Sunday, December 23, 2012

Comedies For The Young @ The Stone 12/2/12

Just look at the lineup and you already know how phenomenal it was.  I was captivated by Mathias, the only one I wasn't previously familiar with.  He had lots and lots of stuff at his percussion setup and he played all of it.  I just did another amazing workshop with Ariel & Shya Kane and I would say he was very present to know exactly what to play and when and what to do with it.  There was no thinking involved, just being.  Charlie was inspired to put his guitar down a couple of times and play one of Mathias' instruments;  a cowbell with stick one time and the bass drum another.

Scott had a drumkit, some percussion things, and some electronic boxes and he was awesome.  He played thumb piano for a bit.  Nels had his guitar and electronics and was always great.

It was all improvised, intense, and amazing.

Comedies For The Young Mathias Bossi (percussion, voice) Scott Amendola (drums, electronics, percussion) Special Guests Nels Cline (guitar, stuff) Charlie Hunter (7-string guitar)

Some Cat From Japan @ Brooklyn Bowl 12/22/12

Wow! They were losing the audience, so instead of waiting until 12:30, they went on not too long after Anders finished.  Very cool since Metzger and Bolivar were in both bands and just played a 2 hour set. 

It was awesome!  I was going to stick around because I hadn't seen them yet, but I wasn't expecting anything great.  Well, great it was.  I had an awesome time.  I slipped out during a slow song, which sounded great, I just knew it was time for me to leave.

Some Cat From Japan (ft. Nigel Hall, Scott Metzger, Will Bernard, Eric Bolivar & Ron Johnson)
Some Cat From Japan is a super group that explores the music of Jimi Hendrix. The group includes bass player Ron Johnson (KDTU, Brett Dennen) guitarist Scott Metzger (RANA, Particle, American Babies, Serena Jean Band, Bustle in Your Hedgerow), guitarist Will Bernard (Stanton Moore trio, Will Bernard trio, T.J. Kirk), keyboard player and vocalist Nigel Hall (Soulive, Eric Krasno’s Chapter 2, Lettuce, the Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi band), and drummer Eric Bolivar (Bonerama, KDTU, Pimps of Joytime, Anders Osborne.).

Anders Osborne @ Brooklyn Bowl 12/22/12

This was Anders' last show of the year and it was a good one.  It was one long 2 hour set with a 2 song encore.  It rocked.  I loved that Scott Metzger was playing with him, he was awesome. I was happy to see Eric Bolivar on drums.  There were some others up there at times:  Charlie Musselwhite played harmonica on a few.  Nigel Hall came up and played keyboard for a couple and he sounded great.

For the encore, they first had Will Bernard and Ron Johnson join them.  They played a great Hendrix song that I can't remember right now.  Then we got a final encore with the band and 2 harmonica players.

It was awesome.

Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O @ Jazz Standard 12/18/12

It was Matt Wilson, Bill Frisell, Jeff Lederer, Paul Sikivie and special guests playing Christmas tunes their own way.  Joe Lovano played soprano sax on one.  There was a 7 person choir on a couple.  A male vocalist joined them on the last one.  It was fun and a great show.  I also felt more in the holiday spirit as a result.

It looks like there were different guests the next night, looking at the NY Times blog post below.

The listing:

Drummer Matt Wilson fires up his Christmas Tree-O, first heard on an enjoyable 2010 Palmetto CD, with reedist Jeff Lederer and bassist Paul Sikivie—plus a very special guest in maverick guitarist Bill Frisell. You'll hear a number of holiday favorites filtered through a refreshingly edgy postbop lens.

MMW + Ribot Set 2 @ Blue Note 12/13/12

It just gets better and better.  It was as if their musical memory kicked in suddenly and they took it all to another level.  I don't even know how it's possible to top that amazing 1st set, but they did it.  It went to places only the 4 of them could go.  Forget my same setlist theory, this set was completely and totally different.  It really belonged in a standing/dancing venue.  There was also a dofference in that there were talkers there this set.  You could only hear them during the quieter moments, but it was wierd and annoying.  The music was too good to remember you were with other people.

They ended it with an amazing "Hey Joe".

I'm kicking myself for not buying tickets for the show with Mary Ehrlich and the straight up MMW.  My loss as I heard they were awesome.

Senegalese percussionist Aïyb Dieng and multi-instrumentalist Marty Ehrlich will join Medeski, Martin & Wood as special guests during some of their upcoming Blue Note residency shows. Dieng will play with the group on December 11, while Ehrlich will sit in on December 15. As previously reported, the modern jazz trio will also be joined by Wilco guitarist Nels Cline on December 12, guitarist Marc Ribot on December 13 and saxophonist Bill Evans on December 14. Their final residency shows on December 16 will be pure Medeski, Martin & Wood. The trio will play two shows per night throughout the residency, with one show at 8pm and one at 10:30pm.

MMW + Ribot set 1 @ Blue Note 12/13/12

Ribot!  As much as I absolutely loved the night before with Nels Cline, I loved this 10 times more.  I didn't know that was possible until I saw the 1st set.  The set seems like it may have been similar to the night before, as an idea, but then with Ribot they went in all kinds of different directions. 

Chris has a way of making the bass sound like a theremin.  He uses a stick, perhaps a drumstick, held vertically behind the strings at the base and the bow in the same area of the strings.  It sounds great.

Billy had all the stuff he had the previous night:  the aquasonic without water, basic drumkit, table gongs, those shaky things I still haven't found out the name for (not a shakere), a tambourine and this night he also had some kind of tribal whistle.  I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

John had most or all of his various keyboards.  He sounded great.

It was phenomenal.

MMW w/ Nels Cline 12/12/12

I went to both sets and they were incredible.  Yeah, it was pricey and I still hate Blue Note, but sometimes I gotta suck it up and it's usually worth the trouble.  I admit that one set was satisfying and enough, but 2 was definitely twice as nice.  While I saw some hardcore MMW fans listed a setlist, it seemed pretty improvised.  When you add another great improviser to the mix it's bound to feel that way.  Nels definitely fits in really well with them - it was as if he was always in the band.

Erik Deutch, Allison Miller and Rene Hart @ The Stone 12/11/12

It was an amazing trio.  Erik played the piano, which was awesome.  I usually see him on an electronic keyboard.  He said he's been sitting in with Honey Ear Trio sometimes.

It was all improvised and awesome.  They each started one piece, so it was 3 long pieces over the course of about an hour.  I had the best seat in the house, I could see each of them play everything.

Rene had a little sampling box strapped to his bass.  He made things very interesting.  Allison mainly played the kit in the phenomenal ways that she does.  She also pulled some interesting metal rectangles out and put them on her scarf on a drum and played them in conjunction with a cool bell.  Erik played the piano brilliantly, sometimes as a hyperpiano.

I loved it and was glad to be there.

Erik Deutsch/Rene Hart/Allison Miller Erik Deutsch (piano, keys) Allison Miller (drums) Special Guest Rene Hart (bass) Pianist Erik Deutsch and Drummer Allison Miller have been collaborating together in NYC for the past 7 years—criss-crossing genres, traveling, recording, and generally causing as much of a stir as possible. These two like-minded musicians have a lot more history than that (both hail from the Washington D.C. area and attended the same summer jazz camp as teenagers). Together they've performed and recorded with Erin Mckeown, Ben Allison, Jenny Scheinman, Ellery Eskelin, Marty Erlich, Ron Miles, Trevor Dunn, Todd Sickafoose, and Jessica Lurie. Expect original compositions by Erik, Allison, and Rene along with improvisations and other things.

Robert Walter's 20th Congress @ Brooklyn Bowl 12/8/12

Aside from Robert and Cochemea, I couldn't tell you who else was in the band back when I used to see them at Wetlands.  I doubt Reid Matthis, Will Bernard, Simon Lott or Elizabeth Pupo-Walker were ever in it back then.  Each of this night's band members are worth seeing in any guise.

Alicia Shakur sat in on vocals for a couple.

It was a lot fun, great music and a great time.

Robert Walter (organ), Cochemea Gastelum (flute/sax), Simon Lott (drums), Reed Mathis (bass), Will Bernard (guitar), Elizabeth Pupo-Walker (percussion)

The Under_Line Benefit @ Angel Orsanz 12/4/12

Arts for Art is continuing to build momentum to get a new downtown venue for downtown jazz.  This was the kickoff for fundraising.  A lot of great musicians came together for the cause.  The music was stellar.  It was somewhat disappointing there was always a lot of talking in the background.  There were plenty of listeners, but you could definitely hear a crowd of talkers as well.  Come to think of it, that happened at Tonic sometimes, too.  It was also disappointing there wasn't a bigger turnout.  There were many heavy hitters on stage.  I thought it would sell out.

I got there at the very end of a violin and something else duo.  What I heard was nice.  I loved that violin.

Next was Milford Graves on drums, Joe Lovano on sax and somebody great that I can't remember. I do remember it was awesome.

After that was one of those amazing ensembles I couldn't possibly imagine.  Christian McBride and William Parker on bass, Cooper-Moore on drums, Charles Gayle on tenor, Hamiet Bluiett on baritone and Jason Kao Hwang on violin.  It was amazing.

