Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Handel Halvorsen Passacaglia Music Video

My friends directed and designed this awesome video. It's excellent a lot of fun. Check it out!

MTO Plays Sly @ 92YTribeca 10/14/11

I'm sorry to say I wasn't there because I was out of town.  At least we can listen to it after the fact:

MTO Plays SLY: Live at 92Y Tribeca

October 17, 2011 by Josh Jackson

Steven Bernstein and the Millennial Territory Orchestra perform music from the new recording, MTO Plays SLY (Royal Potato Family). Recorded October 14, 2011 at 92Y Tribeca.
Set List:
Sly Notions 2
Family Affair
You Can Make It If You Try
Bernie Interlude
Everyday People
Sing a Simple Song
Thank You For Talkin’ To Me Africa
Sly Notions
Que Sera Sera
Skin I’m In
I Want To Take You Higher
Steven Bernstein – trumpet and slide trumpet
Curtis Fowlkes – trombone
Charlie Burnham – violin
Doug Weiselman – clarinet and saxophone
Peter Apfelbaum – tenor saxophone
Erik Lawrence – baritone and soprano saxophones
Matt Munisteri – guitar and banjo
Ben Allison – bass
Ben Perowsky – drums
Bernie Worrell – Hammond organ
Eric Mingus – vocal
Sandra St. Victor – vocal
Producer and host: Josh Jackson
Mix: David Tallacksen
Assistant: Michael Downes

Halvorson/Walter @ The Stone 10/9/11

I thought Peter Evans was listed but wasn't there.  That's OK, it was still a great set.  The listing must have been updated, since he's not there now. I get the listing at the beginning of the month and don't check for updates. 

There was no music stand in front of Mary, so I could watch her more easily.  The only thing was, Weasel Walter was so interesting I found myself watching him a lot.  It was an awesome 45 minute set of fabulous music.

Weasel Walter, Mary Halvorson Weasel Walter(drums) Mary Halvorson(guitar)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pee Wee, Fred, and Maceo @ Town Hall 10/6/11

I went up to the box office a few days prior and bought a ticket for U126.  That's the last row on the floor in the aisle, right by the soundboard.  My Town Hall dancing spot is right by the soundboard and I certainly wasn't going to trust that people would be standing and dancing the whole time, even though it was a funk show.  I can report that at least they were dancing some of the time.  I was the only one to purchase a seat towrd the back, but by the end of the evening some of the others who wanted to dance more filled in some of the space in the back.  I'm intrigued by the womewhat low turnout as it was a very special event.

I finally got to see Maceo Parker.  I just didn't want to pay the high ticket prices or I couldn't make it or whatever.  He's great.  He even did "Georgia" with Ray Charles glasses on and it was phenomenal.  I've seen Fred before with Bonerama and he's still got it.  It was my first Pee Wee Ellis experience.  It was his 70th birthday celebration and he's still got it, too!

The rest of the band was also awesome.  Larry Goldings is great.  The guitar was excellent.  I always love a chance to see Christian McBride.

They started with a jazz tune.  Then they went into the funk.  They played for 2 hours straight through.  They played all the funk songs we know so well and did them all brilliantly.  I loved what they did with some of the songs.  They didn't try to imitate James Brown, but kept in the spirit and did his parts their own way.  They even changed some of the timing, I think that might be rubato on some of the songs.

It was a wonderful night and if you missed it, your loss.

PEE WEE, FRED & MACEO: A FUNKY GOOD TIME concert (October 6) In Celebration of Pee Wee Ellis' 70th Birthday.
Pee Wee Ellis – tenor saxophone, vocals
Fred Wesley – trombone, vocals
Maceo Parker – alto saxophone, vocals
with their all-star band:
Larry Goldings, keys
Christian McBride, bass
Bill Stewart, drums
Rodney Jones, guitar

Friday, October 7, 2011

Zongo Junction @ LPR 10/5/11

I got there for the last couple songs of the 1st band, Super Human Happiness.  I can't really comment on them yet, just that it's a large ensemble and they play Happy music.

