So he chose a new surname. Upon learning, somewhat incorrectly, that the German word "meyer" translated to "farmer" in English, he reasoned that he could only be called an anti-farmer, or Disfarmer.
In other words, Disfarmer was something of an eccentric, and a recluse to boot. But he was also an artist: Disfarmer ran a portrait photography studio in rural Heber Springs, Ark. ‹ the only such enterprise for miles around.
Thousands of black-and-white images captured his fellow townspeople from the years preceding the Great Depression to the period following WWII. And something about the solemn, stark plainness to his style lent his subjects an unexpected intimacy, ensuring his legacy as one of America's great outsider artists.
Disfarmer died in 1959, but his photographs were eventually rediscovered, exhibited and anthologized. The candor of those images would be a natural counterpart to the post-Americana music of Bill Frisell ‹ so thought Chuck Helm, Director of the Performing Arts at the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio. Sure enough, when Helm introduced Frisell to Disfarmer's oeuvre, the guitarist went on to create a touring multimedia work, scoring a slideshow of Disfarmer images.
The recording of that music, on Frisell's latest album Disfarmer, is what you can hear here in its entirety. It's filled with the sounds of a 21st-century string band: Greg Leisz's mandolin and pedal-steel atmospherics, Jenny Scheinman's sundry fiddle textures, Viktor Krauss' rich acoustic bass plucking. And then there's Frisell, the quiet tactician of the electric guitar, who engineers loops and subtle distortions with phrasing you never knew you were expecting.
There are evocative original themes and motifs here, surrounded by backgrounds sounding distant echoes of country, bluegrass and old-time mountain music. There's also a handful of carefully selected covers, among them Hank Williams' lament "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)"
and Arthur Crudup's blues song "That's Alright, Mama," a hit rockabilly vehicle for Elvis Presley. It's a record alternately spare and full, languid and rollicking, pastoral and urbanely produced.
And it's all in service to the work of the enigmatic Arkansas photographer Mike Disfarmer.
"What was he thinking?" Frisell asks. "What did he see? We'll never know, but as I write the music, I'd like to imagine it coming from his point of view. The sound of him looking through the lens."

The Houston Chronicle, August 2, 2009 Sunday
By Andrew Dansby

Like Bill Frisell, I'd not heard of Mike Disfarmer even though I'd seen his work. Disfarmer, who died in 1959, was a weird genius of photography who took haunting, beautiful and mysterious portraits of the folks in his hometown of Heber Springs, Ark. Disfarmer's photos tipped the paper boat into the water for the always innovative guitarist Frisell, but Disfarmer is more than a soundtrack to a collection of photos. Frisell took a road trip from North Carolina to Arkansas to initiate the project. In both song selection and instrumentation the album reflects that movement. Among the 26 compositions are three interpretations of well-known songs - That's Alright, Mama, Lovesick Blues and I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You) - that suggest he stopped at some music landmarks along the way.
But the majority of these songs, with titles like Farmer, Little Girl and Little Boy, were inspired by Disfarmer and/or his subjects. Not only is there a continuity in Disfarmer's work (the crisp black-and-white detail, the stillness of the subjects) but there's also great range. Similarly Frisell's pieces flow together despite great variance in their tones. Some, like the opening Disfarmer's Theme, reflect the stoic darkness portrayed in the photos while others are more colorful. The lightness Jenny Scheinman's pizzicato violin plucking on Lost, Night are immersed in some more ominous tones produced by Frisell and steel guitarist Greg Leisz. Together, they give the song a gorgeous complexity.
I'm Not a Farmer has a sweeping country feel, tinged with resignation. It's quickly followed by the intimate, acoustically picked Small Town, a short composition that suggests a yearning to get outside its titular subject.
American roots music is not new terrain for Frisell. He's also no stranger to making music tied to a visual medium (he's done recordings to accompany Buster Keaton films). Disfarmer, though, is a particularly beautiful suite of music. Frisell's pacing is magnificent, and the album sweeps along with purpose like a gorgeous, spacious epic. It is full of sounds that suggest settings and characters, including the mysterious eccentric who inspired the recording.