Then there was a lone dancer, Yoshiko Chuma, with no music.  I have to admit I was somewhat annoyed that there was so much talking during the music and then there was silence for the dancer.  I took a break and got some fresh air,

Next was a great set with Marshall Allen, Milford Graves and Wlliam Parker.  Very special.

After that was Billy Martin on drums, Joe Lovano on sax, William Parker on bass and Judi Silvano on voice.  It was awesome and enouigh for me.

I left fully satiated and happy about the prospects of a new downtown music venue.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Louisian Musicians Score Big With Grammy Nominations

From Offbeat's newsletter:


Major congrats are in order for a slew of Louisiana artists.
Hip-hop darling Frank Ocean, rapper Lil' Wayne, the venerable Dr. John, zydeco master Corey Ledet, R&B queen Ledisi, Cajun supergroup the Band Courtbouillon, funny lady Ellen DeGeneres and country music phenom Hunter Hayes scored nods Thursday, December 6 for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, to be given out February 10, 2013 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Check the lineup of nominated local talent by clicking here, and check back with OffBeat in the weeks to come for more on the honored artists.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Comedies For The Young w/ Charlie Hunter & Nels Cline @ The Stone 12/2/12

Just look at the lineup and you already know how phenomenal it was.  I was captivated by Mathias, the only one I wasn't previously familiar with.  He had lots and lots of stuff at his percussion setup and he played all of it.  I just did another amazing workshop with Ariel & Shya Kane and I would say he was very present to know exactly what to play and when and what to do with it.  There was no thinking involved, just being.  Charlie was inspired to put his guitar down a couple of times and play one of Mathias's instruments;  a cowbell with stick one time and the bass drum another.

Scott had a drumkit, some percussion things, and some electronic boxes and he was awesome.  He played thumb piano for a bit.  Nels had his guitar and electronics and was always great.

It was all improvised, intense, and amazing.

Comedies For The Young Mathias Bossi (percussion, voice) Scott Amendola (drums, electronics, percussion) Special Guests Nels Cline (guitar, stuff) Charlie Hunter (7-string guitar)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Brother Josepheus @ Brooklyn Bowl 11/29/12

It was a lot of fun and a great band.  It's about 9 pieces including vocalists.  I especially like it when they get funky.  I had a great time and it was good to get down.

The listing:

Brother Joscephus & the Love Revolution
Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra is a
12-piece explosion of righteousness that blends New Orleans party
music, Soul in the style of Ray Charles and Al Green, a good helping
of jam-bandy Roots Rock and a righteous splash of good, upbeat Gospel
without the religious overtones (We like to call it secular gospel).

In the group’s short history they have already made a big splash in
the NYC music scene, sharing the stage with New Orleans stalwarts such
as the Rebirth Brass Band, Trombone Shorty, Dirty Dozen Brass Band,
Bonerama, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars
and Eric Lindell. They’ve sold out legendary venues such as the
Highline Ballroom and BB King’s.

The Revolution began expanding into other regions in April, 2009
playing 13 shows in 12 days during Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Since
then the group has performed in 10 states and developed a strong
presence in several markets up and down the eastern seaboard. Many
followers have attended recent Revivals in Vermont (Burlington
Discover Jazz Festival, Red Fox Inn), Boston (Harper’s Ferry), Long
Island (Stephen Talkhouse, Great South Bay Festival), Philadelphia,
Dewey Beach, Winston-Salem, Asheville (Bele Chere Festival), Atlanta
(Smith’s Olde Bar), Birmingham and New Orleans (Blue Nile & Tipitina’s
during VooDoo Fest).

Each BroJo tune has been meticulously arranged for the Love Revival
Revolution Orchestra: The three-piece horn section (the Shepherds of
the Wind), the gospel choir (the Voices of Reason), and the most
righteous rhythm section (the Guardians of the Groove) lay it down for
Brother Joscephus to sing about the pain, joy and wisdom that is in
his heart.

The core group is twelve pieces, but the Revolution has been known to
expand to over sixteen (adding members to the gospel choir, fiddle,
mandolin and percussion) and plans are in the works to incorporate an
entire orchestra to back up the 12-piece core.

A Love Revival with Brother Joscephus is more than just excellent
original live music. BroJo is also all about the spectacle and
pageantry - it’s a life changing EXPERIENCE! The orchestra is decked
out in their finest whites (accented with the appropriate gold, purple
and green of Mardi Gras). They break out parasols, start each set with
a parade through the audience and throw out hundreds of Mardi Gras
beads over the course of a show. When the parade starts grooving the
crowd can't help but have a good time. It's undeniable!!

Brother Joscephus' message is one of righteousness: spread as much
love as possible around, regardless of your individual beliefs, race,
age, gender, sex, sexual orientation or whatever it is you're into.
Long as you're not hurting anyone, BroJo has much love for you and
encourages you to fill the space with whatever love you got. That's
what the Love Revival Revolution is all about.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Crystal Magnets Piano Duo @ Shapeshifter Lab 11/28/12

I got there at 9 and they were on the 2nd piece.  I was surprised and happy and impressed to see 2 actual pianos as opposed to one piano and keyboard.  It sounded great.  The next piece was very cool.  It was called même jour, meaning same day.  It was composed by Benoit and was about how his 2 kids were born on the same day, Friday 13th, 5 years apart.  He used clothespins on the strings to make it sound very cool.  For the next piece, they both had clothes pins in different places on the strings.  Benoit took the rhythm and Andy the melody.  It sounded great and modern.  Then they took a break and told us they would play with Ethan Iverson in the next set.

After a 20 min setbreak it started with a Iverson/Delbecq improvised duo piece that was awesome.  Then Benoit and Andy traded seats and Andy and Ethan played a song.  Then it was Ethan and Benoit playing a Mal Waldron tune, "What It Is", my favorite of the night.  It grooved.  The last piece seemed to be another improvised with Andy and Ethan.  It was all well worth the schlep.

Crystal Magnets Piano Duo – Andy Milne & Benoit Delbecq
November 28th – special guest: Ethan Iverson – piano
November 29th – special guest: Fred Hersch – piano
November 30th – special guests: Greg Osby – alto sax & clarinet, Michael Attias – baritone sax, Vincent Chancey – french horn, Jacob Garchik – trombone
Crystal Magnets, the piano duo from two masters of contemporary improvisation, reunites Canadian Andy Milne and Frenchman Benoît Delbecq. They became friends in 1990 while studying with saxophonist Steve Coleman at The Banff Centre Jazz Workshop. Both keyboardists took Coleman’s teachings to heart, exploring distinctly different approaches to expressing their experiences through music. In 2007, they received The French-America Jazz Exchange and were commissioned by Chamber Music America to develop and record “Where is Pannonica?” [Songlines – 2009]. Milne and Delbecq returned to The Banff Centre in January 2008 to undertake this project. The scope of it grew to include extensive collaboration with Banff Centre audio engineers throughout the compositional, recording and mixing phases. Using the sonic landscape of the 5.0 surround sound format for inspiration, the music was composed in part to exploit the unique potential for placing specific compositional elements in distinct regions of the mix. The engineers created an acoustic array within each piano and analyzed the natural acoustics to define a larger array within the room, enabling Milne and Delbecq to compose for the medium and perform in harmony with their environment. The New York Times lauded the recording as a “strangely beautiful new album” from two “resourcefully contemporary pianists, both drawn to quixotic interrogations of harmony and timbre.”Although Milne and Delbecq have both created music for electronic and computer-based instruments, Crystal Magnets is primarily an acoustic piano duo, equally influenced by both pianists’ ever-expanding experiences and passions. As an innovator in improvised prepared-piano performance, Delbecq has synthesized sounds and concepts from Ligeti and Steve Lacy to Aka Pygmy music. Milne’s long association with Steve Coleman inspired his unique integration of rhythmic concepts from Cuba, Ghana, American jazz, funk and hip-hop.Their shared respect and understanding for each other’s approach to the piano and to improvisation, helped connect them in a profound, almost seamless thought process throughout their collaboration. While interpreting each other’s compositions and collaboratively developing pieces, Milne and Delbecq discovered this synchronicity and used it with great care to develop complex rhythmic, melodic and harmonic relationships involving timbre and texture, room acoustics, space, and time. In doing so, they have extended the scope of the piano duo within the jazz world.

Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas @ Village Vanguard 11/27/12

It was the very first set of what I'm sure will be a stellar week of music.  I absolutely loved it.  It is a can't miss ensemble.  Joe kept referring to the group as Sound Prints.  I Iove Joey Baron more than I can say.  The whole thing was outstanding.  My favorite was the 2nd song, a very bluesy piece written by Dave.  It's a phenomenal band and I'm thinking about going again this week.

Joe Lovano-sax, Dave Douglas-tpt,
Lawrence Fields-p, Linda Oh-b,
Joey Baron-d

Gerald Clayton Duos @ Jazz Gallery 11/24/12

I had to get some shows in before they move to Midtown.  I'm gonna miss that spot.