Zongo Junction is a great Afrobeat band from Brooklyn. I was psyched to see Adam Schatz is in it as I finally got to see him.  He's great, really great.  He blew me away at various times.  I'm going to have to make more of an effort to see his other projects.

I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the music.  It was awesome.  I especially loved the intense drum solo toward the end.

The band has Adam on tenor, an alto, and of course a baritone.  No afrobeat is complete without a baritone sax!  The rest of the horn section consists of a trumpet and trombone.  Then there's a keyboard, 2 guitars and a bass.  There's a drumkit, a conga player, and a standing percussionist.

I bought the CD for $10 and it is awesome.  I love it.

They had a female vocalist come up for 1 or 2 and a male vocalist come up for 1 or 2.  I enjoyed them and it seemed to be at the appropriate time.

I loved how they stretched it a bit in some of the songs.  It wasn't typical afrobeat and had a new element in many instances.

I wanted to stay for Toubab Krewe, but I had to pace the week.
Charlie Ferguson, Drums
Jordan Hyde, Guitar
Pavel Kogan-Liakhov, Guitar
Aaron Shafer-Haiss, Congas
Noah Garabedian, Bass
Eli Sundelson, Keys
Adam Schatz, Tenor Sax
Jonah Parzen-Johnson, Baritone Sax
Joe Hartnett. Alto Sax
Kevin Moehringer, Trombone
Aaron Rockers, Trumpet

Lafayette Gilchrist @ The Stone 10/2/11

I have been trying to see Lafayette again for a long time.  I may not have ever seen him.  If I did, I can't remember when.  I just know I've had a desire to see him for a very long time.  Given how fabulous the music was, I can understand that desire.  It was great.  3 amazingly fantastic improvisers improvising.  I felt like a sardine in my spot in the front row between 2 big men.  That was a blessing for me because it got me up and over to the side where I could dance.

I wanted to stay for the next set, but I needed to get home.

Lafayette Gilchrist
Lafayette Gilchrist (piano) Michael Formanek (double bass) Andrew Cyrille (drums)

Bellydance @ Drom 10/1/11

It wasn't quite the level of previous performances.  There was less acting out a theme.  The dancers were very talented and interesting anyway.  I could do without the magic acts and the vocal ensembles.  Still, it was an enjoyable 1.5 hours overall.

The listing:
The "Bad Girls" of Venus Uprising are back!

Since 2007 the Venus Uprising bellydance salon has taken pride in showcasing the finest contemporary bellydance artists that New York City has to offer. Whether classical or tribal, folkloric or experimental, all styles of bellydance can turn up in one of our twice-yearly concerts. Guest artists are encouraged to unleash their creativity and design dance pieces that go beyond the typical commercial restraints. Individual diversity and dazzling costumes further enhance the appeal of our presentations, especially for those audience members new to bellydance.

Venus Uprising is pleased to present our next festive cabaret of contemporary bellydance and beyond (yes - a few surprises are in store!) on Saturday, October 1st. In addition to our entertainers, makeup artist Jade Elhaddad will be available all evening to provide our guests with her custom "Ruby Lips" and promoter Andy Troy is back as our gracious host. Performing artists include: Altagracia, Autumn Ward, Ayshe, Elisheva, Irina Aukelenko, Jaklina, Kelli Ann, Kenya, Neon with Angelys and Jenna Rey, Sarah Skinner, Tanna Valentine and special guests Peter Juris and The Sirens.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Spanish Harlem Orchestra @ SOBs 9/30/11

I enjoyed about an hour of the first set.  It was great to get down to a Latin Big Band.  3 drummers, 3 vocalists, 2 trombones, 2 trumpets, contrabass, guitar, etc.  Oh, and the awesome baritone sax/flute guy.  I may not be remembering accurately.  SOBs is such a cool place.  You can dance anywhere, anyhow.  It can get rather crowded, though.

