Saturday, April 30, 2011

Darius Jones/Matthew Shipp @ Jazz Standard 4/27/11

I'm so happy I made it to this.  I got there just in time for the 2nd set.  I give Jazz Standard a lot of credit for booking improvisation performances.  It was a listening audience - not as much consuming.  I have a feeling many stayed over from the 1st set.  It was phenomenal.  I love each of them in whatever they are doing, together they are magnificent.  I was blown away.

Wednesday April 27
  • Darius Jones – alto saxophone
    Matthew Shipp – piano
Pianist Matthew Shipp is one of New York’s most talked–about talents, one who has “not only stretched the definitions of jazz, but also exponentially advanced his own ideas about it conceptually and technically.” (Thom Jurek, Alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones “has the capacity for a proud, rafters–raising tone on alto saxophone, and as an improviser he’s fearless but disciplined.” (Nate Chinen, The New York Times). These two intrepid sonic explorers join forces for the first time on the expansive 13–part song cycle Cosmic Lieder, set for April release on AUM Fidelity. The duo will perform this ambitious work, and extensions thereof, tonight on our stage in a much–anticipated appearance.

Bill Frisell @ Village Vanguard 4/26/11

It was completely different from last week, of course.  It was more experimental jazz-americana.  It was awesome!  The audience was so appreciative that we got an encore.  We brought them all the way back from the green room.

The musicianship was outstanding.  They play so well together.  This really was something special.

And, it was only the 1st set of the run!  I might just have to get back there on Sun.

April 26 - May 01
Ron Miles-tpt, Tony Scherr-b,
Kenny Wollesen-d 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Henry Plays Ray @ Jazz Standard 4/24/11

That's Ray Charles curated by Henry Butler. I thought this should be phenomenal. I'm surprised every time when I go to see Henry and see that he's blind. Oh yeah ... Ray Charles was blind, too. I didn't pick up on the fact that they were both piano players from the south that can sing, either. I just knew I had to see Henry play Ray's music because that would be awesome. I also know that Henry is a lot happier. He made Ray's music feel happier that night.

This was an amazing band that blew us all away. Henry stayed on piano and left the keyboard to the very capable ___  (damn! - he's not listed and I can't remember his name.  Henry told us he's played with Aretha before). The sax was unbelievably good! If it started sounding like more horns, it was coming from the keyboard. The drums and bass were phenomenal. It was a blast!

Sunday April 24
Henry Butler - piano/vocals
Vincent Herring - alto saxophone
Cocoran Holt - bass
Ali Jackson - drums

Genius + Soul = Jazz placed Ray Charles at the head of the Count Basie Orchestra with cornetist Thad Jones, guitarist Freddie Green, and saxophonists Billy Mitchell and Frank Wess all on board for the date. Charles played Hammond B-3 organ on this mostly–instrumental set, vocalizing only on two blues numbers, “I’ve Got News for You” and “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town.” Ray’s Latin–soul rendition of “One Mint Julep” (arranged by Quincy Jones) reached Number One R&B/Number Eight Pop – the biggest hit single ever to bear the Impulse! logo. Closing out the incredible 5-night run of Impulse! music, the great blues and jazz pianist/vocalist from New Orleans, Henry Butler, will bring down the house with 2 sets of rousing music celebrating “Brother Ray!”

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Robin Eubanks Curates Impulse! @ Jazz Gallery 4/23/11

I went to this "by accident".  I thought it was Henry Butler, which was the next night.  This was also celebrating a group I never heard of.  I realized while standing in line waiting to get in.  Cool.  I get to check out and learn about something different.

Good move!  The set was outstanding.  Robin was friends with J J Johnson, so he mainly talked about him.  He did mention that of the Impulse! re-releases that are about to happen,  this was the first record released back in 1961.  It changed the face of jazz by having 2 trombones.  Before that, it was hard to find any trombones.  Still today, it's often saxophones and trumpets.

The music was stellar!  I was blown away.  I forgot how awesome straight ahead can be.  They did pull together some amazing musicians for the week.  I even considered heading up to Dizzy's for more amazing jazz.  But, this set went til 11 and it felt like enough.

  • Robin Eubanks - trombone
    Andy Hunter - trombone
    John Escreet - keyboards
    Lonnie Plaxico - bass
    Gene Jackson - drums
The group formed by Kai Winding and J.J. Johnson made its Birdland debut in 1954 and played one of the best–received sets at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. The band broke up soon after, but in 1960 the two trombone masters reunited to record the very first Impulse! album, The Great Kai And J.J., released in early 1961. The tunes ranged from “Blue Monk” to Hollywood (“Theme From Picnic”), and the rhythm section included pianist Bill Evans, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Roy Haynes. Winding led a four–trombone septet on The Incredible Kai Winding Trombone, also issued in 1961. Tonight’s powerhouse project is curated and led by Grammy Award-winning trombonist Robin Eubanks.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Marc Ribot Really the Blues @ Iridium 4/21/11

Oh my God!  This is what Heaven must be like!  Wow!  Ribot!!!

This was a first time this lineup played ever.  I know Ribot did this Blues project once or twice before, but I'm not sure who was in it.  All i know is that I didn't even know about the Rose Live gig until now.  I think Chad Taylor (drums) might be the only difference.

This is what I live for!  Yes, in the last couple of weeks I've seen Bill Frisell, Ben Perowsky, Allison Miller etc.  This may be the best thing I've seen all year.  Really.  I think it was the best Ribot I've seen all year at least.  The guy blew me away.  Actually, they all blew me away.

I don't know what to say.  Marc Ribot at his very best ... Going to town on the guitar ... Brad Jones on contrabass, making me wonder if he was playing an electric at times, he wasn't ... killer drums, and I mean killer ... Bill Ware on vibes, keyboard and piano.  OK!?!  Phenomenal!  Pure brilliance!  I had to stay for the 2nd set.  Luckily for my bank account,  there was no additional cover.  I was staying regardless.