It was a great show.  He first did a piece with Chris Dingman on vibes.  Next he had Gretchen Parlotto come up and sing - that was quite mellow.  Then he had Justin Brown come up on drums, probably my favorite piece of the set.  After that he was joined by Dayna Stephens on sax.  Then he started circling around again.  First a piece with the vibes and then one with Gretchen.  For the final piece, he invited sax, drums and Raymond Hall on bass.  It was awesome.

Gerald Clayton - piano
Dayna Stephens - saxophone
Chris Dingman - vibraphone
Justin Brown - drums
Plus Special Guests

Dave Liebman Quintet @ Cornelia St 11/24/12

I got there right as they started and got a good dancing spot where I could see everything.  The music was excellent.  Sam wasn't on stage until the 2nd half of the set.  He played soprano the whole time.  Ellery and Dave were on stage the whole time.  I love Jim Black and he was as phenomenal as always.  I didn't know of the bass player before - he was great.

It was a wonderful set.  They cleared the room as they had 40 reservations for the 2nd set. I opted to go to a different show even though I could have easily stayed there for more.

David Liebman, soprano saxophone; 
Sam Newsome, soprano saxophone; 
Ellery Eskelin, tenor sax; 
Chris Tordini, bass; 
Jim Black, drums 

Billy Martin @ Shapeshifter Lab 11/16/12

It was a special night for Billy.  There was an art reception at 7 with a percussion show to follow at 9.  I got there at 9:30 and Billy and Calvin Weston were on stage, doing what they do so well.  They were actually my very first show at The Stone years ago and have a soft spot on my heart.  They played til about 9:50 and then Calvin left the stage and the 3 other members of Fang Percussion came to join Billy.  It was good stuff.  Billy summoned a few people from the audience with gestures to play the wine glasses with the band.  It was a great piece.  Then the extras left and Calvin came up to sit in with the band.  They did this awesome piece Billy said was inspired by Laos.  It reminded me of the Tibetan spiritual music I heard at the Brussels Musical Instrument Museum.

Next we got another Billy/Calvin duo improvisation that was as phenomenal as they all are.

After that was an awesome awesome piece inspired by the Fang Tribe of Africa.  Billy said they are amazing and he couldn't possibly replicate what they do.  It was a great piece.  After a while, he again summoned people from the audience, many people.  I would say about 20-25 were gestured to pick up an idiophone, the kind you hold in your hand and hit with a stick.  He then conducted them and it was great.

It all ended at around 10:40 and I loved it.
Billy Martin presents a night of percussion and art at Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY on Friday, November 16. Dubbed "Festival of Percussion," Martin will perform new solo, duo and chamber works. For the duet pieces he'll be joined by the great avant jazz drummer G. Calvin Weston (Ornette Coleman, John Lurie's Lounge Lizards), while his percussion ensemble, Fang Percussion, will accompany him on the chamber pieces.

In addition to the musical performances that evening, the event will serve as the opening for Billy Martin's new art exhibit. Painting under the moniker illy B, his work on canvas, paper and wood, ranging from 24 x 24" to 48 x 60" oil, oil pastel and multi-media silkscreens will be on display. The art exhibit at Shapeshifter is scheduled to run from November 16 through December 22, 2012.

Phil Lesh and Friends @ Roseland 11/11/12

A friend had an extra and when I saw Joe Russo was in it I figured "why not?".  I was going more to hang out and hope that Joe was enough to endure a tired old Dead cover band.  I was pleasantly surprised that the band was good.  I enjoyed it a lot.  Press releases said they were going to do 3 sets with a very special guest for the 3rd set each night in NYC.  I didn't know who he was, but it was nice having another guy up there.  I read later it was Stanly Jordon.  I also was just fine with the "regular band".  I actually wasn't as into that 3rd set as the other 2.  It was still good, but I didn't have a problem leaving Early, at around 11:20.

I was very happy with the Strawberry Fields cover in the 1st set.  Joe Russo was indeed phenomenal.

Phil, Jackie Greene, Joe Russo, John Kadlecik, Jeff Chimenti


01. tuning
02. Alligator
03. Bird Song
04. Till The Light Comes
05. Strawberry Fields Forever
06. Franklins Tower


07. Dweller On The Treshold
08. Doin That Rag
09. Just Another Whistle Stop
10. Althea
11. Cosmic Charlie

with Stanley Jordan (guitar)

12. jam
13. Mountains Of The Moon
14. The Other One
15. Dark Star
16. Stairway To Heaven
17. Dark Star
18, All Along The Watchtower
19. Morning Dew
20. Dark Star


21. crowd / donor rap
22. US Blues

Jazz & Colors @ Central Park 11/10/12

This is a great thing.  30 bands playing the same setlist at various points all over Central Park.  The bands get a break in the middle and various soloists are scheduled at many of the points.  No sponsors, so I presume the city or Central park Conservatory or something funded it.

In addition to phenomenal music, I loved the opportunity to get to know the park a little.  I don't get there much due to proximity and crowdedness.  It also wasn't too crowded in most parts, which may not be a good thing for the festival, but there was a nice little crowd around each band I saw.

I got there a little after 1 and it had started at 12.  The format was one set 12-1:30 then a soloist portion to give the band a break and then another set 2:30-4:00.

I started at The Bob Stewart Quintet.  I could have stayed there the whole time.  It sounded so good with the horns.  I only stayed for 1-2 because I wanted to take full advantage.
Bob Stewart - tuba
Ray Anderson - trombone
Barry Altschul - drums
Alex Harding - baritone sax
Randall Haywood - trumpet

I saw a little of the Kimberly Thompson Quartet.  It was good but not a good follower to Bob Stewart.
Kimberly Thompson - drums
Essiat Essiat - bass
Craig Magnano - guitar
Dayna Stephens - sax
Carolyn Leonhart - vocal

I then got to the Naumberg Bandshell and Charnette Moffett was tuning up to do a phenomenal bass solo set.  I love him and always love his solos.  I saw his whole set and it was excellent.  He started with Caravan, playing off of pieces of it.  He was so cool how he hit the bass strings with the back of the bow.  He did some of his original compositions and some Mingus and some Blues.  He also did a cool kind of out there piece where he got the audience to play call and response with no effort on his part.  He was playing some complex stuff for us to respond to.

I took a little break after that to go to a paint store nearby to get some samples.  Next it was on to Doug Wamble Quartet.  But first I briefly caught some great music from the YES! Trio w/ Aaron Goldberg, Omer Avital, Ali Jackson, which was awesome.
Aaron Goldberg - piano
Omar Avital - bass
Ali Jackson - drums

Doug Wamble was awesome.  He sang the verse to Autumn in NY.  That was the 2wnd to last song and there was still about 1/2 hour left.  I decided to move on after that to get one more band in before the end.
Doug Wamble - Guitar, vocals
Jeff Hanley - bass
Roy Dunlap - keys
Bill Campbell - drums

I am so glad I did that.  I didn't realize Steven Bernstein was there, playing in the Joel Harrison Quartet.  I got an amazing 30 min.  Steven played regular trumpet.  They were all great.  I danced and had a great time.
Joel Harrison - guitar
Steven Bernstein - trumpet
Kenny Brooks - sax
Michael Bates - bass
George Schuller - drums

I hope this becomes a regular thing!

1st Setlist:
  • "Straight No Chaser" - Thelonious Monk, 1951
  • "Take The A Train" - Billy Strayhorn, 1939
  • "Central Park West" - John Coltrane,
  • "Nature Boy" - Eden Ahbez, 1947
  • "Fall" - The Miles Davis Quartet, 1967
  • "Autumn Serenade" - Johnny Harman / John Coltrane, 1963
  • "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" - Charles Mingus, 1959
  • "Manhattan" - Rodgers and Hart, 1925
  • "Blue Train" - John Coltrane, 1957
Featuring Jazz & Colors Rising Stars Soloist Contest Winners,

2nd Setlist:
  • "Scrapple From The Apple" - Charlie Parker, 1947
  • "The Blues Walk" - Clifford Brown and Max Roach, 1955
  • "Body and Soul" - Louis Armstrong, 1930
  • "Skating in Central Park" - John Lewis, 1959
  • "Rhythm-A-Ning" - Thelonious Monk, 1957
  • "Peace" - Ornette Coleman, 1959
  • "Nostalgia in Times Square" - Charles Mingus, 1960
  • "Autumn in New York" - Vernon Duke, 1934
  • "Empire State of Mind" - Jay-Z & Alicia Keys, 2009

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jim Black/Nels Cline @ Cornelia St 11/9/12

It was listed as Jim Black Duo with Mystery Guitarist.  I immediately figured it had to be Nels Cline.  Sure enough that was noted on the door when I entered.

It was even better than I could have possibly imagined.  They're both amazing.  I forgot how phenomenal Jim is.  I mean, I knew he was phenomenal as a concept but experiencing it is a whole other thing.  Everything he did was stellar.  There was one point where he coordinated a drumbeat and cymbal strike at the same moment.  He did that again and again with different beats and cymbals.  It was amazing.  It reminded me of the Tibetan Ceremony Music I heard at the MIM in Brussels.

