Friday, December 30, 2011

Paul Shapiro's Biscuits & Blues @ City Winery 12/18/11

I finally made it to Klezmer Brunch at City Winery.  It's a $10 music charge and the entrees are around $9-$14 each.  It was a lot of fun.

We had an extra special treat in that Arturo O'Farrill was playing piano.  Paul is a fantastic sax player and I enjoyed the drums and bass a lot.  Paul sang some and there was also a female and male vocalist out at times.  All songs had vocals, which isn't my preference but wasn't bad.  The phenomenal piano and reeds still came through.

I think it was the same personnel as when they played New Years at Cornelia Street back in 2005/2006. That's the only place I could find a lineup, but I'm pretty sure it's the same:

Paul Shapiro, saxophone & clarinet;
Babi Floyd, vocals;
Cilla Owens, vocals;
Arturo O'Farrill, piano;
Tony Lewis, drums;
Booker King, bass

New Orleans Suspects @ Brooklyn Bowl 12/17/11

A very much needed addition to the NOLA scene.  I admit it:  I was never into the Radiators and if this is the type of new bands we're going to get then YIPPEE!  I loved everyone up there, but my MVP slot goes to Kevin Harris of the Dirty Dozen on sax.  He blew me away with every note.

I heard the opening band was great.  I just couldn't get out early enough to see it, but maybe there will be another opportunity.  It was their first gig in 9 years.

The listing:
The New Orleans Suspects
It’s been said that the musicians of New Orleans are all members of one gigantic band that breaks up into smaller groups on a nightly basis. If this were really the case, The New Orleans Suspects would be in a class all their own. The group is comprised of musicians with experience and versatility that rival any other band that the city has ever produced.

“Mean” Willie Green has been the drummer for the Neville Brothers band since the 1980s. His unique attack has defined funk drumming for a quarter of a century. Yet, he is not a one-dimensional player. His taste in music spans the gamut of modern rock styles and he is as comfortable driving the beat as he is holding down the groove.

Reggie Scanlan’s career has been defined by his thirty-three years playing bass in the Radiators, the longest running rock act in the history of New Orleans. But his resume is far deeper. As a young musician he played with blues musicians on the west coast chitlin circuit before returning to his hometown to back up legends like James Booker and Professor Longhair.

Jake Eckert is the sterling-toned lead guitarist in the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Before joining the quintessential New Orleans funk/brass band, he honed his chops as part of the thriving southern rock scene in Atlanta, cutting his teeth with the likes of Derek Trucks and Col. Bruce Hampton. While living in Los Angeles, he played in the band New Soul Underground along with jazz great Larry Carlton. He has had a chance to perform with Warren Haynes, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, & Dave Matthews to name a few.

CR Gruver is a classically trained pianist who was bitten by the bug known as New Orleans music after stints touring with nationally known bands such as Outformation and the Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Angie Aparo. Since moving to New Orleans he has immersed himself into the scene and has become a well-regarded sideman adept at James Booker-style piano machinations and the swelling B-3 stylings of Art Neville. Besides playing with many of the city’s local luminaries he also leads his own local band, Funkifry’d.

Kevin Harris is a founding member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. His tenor saxophone work has graced recordings across the gamut from pop stars Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews and the Black Crowes to zydeco legend Buckwheat Zydeco, jazz songstress Norah Jones, and Modest Mouse, Widespread Panic and many more.

Together these five musicians create music that is firmly rooted in the modern New Orleans sound with compelling originals and tasteful covers. The rhythm section of Scanlan and Green are as comfortable together as red beans and rice. Gruver tickles the ivories or soars into the stratosphere on the organ. Harris provides stellar saxophone fills and solos with great aplomb. Eckert’s rhythm guitar work neatly complements his razor sharp solos. Though the band can clearly jam, with Eckert and Gruver trading off on lead vocals they are no simple jam band.
Joe Gallant & Illuminati
The much-loved 18-piece orchestra that raised the bar on the jamband scene with Joe's large-scale "Blues for Allah Project" and "Terrapin" arrangements, makes its first appearance in 9 years!
"It was a nice long break while I did other stuff, but the vibe and time is right to reboot Illuminati and create great new music" said Gallant recently.
With a new live Illuminati CD forthcoming on Unseen Rain Records, expect this night to be a smorgasbord of lush, bones-shakin' Dead favorites and Joe's groove-heavy originals.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Peter Apfelbaum's NY Hieroglyphics @ Jazz Gallery 12/16/11

Always great.  Great compositions, great music, great solos.  Steven Bernstein blew me away.  Charlie Burnham is always a treat.  Dave Phelps and Viva were there.  Two phenomenal trombones.  The drums and bass were off the hook.  The reeds were stellar.  It's always a treat to see Peter and his various instruments.  There was also some vocals from Abdoulaye Diabate for a couple.  I love them.