NPR.org, August 16, 2009
click here to hear the interview

Mike Disfarmer snapped portraits of anyone and everyone in the small town of Heber Springs, Ark. The photos spanned a period from the Great Depression through World War II. The black and white pictures ranged from the intent stares of a set of twins in tight curls and rumpled housecoats to a cocksure G.I. with an unlit cigarette dangling from his lip.
Guitarist Bill Frisell composed a series of musical vignettes based on Disfarmer's work for a new album appropriately called Disfarmer.
"At first I was attracted to the photos themselves, but then there's this whole story that starts to emerge of the man himself," Frisell says. "He was pretty much unknown while he was alive. And 20 years later, the photos are uncovered and [Disfarmer is] suddenly thought of as a genius."
Frisell drove to Heber Springs, Ark., where Disfarmer took the photographs. He wanted to meet people who lived there and happened to get lucky when he met Tom Olmstead, the town's funeral director. Olmstead not only had his picture taken by Disfarmer as a boy, but he and his father discovered Disfarmer's body after the photographer died. Olmstead provided Frisell with a wealth of stories.
Mike Disfarmer was born Mike Meyers. Frisell tells host Guy Raz that Disfarmer mistakenly thought that "Meyers" meant "farmer."
"He was trying to disassociate himself with his family and the community around there. So he decided to be Disfarmer," Frisell says. "You can tell he was a pretty contrary person."
Disfarmer was rude to the people he photographed and made them feel uncomfortable, but Frisell says that wasn't his aim. He was more interested in the photo itself.
"People weren't really posing. They never really knew when the photo was going to be taken," Frisell says. "In that way you get this really honest picture of those folks."

Sonic Boomers, September 11, 2009
By Phil Gallo

The peppiest original on Bill Frisell’s work devoted to a mysterious Arkansas photographer is titled “Natural Light.” It’s a moment of controlled joy -- an artist finding the right split second to capture life -- and as an audio interpreter of a visual art, Frisell has everything in proper focus on Disfarmer.

Arkansas portrait photographer Mike Meyers chose the name Disfarmer at the age of 55 to break free of his family’s dairy operation, believing he was superior to the townsfolk of Heber Springs, Ark., that he photographed in his downtown studio during the years of World War II. Guitarist Bill Frisell, whose last 15 albums belie his music’s rural roots, was invited to create a musical project, which he interpreted as an opportunity to compose from the photographer’s point of view.

The result is a song cycle with a careful, film-score construction. There’s an overriding pensiveness, moments of cheerfulness and the occasional blast of a carefree spirit. The music, performed with Greg Leisz on steel guitar and mandolin, violinist Jenny Scheinman and bassist Viktor Krauss, is highly impressionistic, a striking balance of sepia-toned light and dark. Textured interplay is rich and striking throughout, hitting its apex on “Peter Miller’s Discovery.”  Miller, an attorney in Arkansas and a former newspaper editor, has spearheaded the effort over the last 15 years to recognize Disfarmer’s work as fine art.

Mystery surrounded Disfarmer. He never socialized, his lone interaction coming during photo sessions that often required subjects to sit for an hour as he adjusted the amount of natural light in the room. The portraits are intimate and detailed, a trait Frisell has translated in the music.

Mystery and distance color the snail-paced “Little Boy;” a music box, harmonics and upright bass unfold on “Shutter, Dream” as an image would on photo paper in the darkroom. “I am Not a Farmer,” upright in its defiant tone, is a lyrical ballad modeled on mountain story songs that reveals the erosion behind the human facade. As the song progresses, Scheinman’s violin adds streaks of darkness with the slightest bit of dissonance to contrast Frisell’s carefully picked lines. Of the 26 songs, it’s the true musical portrait.