The 2nd set!  Oh my God!  It was the same stellar music with the same amazing musicians, it was just even more phenomenal.  I finally gave myself permission to get up and get down.  That's what's great about Iridium.  If you have enough gumption to get up and dance no one is gonna try and stop you.  No one even wants to stop you.  Not that any of the places that have asked me to stop over the years wanted to.  I don't think any of them wanted to.  It's just not only does Iridium not have to, they wouldn't dream of it.  I mean, what kind of jazz club in the Times Square area has a TBA on the schedule and then books Ribot??!!  I give his manager Mary Ho a lot of credit!  I wouldn't put it past her to notice the TBA on Iridium's calendar and call them up to book a gig.  Whether that's how it went down or not, she's THAT good!

Any way, 2 sets of awesomeness that maybe only Jazzfest can compete with. Ahhh.

Bill Frisell's Beautiful Dreamers @ Village Vanguard 4/20/11

I got a lucky seat right up front.  The music was perfect.  Eyvind Kang made it for me.  I mean, I was freaking out over Rudy at many points and Bill is always interesting and soulful.  Still, that viola was unbelievable.

That's it for me this week, but I will be back next week.

Eyvind Kang-vla, Rudy Royston-d 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ben Perowsky @ Doma 4/19/11

I youtubed Glen Patscha and got curious to check this out.  It was awesome.  I got there at the end of the 1st set and it looked like Yanil was playing guitar.  He played cello for the entire 2nd set.  I loved that.  Glen was so engaging on the keyboards.  I missed a lot of vocals the first set, which is just the way I like it.  The end set was awesome!

I'm happy to say this series is continuing.  It's booked through May and Ben doesn't seem to run out of phenomenal people to play with.  It's also got the cafe vibe which is fun for something different.

Upcoming Undead Jazzfest 6/23-6/26

This looks phenomenal!  And, you can get a discounted 4-day pass for $45 if you purchase before 4/29.  It's absurd not to!

2011 NYC Undead Jazzfest – June 23 – 26
4 Day Festival Pass (Special $45 discounted pass, increases to $50 on April 29)

2011 Artists
Alan Licht and Brian Chase
Andrew D’Angelo Big Band
Anthony Coleman with Brad Jones and Satoshi Takeshi
Ari Hoenig Quartet
Bobby Previte Quartet
Bradaughters with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Gary Lucas and Morrison Edley
Briggan Krauss H Alpha with Jim Black, and Ikue Mori
Ceramic Dog with Marc Ribot, Shahzad Ismaily and Ches Smith
Ches Smith’s Congs For Brums
Clark Gayton
Darius Jones Trio
Dave King Trucking Company
David Fiuczynski with berklee microJam
David S. Ware
David Torn Trio with Tim Berne and Ches Smith
Dean Bowman solo
Elliott Sharp plays Thelonious Monk
Erik Friedlander solo
Gerald Clayton
Harris Eisenstedt’s Canada Day
Jamie Saft’s New Zion Trio
Jeff Lederer’s Sunwatcher
Escreet / Binney / Krantz / Gilmore
John Irabagon and Mike Pride
Kris Davis Trio
Logan Richardson with Ben Williams and Nasheet Waits
Marc Ribot solo
Marika Hughes with Kyle Sanna, Fred Cash, Charlie Burnham, Andy Borger and Mathias Kunzli
Matt Wilson solo
Min Xiao Fen’s Dim Sum with Satoshi Takeishi and Du Yun
Satoko Fuji
Starlicker with Rob Mazurek, John Herndon and Jason Adasiewicz
Sylvie Courvoisier, Mark Feldman
Tar Baby with Orrin Evans, Eric Revis, Nasheet Waits, JD Allen
UB313 with Marshall Allen, Elliot Levin, Warren Oree and Ed Watkins
Zeena Parkins and The Adorables

Monday, April 25, 2011

Objects Of Desire - A Fantasy Bellydance Concert @ Merce Cunningham Theatre 4/16/11

I love these bellydance/theatre shows. I think they do them twice a year. They always select an overall theme and then several different numbers are choreographed by the various dancers and you get a show full of completely different dances around the theme. The music isn't live, but it's still usually something I would enjoy.

The Mermaid piece was first and very good. It was a mini-drama that you could tell the story without words. The costumes were great and they did a great job. This was the largest ensemble of the evening.

There were some solo dancers, some duos and some trios.

The ones I especially enjoyed were Knowledge of Good and Evil, the hiphop one. There were more, but I forgot them already.  I found the list on-line and put them below.

It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to the next one.
Ayshe "Black Swan"
Ayshe (group) "Dances for Money" ("Big Spender")
Autumn Ward "Knowledge of Good & Evil - Eve"
Dena and the Shazadi Dancers "Inside the Haram"
Elena Lentini (group) "The Genesis of the Butterfly"
Elena Lentini (solo) "To See the World in a Grain of Sand"
Elisheva "Dominatrix"
Fayzah "Love Line"
Layla "Cruella de Vil"
Neon "Odalisque"
Neon with Angelys and Jenna Rey "In Love With a Time Bomb"
Sarah Johansson Locke & Alchemy Performance
Sarah Skinner and the Sisters of Salome "The Little Mermaid"
Tanna Valentine "Duty of Desire - Helen of Troy"
Zobeida "Le Papillon de Nuit"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bush Tetras @ The Kitchen 4/15/11

They requested people unhinge themselves from their seats and many complied.  The performance space became a dance floor with lots of people dancing right in front of the band.  I had already chosen a seat in the top row of the stadium-type seating and it was a seat where no other seats were in front of it, just the aisle-way out.  I chose that so I could dance without being in anyone's way.  I decided to stay up there because I could see so well and had plenty of room.  It was fun.

People loved it.  You can see some of the videos out there to see if you want to go to the upcoming LPR show.  I must admit that Radio I-Ching and Medicine Men are much more my style.  The musicianship is on a higher level, there are no vocals and the music style is more my thing.  This was good music just not on the same level in my opinion.

It was still a fun night and I'm glad I finally got to see them.