Jim also played the ipad as a touch instrument.  It looked like the sounds were programmed into a laptop and would change depending on where and how he touched the ipad screen, which was laying flat on the floor tom.  It wounded great.

Nels had a megamic, the same kind Jessica Lurie uses.  It's an almost obsolete toy microphone.  Jessica mentined once that they're hard to find now and she looks for them on ebay.  Nels would use vocals and the megamic to vibrate the guitar strings.  He also had lots of great electronics and was very interesting to watch.

They played for about an hour then took a break.  They announced they would now play a song they wrote 10 seconds from now.  That set was under an hour yet very satisfying.

I chose well.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Django Festival @ Birdland 11/7/12

I was going through live music withdrawal and had to get out.  It was the nor'easter, but not that bad in snow boots and a full length down coat.  It's also convenient that Birdland is so close to the 42nd St A-C-E exit.  I couldn't take those trains easily because the L was still down.  I took the N-R-Q to 42nd St and walked underground to 44th and 8th.  It was great.

I enjoyed the set a lot.  It was about an hour and twenty.  It was the same promoter that did the Tango show I saw with Regina Carter at Birdland a few months ago.  The Django music reminded me a lot of the tango music.  They have an accordion instead of a bandoneon.  They both often have violins.  There were similarities in the music.  Neither has drums or percussion.

The Django festival band is a special ensemble that only comes together for these shows.  I think they are all from France except the special guest saxophone players, which are different each night.  It's a family affair.  Dorado Schmitt is the father and apparently an old-time great Django style guitar and violin player as well as composer.  His son Samson plays guitar and he and the bass player were the only ones on stage the entire time. Another son of Dorado also plays guitar and was out for a couple.  This was his first time playing at Birdland.  There were some excellent other members as well: the violin and accordion were amazing.

I was especially compelled to go to this show because it was the night Anat Cohen was the special guest.  She played the soprano sax for the 3-4 pieces she sat in on.  Her clarinet was there, she just didn't pay it that set. She played some things on the soprano you might normally hear from a tenor.  For one piece the notes were lower and longer than what I usually hear from a soprano.  It was excellent.  There were also more customary soprano sounds at times.

It was great!

From the listing:
Legendary gypsy guitarist/composer Dorado Schmitt from the Lorraine area of France, in the tradition of Manouche gypsy life and culture, taught his 3 sons to follow in his footsteps and become jazz afficionados in the style of the great late Django Reinhardt, renowned gypsy guitarist. Schmitt is known for his harmonious melodies, brilliant improvisations and extraordinary technique. He has performed at festivals around the world and with top Jazz luminaries Oscar Peterson, The Pizzarelli’s, George Benson, Paquito D’Rivera, James Carter and more.

Performing alongside their Dad on the Birdland stage will be Amati - 17, Bronson – 20, and Samson now in his early 30’s who grew up performing at The Festival. In addition will be cousin Francko, also a guitarist. Ludovic Beier, (accordionist/accordina player) and Pierre Blanchard (violinist), favorites on the scene, will also be part of the Schmitt family happening. On bass will be Xavier Nikq.

Plus Special Guests

Tuesday 11/6 - Ken Peplowski (Clarinet)

Wednesday 11/7 - Anat Cohen (Sax and Clarinet)

Thursday 11/8 - Nicki Parrott (Bass and Vocals)

Friday 11/9 and Saturday 11/10 - Jisoo Ok (Cello) *with a special arrangement of Django's famous composition "Nuages"

Sunday 11/11 - Stephane Seva (Washboards)

All are from France where Django lived most of his life and where he teamed with Jazz violin great Stephane Grappelli to form one of the most popular partnerships in history which created a musical style that’s surging all over the US and world. The music is virtuosic, infectious, romantic, entertaining, and to this day sets toes tapping compulsively and hearts swooning. The legend endures.

Django’s unmistakable cool and jumpin’ joie de vivre have made him an icon for an unikely range of luminaries from Carlos Santana to Tony Iommi. Jimi Hendrix named his “Band of Gypsies” in tribute; Willie Nelson adopted his influence in “country-swing”; Sean Penn played a Django-obsessed swing guitarist in Woody Allen’s ‘Sweet and Lowdown’; and Leonardo DiCaprio proudly was backed by Django’s music on the soundtrack of Scorsese’s ‘The Aviator’ and is still one of Django’s biggest fans.

This event is produced by Pat Philips & Ettore Stratta.

Word of the Day: idiophone
Term applied to instruments that produce sounds from the material of the instrument itself without the assistance of reeds, strings, or other externally applied resonator. An idiophone produces sounds by one of the following methods:
1. Concussion Idiophone
striking together two objects capable of vibration
Claves, Cymbals, etc
2. Friction Idiophone
rubbing the vibrating object
Glass Armonica, Musical Saw, etc.
3. Percussion Idiophone
striking the vibrating object with a mallet, hammer, stick or other non-vibrating object
Wood Block, Bell, Gong, etc.
4. Plucked Idiophone
plucking a flexible tounge
Jew's Harp, Thumb Piano, Music Box, etc.
5. Scraped Idiophone
scraping the vibrating object with a stick or other non-vibrating object
Ratchet, Güiro, Washboard, etc.
6. Shaken Idiophone
shaking the vibrating object
Maracas, Pellet Bells, etc.
7. Stamped Idiophone
striking an object on a surface to vibrate the surface Stamping pit, stamping board, etc.

8. Stamping Idiophone
striking an object on the ground or hard surface to vibrate the object
Marching Machine, etc.

See also percussion instruments


Traditional: South Indian. Thumri (Vina)
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 3, Track 60
Noun (music) a percussion instrument, such as a cymbal or xylophone, made of naturally sonorous material

An idiophone is any musical instrument which creates sound primarily by way of the instrument's vibrating, without the use of strings or membranes. It is the first of the four main divisions in the original Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification (see List of idiophones by Hornbostel-Sachs number). In the early classification of Victor-Charles Mahillon, this group of instruments was called autophones.

Most percussion instruments which are not drums are idiophones. Hornbostel-Sachs divides idiophones into four main sub-categories. The first division is the struck idiophones (sometimes called concussion idiophones). This includes most of the non-drum percussion instruments familiar in the West. They include all idiophones which are made to vibrate by being hit, either directly with a stick or hand (like the wood block, singing bowl, steel tongue drum, triangle or marimba), or indirectly, by way of a scraping or shaking motion (like maracas or flexatone). Various types of bells fall into both categories.

The other three sub-divisions are rarer. They are plucked idiophones, such as the jaw harp, amplified cactus, kouxian, dan moi, music box or mbira (lamellophone / thumb piano); blown idiophones, of which there are a very small number of examples, the Aeolsklavier being one; and friction idiophones, such as the singing bowl, glass harmonica, glass harp, turntable, verrophone, daxophone, styrophone, musical saw, or nail violin (a number of pieces of metal or wood rubbed with a bow).[1]

Other classifications use six main sub-categories: Concussion idiophones are instruments that produce sound by being struck against one another. Percussion idiophones produce sound by being struck with a non-vibrating foreign object. Examples of non-vibrating objects are mallets, hammers, and sticks. Rattle idiophones are shaken. Scraper idiophones are instruments that are scraped with a stick or other foreign objects to give off a sound. Plucked idiophones produce sound by plucking a flexible tongue from within the instrument itself. Lastly, friction idiophones are rubbed to increase vibration and sound intensity.[2]

Idiophones are made out of materials that give off unique sounds. The majority of idiophones are made out of glass, metal, ceramics, and wood. Idiophones are considered part of the percussion section in an orchestra.

A number of idiophones that are normally struck, such as vibraphone bars and cymbals, can also be bowed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Zongo Junction @ Brooklyn Bowl 10/23/12

I waited too long to write about it.  I remember having a good time dancing and enjoying the horns.  I didn't realize it was only free if you registered on-line so I had to pay $5.  It was the Local X Local event they do every now and then.  I also stayed for a little of the next band, Sinkane.  Some of the Zongo horns sat in.  I can't remember much about it.

Sexmob @ LPR 10/21/12

I admit it, this is really why I came out and took the next morning off.  Since Tonic closed, we don't get enough Steven Bernstein projects in NYC.  The only problem was many people left before they came on.  It was a low turnout to begin with and there were only around 25 people left to enjoy the set.  In addition, sound carries there.  There were 2 people whispering to each other the whole time and I could hear them all the way accross the room.  I loved the set, but they made it short. I understand, they donated time and music and for the musicians and promoter it was probably a disappointment.  They did a killer Ruby Tuesday and were excellent.  There was just something off in the room - it was the mellowest Sexmob show I've ever seen.

Evening of Jazz: A Fundraiser for Barack Obama
w/ Sex Mob , Randy Ingram Trio , and Noah Preminger Quartet

Sex Mob
Sex Mob, led by the brilliant slide trumpet of Steven Bernstein, puts the fun back in jazz with With the great musicians Tony Scherr on bass, Briggan Krauss on sax, and Kenny Wollensen on drums, Sex Mob has released albums including “Din of Inequity,” “Sex Mob Does Bond,” “Dime Grind Palace,” “Sexotica.” The Grammy-nominated group has played to packed houses around the planet, from NPR to SNL to MTV. “Their the rogue outfit [has], by force of personality and persistence, managed to bring the whole spectrum of America’s music into a provocative and loose-limbed embrace.” –Nate Chinen, The New York Times

Randy ingram Trio @ LPR 10/21/12

I enjoyed this a lot.  They did 2 pieces as a quartet and then invited Ingrid Jensen to join them for the last 2.  It was awesome.

