Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oud Music @ RMA 7/20/11

Apparently, the Rubin Museum of Art has free acoustic music on Wed nights for Happy Hour 5-7pm.  That fit into my jet lag schedule.  The music is off and a little away from the bar.  It was at the bottom of the spiral stairs that go up to  the 5 floors of exhibits.  You didn't have to pay to sit in front of the music.  You also couldn't bring food or drink over to the music area.  Theoretically you could hear them from the bar area, but due to the acoustics on there it gets very loud.  I loved the setup - having the music a little separate worked for me.

I got there at about 6:15 and they played til about 6:45, which was perfect.  It was 2 ouds and a percussionist.  The 2 ouds looked a little different.  I found out there's no standard.  To be an oud, it must be fretless and have the shape.  One guy had 2 more holes on the face.  I loved hearing the 2 together.

The percussionist was great.  He had many different instruments.  2 of them were attached to his legs.  One was an interesting contraption with bells in it.  It was strapped to the top of his foot. When he lightly stomped his foot while playing a drum the sound was similar to using cymbals.  It was very cool.  On the other leg he had those strings of something like shells strapped to his calf.

He also had small shakeres, a tambourine, a few differing drums he could hold and play, and a cuchon.  He had some interesting brushes and sticks (maybe just one brush and one stick).

It was very nice, enjoyable music.

Brandon Terzic, Tomchess, and Mavrothi Kontanis
Three of the youngest and brightest oud players in New York City combine their experiences and playing styles to create a rich tapestry of sound.

Don’t forget about Himalayan Happy Hour…
Every Wednesday evening at the Cafe @ RMA unwind with friends and co-workers with a glass of wine or pot of tea with savories and sweets. Enjoy a special happy hour discount on select items while listening to local musicians as they fill the air with sounds from across the globe.

World Premiere Jazz Quintet @ Jazz Bar, Edinburgh 7/9/11

I'm told there's one jazz club in the city, The Jazz Bar.  I have a feeling there's more if you really look for it, but I didn't.  They have 3 bands a night. We stopped by early to check it out before dinner.  We were able to pay the £4 cover to save the additional £1 it would have cost later.  It was acoustic tea time and we instead went to dinner.  We came back for the jazz quintet scheduled 9-12.

The alto, tenor, and piano were all especially good.  Lots of frenetic modal playing from the saxophones which I enjoyed a lot.  I didn't care for all the ballads, though.  It seemed every other song was a ballad.  It was also a hangout for lots of talkers.  The band did play after midnight and more and more talkers were coming in.  That was disappointing for me.  But, it was still a great bar.  Edinburgh is a great place for good food and drink.

Warren Haynes Band @ Olympia Theatre, Paris 7/8/11

This was a great show.  I liked it a lot more than the Beacon show.  1.5 hours was a good length for it.  We didn't have any Warren solo stuff in the middle.  Of course, now that I remember better there were some awesome parts to that Beacon show.

Ruthie Foster wasn't there.  It was Alicia Shakur.  I remember her from Bowlive.  She has a great voice and I was happy with her.  As a matter of fact, I was happy with everyone.  Ron Holloway in particular blew me away.  It was all very high level.

Most of it was from the album but there were a couple of Mule songs here and there.  I really hope we get more Mule some time soon.

Johnny Winter @ Olympia Theatre, Paris 7/8/11

Ahh, a venue with A/C inside.  It may as well have been in NYC.  A very commercial theatre with no seats downstairs and a balcony with seats upstairs.  They sell coca cola products and bottled water with no cap.

It was a double bill with Warren.  The trio played one before bringing out Johnny.  Bass, drums and guitar that made me very happy to be there.  Johnny's pretty old now, but he sounded good and his band is great.  They did lots of familiar songs.  The music reminded me of Allman Brothers blues songs.

Warren came out and joined for the 1st encore song.  The set was 1.5 hours.

Toward the end of the WHB set, Warren told us his 3 guitar idols growing up were Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Johnny Winter.