Z'ev @ The Kitchen 4/15/11

It was about 1/2 hour of excellent percussion.  He had a large drum hanging from a bar with a mic amplifying the sound.  There was a big metal hollow rectangle with no solid side on the bottom.  He did so much with the huge sounds that came from that.  The largest sounds were when he played it with the mallet from the inside.

He also had some hanging gongs and one stand-alone gong attached to a string.  He sometimes played the stand-alone with the mallet and sometimes used it to play the other gongs, sometimes using the mallet.

He didn't just hit the instruments with the mallets.  Sometimes he would run the mallet over the surface of the big drum or the rectangle.

I love percussion, so i enjoyed it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ben Perowsky's Moodswing Orchestra @ Littlefield 4/14/11

I had to stay for some of this.  If I have to leave early, I like it to be during the music.  I also wanted to catch some of it because I knew it would be great.  It was.

Instead of that larger ensemble with lots of vocalists I saw at the CD release at LPR it was a nice Trio.  It was Ben, Danny Blume and TK Wonder, the rap artist from that LPR gig.  It was great and hard to leave right in the middle of Ben playing some killer African-sounding groove piece.  I managed, very happy with the evening.

Honey Ear Trio @ Littlefield 4/14/11

This band brought be out to Brooklyn.  As soon as I saw this I didn't bother investigating alternatives.  I had to take the opportunity.  The perfection of the decision was reinforced as soon as they started playing.  It's an amazing trio!

I don't know if I knew about Rene before this.  I certainly already knew and loved Allison and Lewis.  I must say Rene blew me away constantly!  I absolutely love this band.

It was a CD release as well.  I love the CD!  It's very well done.

The 3 have played together a lot, but not in their own trio before.  Back when flights were grounded due to the Iceland volcano, Allison had a 6 week European tour booked that was cancelled because she couldn't get out.  Lewis and Rene were serendipitously available to rehearse and voila! A band is formed and a CD recorded.  Lucky us!

Honey Ear Trio is the new incarnation of Brooklyn NY based and long time musical cohorts Erik Lawrence, Rene  Hart and Allison Miller. Together, these three passionate musicians approach the music with a sense of playfulness and elasticity. Honey Ear Trio creatively fuses the acoustic sound of a traditional saxophone trio with modern electronics derived from Hart's manipulation of his acoustic bass sound. They also explore mixing multiple genres (jazz, rock, soul, folk) while bending, stretching, and decompressing the rhythmic and harmonic characteristics of the music.

Erik, Rene and Allison have performed as a core group in larger ensembles with Steven Bernstein, David Amram, John Medeski and the poet Robert Pinsky. They also draw upon their wide ranging experience as sidemen and featured artists with Sonny Sharrock, Levon Helm, Marty Ehrlich, Don Braden, James Hunter, Allen Toussaint, Ani DiFranco, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Martin Medeski and Wood, Bilal, Bob Dylan, Brandi Carlile, Branford Marsalis, Trey Anastasio and Anat Fort. The debut Honey Ear Trio recording, Steampunk Serenade, will be released March of 2011.

Erik Lawrence - Saxophones, Flute - In addition to leading his own groups Erik Lawrence has been a sideman with greats from Allen Toussaint to Sonny Sharrock. Erik is currently a member of Levon Helm's band, with whom he was recently featured on the Grammy winning album Electric Dirt. He has performed Solo improvised saxophone at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York. Erik has been featured at music festivals around the world and has performed with Chico Hamilton, Medeski Martin & Wood, Aaron Neville, Bob Dylan, Buddy Miles, David Bromberg, Bruce Hornsby and many, many others. Erik's teaching includes Williams College, Dartmouth College and Montclair State University. He has been playing the saxophone since he was 5 years old.

Rene Hart - Bass, Electronics/Looping - Rene Hart is a unique musician who draws from a wide range of influences and has toured the world extensively, performing at major Jazz and multi-genre music festivals, including the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival. Rene's television appearances include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O'Brian. Rene has recorded and performed with artists from Julian Priester, Don Braden and Branford Marsalis to James Hunter, Anat Fort and Bilal.

Allison Miller - Drums, Percussion
NYC-based Allison Miller defies all boundaries bringing her individual sound to diverse types of music while preserving their stylistic authenticity. Allison goes from playing with legendary songwriting vocalists Ani DiFranco, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Merchant, to touring with avant-garde saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, legendary organist Doctor Lonnie Smith, and her own band, BOOM TIC BOOM (featuring Myra Melford on piano, Jenny Scheinman on violin, and Todd Sickafoose on bass).  She approaches each of these musical situations with her own stylistic identity and a creative, fresh and energetic approach. Allison was chosen as Rising Star Drummer in Downbeats 53rd and 58th Annual Critics Poll and is currently on Modern Drummer's 2011 Pro-Panel.  Her 2010 release, BOOM TIC BOOM, was named one of the "Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2010" by the LA Times.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blue Crane @ Littlefield 4/14/11

They are on tour from Portland using Amtrak to transport them around the country.  I noticed a vinyl album with a train on the cover, so they must be train people.  I like trains, so I know there are others out there.

They were good.  It's awesome to watch them play off each other and to each other while including the audience.  2 saxophones, great drums, great keyboards, cool skinny upright bass.  The songs were very interesting.  It was a good opener for the evening.
"The group, composed of Reed Wallsmith (alto saxophone), Sly Pig (tenor saxophone), Rebecca Sanborn (keyboards), Keith Brush (acoustic bass), and Ji Tanzer (drums), began working together as a quintet in 2007 (originally recording as a quartet in 2006). Since then, the band has begun to reap the rewards of collective articulation: a truly individual sound that depends on the contributions of each member."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ben Allison @ Jazz Standard 4/12/11

I got out of my dr appt and realized I had just enough time to get to this show so might as well stop in.  It was fantastic.