Frisell includes nods to Elvis Presley (Arthur Crudup’s “That’s Alright, Mama”) and Hank Williams (“I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)” and “Lovesick Blues”) that provide an air of familiarity, a technique he used on “History, Mystery” with Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” the traditional numbers on “The Willies” and songs by Williams and George Gershwin on “Ghost Town.”

Disfarmer’s booklet includes six of his photographs. While they share similarities in subject matter and the era with the renowned  Walker Evans, Disfarmer operated in a  far more controlled environment in which the subjects were alone against bare backdrops. Some of his subjects revel in the opportunity to be shot and others display blank stares and disgruntled looks.

Frisell clearly felt a kinship with Disfarmer’s work, which he echoes with numbers that alternate between atmospherics and actual verse-chorus-verse songs. His last record, 2008’s History, Mystery, was equally suite-like but its sources of inspiration were far wider. Focused on creating a musical portrait from books, photos and his own drive from North Carolina to Heber Springs, Frisell has created a moving work of tremendous intimacy and control.

By Norman Weinstein

"Disfarmer" (Nonesuch) is a tour de force of jazz creativity by Bill Frisell. Inspired by the stark photography of Mike Disfarmer that captured the spirit of "American Gothic" in the Ozarks of the late 1930s and early '40s, Frisell uses a variety of electric and acoustic guitars and electronic effects to create a profoundly eerie merger of old-timey mountain music and jazz. Among his cocreators are Greg Leisz on steel guitar and mandolin, bassist Viktor Krauss, and the versatile violinist Jenny Scheinman. Listen carefully to Scheinman's interplay with Frisell and you'll hear haunting echoes of East European folk laments. Retro-folk futurism with a global reach?

fROOTS, October 2009
There are only so many superlatives that one can hep on (loosely speaking) jazz guitarist Bill Frisell's forays into the ghosts of Americana, and this one - a set inspired by the images of wartime rural photographer Mike Disfarmer - deservers the lot. The usual exemplary accompanying crew of Greg Leisz, Jenny Scheinmann & Viktor Krauss are all in attendance. 'Sublime' will do for starters.

Danilo Perez @ Jazz Standard 11/18/20

This is a great jazz trio.  They had a special guest female vocalist that sat in for a couple.  She has a good voice and didn't sing words and was very much another instrument - just how I like it.  Most of the music was rather mellow yet still interesting and rich enough to keep me engaged.  There was also some more lively pieces and moments where it was hard to stay seated.

A great show!

The listing:
  • Danilo Pérez – piano
  • Ben Street – bass
  • Adam Cruz – drums
“When the dust settles, the pianist Danilo Pérez will be looking like one of the best things that happened to jazz around the turn of the millennium,” The New York Times declared in 2006. Providencia, his Mack Avenue label debut, crosses streams of jazz, classical and Latin American folk music in a creative process Pérez describes as “hearing music in three dimensions.” Alongside the Panamanian leader, the group includes Indian–American saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, Lebanese–American percussionist Jamey Haddad, Colombian conga player Ernesto Diaz, and Portuguese vocalist Sara Serpa. Danilo Pérez returns to Jazz Standard this week at the helm of his long–time working group featuring bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz. “With the firmness of his keyboard attack and the limitlessness of his rhyth¬mic and harmonic fancy, Pérez has the stuff of a still-forming giant,” wrote David Adler at Jazz¬Times.com. “This trio allows him to thrive.”

Pedrito Martinez @ Joe's Pub 11/16/10

It was especially fun to go with someone very familiar with different styles of Latin music.  This band is influenced by many styles and does their own thing.  It was a lot of fun with good musicians.  The piano definitely stood out.  The sax was OK, I have to say I didn't really need it.  They also had the addition of a female vocalist/piano/keyboard player.  I liked her on vocals.  She was good.