Peter Apfelbaum's NY Hieroglyphics
Friday, December 16th, 2011 | 9:00 & 10:30 p.m.
Peter Apfelbaum - tenor saxophone/piano
Steven Bernstein - trumpet
Josh Roseman - trombone
Natalie Cressman - trombone
Jessica Jones - tenor saxophone
Tony Jones - tenor saxophone
Charlie Burnham - violin
David Phelps - guitar
Viva DeConcini - guitar
Patrice Blanchard - bass
Justin Brown - drums

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Peter Apfelbaum formed the Hieroglyphics Ensemble in 1977, during his senior year in high school. The unorthodox big band, which featured the likes of Steven Bernstein and Joshua Redman, met with astonishing success: they opened for the Grateful Dead and performed a number of times with the great Don Cherry as a guest soloist. Cherry was impressed enough to recruit Apfelbaum and other Hieroglyphics members for his "Multikulti" band.

Apfelbaum relocated to Brooklyn from the West Coast in 1998 and developed a strong presence here. But it wasn't until 2003 that he formed the New York Hieroglyphics - his classic ensemble, reborn. The group made a smash two-night debut here at the Jazz Gallery in 2003 and went on to become a fixture on the scene, releasing the acclaimed It Is Written in 2005. Peter has returned to the Gallery since then, not only to lead the Hieroglyphics but also to play in ensembles led by Josh Roseman and Dafnis Prieto.

Join Peter and the band as they weave their distinctive web of Afro-jazz rhythm, labyrinthine line

Driscoll, Frisell, Davis, Hollenback @ Cornelia St 12/15/11

I always love a new combination of people I already love.  It was an allstar lineup with an allstar set.  When I made the res, I wanted to do both sets.  But the guy I talked to on the phone told me that it wasn't true and there was only one set.  It turns out he was incorrect, but it was for the best as the first set was awesome and I got some sleep.  It was really awesome music.  They have a CD, but I'm more interested in live. They said the 2nd set would be different music.

They each composed phenomenal pieces for the ensemble.  Bill Frisell is so awesome.  This almost made up for the fact that I didn't make it to the Vanguard last week for Frisell, Blade, Scheinman.  Almost.

I also got lost in each of the others at various times.  It was all top-notch.

Kris Davis, piano; Bill Frisell, guitar; Kermit Driscoll, bass; John Hollenbeck, drums
Kermit Driscoll Qt. Featuring:Bill Frisell image
Kermit Driscoll is a veteran bass player who has recorded and performed with many noted musicians including Chet Baker, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Bang-on-a-Can All Stars, Mel Torme, Kenny Werner and John Zorn. Earlier this year, at age 55, Driscoll released his debut album as a leader, Reveille, a program of kaleidoscopic funk, experimental abstractions, and fetching intricacies. The album features an all-star lineup, including Driscoll’s longtime collaborators Bill Frisell (guitar) and Vinnie Coliaiuta (drums), and rising star pianist Kris Davis. Reveille’s star-studded quartet united for only a day, but it performs like a group that’s worked together for ages. Driscoll appears at Cornelia Street with two out of three of the personnel from Reveille, marking the group’s first live appearance as an ensemble.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Love Electric @ Littlefield 12/13/11

Oh yeah!  It was great.  Soulful, lively, electric, great musicians.  I was drawn to it because Steven Bernstein was playing and it was something different.  It was the same trombone and drummer from the last band.  The bass player got there just after the start of the first song.  They were phenomenal from beginning to end.  I was so happy to have Dred Scott on piano.  I need to see his trio now that they play earlier than midnight.