This was a CD release show.  The CD is Ben's arrangements of other people's music.  He said if he put his ipod on shuffle those songs would come out.  However, there was plenty of reinterpreting in Ben's music, which makes me happy.  My very favorite was the reinterpretation of The Carpenters "We've Only Just Begun".  It was awesome!

I never recognize Jason Lindner when I see him.  He's great.  They were all great.  Steve and Ben blew me away as always.  I love Rudy - he got my attention throughout.  Michael Blake on sax was awesome.

It was well worth stopping by on a nasty, rainy night.

Here's the CD listing. The lineup at the show was all of these guys except for Brandon Seabrook.  I don't recalling seeing Michael with a bass clarinet that night.

Michael Blake – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Jason Lindner – Prophet 08 analog synthesizer, piano
Steve Cardenas – guitar
Brandon Seabrook – guitar (tracks 3, 7)
Ben Allison – bass
Rudy Royston – drums
  1. Jackie-ing (Thelonious Monk)
  2. Missed (PJ Harvey)
  3. Some Day We'll All Be Free (Donny Hathaway)
  4. Philadelphia (Neil Young)
  5. St Ita's Vision (Samuel Barber)
  6. We've Only Just Begun (Paul Williams, Roger Nichols)
  7. Broken (Ben Allison)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Club d'Elf @ LPR 4/10/11

I didn't get my nap in, but I was still going.  It was nice to see so many people out at a Club d'Elf gig in NYC.  The lineup really has no constants except for Micro but the extra special guests were Hassan Hakmoun, John Medeski, David Fiuczynski, and Steven Bernstein.  Medeski has definitely played with them before on a number of occasions.  I'm not sure if the other 2 ever played with them.

It was great.  I enjoyed it a lot.  It was more subdued than other d'Elf shows I've seen.  They had the sitin special guest, Hassan Hakmoun.  That was great.  When he sat in, he played sintir and Micro played a bass I don't recall him bringing down to NYC before.  Micro also played the thumb piano at some point and I'm not sure if I could hear it.

I left at 12:30ish and they were still on.  It was strange that I started getting a little bored - that never happened before and I've seen them a lot.  I was really into it for a while, and then at that time, I just felt a little flat.  I'm not quite sure what that was about, but I blame David Fiuczynski  I like him in a little more of a jazz setting, but he doesn't always do it for me in more of a jam setting.  It was a good time to leave and rest up for the week.

Here's a nice video/interview of the show:

 To celebrate the release of the new Club d'Elf CD Electric Moroccoland/So Below, the band hits the road for a weekend of Northeast dates in Philly, Hudson, NY & NYC. Tour band: John Medeski (keyboards & melodica), Brahim Fribgane (oud, vocal, percussion), Mister Rourke (turntables), Mike Rivard (bass, sintir & bass kalimba) & Dean Johnston (drums) w/ guests w/ Hassan Hakmoun (sintir, vocals), Steven Bernstein (slide trumpet), ...& David Fiuczynski (guitar) in NYC.

Rudresh Mahanthappa @ Jazz Gallery 4/9/11

I had one show in me and this was the winner. It was awesome. This quartet works so well together. I loved them all. I was especially impressed with Moutin on bass, simply because I haven't seen him much and I already knew the others are great.

The listing:
Rudresh Mahanthappa’s GAMAK featuring David Fiuczynsk
Saturday, April 9th, 2011
9:00 & 10:30 p.m.

Rudresh Mahanthappa – Alto Saxophone, David Fiuczynski - Guitar, Fran├žois Moutin – Bass, Dan Weiss - Drums

Rudresh Mahanthappa unveils his reinvented quartet in presenting the premiere weekend performance of Gamak.

Alto saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, a Guggenheim Fellow and Down Beat International Critics Poll Winner, has incorporated the culture of his Indian ancestry and fused myriad influences to create a truly groundbreaking artistic vision. We're proud to say that he's played a major role in the Gallery's programming for years, notably in duo and quartet formats with acclaimed pianist/composer Vijay Iyer and with his own groups (Black Water, Mother Tongue, Codebook). He's made waves recently with fellow altoists Bunky Green (Apex) and Steve Lehman (Dual Identity), with the Indo-Pak Coalition trio (Apti) and also with Carnatic saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath (the universally acclaimed 2008 Pi release Kinsmen). As the New York Times has put it, Rudresh has "a tone like iron and charges from 0 to 80 in about four seconds."

This week Rudresh returns to the quartet setting with a new group called Gamak. The major transformation is the shift from piano to electric guitar with the inclusion of the great David Fiuczynski, Rudresh's partner in crime in Jack DeJohnette's current group. David's unparalleled versatility and virtuosity along with his unique abilities to convey alternate tunings and microtonal ornamentation elevate the possibilities of this ensemble. Gamak will reach great heights in presenting a contemporary American music which synthesizes Western and Non-Western musical forms and concepts.

Gamak was created with support from Chamber Music America's New Works: Creation and Presentation Program, funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Foundation. Gamak is a sponsored Project of Artspire, a Program of the New York Foundation for the arts with funding provided by New York State Council on the Arts.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Japan Benefit Part 2 @ Abrons Art Center 4/8/11

There were less bands and this show flowed differently.  There were a lot of mashups and interesting transitions from one group to the next.  There were a lot of artists I've never seen before and that was nice as well.  There were mainly bands.  There were singers but they were real singers, not a jamband instrumentalist who's singing because people like singing.  In other words, it was a completely different show than the 1st and what I usually attend.

Zorn made it back during soundcheck while we were waiting in the lobby for the house to open.  that was impressive.  I'm sure he helped things flow smoothly.

The first band was Jesse Harris on guitar with 2 percussionists and a bass.  I think it was his Through the Night Band.  I love the instrumentation and it was good.  They did 2 songs and then invited Steven Bernstein, Tony Scherr on guitar and Briggan Krauss to join them.  For the last song, they had Kenny Wollensen up for a true 2 band mashup.  That was really great.

Sexmob stayed up to do their amazing thing. They blew me away with Darling Nikki.  I haven't seen them do that in a while.  Toward the end of the set Nora Jones mashed in on piano singing Que Sera Sera.  It was awesome.