Marcus Strickland @ LPR 9/29/11

It was free for members and a great choice for my evening.  I got there at about 8ish and the DJ was still on.  The band started soon after.  It was awesome.  I was the only one dancing, but I enjoyed it a lot.  The special guests were Jaleel Shaw and the DJ.  There may have been one more, but my memory is already faded.  I just remember having a good time and staying for the whole set.

Marcus Strickland (saxophones/compositions),
David Bryant (piano),
Ben Williams (bass) +
E.J. Strickland (drums) 

Marcus Strickland

It's all about potency with saxophonist Strickland, whose combination of gravitas and groove often proffers a Joe Lewis punch. The new Triumph of the Heavy finds him adding alto to his arsenal, (he's built his rep on tenor and soprano) and that extra horn will give tonight’s program even more breadth. Although the album’s two discs also document his terrifically agile trio, it'll be a frierce piano foursome that rocks tonight's gig.
Marcus Strickland’s seventh recording Triumph of the Heavy, Vol. 1 & 2 (available on Strick Muzik, September 27, 2011) is a definitive statement from the critically-acclaimed and world renowned saxophonist. This ambitious two-CD set takes the listener on a journey from the studio to the stage alongside a highly-developed Marcus Strickland; one who is very sure of what he’s doing on the saxophones (soprano, alto and tenor), and very comfortable taking risks.

On Volume 1 (laid down at Systems Two in Brooklyn, NY) Strickland records on the alto saxophone (his new P. Mauriat alto) for the first time (on tracks 4, 6, 7, 9, 10), and recorded the band while the music, a whole new set of originals, was still new to the musicians. This half of the recording is the documentation of the birth of his new quartet, featuring David Bryant, who fully embraced Strickland’s percussive writing and approach for the piano in a quartet setting, the third Strickland “brother,” Ben Williams on bass, and twin brother E.J. Strickland on drums. “In a way I added more excitement to the studio process by recording while the music was fresh, while it was close to the beginning of its development and interpretation,” explained Strickland.

In contrast to Volume 1, on Volume 2 the trio displays the incredible results of extended touring together as they stretch and reinvent their repertoire, spurred on by an enthusiastic crowd at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT. The musical conversations and interactions are on an extraordinary level, only possible with time and trust. Strickland explains further, “The biggest development is trust: we trust each other more on this record than on Idiosyncrasies (StrickMuzik, 2009) because that was towards the beginning of the trio. And when trust is at such a height, it allows many spontaneous things to happen. It’s very exciting. Playing with E.J. and Ben gets a performance out of me that’s like no other with anybody else. While playing the track ‘Surreal’, for example, I remember we were very in tune with the groove. It was swinging extremely hard and I did some things on the horn that I didn’t know I could do before the session. And that’s what it’s all about. That feeling is like no other!”

The title, Triumph of the Heavy, grew out of an experience Strickland had with his girlfriend. The saxophonist explains, “once upon a time, some months after I started seeing my girlfriend Dawn, we were in the car listening to my iPod. We’d never listened to her music in the car, so I said to her ‘hey, why don’t you put on your iPod?’ So she does. And her immediate reaction after hearing her music was, ‘You know what? This sounds kind of light compared to the music you listen to.’ And that really stuck with me because often times many things have been extracted from commercial music so it can appeal to the masses. Quite often in the music industry, there’s an entity (a producer, manager or A & R guy) trying to get artists to adulterate their sound so it’s more ‘accessible. After that day in the car I wanted to associate the title of my next recording with weight, because I wanted to express that music with substance, a strong sound and which takes risks can triumph, it can move people. It can, in fact, appeal to a greater audience. But, as demonstrated through my girlfriend’s experience, only if we give it a chance through exposure. So that’s what I call it: Triumph of the Heavy.”