Vito Liuzzi (drums)
Johnny Winter (guitar/vocals)
Paul Nelson (guitar)
Scott Spray (bass)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Secret Chiefs 3 @ Glazart, Paris 7/7/11

It was way hot inside the room.  I met some locals and had a lot of fun.  The band was great.  The room is about the size of Le Poisson Rouge.  While there was no A/C inside, there was lots of nice space outside when the band wasn't playing.  There were lots of bands listed, but I missed all of them except the headliner.  Since that was why I was there, it worked out great.

I stayed as long as I could bear it and loved what I saw.  It's a great band.  It was hard to see unless you were up front and it was too hot to be in too deep.  Still, I could see something since the stage was so elevated.  I love this band.

Here's some video from night:

Here's the whole lineup, even though I missed most of it:
Hassen K
Institut Bancal et Chantel Morte
Secret Chiefs 3

Tedeschi Trucks Band @ Theatre Trianon, Paris 7/7/11

I bought the ticket months ago.  I was so bummed out to miss out on the Highline show in NYC.  In fact, this show is what brought me to Paris in the first place.  I was going to be in Britain around that time, so there was no reason not to get to Paris.  After that, I noticed Warren was playing the next night, so it was even better.

The only thing is, TTB recently added a NYC gig at The Beacon and I have a ticket to that.  It's not until the Fall, but I found out from the awesome Paris jazz Guide Lylo that Secret Chiefs 3 were also playing.  I saw on the SC3 website they just put out a new album, so chances are they will be come to NYC but they are still more rare.  Needless to say, I only stayed for 1/2 hour of TTB.  It's hard to judge too much from the 1st 1/2 hour, but I will share my take from that, knowing a full show could be quite different.

Susan does all the talking and therefore appears to be the front.  I don't think Derek minds at all, after all, his name is also on the band.  I love having 2 drummers and a 3 horn section.  I love how jazzy it can get.  I wasn't crazy about so many vocals, but it could have also been my mood.  The Parisians were dancing more for Robert Randolph.  It was good, but really, I was missing the Derek Trucks Band.  I think it could have gotten there after a while - there were some moments.  It just would go back down to sultry vocals and slow songs and I just wasn't in the mood.

I'm glad I got some and I'm looking forward to The Beacon show!

Robert Randolph @ Theatre Trianon, Paris 7/7/11

They opened for TTB.  I got there a little late, but I don't go out of my way to see them.  I like the theatre.  I don't think they use A/C inside the live music venues, it was quite hot in the room, but nice outside the performance space.  It had a large floor area for standing.  There are also 2 balcony levels with seats.  I made sure I was on the floor when I bought several months ago.  There are 2 bars outside of the performance space.

At first, I was hanging by the bar - I found Robert Randolph boring.  I went back in when he was doing his Jimmy Hendrix stuff.  It got good for the next few songs.  It was a quick set, ending at about 8:40.

Harlem Nocturne et Jean-Michel Proust @ Caveau De La Hauchette, Paris 7/6/11

The guide, Lylo, shows the venues by arrondisements.  I was in the 5th, so I decided this was the night to do the Latin Quarter.  I tried le Petit Journel St. Michel, but it was a trad/modern jazz band from Ireland.  I can see a higher level of that any time.

I went to Caveau De La Hauchette because it was local musicians.  That's a fun place.  Couples go there to dance.  I liked the band.  2 tenors, drums and bass.  It was fun.  I stayed for a few and called it a night.  I'd been out all day and it was after 11.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Deux Piano @ Cafe Universal, Paris 7/6/11

I stumbled upon a jazz record store near St. Genevieve that was about to close.  The proprietor said he could help me quickly if I knew what I wanted.  I said "I'm looking for live jazz tonight.". He gave me a great brochure with a bunch of options.  I wanted to find local artists, so I decided to try this place, Cafe Universel.  It was a good location for a tourist to see because it brought me past the Sorbonne and past Jardin du Luxembourg and up a little further.  That's one of the best parts about finding the music, is finding different areas of the city I might not get to otherwise.