She did one or 2 solos and then invited Jesse Harris on stage.  Apparently he wrote that song of hers  that I'm most familiar with and they did that, even though it's now old.  I think Sexmob, or just the horns came out and joined in again for the next song, but that's a little fuzzy.

Then we got an ensemble I was unfamiliar with, JG Thirlwell's Manorexia.  It consists of a string quartet, vibes, piano and I think percussion.  The piano and vibraphone sounded so good together.  They often played the same notes at the same time.  I loved it.

Another unfamiliar act followed - Buke and Gass.  Not my thing at all.  Too much vocals.  They are 2 guitars with the female screeching some vocals.  Some of the instrumental moments were OK.  It was a good time for a bathroom break.  I would give them another try in another setting as they did seem rushed and that might have been part of why I couldn't get into it.

Vinicius Cantu├íria had the same ensemble I saw at LPR. Takuya Nakamura was up there and had apparently been in Japan during the earthquake and tsunami.  Toward the end of their mini-set the 2 percussionists from Jesse Harris's band sat in.  It was great.

The final act was Elysian Fields.  I probably only ever saw them once ages ago.  I remember not liking it.  I liked this night more, but it included Jamie Saft, Ben Perowsky and Danny Blume.  If it didn't include those 3, it was 3 (or 2?) others that I love.  I just can't remember.  I know I also enjoyed Oren Bloedow and Jennifer Charles.  It was a good way to end.

I really wanted to go to Blue Note for the late night Spontaneous Construction Series.  They were having Jean-Michel Pilc, Liberty Ellman, Bobby Previte and Jeff Lederer.  I just couldn't stay awake.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Japan Benefit Part 1 @ Abrons Art Center 4/8/11

It was quite impressive how smoothly it went. They pretty much started right at 6:30 with The Jack Quartet. They played I think 3 short and awesome pieces.

Then we got a John Zorn/Ikue Morie Duo piece. I liked some of it, some of it was a little too much for me. Zorn got very wierd and sometimes very loud. There were some grooving sounds from Ikue that I enjoyed a lot toward the end of the piece. It was still good, though.

Next was a stellar piece from Mark Feldman and Sylvie Courvoisier. They are both so amazing.

At this point Ned Rothenberg started coming out to MC. He told us a little later that Zorn had to leave because this was the last night of his opera at the New York City opera. Say what? I was further intrigued when at one point Ned told us that Zorn was wearing a burka at the time he told us where he was. In case you are wondering, I missed the recent Masada Marathon because I was away.

The 4th performer was Gyan Riley on solo guitar. Apparently, he is Steve Riley's son. He was awesome on his acoustic in front of a mic. I heard he had a CD on Tzadik that is an extended version of what we heard that night. I must get down to DMG and get myself a copy (it would be smart to call first when looking for something specific).

I think my favorite part of the evening was the Jamie Saft New Zion Trio. However, I am very confused about who was in it and if I am missing a band in my write up.  The trio includes Craig Santiago and Larry Grenadier.  I distinctly remember Craig playing drums.  However, before I started fact checking and editing this post, I remembered it as having Ben Perowsky and Danny Blume.  I'm thinking Danny Blume was there instead of Larry Grenadier and that Danny turned it into something a little different (and even more magnificent).  Maybe it was my experience, or maybe I'm re-inventing a whole different experience.  All I know is I was blown away. I need to see a whole show of this. I loved what the bass was doing. I also loved Jamie' piano beyond description. Ben always impresses me (even though I'm pretty sure it was Craig and not Ben here).

Miya Masaoka had a very nice koto solo. She was at The Stone the next night, but I missed it.

The next ensemble was Aya Nishina & Friends, which was an all female vocal ensemble. I liked it for the most part. Since I'm usually anti-vocals, it wore on me as the piece went on. Actually, I enjoyed until they had the vocalists step up to the mic either 1 or 2 at a time to be featured while the rest of the chorous continued to sing in the background. They started with high voices which turn me off. The saving grace for me was that right before that point, Aya moved from conducting to the piano. For the most part, the piece was nice and there were no words.

Next was 2 fabulous solo Eric Friedlandler pieces. I must have known his cello is black and looks a little different from the typical. It's nice and he is amazing.

The Alhambra Trio consisted of Rob Burger, Trevor Dunn and Ben Perowsky. I think this was the lineup the first time I saw them. You already know this 2nd piano trio of the night was excellent. It was quite different from the 1st piano trio (Jamie Saft).

Then we got a William Parker solo. He really knows how to go with the spirit of the event. I think he may have played 3 different Japanese intruments for his piece, but I don't know for sure. I do know that the first big bamboo flute was a Japanese shakuhachi- per Ned Rothenberg. The 2nd instrument was a guitar-looking thing kind of like a kora.  I think it was a doso ngoni. The 3rd was another reed. He also sang a poem. He was offkey and real and ot was more about the poem than the voice and it worked, I reconnected with the overall reason we were there. No, I did not know what the doso ngoni was until I found this article.

Ned Rothenberg then came out to introduce himself. He had the sax and told us he was going to play a piece composed for the Japanese shakuhachi, which was William Parker's first instrument. That was especially interesting to me because when I first saw William with it I thought it might be that tribal reed I often see Ned play. Needless to say, Ned was stellar.

Elliot Sharp! It's been too long! His piece was incredibly awesome.  I need to get to more of his gigs when he's around.

Matthew Shipp was awesome. I hate to admit I can't quite remember if he was solo or had a trio. I think he was solo.

Next was the only other act that was unfamiliar to me (Gyan Riley being the first). Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. Apparently they are part of Sonic Youth. Before this, I didn't think Sonic Youth was so experimental. It was great. Kim played the microphone. Sometimes she tapped it, dragged it around on the floor or funnelled her voice through it. Thurston played his electric guitar primarily on his lap. It's hard for me to describe what went on, but hopefully there is a writer or 2 with a better recap out there.