Evening of Jazz: A Fundraiser for Barack Obama
w/ Sex Mob , Randy Ingram Trio , and Noah Preminger Quartet

Randy Ingram Trio
Randy Ingram, pianist/composer, has been hailed as “gifted” (Jazz Times), “one of the best up- and-coming pianists” (Icon), “astute, self-possessed” (The New York Times) and “formidable” (The San Francisco Chronicle). This evening he is joined by the great Joe Martin on bass. In their review of Ingram’s acclaimed record, “The Road Ahead,” Jazz Weekly writes, “He’s got a crystalline sound, rich and wide open, and knows how to state a melody 
with spacious chords, veering into logical solos that wander into 
intriguing lands.”

Noah Preminger Quartet @ LPR 10/21/12

It was an Obama benefit but had a low turnout due to not starting until 10:30 on a Sunday night.  This first band had to compete with a rock band playing in the lounge space next door.  It was a good 30 minute set with 3 nice pieces.

Evening of Jazz: A Fundraiser for Barack Obama
w/ Sex Mob , Randy Ingram Trio , and Noah Preminger Quartet

Noah Preminger Quartet
Crown prince of the tenor saxophone and creator of two of the most acclaimed small-group jazz albums of the last decade–“Before The Rain” and “Dry Bridge Road”–Noah Preminger will perform with a stellar ensemble including guitarist Ben Monder and bassist Matt Pavolka. As Ben Ratliff wrote of Preminger in The New York Times, Preminger “designs a different kind of sound for each note, an individual destiny and story.”

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Film: Voodoo Gods On The Slave Coast

I missed this as I just found out about it, but I want it here so I can possibly find it again.

Saturday November 10
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue (at 2nd St.)
New York, NY 10003 USA

9:30 PM
by Hisham Mayet
2012, 60 minutes, video
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Mayet's exploration of West African possession ceremonies continues 
in Benin. Formerly known as the Slave Coast, since most of the slave 
industry was exported from its shores, Benin is the cradle and 
birthplace of Voodoo - and Voodoo worship is integral to the everyday 
lives of its people. This film, shot in 2010, is an impressionistic 
lens on the myriad ceremonies that this rich and diverse culture has 
to offer. This will be the premiere screening of this visual feast.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Brooklyn Blues @ Blue Note 10/20/12

I have to go off of memory almost a month later, but I do have a fond memory of this show. This was Whyllys, the turntablist's gig.  I recall when I first discovered DJ Logic, playing with many bands I love and not liking it.  It sometimes takes me a while to get with the program, but I eventually found I appreciate some good electronics/sampling/etc mixed in with good other stuff.  This show was great.  Scott was in the back, leaning on a barstool or amp or something and still the great guitarist that he is.  Peter was in front of him mainly with the sax, but sometimes I think he had a shakere with him (it could be a memory from another show, though).  Rob had the piano and other keyboards and was nice and trippy and fit in well.  It was just some really good jamming and worth staying up for.

Brooklyn Blues FEATURING:
Peter Apfelbaum, sax
Scott Metzger, guitar
Rob Marscher, keys,
Wyllys, turntables
Wyllys started spinning at age 15 and hasn't looked back since. Training himself with drum and bass on belt drives in 1997, he has since moved on to many genres of music, playing coast to coast as well as international and festival dates. He has shared the stage with contemporary luminaries Orchard Lounge, Justin Martin, Gigamesh, and The Magician, as well as many talented bands and musicians from many genres of music including Umphrey's McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, The Greyboy Allstars, Jurassic 5, Soulive, and many more.

His live outfit, The New York Hustler Ensemble, featuring a revolving cast of top-notch musicians, is an experiment in nu disco, raregroove, and re-edit, with many nods to house music . The heart and soul of "The Hustler Sound" is his horn section and vocalists "The Disco Angels", Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman. Logging in hours at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Music Festival, as well as the illustrious Blue Note Jazz Club, this band is ready to take DJ culture to the next level .
A number of New York-are musicians will collaborate as New York’s Blue Note late Saturday night. Billed as Brooklyn Blues, the evening will bring together former Trey Anastasio Band saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum, Wolf!/RANA guitarist Scott Metzger, Matisyahu/Addison Groove Project keyboardist Rob Marscher and turntablist Wyllys. The collaboration is billed as the start of a new project, not a one-off jam session. Brooklyn Blues will take the stage at 12:30 AM (technically Sunday morning) as part of the club’s Late Night Groove series.

Ms. Piano and Company @ The Stone 10/20/12

The listing said it was not to be missed and I like an opportunity to see people I never saw before.  It was awesome.  They never played together before so they were really improvising.  They were all magnificent.  The piano was very compelling.  The drummer was incredible.  During the last piece he got up from his drum stool and walked around playing the kit from the front, including the sides of drums, drum stands, and the floor.  He was very interesting with the mallots as well.  The upright bass was always played with the bow and sounded great.

Ms. Piano and Company Simone Weissenfels (piano) Juini Booth (bass) Dalius Naujo (drums) A rare New York appearance for Ms. Weissenfels with a trio playing together for the first time ever, representing the nativities of Germany, Lithuania and the U.S.The three of them together cause for a rare occurance, like the transit of a comet! Not to be missed! FIFTEEN DOLLARS

Bern Nix Quartet @ The Stone 10/20/12

It was good.  A little more straight ahead for The Stone but an enjoyable set nonetheless.  I especially liked the grooving tune "Under the Volcano".

Bern Nix Bern Nix (guitar) Matt LaVelle (trumpet) Gerald Feroux (drums) Francois Grillot (bass) Perhaps best known for his long term stint with Ornette Coleman, Nix leads this quartet of equal parts!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Todd Clouser/Billy Martin/James Buckley @ Shapeshifter Lounge 10/19/12

I finally made it to Shapeshifter and I really like it.  It's a nice space and feels really good.  They have some nice artwork having to do with music on the walls.  Tony Scherr was listed, but we got the capable James Buckley instead.  He and Todd are in other bands together.

It was basically rocking singer-songwriter stuff that sounded great.  Todd sang and played guitar.  He has a good singing voice and there were enough instrumental parts which means I enjoyed it.

They did 2 sets.  Sometime in the middle of the 2nd set Rick Parker showed up to sit in on trombone.  They did more songs but also an improvised piece that was great.

I loved the show and the venue.

Fabian Almazan Trio w/ Strings @ Jazz Standard 10/17/12

I saw them at Winter Jazzfest and was looking forward to a future opportunity to see more.  The ensemble was different in that Linda Oh and Henry Cole weren't there, but it was still great.  They played some world premiers as well as some older songs.  It was excellent and fun.

The listing:
Known to audiences around the world for his superlative playing with the Terence Blanchard Quintet, in May 2012 Fabian Almazan released an auspicious debut album, Personalities, with an array of sounds ranging from 19th century Cuban danzon to tough, melodic modern jazz. Perhaps the most surprising track is his version of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 10, one of Almazan’s favorite pieces from his years of classical piano lessons. The original performance by piano trio and string quartet was manipulated with signal processers “to create ghostly wails, chirps and rumbles within Shostakovich’s melody,” wrote Geoffrey Himes in The Washington Post. “…Almazan creates narratives with his instrumental music, whether it’s the story of his childhood in Havana, his early gigs in Manhattan, his classical piano lessons in Miami, his electronica experiments in Utah or his observation of stage parents everywhere.”
Fabian Almazan – piano
Joshua Crumbly – bass
Kendrick Scott – drums
Meg Okura - violin
Tomoko Omura - 2nd violin
Karen Waltuch - viola
Noah Hoffeld - cello
& special guest Camila Meza - voice & guitar

The Heavens Atheist Gospel Trombone Choir @ Joe's Pub 10/16/12

Jacob made a new CD where he's playing all of the trombone parts - dubbing himself in.  Since he couldn't play all the parts live, he put together this great ensemble for the gig.  There will be at least a couple more opportunities to catch it.  I was psyched to see Kenny Wolleson at the drumkit in addition to 5 trombones that included Curtis Hasselbring and Josh Roseman and Brian Drye on baritone horn and trombone.  The listing below says Curtis Fowlkes but I don't think he was there that night.  It was great and a lot of fun.