It was a very good, fun show.  If I hadn't seen them last month, I would probably be even more excited about it.  However, there was something different that last time - the music possessed me to a greater degree.  I had a little more to drink that night, so that could have had something to do with it.  It was also their space, and there is something to the energy that a venue absorbs when enough good music infiltrates it.  Just think about the NOLA venues.

I'm also not clear Pedro was the conga player I saw that night.  If it was 2 different people, both were great.

Overall it was a lot of fun and nice to see them downtown.

The Pedrito Martinez Group
Price: $17
9:30 PM - November 16

Pedrito Martinez on percussion and vocals
Axel Tosca Laugart on keyboard
Ariacne Trujillo on piano and vocals
Alvaro Benavides on electric bass
Jhair Sala on percussion
Luisito Sanchez-Faife on alto sax
Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Sept 12, 1973, Pedrito Martinez began his musical career at the age of 11, performing as vocalist and percussionist on the Afro Cuban music scene playing with such legends as Tata Guines, Lazaro Roos, Merceditas Valdes, Pancho Quinto, Gregorio (El Goyo) Hernandez, Yoruba Andabo and the great Cuban group, Munequitos de Matanzas.

Pedrito was brought to Canada in 1998 by Jane Bunnett, a Canadian saxophone player, to tour with her group, Spirits of Havana. At this point, Pedrito decided to remain in North America to pursue his career. This was a major turning point for Pedro both personally and musically.

Since settling in New York City in 1998, Pedrito has performed, recorded, and/or toured with Paquito d’Rivera; Brian Lynch; Orlando Ríos “Puntilla”; Steve Turre; Kip Hanrahan and his Deep Rumba project; Sting for his rainforest benefit, with Elton John and Bruce Springsteen; Me’shell Ndege’Ocello; Eddie Palmieri; Bill Summers and Los Hombres Calientes; Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill; Stefon Harris; Bebo Valdés; Dave Samuels; Steve Coleman; Cassandra Wilson; The Conga Kings (Candido Camero, Patato Valdés and Giovanni Hidalgo); Taj Mahal; John Scofield; Randy Brecker; and Dave Murray. He was also featured in the great documentary film on Cuban music, made in 2000, Calle 54.

A project that prominently featured Mr. Martínez in his element, singing, drumming, dancing, and collaborating on original material, was the highly successful, Afro-Cuban/Afro-Beat fusion band,Yerba Buena with which he recorded two albums and toured the world opening for bands including the Dave Matthews Band, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles.

Pedrito has lent his enormous talents to perhaps one hundred records, including albums by Paquito d’Rivera, Issac Delgado, Eliane Elias, Stephan Harris, Steve Turre, Conrad Herwig and many others. These include six records that were Grammy® nominated and one, a collaboration between Eddie Palmieri and Brian Lynch, called “Simpatico”, that was awarded a Grammy®.

In 2005 Pedrito became part of an ensemble that would eventually become his own band. With a home base at a Midtown Manhattan Restaurant, called Guantanamera, they have grown into an extraordinarily tight musical, and creative unit, and have built a fan base that includes musicians like, Steve Gadd, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, John Scofield, Roger Waters, Lew Soloff, Derrick Trucks, Earth Wind & Fire, Herlin Riley, Ravi Coltrane, Dave Weckl and Will Lee.

Allison/Scheinman/Cardenas @ Kush 11/15/10

It's a new thing that Ben Allison is doing on Sun nights.  It's a live rehearsal by talented musicians with different people each week.  They play for tips and it's very good.  It's a nice space, very comfortable.  It's Happy Hour until 9pm and drinks and food are about 1/2 off.

The music was awesome.  I really miss Jenny and haven't prioritized getting to Barbes for those early Tues night gigs.  She was phenomenal.

This was actually an amazing string trio.  It was listed in AAJ as having Rudy Royston instead of Steve.  It was just as good for me.  They did compositions from each of them and they were all phenomenal.  They played from around 7:45 for about 45-60 min.  They were going to do another set, but I needed to get home.  I'll save the next Kush set for another night and another band formation.