The 15th and final performance of that 1st show was Milford Graves. He danced in wearing percussion and was entralling with his voice and percussion throughout his piece. It was great to end it with him.

You may have noticed that the Masada String Trio was on the bill and they did not perform. I didn't see Greg Cohen at all. I was wondering how they were going to pull it off without Zorn conducting - I believe that's how it usually goes. While I love that trio, the 2-2.5 hours of wonderful music was enough - for the first show of the evening.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Fellowship Band @ Village Vanguard 4/6/11

I'm always glad when I make it to this. No Kurt Rosenwinkel, but Myron Walden and John Cowherd where there. Brian always blows me away. He's also so much fun to watch. It was such a good set, it even went over an hour. They had to turn the lights on to let them know they just played the last song in the set. I suspect they get so into it they lose track of time. All of them were engaging and excellent.

April 05 - April 10
Brian Blade-d, Melvin Butler-tsax, Myron Walden-asax,
Jon Cowherd-p, Jeff Parker-gtr, Chris Thomas-b

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Attila Vural @ Mobile Blues Club 4/2/11

Yes, I was in Hamburg again. I can't get enough of Ariel & Shya's fabulous workshops. This one was hands down their best workshop ever. It does seem that each one was better than the last. I also love visiting Hamburg AND seeing all of my friends.

I really wanted to do some music while I was there. But, it's not as easy to find it without investing a lot of time. I mean, it takes time to figure out what's going on in my own town. Add in the language factor and it's not that easy. The listings showed the one familiar thing, Maceo Parker wasn't going to work given the date and the time.

I ended up back at Mobile Blues Club and stayed for about 15-20 minutes of the music. Attila Vural was an interesting solo guitar that had me moving around in my seat a little. He would use the strings as well as the body, to make more regular guitar sounds, some percussion sounds, and some untraditional sounds with the strings. He was also an entertainer. For instance, he would make a scratchy sounds with the strings and scratch his neck at the same time.  There's a video on his website.  He didn't have the double-necked that night, at least not while I was there.  I think he was playing his 12-string.

It was fun and I'm hoping next trip I can spend a little time before-hand finding some music.

Electric Guitar Documentary

I saw a short program about the history of the electric guitar on my flight to Germany at the end of March.  I watched it well into the flight, in the wee hours of the morning, so I wasn't completely alert.  Still, I've read enough about the history in the past that this program filled in some gaps for me.  It was also great to have sound as part of the information.

I learned about lap steels from Hawaii, the early hollow body electrics, acoustic guitars with a pickup, the first Les Paul wooden solid body invention designed by tinkering, the Fender Stratocaster and how revolutionary it was, the addition of pedals, etc.  It was a good program.  I loved how for the end, they played the same song on different guitars in chronological order and flashed some word up as a review.  That was well done.  And, when I was trying to find the documentary on-line, I found the video with that part right here.  It turns out to be Smithsonian's documentary.  The next time I'm in D.C. I need to get to the musical instruments there.

It was a great way to finish a long flight.

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy @ Village Vanguard 3/27/11

I was wound up enough from the awesome blues and my great nap earlier that I had to go.  I had to get to this because I am ecstatic about brass, especially a brass project led by Dave Douglas.  I also love catching the last set of the run.  There weren't many people there, but those of us in attendance really wanted to be there.

Yeah, Brass Ecstasy is the perfect name for this.  It's all true brass, no saxophones, and Rudy Royston on drums.  Another french Horn!  How many times do you hear 2 of those in 2 nights?  Technically, Bill Cole's ensemble had a horn, not a french horn, but I can't tell the difference yet. 

I love Marcus Rojas and it feels like way too long since I've seen Luis Bonilla.  This is how all weekends should end.

Dave Douglas, trumpet;
Vincent Chancey, french horn;
Luis Bonilla, trombone;
Marcus Rojas, tuba;
Rudy Royston, drums

James Blood Ulmer @ Jazz Standard 3/27/11

Yes, I made it back for the very last set of the run. Recall, I had also been to the very first set. They started with the same brilliant song with all the phenomenal solos without James. Only a few other songs were the same. No Red Rooster this set, but it was a great set. James was calling out the songs, making jokes, and very happy. I don't remember him talking the first show. I heard he only talked a little the first set of that evening.

Sister Esther was invited onstage to sing. It was her birthday. She has a good blues voice and fit in well.

It was a wonderful set and I got out of there with just enough time hussle down to the Vanguard.

James Blood Ulmer – vocals, guitar
Vernon Reid – guitar
Charles Burnham – violin
David Barnes – harmonica
Leon Gruenbaum – piano, Hammond B-3 organ
Mark Peterson – bass
Aubrey Dale – drums

James Blood Ulmer is among the most distinctive and influential electric guitarists to emerge in the past four decades. Over time, Blood’s reputation has morphed from that of an avant–garde jazz visionary out of the Ornette Coleman school to elder statesman of the African–American musical vernacular encom¬passing jazz, blues, funk, and whatever lies beyond. This Jazz Standard engagement celebrates the tenth anniversary of his Grammy Award–nominated album Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions (2001, Hyena), which featured Ulmer’s deeply personal renditions of timeless blues standards by Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters. Blood’s special guest this week will be guitar hero Vernon Reid, founder of the pioneering Black rock group Living Colour.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble @ University of the Streets 3/26/11

I had enough energy for one early set and this was it. No William Parker this time, but it was still awesome. The performance area is big enough that the musicians were able to form an arc with the horns and reeds on the left, the drumkit in the middle and then the upright bass and percussion/congas on the right. So, we could all see everything and it all felt good.