Todd Clouser's A Love Electric ft. Steven Bernstein
Minneapolis-by-way-of-Baja, Mexico-based guitarist Todd Clouser and his collective, A Love Electric, is an intuitive blend of "energy driven jazz-rock." On Clouser's debut album, released earlier this year by tastemaker label Ropeadope, Todd and his band weave and wind their way through eleven original compositions and two covers (Harry Nilsson's "One" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah") that draw upon the inspiration of Curtis Mayfield ‘70s funk, guitar/organ jams that call to mind Pat Martino and Trudy Pitts at their finest plus more terse guitar-driven numbers that reflect an assortment of influences ranging from Sonny Sharrock to The White Stripes and all points in between. Legendary "Downtown" New York City trumpeter, Steven Bernstein (Levon Helm, Lou Reed, Sexmob) is also featured prominently throughout the recording. Clouser's non-stop roadwork has led to a great deal of career momentum with a burgeoning fan-base and raves from the international music press from Germany, the Czech Republic and Spain across to New York City and down to Mexico.

9 Volt @ Littlefield 12/13/11

This was a great band.  Trombone with lots of pedals, great drummer, sax, and Eyal Maoz on guitar.  It was awesome.  They were reading music, but it also felt like there was improvisation around it.  I enjoyed it a lot.

9 Volt with Jon Irabagon
Rick Parker - Trombone + Effects
Eyal Maoz - Guitar + Effects
Yonadav Halevy - Drums
Jon Irabagon - Saxophones

9 Volt is began as an unlikely collaboration between 2 accomplished band leaders: trombonist and New York City native, Rick Parker and Israeli guitarist Eyal Maoz. Combined, these two musician have released 9 CD’s as leaders on such well renowned record labels as Tzadik, Fresh Sound New Talent, Piadrum and Ayler Records. Their own bands have performed at major venues including the Montreal Jazz Festival, Williamsburg Jazz Festival, Red Sea Jazz Festival, Somers Point Jazz Festival, Aguascalientes Mexico Jazz Festival, the Stone, 55 Bar and Blues Alley to name just a few. In addition, the two are in demand sidemen having performed along side the likes of John Zorn, Tim Berne, John Medeski and Frank Lacy.

9 Volt derives it’s unique sound from Parker’s use of electronics with the trombone combined with Maoz’s unique approach to guitar and effects. Their unique sounds are incorporated into the compositions making a music that is a synthesis of electronic experimental, rock, jazz and neoclassical minimalism. The band is held together by Israeli born drummer Yonadav Halevy who is highly regarded in both funk/hip hop as well as jazz circles.

Since 2009, 9 Volt has honed it’s sound performing at NYC venues and concert series and recently recorded it’s debut CD with avant garde alto saxophone stalwart Tim Bern appearing on several compositions.

Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy @ Jazz Standard 12/11/11

I love this band and I love seeing them close to the same timeframe as Wicked Knee.  Just because they are both fabulous alternative brass bands with phenomenal drummers.  The similarities end there, which adds to the fun of seeing both within a week of each other.  At this point, I can't remember much about the show except that I loved it.

Dave Douglas – trumpet
Vincent Chancey – French horn
Luis Bonilla – trombone
Marcus Rojas – tuba
Rudy Royston – drums

Born out of the Festival of New Trumpet Music in 2005, Brass Ecstasy nods to the ever–evolving spirit of brass music through soul–inflected compositions. The group’s debut recording, Spirit Moves, was released 6/16/2009 on Greenleaf Music. Rare Metals is the digital follow-up to the live recording United Front: Brass Ecstasy at Newport, and includes a new arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life.” “The five–piece ensemble handles each tune with soulful aplomb.” (Nate Chinen, The New York Times)

Dave Douglas Orange Afternoon Quintet @ Jazz Standard 12/10/11

It was a stellar amazing set of music.  I got there a little late, at about 7:45.  They played til around 8:50.  It was phenomenal.  Ravi and Dave together are brilliantly amazing.  The rhythm section with Vijay, Linda, and EJ was off the hook.  I'm very glad I made it a priority.

Dave Douglas – trumpet
Ravi Coltrane – tenor saxophone
Vijay Iyer – piano
Linda Oh – bass
E.J. Strickland – drums

This modern–day jazz “super–group” is certain to draw crowds for tonight’s very special digital release engagement for Orange Afternoons. Ravi Coltrane and Vijay Iyer likely need no introduction. Both these celebrated instrumentalists have appeared on our stage with their own bands on multiple occasions. Bassist Linda Oh is a relative newcomer to the New York scene. The acclaimed pianist of the group Vijay Iyer says of Oh “a young bass powerhouse from down-under...I love how she just blew into town and took over.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Planet of the Abts @ Brooklyn Bowl 12/6/11

They started out with just Matt and Jorgen, doing something quite experimental and a little out there.  I wondered if it was going to be an experimental jam ensemble, which I would love.  This wasn't the case but it was still great.  The guitar eventually joined in and it was a jammy instrumental to start.  Then they had many songs that jammed, but also had vocals.  They each sang some.  The singing wasn't terrible and didn't ruin it, but I didn't need it, either.