Wollesen/Knuffke @ DMG 11/14/10

I finally made it to my favorite CD store in the city since it moved.  It's not that hard to get to.  I broke out my trusty Manhattan atlas and made it without a problem.  They do free shows every Sun at 6pm, sometimes having a 2nd band at 7.  I subscribe to their mailing list, which is packed with merch info for their on-line customers and lists their gigs as well as many others going on around town.

It was an awesome 45 min set.  It's been too long since I've seen Kenny.  He is too good!  Kirk is also outstanding.  It was a very nice way to see how easy it is to get to the place!


NEW Store Address: 13 Monroe Street [between Catherine & Market Streets in Chinatown],     New York, NY 10002-7351
Click for Map!
NEW Visiting Hours (9/1/09) - 5 Days A Week: Thurs through Sun, Noon to 8pm.. AND Monday Noon to 6pm
Other Days/Times: Contact us in advance for an Appointment

Phone: (212) 473-0043 - Toll Free: (800) 622-1387 - NEW Fax #: (646) 781-9846

General Correspondence: dmg@downtownmusicgallery.com

Venus Uprising Fantasy Bellydance @ RS Lounge 11/13/10

I messed up the time, so I was only able to see the 2nd act.  My friend was in the 1st act, but I also loved the last time I saw this troupe's Tarot production, so I was looking forward to all of it.  What I saw was excellent and well worth it.  My favorite was a solo performance of the Voodoo Queen.  I'm sure you never would have guessed that!

Each piece was excellent.  There were 3 solo performances.  A very cool ensemble all in black was intriguing. Sara Skinner and her husband did an awesome piece where her husband played mandolin and she was a bitchy waitress.  There was also a fun piece with 3 women doing that funkier style.

I have to figure out how to find out about the annual show even if Val isn't in it ...

"Bad Girls & Dangerous Games" Performers & themes:

Tanna Valentine & Baron Misuraca [vocals] “Bettie Page - Sway”
Ayshe & Ensemble “Carmen”
Darshan & Ensemble “Vintage Gangster Vixens”
Darshan & Ensemble “Sirens”
Jeniviva “The Waiting Game”
LaUra “Lady Gaga's Dream”
Irina “Voodoo Queen” (Saturday)
Fayzah “Android Goddess” (Friday)
Neon with Angelys and Jenna Rey “Anime Assassins”
Neon “Kept Woman”
Sarah Skinner and the Sisters of Salome “Poker: The dead man’s hand”
Sarah Skinner & Kevin Fox [live music] “Gossip”
Special Musical Guests: Baron Misuraca, Kevin Fox

MC: Andy Troy

Friday, November 19, 2010

Steve Swell @ University of the Streets 11/10/10

This started at 9, so I was a little late, but I still got about 1/2 hour of music. A 1/2 hour of phenomenal music, that is. I don't know what to say beyond that. I love the space, and I am so glad it will continue and the artists are happy about it. Steve's curating next month and Hill's got Jan. This is very very good for us Manhattanites that enjoy creative music!

Rob Brown, Chris Forbes, Hill Greene, Michael T.A. Thompson

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cindy Blackman @ LPR 11/10/10

What do you get when you combine an electric bass, rock guitar, a monster drummer and a versatile electric keyboard that swings both ways (organ and piano)? You can an incredible funky jazz-rock set of enthralling music!

This was a different group than the one I saw Cindy with at Jazz Standard - this was more rockish. It was an exciting, lively set with talented musicians. They were finishing up a tour and Cindy said they will be taking a break to do other things. That makes me extra happy I went to this show. It was 75 min at least, maybe a little longer. It was great.

From All About Jazz:
The line up for Blackman's band Another Lifetime is: Aurelien Budynek, guitar; Marc Cary; keyboards; and Felix Pastorius, bass

Matana Roberts/Ches Smith @ The Stone 11/7/10

Two great improvisers playing together at The Stone. Of course it was stellar and phenomenal and any other great adjective you can come up with.