The music was awesome. It was a 1 hour set of greatness. Bill Cole starts out on the didgeridoo. He plays a lot of cool reeds and is fun to watch. There was also a French Horn player, and it's nice to have a French Horn sometimes. Ras Moshe was great on the tenor sax. I love Shayna Duhlburger on bass. The conga/percussion guy was awesome. The music was excellent.
Bill Cole - reeds, Sona, Hojok, Digeridoo,
Atticus Cole - Percussion,
Warren Smith - Drums, Percussion,
Mark Taylor - Horn,
Shayna Dulberger - Bass,
Ras Moshe - Tenor Sax & Flute

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saft/Genus/Roberts/Guiliani @ Blue Note 3/25/11

I actually headed down to The Wood Brothers at City Winery. I have a distinct memory of buying the ticket on-line and I even wrote down my seat #. It took me some time talking to the concierge before I finally relented that I must have made a mistake and the purchase didn't go through. It was only after she rattled off the other shows I had purchased on-line tix for in the system and that someone else was sitting in the seat I had purchased that I finally realized I was mistaken. It was nice to hear the 5 min of music while I was "being right". I left the venue at 12:30, which was when most of the late shows started. Shoot, it would have been perfect to get the late set of James Blood Ulmer at Jazz Standard. That would have been perfect after ABB. I didn't think I had enough time to get over there. Then I remembered it's Friday night and Search and Restore has a Spontaneous Construction series at Blue Note late night and I'm very close to there.

It was so nice to walk in and see Matana Robets on sax, Jamie Saft on piano and whoa, James Genus on bass. I couldn't see the drummer, but he sounded really good. I say whoa about James because I never thought of him as an improviser, mainly because I don't recall seeing him improvise. I know a lot of great people hire him, like Wayne Krantz and Uri Caine and many others. I know I always enjoy seeing him. He did well up there with people I am more accustomed to seeing in that type of setting. I enjoyed him a lot. I loooove Jamie on piano. He was so great. Matana was so good! I have been wanting to see Mark Guiliana for a while now and it just hasn't worked out yet. I need too see his band Beat Music soon, he's awesome.

I stayed until I felt myself starting to fall asleep. It was great.
Jamie Saft, keyboards & guitars
James Genus, bass
Mark Guiliana, drums
Mantana Roberts, saxophones

Upcoming: Zorn Japan Benefit This Fri 4/8 @ Abrons Art Center

Yes, there is A LOT going on that you need to know about.  This show is so worth going even without the benefit factor.  Add in the benefit factor and how can you not go?  I get really excited every time I look at these lineups!

Friday, April 8th - Abrons Art Center
An evening organized and hosted by John Zorn


6.30pm         Thurston Moore Trio - Matthew Shipp - Gyan Riley - Masada String Trio
Ned Rothenberg - Alhambra Trio with Rob Burger  - Erik Friedlander
Aya Nishina & Friends - Miya Masaoka - Jamie Saft and New Zion Trio
Ikue Mori & John Zorn - Elliott Sharp - Mark Feldman & Sylvie Courvoisier
Milford Graves - Jack Quartet - William Parker - Jack Quartet 

9.30pm         Norah Jones - Jesse Harris - Viniciuis Cantuaria - Buke and Gass
JG Thirlwell's Manorexia - Elysian Fields - Sex Mob  

"I've always felt a strong personal connection to Japan, and I'm just glad to be able to do my part to help. It should be an amazing night" - John Zorn

Allman Brothers Band @ The Beacon 3/25/11

This band is so great, I still can't believe I almost skipped going at all. I liked my seat. It was on the floor on the very far right, V52, which is next to an aisle but not a door to the lobby. It was perfect for dancing and seeing. Later during the 2nd set I got myself quite a bit closer. I managed to be in a spot that whenever they cleared the aisle, it looked like I had a seat, so I got to stay. It's even better being so close.

We got Col. Bruce and Susan Tedeschi sit-ins.

I'm mainly in awe of Derek and Warren and having 3 drummers. Oteil again participated in the drum solo. He got much more interesting on the bass after that. Every once in a while, someone comments to me in conversation "why do they have 3 drummers?". My response is "because it's 3 times as great!". It really is. I go crazy when they are all 3 playing with sticks at the same time.

I need to remember this when hopefully they are back at The Beacon next year.

Mar 25, 2011 (Fri)
The Allman Brothers Band
Beacon Theatre New York, New York

1. Trouble No More
2. Midnight Rider
3. Who to Believe
4. Rocking Horse
5. Statesboro Blues
6. Sailin' 'Cross The Devil's Sea
7. Egypt
8. Turn On Your Love Light
with Col. Bruce Hampton, vocals; Duane Trucks,drums
9. Leave My Blues at Home

Set II
10. Dreams
11. Come and Go Blues
12. Worried Down With The Blues
13. Anyday
with Susan Tedeschi, vocals
14. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
with Oz Noy, guitar
15. Into The Mystic

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More on Club d'Elf

I just got their newsletter and the upcoming show at LPR is even  more thrilling.  From the newsletter:

This week we hit the road for a string of tour dates in the Northeast starting in Philly on Friday w/ old friend John Medeski at his organ again (amidst other fine analog keyboards) accompanying tour band of Brahim Fribgane (without whom we wouldn't know who to play all this crazy Moroccan music, so a mighty "choukran" to him), Mister Rourke, Dean Johnston, yours truly & former Morphine sound man Phil Davidson at FOH. We'll be joined by various guests along the way, including a totally sick line-up at LPR in NYC on 4/10: Hassan Hakmoun, Dave Fiuczynski & Steven Bernstein. Even if you don't live in Philly, upstate NY or NYC we would really appreciate it if you could tell your friends that do and help us get the word out.

Sunday April 10, 2011
(le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
(212) 505-3474
10:30 pm. $12adv/15dos.

w/ Hassan Hakmoun (sintir, vocals), John Medeski (keyboards & melodica), Brahim Fribgane (oud, vocal, percussion), Steven Bernstein (slide trumpet), David Fiuczynski (guitar), Mister Rourke (turntables), Mike Rivard (bass, sintir & bass kalimba) & Dean Johnston (drums) plus more surprise guests!