There was no cover and it was fun.  The 2 pianists were Alexandre Saada and Philippe Baden Powell. When I got there, they were doing "One Day My Prince Will Come".  One guy was on the piano and the other on the keyboard set to sound like an organ.  It was OK.  Then they switched and it got good.  They did something a little a funkier and each sounded better on the other instrument.  They were taking a break right after that.  I noticed some brochures, so I got up to put money in the hat and get the jazz flyers.  I sat back down on my barstool and the bartender put one more thing in front of me, Lylo.  It may as well have been solid gold!  The real listings of all the jazz clubs and what is going on the next 2 months.  Jackpot!  I hope to get a post about this guide going.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jam Session @ The Passing Cloud, Lomdon, 7/3/11

The London Improvisers were done and I had a flyer for this (got it from the top of the upright piano at The Vortex that afternoon).  It was a short walk from Cafe Oto.  It was a lot of fun.  Jam session at Passing Cloud means lots of African percussion and some African vocals.  Oh yeah!  I didn't stay too long - it's a hassle to get back to my friend's place late night.  Also, I was gonna do my quick 22.5 hour stay in Wales, leaving the next day.  I didn't want it to turn in to a 14 hour stay if I stayed out too late this night.  I danced and had a good time for about an hour.
 Passing Clouds is a collective of artists and musicians in the Dalston area with their own venue on Richmond Road with the best live music and parties in town.

We champion the beauty of interaction between diverse cultures and facilitate communication between creative disciplines and community-focused pursuits, in particular providing a platform for musical and artistic expression, conscious education, social welfare and above all, harmony amongst people.

Passing Clouds hosts daily evening events that consist of film screenings, talks and gatherings in collaboration with local action groups, intimate concerts and recitals ranging from traditional Asian and West African music to jazz, live music showcases featuring some of the finest talent touching on genres from every corner of the globe, conscious cinema and jam sessions.

London Improvisors Orchestra @ Cafe Oto, London 7/3/11

I scoped out the area that day.  It's the latest hip Bohemian area in the city, Dalston.  There's a lot of live music around there.  The Vortex was the jazz club I wanted to go to the previous night but didn't venture to do so.  I did go by during the day and they were starting a Sunday reggae DJ downstairs where they have a cafe? Coffee shop.  The area is loaded with ethnic food and hip coffee shops.  I stopped by Cafe Oto that day as I heard that's where to go for creative music.  I liked what I saw and they served good stuff.  The kitchen was closed or I would have had lunch.  The pastries looked great at all the cafes.

First I went with some friends to Forro social dancing in the Holborn part of London.  The band wasn't coming on until later, so it was just a DJ.  It was a fun experience, but I really wanted to get to Dalston so I bailed.

I got to Cafe Oto shortly before they were going to do the 2nd and final set.  Once a month on Sundays, it's an improv orchestra jam session if you will.  There were about 26 musicians in total.  They each had a piece of paper that looked like just a bunch of squares (a grid about 10 columns wide and 4 rows deep).  I couldn't tell what was in the squares, but it must have been some kind of chart that only the improvisers could understand.

I enjoyed it a lot.  It was very interesting how it worked.

First David was conducting.  After a while he took a seat and picked back up his clarinet.  After a bit of free for all, one of the 2 contra bass players came up and did some conducting.  Once he went back to playing it was a free for all again.  I saw one of the 2 guitar players get up and go in the back during that free for all.  I went to the bathroom and when I came back, the guitar player was conducting and a bass clarinet was standing up front playing.  He was good, and I guess he only plays when the guitar player conducts or something.  Once that ended, the entire thing ended and that was it.  About an hour.

There was a bass bassoon, which you don't see every day.  It droned a little like a didgeridoo .  I found this female flute player intriguing.  She plays it differently.  I was actually surprised she was playing it like a clarinet, holding it lengthwise and blowing through the top while pressing the keys.  I've seen people do many interesting things with their instruments, but this hadn't even occurred to me.  She also played it like a flute, but using only the top half - the bottom was not attached.  She sometimes even played it the regular way.