Most of the time I was watching Ches because he is so interesting. He had a couple of really cool tribal looking "Liberty Bells". They didn't look anything like Liberty bells they were just similar, bell-shaped and about the size of the bells all of us kids from the Philly burbs had. Ches' bells sounded much better, also. He had this little box that I forgot to see if I could investigate later. It was a little wider than a deck of cards and I wasn't sure if it was some kind of thumb piano or what.

Matana lately asks after each piece "Questions? Comments? Criticisms?". We were silent, but I admit that I wanted to ask about some of Ches' instruments. She said she's been prompting lately instead of talking about whatever might come up. She reverted back to her old way after the 3rd piece and told she is going to Paris soon to get a new horn that won't make that percussive sound when she hits the keys. Interesting. I never thought about that before. I'm interested to hear the difference.

Overall I enjoyed the entire set. I love The Stone.

Matana Roberts

Matana Roberts (alto saxophone) Ches Smith (drums)

Matana Roberts and Ches Smith are two of New York's finest improvisers. Tonight they will be experimenting on spontaneous city soundscapes. http://www.matanaroberts.com/. http://www.chessmith.com/

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christian McBride & Inside Straight @ Jazz Standard 11/7/10

This is such a phenomenal band.  They each have so much to offer.  I definitely prefer to see them at Jazz Standard over Village Vanguard.  It's so much more comfortable and easy.

I sat on the side of the stage and could see pretty well.  Each artist caught me at various times.  It was the first week this new young piano player is with them.  He is quite impressive.

I loved it and it was well worth the effort to get there.

Steve Wilson – alto & soprano saxophones
Warren Wolf – vibraphone
Christian Sands – piano
Christian McBride – bass
Carl Allen – drums

Christian McBride’s prowess as a player, his deep feeling for jazz history, and his appreciation for world culture have combined to make him among the most respected and in–demand musicians of his genera¬tion, not only as a collaborator on stage and on disc but also as a speaker, educator, and radio host. The Grammy Award–winning Philadelphian has been the “first call” bassist for artists ranging from McCoy Tyner and Sting to Kathleen Battle and Diana Krall, but it is his own recordings that reveal the totality of McBride’s musicianship. The latest is Kind of Brown, a collection of hard swing–to–bluesy groove tunes that is the artist’s first release for Mack Avenue Records. The CD includes seven new Christian McBride compositions plus songs by Freddie Hubbard (“Theme for Kareem”) and Eric Reed (“Pursuit of Peace”) and the classic ballad “Where Are You?”

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Jonathan Finlayson and Sicilian Defense @ Jazz Gallery 11/6/10

A nice way to close a triple header evening.  This is a great new jazz band.  All the musicians are great and stood out at various points.  It was very nice.

Jonathan Finlayson and Sicilian Defense
Saturday, November 6th, 2010 | 9:00; 10:30 p.m.
Jonathan Finlayson - trumpet, Shane Endsley - trumpet, Miles Okazaki - guitar, Keith Witty - bass, Damion Reid - drums

Lucien Ban @ Cornelia St 11/6/10

I see him listed with interesting projects at Cornelia Street Cafe often.  I'm not sure I'd seen him before.  I saw Matt Maneri was in it and that was good enough for me.

The music was excellent!  It's a new project and quite wonderful.  I love a tuba in the bass role.  Bob Stewart was awesome.  As I said, you can't go wrong with Matt Maneri on viola.  Lucien is wonderful on piano.

It was a great show with a great band and exactly what I was in the mood for.

9:00PM 10:30PM
Lucian Ban, piano
Mat Maneri, viola
Bruce Williams, alto sax, flute;
Gerald Cleaver, drums
Bob Stewart, tuba

UFO @ Groove 11/6/10

I had to come out early and support my friend Thulani's p-funk style funk band.  Yeah, it's OK to say funk twice in the same sentence when describing this band.