I had a lot of fun and would see them again.  I had to leave after an hour because I had to get up early 2 days in a row, but I was glad I went.  It was surprising that it was a low turnout - I expected more people.  Still a lot of fun.

Matt Abts: Drums, percussion, lead and background vocals
Jorgen Carlsson: Bass, guitar, percussion, tambourine, background vocals
TBone: Guitar, keyboards, percussion, lead and background vocals

Update to this post here:

Wicked Knee @ LPR 12/1/11

I was very tired, but I got at least a 1/2 hour before I just had to go home.  I was pretty tired the next day at work.  I do remember being able to stay out til 2 every now and then on a weeknight and not be too tired at work the next day.  Those days are over.  I was still productive, just tired.

Anyway, what I got was awesome.  Medeski sat in sometime.  They opened with a killer Crosstown Traffic and I was very happy I stayed.

Wicked Knee
Billy Martin (drums)
Curtis Fowlkes (trombone)
Marcus Rojas (tuba)
Steven Bernstein (trumpet)

Excerpt from the listing
Martin came up with Wicked Knee’s unusual configuration because, he explains, “I have always wanted to work with brass and drums but never had the time or the nerve to make it happen. I knew I had it when I asked Steven to help me get a few players together for Life on Drums (Martin’s educational, anti-instructional DVD out on Vongole Films). I wanted to have some brass with a previously recorded drumbeat. That ended up in the film as ‘Muffaletta,’ a very short last performance. After finishing that project I realized this was my new band. I have listened to a lot of field recordings from all over the African continent and there are very powerful groups that use horns or wind and drums. That’s what got me excited initially.”


The band name, Wicked Knee, was inspired, says Martin, “from a record compilation my wife’s friend had called Shake Your Wicked Knees. I borrowed that compilation, which is a collection of piano rags, blues and stomps, and I loved the vibe and the title. I like that it is born out of an Afro- American expression but has a slight surreal meaning. I like titles that can have multiple interpretations and keep that mysterious thing going.”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mago @ LPR 12/1/11

I love them!  It was stellar.  I love that they put this together and it was a good move to have them right before Wicked Knee.  I mean, I tend to go to anything either of them are in so this was a must go.

Mago (John Medeski / Billy Martin)
John Medeski (keys) and Billy Martin (drums) of Medeski Martin and Wood.

Caveman @ Le Poisson Rouge 12/1/11

It was the first of 3 bands for the show.  It was a bonus that it was free for members.  The listing implied it was Cyro's band, but it was actually Brian's.  Cyro was a special guest.  It was awesome.  I've seen Brian play with the guitar and bass at the Stone before... At least I think it was those 2 he played with. The music was great.  Trippy, different, and enjoyable.

From the listing:
Caveman with Cyro Baptista
The stage is dark. Softly, sounds begin to emerge from the abyss. A metallic clatter, a dull thud, a whisper…the unrecognizable vibrations reflect the blackness that surrounds them. As if in imitation of music’s first days, the reverberations build faster and more intense, until at last, a pulse emerges. The evolution quickens as more layers enter, following the now driving beat. A warped organ, clanky guitar tones, a clicky drum pattern…the texture grows louder and more complex with each successive instrument, audibly straining to reach higher, to free itself from the darkness. Then, suddenly, sound and light erupt from the stage, blasting the audience with a raucous groove, rife with raw, primal energy.

Caveman doesn’t relent as the show continues. Even as organist Brian Marsella, bassist John Buck, guitarist John Lee, and drummer Tim Keiper reveal their jaw-dropping virtuosity through rowdy, up-tempo grooves, they never lose touch with the primitive simplicity at the center of their music. Though collectively these musicians have worked with Keller Williams, Cyro Baptista, Matisyahu, Marshall Allen, Pharoah’s Daughter, The Disco Biscuits, The Transmitters, and Vieux Farka TourĂ©, it’s as if they look more to the fabled Neanderthal banging on rocks to inspire their music.