On Triumph of the Heavy Volume 1 & 2, a double CD release, we are hearing one of the most in demand and respected saxophonists/composers on the scene today, playing and composing near the pinnacle of his artistry – “near” because, as this music clearly and strongly indicates, Marcus Strickland is a musician intent on continuously evolving and expanding, technically and creatively.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Music of Budd Powell @ iridium 9/28/11

I would think with Joey Baron and the rest in the lineup this would have been a tough ticket.  While there was a good crowd, it was easy to get a discounted ticket on Goldstar the night before.

The set was phenomenal.  I don't know how this ensemble came together, but it was quite amazing.  Joey Baron was as good as always.  everyone was awesome solo and together.  The pieces they chose were perfect.

 I was familiar and a fan of each player except for Tim Hagans before this show.  Now, I see Tim is right up there with the rest.  This was a fantastic lineup.

Music of Bud Powell featuring Ethan Iverson, Tim Hagans, Greg Osby, Joey Baron, Lonnie Plaxico

Pop's Ball @ Hiro Ballroom 9/22/11

It was a lot of fun and a great band.  I had my wits about me, unlike my last visit to Hiro Ballroom.  There were also less people so I could see that there are 2 bars on the floor as well as some seating off to the left hand side.  Somehow I missed all of that at Voice of the Wetlands.  I was asked if I thought that show or Pop's Ball was a better lineup.  I would say VOW was my choice, although both lineups are killer.

Maurice Brown was especially doing it for me.  He added a lot.  I also loved having DJ Logic up there.  I flashed back to an earlier version of me years ago when I hated having him on stage with a band.  I just didn't appreciate him or any electronic type music.  It was when I started enjoying MMW that I changed my tune.  ... Come to think of it, I didn't like them back then, either.

I'm a little late in writing this, so I forget most of it already.  I just remember I enjoyed it.

I think the special guests missing in the lineup below were Eric Bolivar on drums, Maurice Brown on trumpet, and Big Sam on trombone.  I can't remember who the bass player was, but I think it was Anders usual.


New Orleans’ Anders Osborne is among the most original and visionary roots rock guitarists, vocalists, and songwriters performing today. AMERICAN PATCHWORK, is a moving collection of soul-baring rock, blues and ballads. Often compared to Townes Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison, Osborne is an exceptional and singular talent. Live, Osborne is a force to behold. His ability to ignite an audience with his passionate, dynamic live show is legendary.

The Bad Plus @ City Winery 9/20/11

It was such a nice treat to see them at City Winery.  I could dance and there was room back at my favorite seat, good old #185.  I felt like they were playing their Greatest Hits, and I soon realized everything they do could be considered a greatest hit.  They even did a couple of new ones and they are just as phenomenal as the old ones.  What is equally impressive is they all compose different songs.  They really are a unit when they are working together.  I'm so glad they found each other.

It was all excellent.  It started at about 9:15 and I unfortunately had to leave at about 10:20 to take care of the cat and I had another early workday coming up.  Had I known about the opening band, I could have stopped at home first and probably would have sacrificed some sleep to see it to the end.  It was great show!

The Hot Sardines @ City Winery 9/20/11

I didn't check the listing and I had no idea there was an opening band.  I hustled to get down there in case TBP came on right at 8.

They were good.  At first, it was a great piano, bass, and trumpet 1930s jazz trio.  Then they brought out the female singer for the rest.  She was great, I was just enjoying the instruments and didn't need a vocalist.  There were plenty of moments when she wasn't singing, and she was great when she was. The musicians are very talented.  The trumpet is very powerful, the piano moving, the bass was great.  It was fun.
The Hot Sardines sound – wartime Paris via New Orleans, or the other way around – is steeped in hot jazz, salty stride piano, and the kind of music Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt and Fats Waller used to make: Straight-up, foot-stomping jazz. (Literally – the band includes a tap dancer whose feet count as two members of the rhythm section). They manage to invoke the sounds of a near-century ago and stay resolutely in step with the current age.