It was a lot of fun.  Groove actually has a Happy Hour where all food and drink items are $4 and it goes til 8pm.  I had a good, stiff Makers & Ginger for $4.  Crazy.

The band was fun.  I like this lineup a lot more than the prior one.  They gel very nicely.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Upcoming: Pedrito Martinez Group @ Joe’s Pub Tues Night

Yay! This is that great band I saw last month at Guantanamera. I’m so glad they are coming downtown!  And, a special guest saxophone!  Awesome! 

Check out these great Youtube videos and then buy a ticket.

NOVEMBER 16th, at 9:30 the Pedrito Martinez Group will be at JOE'S's PUB!

This performance with feature, Pedrito, Axel, Ariacne, Alvaro, Jhair and special guest, Luis Sanchez-Faife on saxophone.

Billy Bang Quartet @ Rubin Museum 11/4/10

It was a wonderful set of music in a wonderful space. I already love Billy and Hill and now I know the other 2 were definitely worthy of being on the same stage.

Everyone took a long solo in the 2nd piece. Each one was stellar. The drummer ended his by playing his own thighs and chest with his hands. That's something that wouldn't be heard in any other venue of that size!

Billy Bang is definitely one of the greats on violin. While a lot of people do know of him, usually the Vision Fest crowd, a lot don't. They should!

There were about 4 compositions and 3 pieces of art. It was about 70ish minutes long. It was fabulous.

Billy Bang - violin
Andrew Bemkey - piano
Hilliard Greene - bass
Newman Taylor Baker - drums

Billy Bang is an American free jazz violinist and composer. Bang has most recently explored his experience in Vietnam in two albums: Vietnam: The Aftermath (2001) and Vietnam: Reflections (2005), recorded with a band which included several other veterans of that conflict. The latter album also features two Vietnamese musicians based in the United States.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Calvin Weston @ The Stone 11/4/10

It was supposed to include Billy Martin, but he had to go to Europe suddenly.  They still charged $20, and it was worth it.  I forgot how much I love "avant acid jazz".  It grooved, it rocked, it jazzed and at times they funked it up.

The bass! The drums!

Let me tell you about the guitar!  He had a couple of blocks of pedals and there were times where I thought it was Ribot.  I think a few lines were similar.  There were also plenty of parts where he played nothing like Ribot and that was great as well.

Now, Calvin did not want to stop.  He was prepared to play straight through til 11.  I thought that was rather smart, I mean, we paid $20 for the set (the usual cover is $10) and if there was a break, I for one probably wouldn't stay for the 2nd set for another $20.  It was great, but I was tired and hungry.  But alas, he asked the manager du jour and was told he could charge another cover and "you like money, don't you?".  If I really wanted to stay, I might have helped keep it going.  It might have worked to keep playing and pass a hat around to those of us who wanted to stay to kick in another $5-10 and charge newcomers the $20.  I probably would have stayed as it would have been hard to leave such great music.  However, I was tired and hungry and the proposal was left unmentioned.

It was a great extra long set.  They started around 8:15-20 and played til 9:40.  Calvin played trumpet and keyboard as well as drums.  The bass player is awesome.

I want to take a little overnight trip to Philly at some point and I'm waiting to coincide it with music.  I'm now going to try to do it when Calvin's got a gig.