The woman with the percussion table was interesting.  I also liked the contra basses.  The trumpets were good.

It was good and fun to see it in London.

Regular meeting of The London Improvisers Orchestra drawing on London's rich pool of improvising musicians. The LIO is part of a long and varied heritage that stretches back to the free-jazz big bands of Chris McGregor and Mike Westbrook, the intuitive ensembles of John Stevens and purely improvising groups such as the Continuous Music Ensemble.

History of The London Improvisers Orchestra

Improvising is normally a small group activity. However, there is often the temptation to explore the possibilities of larger ensemble improvisations. For instance, in London in the 1960s and 1970s, there were the free jazz-type big bands of Mike Westbrook and Chris McGregor, the contemporary composition-oriented ensembles of Barry Guy and Paul Rutherford, and the more intuitive experiments of John Stevens. There were also purely free improvising large groups such as the Continuous Music Ensemble (which became The People Band) and the Alternative Music Orchestra.

The London Improvisers Orchestra is thus part of a long and very varied heritage. An orchestra was put together for a Butch Morris 'London Skyscraper' tour of Britain in the autumn of 1997, which left the participants feeling exuberant with the experience of improvising in a large ensemble. However, some of them felt that there were other possibilities that had not been fully explored on the tour. A group (instigated by Steve Beresford, Evan Parker and Ian Smith, later joined by Caroline Kraabel and Pat Thomas) decided to keep the orchestra together, and see what could be achieved under the direction of some of the participating musicians.

Some of the musicians in the original Skyscraper project didn't continue with the exploration, while other musicians who weren't on the tour subsequently decided to join in. The number of personnel varies somewhat (between 12 and 40) depending on people's availability, but has always embraced a diverse mixture of ages and experience.
For nine years, up until quite recently, the LIO had a first-Sunday-in-the-month residency at the Red Rose in Seven Sisters Road. Meeting early on this Sunday, any LIO member could rehearse and try out new ideas for determining pieces of music that essentially are improvisation-based, and/or simply develop their conduction skills with signals and signs that have been added to over the years and are now well established. These pieces are then mixed in with freely improvised pieces and make up a performance. A recent visitor to one of these sessions was amazed at how the musicians listened to each other, pointing out that such sensitivity was unlikely to happen in any other city.
The members of the Orchestra are a small percentage of the remarkable pool of improvising musicians based in London, which Evan Parker rightly calls "the richest music scene in the world".

LIO band members can include:
Ian Smith, Roland Ramanam - trumpets, Alan Tomlinson, Robert Jarvis - trombones, Catherine Pluygers - oboe, Jacques Foschia - bass clarinet, John Rangecroft - clarinet, Neil Metcalfe - flute, Terry Day - wooden flutes, words and poetry, Adrian Northover - alto and soprano saxes, Lol Coxhill - soprano sax, Chefa Alonso - soprano sax and frame percussion, Caroline Kraabel - alto sax and voice, Evan Parker - tenor & soprano saxes,Barbara Meyer, Marcio Mattos, Hannah Marshall, Ute Kanngiesser - cellos, Christoph Irmer, Charlotte Hug, Phillip Wachsmann, Mardyah Tucker, Alison Blunt, Sylvia Hallett, Susanna Ferrar, Amanda Drummond, Ivor Kallin – violins and/or violas, John Edwards, Dave Leahy - double basses, Rodrigo Montoya - shamisen, Roberto Sassi, Dave Tucker - electric guitars, John Bisset - guitar, B J Cole - pedal steel guitar, Tony Marsh - drum set, Javier Carmona - drums and percussion, Orphy Robinson - steel pan/ percussion, Adam Bohman - amplified percussion, Eugene Martynec - electronics, Steve Beresford, Veryan Weston - pianos, Ashley Wales - conduction.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Word of the Day: humbucker

Sentence: “Even if [Marc] Ribot has a Greenwich Village folksy vibe to him, in contrast with [Nels] Cline’s surfer-rock looks, they are actually two coils of the same humbucker.” - Andrey Henkin, The New York City Jazz Record, July 2011

Noun (1)
1. A pickup, on an electric guitar, that has a pair of coils of reverse polarity connected in series - to "buck" the "hum".