This devotion to the elemental has earned Caveman a maniacal following all over the United States. After two albums and four years of cris-crossing the country, this band has become a force to be reckoned with on the national festival and club circuit. Currently, Caveman is working on a new studio album and will be touring in its support later in 2011. Check them out this summer and get a taste of the primal!

Brian Marsella, organ
John Buck, bass
John Lee, guitar
Tim Keiper, drums
Cyro Baptista, percussion

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Little Words @ Zebulon 11/27/11

The Rattlemouth guy mentioned this looked good when they telling us about the Zeb lineup the night before.  It prompted me to check them out on-line before I went and it did look good.

I could only stay for about 1/2 hour or so, but I really enjoyed it.  It was experimental jazz musicians re-interpreting Bartok music in an experimental jazz trippy kind of way.  It was great.  Since they are from Brooklyn I will hopefully get another opportunity to see the full show at some point.

It looks like the EP is available on-line:

Little Worlds is dedicated to innovative reinterpretations of the Mikrokosmos collection. Written by 20th century Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, Mikrokosmos, or Little Worlds, was originally intended as a progressive study of piano technique. Since their completion in 1939, the study and performance of these 153 etudes has become standard in the classical music community. Offering insight into Bartok’s innovative use of rhythm, harmony and musicality, the pieces are often cited as the master composer’s most important musical testament. These brief melodies are inflected with new meaning by guitarist, Ryan Mackstaller, trombonist Rick Parker and drummer Tim Kuhl. The trio draws from their dynamic musical experiences in the rock, jazz, avant garde and improvised music scenes of Brooklyn, NY in their dynamic performance of these classical etudes. Book One is the ensemble's debut EP
released 14 June 2011 Rick Parker - Trombone + Effects Ryan Mackstaller - Guitar + Effects Tim Kuhl - Drums + Cymbals

Rattlemouth @ Zebulon 11/27/11

Since it's unlikely I'll get to see them again any time soon, I might as well get out to Zebulon to see them one more time.  It's a great band and it was very fun to be able to dance.  Most people sat of course, but it was very danceable.

I loved the sax solos.  I really like the CDs, but live is even better.

Rattlemouth @ The Stone 11/26/11

This was much more my type of music.  World influenced danceable experimental jazz.  The leader started off by telling us we couldn't dance.  If he hadn't explicitly said it, I would have gotten up and gone over to the side to dance.  I'm sure no laws would be broken since it's forbidden for 3 or more people to be moving in a synchronized fashion in an establishment without a cabaret license, but 1 or 2 is OK.  I also put The Stone down as highly unlikely it would ever be an issue if everyone danced.

It was still a lot of fun and completely enjoyable from my front row seat.  I bought 2 CDs, and I like them.  At the end of the show they mentioned they were playing at Zebulon the next night and we could dance there.  I put it on the list of potentials ...

Rattlemouth Roger Carroll, Danny Finney (saxes) Robbie Kinter (drums) Marc S. Langelier (bass) George M. Lowe (guitar) Rattlemouth emerged from the ashes of Richmond’s legendary Orthotonics in 1989. Their sound has gradually morphed from their art-punk/art-rock roots towards a Ethio-Jazz powerhouse. They blaze through spirited instrumental updates of classic tunes from around the world (Mali, Ethiopia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Cuba, Jamaica, Lebanon, etc.), plus similarly flavored originals.

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic @ The Stone 11/26/11

The music was good and I could get into it.  There were a couple of pieces I particularly enjoyed.  My favorite was the one composed by the keyboard player.  Many of the pieces were composed had some pre-programmed music from the laptop as one of the instruments.  There was no drummer, but often drumbeats were coming from the laptop.  The pre-programmed part didn't thrill me and wore me out after a while.  I would have preferred a drumkit and skipping that.  However the band has been around for a long time, experimenting how they like, so it must work for some.  I did enjoy it and didn't feel like I wasted $10, I just don't need to see them again.

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic Erik Lindgren (piano) Rick Scott (keyboards) Ken Field (reeds) Michael Bierylo (guitar, computer) In existence for over 30 years, Boston’s acclaimed Birdsongs of the Mesozoic play a unique mix of rock, punk, classical, minimalism, and free-form music, with occasional forays into even more unexpected directions. They have remained fresh and always changing, while retaining their distinctive style.