Upcoming: The Bush Tetras @ The Kitchen Fri 4/15

This is Dee Pop and I'm telling you, his projects are always awesome.  I know nothing about The Bush Tetras except what I gather from the hype.  It seems to be the most popular of his projects.  I remember being at a Radio I-Ching show at Otto's Shrunken Head and this girl asked me who they were.  She said they sound like The Bush Tetras.  I told her that was Dee Pop's old band and Radio I-Ching is his current band.  She told me how synchronistic it was since she had been listening to a Bush Tetras CD on her way over and had no idea Dee was playing.  How cool is that?  That conversation planted a seed for me.  Soon after, The Bush Tetras re-emerged for a few special shows.  I'm so glad it works out that I finally get to see them.

Aluminum Music featuring Z’EV and Bush Tetras
Curated by Nick Hallett

In June 1981, The Kitchen threw itself a behemoth tenth birthday party-cum-fundraiser at a Times Square megaclub. Dubbed Aluminum Nights, the marathon event saw a capacity audience of many hundreds — including, all seem to recall, Mick Jagger backstage — enjoy a diversified array of the downtown sounds being nurtured at the crossroads of The Kitchen’s music program. In 2011, as part of its 40th anniversary season, The Kitchen presents a distilled refraction of the Aluminum Music performed over that memorable weekend.

On Friday, April 15, Industrial music pioneer Z’EV demonstrates his hypnotic, ritualized solo percussion music on a shared bill with cherished No-Wavers, Bush Tetras. Saturday, April 16, features the pairing of former Kitchen Music Director (and Aluminum Nights co-curator) George Lewis’s electroacoustic anthem Homage to Charles Parker (1979) featuring Amina Claudine Myers (piano/organ), Reggie Nicholson (percussion), Matana Roberts (alto saxophone), and Richard Teitelbaum (synthesizers) with the epic disco-minimalism of Peter Gordon’s Love of Life Orchestra, featuring contributions from Kitchen alums Ned Sublette (guitar) and Peter Zummo (trombone).

Upcoming: Club d'Elf w/John Medeski @ LPR This Sunday

I bought my ticket last night at the box office.  The guy who sold it to me asked me about the band.  He's a big Medeski fan, but unfamiliar with Club d'Elf.  I realized that's why so many people who would love Club d'Elf like I do don't make it to the show.  They are unfamiliar with them.  Aha!

I described them as awesome and think of it as "Medeski, Martin and Wood Meets World".  They have great musicians with a world influence.  They can also get funky.  It's awesome and if you are curious you should just go.  It's Sunday night at 10:30, but just take a nap that day and you will be fine if you work during the day on Monday.

The listing has some videos and more information:
Club d'Elf
w/ John Medeski and Hassan Hakmoun
Sun., April 10, 2011 / 10:00 PM
Minimum Age: 18+
Doors Open: 10:00 PM
Show Time: 10:30 PM

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Ninth Ward NYC

This is a new bar in the East Village just below 12th St on 2nd Ave. I've been wanting to check it out for a while. It's nice. They have a small but good food menu and good drink options. It sounds like Happy Hour is really good. They don't play NOLA music later, mainly during Happy Hour. That was my first sign maybe their NOLA and my NOLA are 2 different places. I rarely go to bars down there where there is no live music. Still, I liked my first visit and hope to make it to Happy Hour some day.

James Blood Ulmer @ Jazz Standard 3/24/11

Whoa! What a great thing to have between listening to The Layla Sessions and ABB. There was almost another live show, but I didn't get out of there until 9:05. They played til 8:45 and the waiter didn't drop the check until close to then. I had visions of either Jazz Gallery or Village Vanguard in my head before that. It's OK because the music was incredible AND it gave me an excuse to finally stop by Ninth Ward on my way home. That place deserves it's own post.

The phenomenal set started out with the band minus James. Each member took a kickass solo starting with the extraordinary Charlie Burnham with his violin hooked up to an amp. That set the tone for the amazingness. Charlie was like another guitar, stellar, unbelievable sounds kept coming from him. I mean, there were tears in the audience due to his playing. Every note of his playing was awesome, although I must admit Little Red Rooster was even more blown away amazing than the rest. I mean, that's up there as one of the best Little Red Rooster's I've ever heard.

Vernon announced James Blood Ulmer after the 1st song and things turned slightly more bluesy and less electric. Only a slightly different shade of what we first experienced. It was still fantastic. James stayed out until close to the end and each of his stellar "sidemen" gave me something to gawk at at various times. James is great, just more of a backbone while the phenomenal sidemen he hired to play the songs he chose take the theatrics.

It was fantastic and I knew I had to come back before they ended their stint at Jazz Standard.
Thursday - Sunday March 24 - 27
James Blood Ulmer – vocals, guitar
Vernon Reid – guitar
Charles Burnham – violin
David Barnes – harmonica
Leon Gruenbaum – piano, Hammond B-3 organ
Mark Peterson – bass
Aubrey Dale – drums

James Blood Ulmer is among the most distinctive and influential electric guitarists to emerge in the past four decades. Over time, Blood’s reputation has morphed from that of an avant–garde jazz visionary out of the Ornette Coleman school to elder statesman of the African–American musical vernacular encom¬passing jazz, blues, funk, and whatever lies beyond. This Jazz Standard engagement celebrates the tenth anniversary of his Grammy Award–nominated album Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions (2001, Hyena), which featured Ulmer’s deeply personal renditions of timeless blues standards by Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters. Blood’s special guest this week will be guitar hero Vernon Reid, founder of the pioneering Black rock group Living Colour.

MTO @ Jazz Standard 3/22/11

This band is simply phenomenal. It's so wonderful to hear them. It was pretty full with many people sticking around for the 2nd set. I was really tired and chose to leave. I'm sure it was excellent.

The 1 set was about 75 min long and I'm still blown away by it.

Steven Bernstein – trumpet, slide trumpet, arrangements
Charlie Burnham – violin
Doug Wieselman – clarinet
Peter Apfelbaum – tenor saxophone
Erik Lawrence – baritone & soprano saxophone
Art Baron – trombone
Matt Munisteri – guitar
Danton Boller – bass
Kenny Wollenson – drums