Show Description

Celebrating the release of The Heavens: The Atheist Gospel Trombone Choir: seven of NYC's most soul-stirring trombone players gather for an astonishing testament to the power of reason. Playing music from the album as well as arrangements of classic tunes by the Famous Blue Jay Singers, Madison's Lively Stones, and the Mississippi Nightingales. with 
Jacob Garchik - lead trombone, compositions; 
Josh Roseman, 
Curtis Hasselbring, 
Jason Jackson, 
Curtis Fowlkes - trombones; 
Brian Drye - baritone horn; 
Joe Daley - sousaphone; 
Kenny Wolleson - drums
From the mind of Jacob Garchik comes an astonishing and astounding testament to the power of reason. A nine part suite for trombone choir, the record features up to eight trombones, two baritones, two sousaphones, and a cameo by a pint-sized-sounding slide trumpet. All of the parts were recorded by Garchik in his Brooklyn home studio.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Musical Instrument Museum, Brussels

It's a wonderful museum.  They give you an audio headset that you can listen to with or without headphones.  I got the English version, which was music and no words describing the instruments.  It was "smart" and played the instruments I was standing in front of in the museum.
"In a beautifully restored complex in Brussels, of which one part is Art Nouveau and the other, neoclassical in design, the 1200 most interesting instruments are assembled in 4 galleries, enhanced by images, text panels and sounds. In addition the mim has a concert hall, a space for workshops (for groups and by reservation only), a museum shop, a library and a rooftop restaurant, from where the breathtaking view over the city gives a unique flavour to the menu. No wonder that, since its opening in 2000, the mim has become a first class cultural attraction on the Mont des Arts, with an average of 125,000 visitors per year (not including restaurant guests)."

I went through my favorite room with the tribal instruments 3 times.  From the website, it seems to be a favorite of other visitors as well:  "A favourite for many visitors is the room dedicated to traditional musical instruments. The tour starts in Belgium and passes through a whole series of European traditions to cultures from around the world. Besides the well-known Scottish version, many more countries appear to have their own type of bagpipes, Tibetan monks make musical instruments out of the bones of their deceased colleagues, and African slit drums are the local form of Twitter."

The descriptions were in French and Flemish.  I was so inspired by all of the instruments from all over the world, I kept thinking I wanted a book that described them all.  When I got to the museum shop and I asked about it, I was directed to the awesome Visitor's Guide that's in English.  I am still reading the awesome 200 page book and I'm reliving my Museum experience.

When I got home, I googled the "best musical instrument museum in the world" and it turns out there's a great one in Pheonix, AZ.  I see a trip in my future.

Matthias De Weale Trio @ Cafe Hopper, Antwerp, Belgium 10/1/12

It was a nice little cafe with no food and no cover.  I had delicious fresh mint tea.  This site I found said they feature musicians from the local jazz academy.  It was nice to get out to some music, but nothing to write home about.  I do have to write up all live music experiences for posterity, especially those in foreign countries.  I stayed, so it wasn't awful by any means, I'm just spoiled.  The piano was OK, there was an enjoyable bass solo.  It was a nice space that felt good.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Paris Music

I wanted to sample more of Paris so I left for some Funk at Le Petit Journal. When I got there the band was on and it sucked.  It wasn't just the singing (atrocious), but the music itself wasn't very good.  It was a tourist spot and they wanted 25 Euro for that.  I kept noticing a lot of good music was outside of Paris:  Denis Colin, Kris Davis, Larry Corryell.  I feel like I haven't quite figured it out yet.  There's got to be more.  Everyone comes through Paris, so last time I lucked out that Warren Haynes Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Secret Chiefs 3 were all in town when I was.  All American bands that I already know and love.  There's got to be more to it.  Also, I realize how lucky I am to live in a place where there are usually multiple stellar options on any given night.

I'm still in love with Paris regardless of whether I ever figure out how to get great music more often than not.  I also suspect it's better to go for the lesser known places.  I'm looking forward to checking out the Barbes area and the 11th more and planning out before hitting the suburbs on a future trip.

Cheb Aissa Et Les Gypsies @ New Morning, Paris 9/29/12

I was told this is the best jazz club in town.  It was reinforced seeing some of the listings. Randy Weston is coming in a week or 2, Fred Wesley played there the previous night, etc.

I love how they have a dance floor.  It's right up front and a couple of steps down from the seats.  There are only a few tables and lots of chairs facing the stage.  You are allowed to dance wherever you want.  And there were plenty of dancers as well as sitters all commingling and enjoying themselves.  It's not really that nice a space, compared to our nice NYC jazz clubs.  The music was good, but not at the level I've grown accustomed to.  It was still fun and enjoyable.  There were 3 guitars, a bass, drums and doubek and keyboard.  I liked it, but would have liked it more if there was a horn or violin or something instead of the keyboard making those sounds.  I really liked the crowd and how into it they were.

Lionel Boccara Trio @ Comptoir Bouchant, Paris 9/29/12

It was a free trio at a bistro.  Free as in no cover.  I just had a glass of wine and enjoyed the sax, bass and guitar playing standards.  As far as level of playing, this was the best it got for this stay in Paris.  I have more to say about the Paris music scene in a later post, 2 or 3 away from this one.  I was starting to have some restored faith in the Paris music scene.

Deaf Drummers, Paris 9/29/12

It was the middle of the day and I was near Place Saint-André des Arts when I heard the drumming over by the Seine.  I was curious to find the sound.  It was some kind of march or parade of people with about 8-10 drummers taking up the rear.  It sounded good and I was intrigued as to what it was about.  It turns out they were all deaf. 

I flashed back to my first time in Paris back in 1995.  I heard The Who blaring outside during the day and wanted to know what was going on.  It was another event with deaf people, some kind of party.  I was fascinated because I didn't realize one could appreciate music without being able to hear.  Makes me feel better as to the possibility of losing hearing in my old age.  Hopefully it won't happen, but if it does, I may not have to live without music.

I subsequently asked a friend who is a sign interpreter and she told me there's a big school in that area.  Also, a French guy pioneered a type of sign language that is used in France and the US.  She also told me about some of her clients and how they listen to music by feeling the vibrations.  She said one client uses a balloon at concerts to feel the vibrations through the balloon.  This is very interesting to me.  I may need to explore this further.

Denis Colin, France

I was thrilled when I saw the 1st of my 2 night weekend say in Paris coincided with Denis Colin Et Les Aprenteurs.  The only problem was they were playing outside of Paris, a RER (regional train) ride away.  Paris is confusing enough navigating the streets and metro.  I was also told at the hotel those RER trains can get sketchy late at night.  Still, Denis Colin Trio sparked my entire quest to see the world through music.  I saw them years ago at The Knitting Factory Jazzfest (not sure if it was Winter or Summer).  It was awesome.  I remember Denis walked back and forth across the stage playing the bass clarinet and an African woman was sitting in a chair singing and chanting.  I can't remember the other instrument.  It was very spiritual and very good music.  Then and there I knew I had to get out in the world and see what else I was missing.

In spite of a huge effort to get to this show, taking wrong trains and wrong stops, getting lost in the suburb, and 3 hours later making it back to Paris without making the show, I was happy for the adventure and the chance to remember that great experience years ago in NYC.

DENIS COLIN & LA SOCIÉTÉ DES ARPENTEURS ‘subject to live’ (Chant du Monde / Harmonia Mundi)
France - USA
Denis Colin (clarinette-basse & compositions)
Benjamin Moussay (fender rhodes & electronics)
Julien Omé (guitare)
Philippe Sellam (sax alto & soprano)
Antoine Berjeaut (trompette & bugle)
Sylvaine Hélary (flûtes)
Fabrice Theuillon (sax baryton & soprano)
Stéphane Kerecki (contrebasse)
Thomas Gimonprez (batterie)
Eric Echampard (batterie)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Flamenco & Jazz @ b-flat, Berlin 9/27/12

It's basically a power trio from Spain.  I love a band that starts off the set with powerful drums.  The piano and electric bass joined in pretty quickly, but it set us up nicely.  There were a few songs that first set that started with a long wonderful piano solo.  One of them had the piano sometimes played with keys and sometimes as the hyperpiano.  There was also a cool part with piano and drums duo before the electric bass joined in, throwing down.

Then they took a bow and it was setbreak.  They played James Brown at setbreak, and not the same old same old James Brown, either.

The 2nd set was even better.  It was much more intense and we got a couple of kickass drum solos.  The bass solo was more like a rock bass solo and very cool.  They didn't leave the stage and then did an encore.

Diego played the piano strings with drumsticks and mallots toward the end and it was killer.  They left us very wound up.

Then they were done, but we weren't.  The crowd started a very cool rhythmic clapping that I never heard a crowd do before.  It was somewhat complex.  They couldn't help but come back up for that. Diego started playing the kit standing behind Israel.  He was stoked by the rhythmic clapping and wanted the crowd to keep it up.  Israel then decided to relinquish the kit and take the piano.  He's also a great piano player.  It was a fun way to end it.
Diego Amador (piano, vocals),
Jesús Garrido Toro (bass),
Israel Varela (drums)

Kalinba @ KaffeeBurger, Berlin 9/26/12

I got there and was told that first there would be a panel discussion in English for an hour and then the music.  The talk was about an article in Ex-Berliner about Afro-Germans and some history of Germany and Africa.  Here's the magazine if you want to know more.

The discussion went a little long, but we eventually got about 45 minutes of music.  We sat on long backless benched for the talk, which they started to fold up and take away as people got up.  Yay!  That means dance floor!  It took some time for the people to get up and the benches to be moved.  I danced off to the side in the meantime.  Later I moved over to the other side, near the drummers.  The sound was terrible over there, even though it was right by the mini soundboard.  I eventually moved back, and the sound was much better.