• “The pickups on the bottom humbucker have pop-jet fountains in them.” Guitar Fridays: the Gibson Les Paul
• “The two humbucker pickups help give it the range it needs to go from thick, weeping solos to crunchy rhythm instantly.” Guitar Fridays: Gibson ES-335
• “This guitar sports an alder body, 24 frets with a rosewood fingerboard, an Edge Pro locking bridge system, DiMarzio pickups in a HSH configuration humbucker, single coil, humbucker, and a look that beckons to be touched.” Guitar Fridays: Ibanez JEM Series
• “September 10th, 2006 at 11:32 am rupert humbucker says:” Think Progress » Cheney Ignores Senate Intel Report, Cites Zarqawi As Evidence of Iraq/Al Qaeda Connection
• “Sounds like a humbucker would be good for rockarama, which the Pacifica has along with single coils for Keef heaven.” Word Magazine - Comments
• “Some have even started building solid-body guitars, filling the cigar boxes with snugly fit pieces of wood and installing humbucker pickups.” Chicago Reader
• “It has one volume control, one tone control, a 5 way switch, two coil tap switches for the humbucker and a phase switch.” All Updates @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com
• “I've yet to hear a coil split bridge humbucker tone I thought was reasonable, so oh well.” All Updates @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com
• “Features: Is a 24-fret, double humbucker, push-pull-coil-tap, babe of a guitar that was made in Indonesia 2009 and I've purchased it recently (Nov 2009). 24-3/4 in.” All Updates @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com
• “It has PP-1 humbucker pickups, specially made for the darkstone.” All Updates @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com
A type of guitar pickup where two coils of wire and two magnets are used, as opposed to a "single coil" pickup. The humbucker is made so the two coils of wire are out of polarity with each other and each is wound around a magnet of opposite polarity. The humbucking pickup has two distinct advantages over standard single coil pickups. They are higher output and less hum and noise. The higher output occurs simply by having two pickups working in conjunction with one another, even though the two coils and magnets are of opposite polarity. This works because it's sort of a double reversal (like two negatives make a positive), which leaves the two voltages created by the string's vibration over each coil in polarity with each other. The backwards magnet throws it out of polarity, but the coil being wound backwards as well reverses it again, leaving it in phase with the voltage on the other coil. But hum and noise that can be induced into the coil of wire through electromagnetic radiation (EMI) -- as opposed to moving a string through the magnetic field created by the magnet -- get canceled when the two signals are combined because the two coils are out of polarity with each other. Humbucking pickups are known for a certain type of "thicker," heavier sound and aren't preferred by guitarists in all situations.

Jazz Gallery Kickstarter to Give Artists Rehearsal Space

Jazz Gallery is fundraising on Kickstarter to be able to provide their space to musicians for rehearsal whenever they are not using it.  It's a great way to help music continue and grow.  It doesn't have to be much.  The campaign is going on for 20 more days, but there is a matching gift offer valid until this Tuesday, so if you are reading this and want to give something, do it now.

Here's the link to donate:

Kickstarter Campaign for "The Woodshed at The Jazz Gallery"

Now through Tuesday, July 25th, 2011 - The Jazz Gallery’s Board of Directors is offering up to $2,000 in a 2:1 matching pledge: if we receive $4,000 in pledges by the Tuesday July 25th deadline, our board will add $2,000! Give now to help us to achieve or exceed 50% of our goal by Tuesday!


We at The Jazz Gallery are launching The Woodshed at The Jazz Gallery, a new initiative to offer musicians the use of our space at no charge for rehearsal, research, and development.

Beginning in January 2012, we will make our space available during “dark” hours to artists for approximately fifteen hours per week (with limitations on the number of hours each artist may sign out) on average, which will result in over 750 hours of free rehearsal time for our artists in 2012. Any artist who has performed at The Jazz Gallery as a leader or sideperson will be able to sign out the space during available hours. Scheduling will be planned around the timing of our artist residencies, which offer selected artists the unrestricted use of the space for a one-month period.