11/4 Thursday (MJJ)
8 and 10 pm G. Calvin Weston Group, tribute to Ornette Coleman and Free Jazz G. Calvin Weston (drums, keyboards, trumpet) Ed Ricart (guitar) Tom Spiker (bass) Billy Martin (percussion, drums) G. Calvin Weston came up in North Philadelphia, where he saw musicians such as Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, and James Brown at the Uptown Theater. Seeing his attention focused on the drummers, his father bought him a small set. In high school Calvin learned to read music and played second snare in the drum ensemble. He co-founded the group Bad Influence, which played in cabarets and clubs around Philadelphia. At 17, Calvin joined Ornette Colemans Prime Time Band with bass player Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Charlie Ellerbee, touring extensively in North America and Europe. Calvin went on to play and record with guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer, then joined John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards in 1990. During the late ‘90s Calvin recorded and toured with Billy Martin of Medeski Martin and Wood, Tricky, Eyvind Kang, Derek Bailey, Marc Ribot, and James Carter. He also played on several movie soundtracks, including "Get Shorty.” And he continues to lead his own groups. www.myspace.com/calvinweston. TWENTY DOLLARS 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adam Rudolph's Moving Pictures @ LPR 11/3/10

I never get sick of this band. This show was a sextet instead of the octet and it was just as good. It's nice to be able to key in on a smaller group sometimes. They all were magnificent. I loved the guitar. I loved the interaction between Adam and Brahim. It was a wonderful set.

Wed., November 03, 2010 / 6:30 PM
Doors Open: 6:30 PM
Show Time: 7:30 PM

ADAM RUDOLPH (handrumset (kongos, djembe, tarija, zabumba) thumb pianos, sintir, multiphonic vocal, percussion)
GRAHAM HAYNES (cornet, flugelhorn, percussion)
BRAHIM FRIBGANE (oud, cajon, bendir, tarija, percussion)
KENNY WESSEL (electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, percussion)
JEROME HARRIS (acoustic bass guitar, slide guitar, vocal, percussion)
RALPH JONES (flute, bass clarinet, alto flute, sop and tenor saxophones, bamboo flutes)

Douglas Detrick Trio @ University of the Streets 10/31/10

No music was compelling me this Halloween. I did find myself wishing I was in NOLA, but it hadn't occurred to me until that night. I also wasn't compelled to really look for options and had a great day regardless. I was feeling like getting some kind of music in after my great day. I'm so glad I did. I felt like this band is something I could catch in Brooklyn but there we are short on venues for these guys in Manhattan ... until now. We really need another Tonic in Manhattan - badly!

This band is great! I knew nothing about any of them. They reinterpreted blues songs in their own way. They chose Son House and Roscoe Holcombe because they were innovative in their day. Neither had a trumpet or a bass drum. but they were always creating when they played. I wanted to ask about the bass drum when they were done, but I didn't.  I know Zigaboo Modaliste is credited with the "kick drum" and I never explored exactly what that meant.  I will do the research when I get time.

The drums were especially compelling for me. He kept doing something interesting. He even included the music stand as part of his kit for a portion of the set.

It was a very enjoyable set!


Sun, October 31, 2010
8:00 pm
Douglas Detrick - trumpet, John Sutton - bass, Christian Coleman - drums. www.myspace.com/douglasdetrick
This performance will focus on the music of Son House, Roscoe Holcombe and other early blues and country musicians along with original compositions by Douglas Detrick.

drums were great. Played the music stand

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Angelica Sanchez/Chad Taylor/Greg Ward/ Sean Conly @ University of the Streets 10/30/10

This space a few blocks from my home has been around for over 40 years and I'm just realizing it exists.  They just started a curated series and it's a good thing.  It's a good space.  I think it seats about 75 people, but it doesn't feel wrong when only a few of us show up.  There are comfortable seats and a few tables in a semicircle around the room in 3 staggered levels, each level is up a step.  The performance area is on the floor.  It looks like you can see pretty well from just about any seat.  I chose the one in the center and then moved slightly to the left so I could see the drummer better (he was a little blocked by a music stand from the sax).

I enjoyed the set.  Angelica played piano and Chad Taylor was awesome on drums.  It's been a while since I've seen him.  Too long.  The set was about 45-50 minutes and very good and engaging.

Angelica Sanchez  piano
Chad Taylor  drums
Greg Ward  sax
Sean Conly  bass