The music was good.  I loved the kora.  There was also good guitar and violin.  2 drummers with hand drums and a little bit of percussion.  There was a male lead singer and a female singer who also played flute occasionally.  It was fun and I enjoyed it.  I did have to watch out for the drunk youths, but it wasn't too hard.
After the discussion, our musical guests Kalinba Orchestra takes to the stage!
The Berlin-based trio plays original compositions in traditional and modern African styles, including Afro-reggae, salsa, soul and sukus. Kilinba are the creators of the Afro-casa style, mixing Afro and Latin beats with rhythms from Casamance, the southern region of Sénégal.
Get a sample here:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hornbostel-Sachs System

Stay tuned for my post about the wonderful Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels.  I still have a few shows to get up first.

This is a system used to classify all musical instruments. This system was created by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs. The Hornbostel-Sachs system is based on how an instrument vibrates to produce sound. Even though the system has been criticized and revised over the years, it is the most widely accepted system of musical instrument classification used by organologists and ethnomusicologists.

The system was first published in 1914 with a revised English translation in 1961. Other classification systems date back to the 4th century B.C. The Chinese classified instruments by the material that they were constructed from (stone, wood, silk, etc.). The idea was originally conceived by the Hindus in the 1st century B.C. They created four main groups, vibrating strings, vibrating air columns, percussion instruments made of wood or metal and percussion instruments made with skin heads. Later, the Greeks used a similar system to classify their musical instruments. Organologists such as Martin Agricola then refined the system even further by dividing stringed instruments into the plucked and bowed categories. In the late 19th century, Victor Mahillon, curator of the Brussels Conservatory musical instrument collection, adopted and refined this system. Although his system was limited to the serious instruments of Western music, he used the four groups of strings, winds, drums and other percussion. By expanding on Mahillon's system, Hornbostel-Sachs made it possible to classify any instrument from any culture.

The original Hornbostel-Sachs system classified instruments into four main categories. The fifth category is a later revision to include the latest technologies in music performance. Within each category are many subgroups with a formal structure based on the Dewey Decimal classification system. The basic categories of the system are listed below, and a more complete version of the system is found in the appendix (Table of Musical Instrument Classifications).

1 - Idiophones:
Instruments which produce sound by vibrating themselves;
2 - Membranophones:
Instruments which produce sound by a vibrating membrane;
3 - Chordophones:
Instruments which produce sound by vibrating strings;
4 - Aerophones:
Instruments which produce sound by vibrating columns of air;
5 - Electrophones:
Instruments which produce sound electronically.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Jazz @ Waldo Bar, Berlin 9/25/12

I wasn't quite ready to back to the hotel yet, so I just started walking in hopes of running into music.  It didn't take too long to see the sign out front saying there's live jazz tonight.  The bar was back in a courtyard area off from the street which may be why they didn't have a curfew.  I liked what I heard as I walked back.  The musicians and patrons were young 20-somethings.  It was a trio with a 4th rotating pianist.  I saw 3 pianists in the time I was there, about 40 minutes or so.  They came up with the standards they were playing on the spot.  It was very enjoyable and they were good.  I especially liked the sax, but they were all good.

It was a good first day.

Der Zock - jeden Dienstag ab 21.00 Uhr Konzert und Session,
hosted by 
Christian Ugurel (sax) and....
Tim Kleinsorge (b)
Moritz Baumgärtner (dr)

There's some videos on the site from back in May:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Minatur Orchestre @ b-Flat, Berlin 9/25/12

I came to Berlin first when I saw it was cheaper to fly there and knew it would be a good place to de-jetlag.  There's always music options and it's a fun place to explore.

I wanted to stay in a different area this time, but next time I should just stay close to b-flat again.  It's a great fallback can't miss place.

I think this band is Czech.  The instrumentation definitely appeals to me:  2 drumkits, tenor sax, trombone, trumpet/flugelhorn, clarinet and bass clarinet.  The quartet at A-Trane looked good, too, I just felt more of a pull for this show.  I knew why when I saw the lineup.  I enjoyed it a lot, especially the tune with the long bass clarinet solo and the drum solo.  It was all so good.

There was another piece that featured the trumpet in the 2nd set that I enjoyed a lot. He mainly played flugelhorn when I was there and I kept wondering if I was going to hear the trumpet.

Actually, I enjoyed all of it a lot.  I got there in the middle of the first set and table front and center was one of the few open, just for me.

The drummers often played the same thing together and it was very powerful.  They also played different things at times.  There was one part where they were playing the same thing with different tools - one had sticks while the other had brushes.  Gotta love a band with 2 drummers.

Here's an a google translate of the listing:

Modern Jazz
Araxi Karnusian...Tenorsaxophon / composition / / Simon Fankhäuser...Schlagzeug / composition / / Lukas Bitterlin ... drums / composition / / Domenic Landolf ... clarinet / / Lukas Roos ... bass clarinet / / Matthias Spillmann ...Trompete / flugelhorn / / Silvio Cadotsch trombone ...
The pattern is a miniature orchestra musicians collective to Araxi Karnusian & Simon Fankhäuser. The art of interpreting musical styles from Latin means Balkan Groove to dixie-swing-like blues ballads manage the group to twinkle in his eye stroke of genius! The music is full of innuendo and irritation of classical, jazz and world music, and just fun to listen to. Rhythmic patterns, melodic metaphors, collages and harmonious collective home-feelings of all parties to form the primordial soup in which has developed a highly explosive mixture. It does not stand on it jazz, but it's a lot of jazz in it in this bottle. Plop! We should let the genie just the Schaffhausen stage.
"It's a brilliant debut album of the formation. Composed "The miniatures of the saxophonist / composer Araxi Karnusian on the created by the two stroke machine operators Simon Fankhauser and Dominic Egli beats, tie a colorful bouquet of rare Stilabsurditäten and lyrical collective plants: Shrill clarinets meet inclined plate, a quirky saxophone and two rumbling drums to ignite a colorful, full of percussive fireworks rapid mood changes. "It says in the liner notes, and simultaneously hear you should, even if it your truth. it meets my" Concerto
"" Dixie Balkans Impro World Beat "called the miniature orchestra his own concept. Whoever thought behind it but another hip, but musically rather schmalbrüstiges project, is quite wrong. On the 17 miniatures" Pro Specie Rara "are rather demanding, highly intelligent and musically mature compositions at the interface of contemporary improvised music and classical music tradition. Araxi Karnusian, saxophonist and "guiding spirit" of the two drums and five horns quite exotic occupied formation has developed from beats of the drummers rhythmically, melodically and harmonically complex pieces where jazz changes, swing, Latin and chorale-like passages as on and start a new dive as folklore set pieces, in the impressionist or strawinskyeske sounds. An exciting, varied and remarkably mature album with great solo performances. Hopefully this new species is rapidly spread beyond Switzerland. "Jazz Thing

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Red Baraat @ LPR 9/19/12

It was fun and great.  I needed to get down and have a good time.  I couldn't stay too long, but enjoyed what I got.  They are all so talented.
Red Baraat
It’s a sound so powerful it has left the band in its own utterly unique and enviable class. These days you are as likely to find Red Baraat throwing down at an overheated and unannounced warehouse party in their Brooklyn neighborhood as you are at the Barbican or the Montreal Jazz Festival, or Lincoln Center. It’s a band unquestionably on the ascent playing some of the most prestigious festivals and theatres worldwide, and keeping their chops razor sharp in basements and sweaty sold out clubs across New York City. Leading an audience as diverse and joyful as the band itself, Red Baraat has subsumed a plateful of global influence, fused it, and is now exporting it Brooklyn-style to the world.

In just three short years, the pioneering Brooklyn dhol ‘n’ brass party juggernaut Red Baraat have made a name for themselves as one of the best live bands playing anywhere in the world. Led by dhol player Sunny Jain, the nine piece comprised of dhol (double-sided barrel shaped North Indian drum slung over one shoulder) drumset, percussion, sousaphone and five horns, melds the infectious North Indian rhythm Bhangra with a host of sounds, namely funk, go-go, latin, and jazz. Simply put, Sunny Jain and Red Baraat have created and defined a sound entirely their own.

The group's most recent release, Bootleg Bhangra, is the band’s incredibly powerful live show captured at Brooklyn’s Southpaw on the band’s second anniversary. With songs pulled primarily from their debut album, Chaal Baby the group was mindful of the challenge to capture a rapturous live sound on record. Well, it happened on this night, and the resulting document places you squarely in that small Brooklyn club jammed from front to back with hip shaking beauties - hands raised to a ceiling dripping with condensation. The band is currently at work on their 2nd studio date, Shruggy Ji, which should see release in early 2012.

Most recently, the title track, Chaal Baby, is being used as the background music for the promo ads for the hit FX TV show, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. After the group’s performance at the 2011 globalFEST, Red Baraat was a top pick favorite and featured on PRI’s The World, NPR’s All Songs Considered, New York Times, The Village Voice and Mother Jones magazine. The group's debut CD, Chaal Baby (Sinj Records) was voted by several music critics as a top world and jazz release of 2010.