In the midst of decreasing public arts funding and the increasing gentrification of lower Manhattan, affordable rehearsal space for musicians is growing scarcer than ever before. Recent press and media coverage demonstrates that these artists tend to receive very low fees for their performances, meaning that even a $20/hour rehearsal cost often falls outside of their budget. After fielding many requests from artists for the use of the space, and after noticing the impact of the recent closings of rehearsal facilities in the area, we at The Jazz Gallery have decided to launch this new program designed to address this growing need.

Because we wish to offer the space to the artists free of charge, we need your help. Specifically, we need funding to pay the people working on this project, which will include time spent coordinating the scheduling and hundreds of hours of in-person oversight, not to mention the increased operating expenses resulting from keeping our space running for extra hours.

Executive Director Deborah Steinglass says, “We are excited by the possibility of providing urgently needed rehearsal space to a large roster of jazz artists who make The Jazz Gallery a wonderful home for jazz lovers and musicians alike. We want the artists who perform and grow here to know that they can turn to us for help. Our audiences and members feel deeply connected to the musicians who play here and they enjoy following their artistic development. Now, they can directly contribute to the musicians' artistic growth by supporting this effort.”

Of course, don't take our word for it - follow the link below to watch the video and see what this project means to our artists. Also, please take a look at the long list of amazing rewards we have made available in collaboration with our artists and friends: every contribution, regardless of amount, is a show of support and will help us move closer to reaching our goal.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Upcoming: Africa Mondo Festival

It's going on now at a cafe in Harlem.  I hope I can make it there at least once.  The cafe is BYOB.

The Brand New Heavies @ Ronnie Scott's 7/2/11

The band is pretty good.  It was so fun to see the guitar and bass players come out with their shirts unbuttoned and boas on.  It really makes me think UK!  The boas didn't stay on for too long.  The band was great.  They also had a trumpet and trombone a female percussionist (shakers) and backup vocalist (I enjoyed her voice more than the lead's), and keyboards.  The lead singer was fun, it's just for me it brought the funk down a little and made it more soul funk than funky funk.  The instrumental when she left the stage for one was awesome.

It was especially cool that not only was dancing allowed, other people were dancing!  After a bunch of songs, everybody was dancing.

It was a good time.

The Ronnie Scott Allstars @ Ronnie Scott's, London 7/2/11

I landed that morning and spent the day sleeping and finishing booking the Paris portion of the trip. So, once it was time to get out, about 9-10 UK time, 4-5 NY time, I was itching to see some of the city.  I wanted to see some music at The Vortex, but after a long time on the subway (they were having crew change issues), I bailed on that to see some of the city.  I got off at Oxford Circle and walked around a bit and had something to eat. When I consulted my map, I discovered I was right by 2 jazz clubs, Pizza Express and Ronnie Scott's.  I already heard Ronnie Scott's is the fancy one, and I just figured no fancy jazz clubs can hold a candle to Dizzy's, Birdland and Jazz standard.  Also, none of the listings were grabbing me.

So I head over to Pizza Express.  It looks like they had a singer and were already done for the night - it was a little after 11.  I asked if there was any jazz this late and was sent to Ronnie Scott's.  Out front I saw it was a funk band from London.  I couldn't get in at first because it was full due to reservations.  I asked if they release reservations for no shows at some point.  I was told to wait about 10 min.  A smoker outside told me she just gave up a ticket, so there should be at least 1.  I mentioned that to the door guy and a few min later I was in and paying a whopping almost 40 pounds to get a seat.

The opening band was still on.  I was happy to be there and enjoyed the funk trio.  They ended with a funky Caravan.  I must admit I was missing Skerik in that moment, but it was still fun.
The Ronnie Scott's All Stars are comprised of some of  the greatest talents on the U.K scene, including some of our most regular performers James Pearson (piano), Sam Burgess (bass) and Pedro Segundo (drums)