Since their inception in October 2008, Red Baraat has delivered blistering performances at globalFEST, Montreal Jazz Festival, Sunfest, Festival De Louisiane, Quebec City Summer Festival, Chicago World Music Festival, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Madison World Music Festival, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Pori Jazz Festival (Finland), Molde Jazz Festival (Norway) and Chicago Folks & Roots Festival, among many others.

Red Baraat appeared on John Schaefer's Soundcheck WNYC-FM 93.9, an NPR affiliate, in which they were picked as a top live radio performance of 2009. They also recorded the credit roll theme song for the movie, The Yes Men Fix the World and performed for the 2009 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (NYC) for Ports 1961 runway models. Red Baraat has been featured in National Geographic, Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Relix and Songlines, among many others.

Oliver Lake Trio + Geri Allen @ Jazz Standard 9/16/12

I just had to go.  I was really tired, but it was way too early to go to bed.  I completely forgot my tiredness once the music started.  It was great from start to finish.  Everyone shone.  I could just see Oliver or Geri solo, but each of the 4 were stellar.

The listing:
For this much-anticipated Jazz Standard run, the “alto saxophonist with a robust and piercing sound” (New York Times) will lead Trio 3 with the peerless rhythm section of Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille and the invaluable addition of pianist Geri Allen. This group has released such outstanding CD as At This Time and The Oliver Lake Trio Live on the artist’s own Passin’ Thru label.
Oliver Lake – alto sax
Reggie Workman – bass
Andrew Cyrille – drums
With Special Guest
Geri Allen – piano

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Band4 @ The Stone 9/14/12

This was the last set of Miguel Frasconi's curation and he chose to invite 3 of his favorites to play with him.  It was stellar, really out there, fantastic music.  Chris was playing the pedals of the guitar without touching the guitar at first.  Miguel had some electronic equipment as well as glass.  Zeena had her own share of electronics to go with her harp.  Richard had a lot of interesting things going on with the piano.  It was fabulous.

Band4: Carrick, Cochrane, Frasconi & Parkins Chris Cochrane (guitars) Richard Carrick (piano) Miguel Frasconi (glass) Zeena Parkins (harp)

MK Groove Orchestra @ Paper Box 9/13/12

I could only stay for about 15 minutes due to work deadlines.  It was an enjoyable 15 min with a 14 piece intense ensemble.  It was their 10 year anniversary party.  I saw them once at Bowery Poetry Club probably about 8 years ago.  I remember having to leave early that night, too, although it was due to exhaustion.  It just hadn't worked out to see them again until now.

They did a fun Latin number.  The horns are loud and intense.  There is a drummer and a percussionist.  Everybody except the drummers stand.  People were dancing and it's a good room.

**10th Anniversary of the MK Groove Orchestra**





Josh Roseman, Trombone
incredible surprise individual! Tenor Sax
Ben Monder, 6 string bass
Nasheet Waits, drums

Bobby Previte @ Paper Box 9/13/12

I always love seeing Bobby.  I was so happy to see he had Mike Gamble with him - I need to get out to Brooklyn more to see him.  Then, there was Fabian Rucker on baritone, in from Austria, who I never saw before.  It was a great combination.  It seemed like they were just improvising.  It was hard to tell because they sounded so great together.  There were 4 great bands that night, so they could only play about 45 minutes, and it was a joyous 45 at that.

I couldn't stay for a little bit of the next band, but I would have stayed for the whole phenomenal lineup otherwise.  Check it out:

**10th Anniversary of the MK Groove Orchestra**





Josh Roseman, Trombone
incredible surprise individual! Tenor Sax
Ben Monder, 6 string bass
Nasheet Waits, drums

Bandalabra @ Cameo Gallery 9/11/12

It's an awesome new band that defies genres.  It's Skerik and 3 other guys from Seattle having fun and playing well.  The drums were intense, which I always like.  The guitar was very interesting and I liked what he was doing.  The bass player was fun to watch because he was having so much fun.  He also did some interesting things at times.  Skerik was as great as usual.  He played sax with a pedaled mic and sometimes did a little vocals with that mic.

They did all different "kinds" of music their own way. I heard some rock, tango, punk rock, country, acid jazz, etc. and stuff that doesn't have a genre.  Very fun and had me dancing a lot.

The first set was just under 50 minutes.  I was excited for the 2nd set because I saw some congas and percussion set up.  After about a 30 minute setbreak Skerik told us this next thing is "The Bandalabra Orchestra".  They had a special set with Jessica Lurie on alto sax, Cochemea Galstelom on baritone sax and Elizabeth Pupo-Walker on percussion.  And, it wasn't just a little sitin, it was pretty much the whole, long set.  I think it was about 1.5 hours, ending at around 1:15.  It was well worth the next day tiredness, which wasn't so bad.  I still had my adrenaline rush because I got the bandalabra CD.  It's great.

That 2nd set was one of those special things that if you live in NYC and go to jazzfest every year, you get periodically.  It was phenomenal.  They would take turns starting pieces and they would be killer.

Reggie Watts was invited to sit in on vocals toward the end.  That was good, but I was glad they did one more and gave us an instrumental for the final piece.  The drummer hadn't started one yet, so we finished with an awesome intense one.

I also need to mention the cool, trippy lights that were going on the 2nd set.  They had them on the band and the audience - it was little specks of red light that looked like it was crawling on people.  I don't know how to describe it, but it was very cool.  A lot of the lights added to the music, which I don't say very often.


Skerik, the enduringly saxophonic, punk jazz iconoclast is joined by three of his fellow Seattle hometown's most revered players: Andy Coe on electric guitar, Evan Flory Barnes on upright bass and Dvonne Lewis on drums.
Skerik, the enduringly saxophonic, punk jazz iconoclast is joined by three of his fellow Seattle hometown's most revered players: Andy Coe on electric guitar, Evan Flory Barnes on upright bass and Dvonne Lewis on drums.

In Skerik's words, "I've always been inspired by Fela Kuti and Steve Reich, which sparked the idea to start a band built around rhythmic and minimalist concepts. It's not about soloing so much as creating a polyrhythmic weave with the four instruments. Music that is danceable but also interesting to listen to."

A bold assertion, but one for which the music bears witness. Together, the quartet syncopates and snakes, floats free and snaps tight with hypnotic afrobeat rhythms, minimalist canons and improvised harmonics. There's a duality that demands listeners both dance and get lost in the sound.

On Bandalabra’s debut album Live At The Royal Room, captured at the band's first public performance, the foursome head into the deep unknown, creating music in the moment for over 60 minutes straight. Halfway through the evening, they hit upon the illest of psych grooves, appropriately dubbed "Beast Crusher." Here the visceral and cerebral become one, and Skerik's Bandalabra is born a fully realized vision.
New record LIVE AT THE ROYAL ROOM available now:

Elysian Fields @ LPR 9/7/12

It was a new bassist and drummer for me and they fit right in.  I loved the drums and they would get my attention often.  That is, when I could release myself from Jennifer Charles' spell.  She's got a very captivating presence.  It works so well because Oren Bloedow is awesome and they always play with great people.  Everything was set up, so they came on 15 minutes after Adam.  They played for about 45, left the stage and came back for an encore.  They played a lot of new songs, about 4 or 5.  My favorite was the first one because it was the most up and danceable.  I sat in my seat and chair-danced.

It was a good friday and free for members.  So was the Peter Brotzman show the other night.  I'm also about $2 away from a free drink.  When that happens I will have gotten back $40 of my $50 already (I just renewed a couple of weeks ago).

Here's some pictures from that set and Mrs. Adam Schatz set:

I tried to get the names of the bass and drums, but I couldn't find it.

Elysian Fields
"I felt myself falling/under a spell/I knew very well I might never return/to the land of the living/and then I was giving myself to the light/then I took flight/I shot up like a kite/it was my last night on earth..."

Legendary cult heroes Elysian Fields have always travelled in mysterious waters. Led by the enigmatic New York co-composers Jennifer Charles (vocals) and Oren Bloedow (guitar), the music born of their collaboration is impossible to categorize. They carry a torch for nature, sex, love, the cycle of death and rebirth, and the sounds of folk and jazz ballads, no wave and classical music, seamlessly interwoven into a style that is at once languorously romantic and tough. Long known to European audiences where they have been lionized, the paradox is that in their home country, their art has gone largely unnoticed, but to the musical cognoscenti and in the know music Hop-heads.

But the fact is, more than anything, Elysian Fields is a New York band, as much a part of the cities tapestry as New York Marble Cemetery, or The Frick. Maybe you've heard of them, but likely you haven't experienced them. Oren Bloedow, a New York maverick, who grew up in the 70's at 53rd and 3rd Avenue no less, brings not only his masterly and unique command of the guitar to the stage, but his unparralled finesse of song craft. Co writer Jennifer Charles is possessed of unusual songsmithery and spirit; she seems to be channneling the songs from a mysterious source. She is both poet and siren, her rich voice of velvet, flush with emotion, entwining around one's heart. Behind these two have always been the finest of Downtown music's demi monde.