Thursday, April 26, 2012

Improv Night @ The Stone 4/15/12

It was like the old Improv Nights, a 1 hour set of great music with different improviser mashups and the grand finale with everyone.  I loved it and missed not going.  I do admit I especially wanted to go when I saw Steven Bernstein and Adam Rudolf on the listing, and neither of them made it there.  We instead got Frank London on trumpet and I'm not sure who the other drummer/percussionist was.

The first piece included John Zorn on alto, Uri Gurvich on alto and Frank London on trumpet.  3 excellent horns that set us up for a wonderful night.

Next was the amazing Jon Madof on guitar, Dave Fulmer on violin, and someone great on vibrophone.  It was awesome.

Zorn & Andrea Centazzo on a cool drumset.  It consisted of big drumheads of different sizes with small bodies, rattles, bells, lots of cymbals and cowbells, etc.  He was so good and very powerful.  It was really an awesome setup.

After that Andrea Centazzo stayed up with his awesome drumset, Jeremiah Cymerman on clarinet, Frank London on trumpet, and that vibes player again.  It was getting more and more interesting as the night went on.

Then we had a violin & snare drum duo.  The snare drum was that other unlisted drummer and the violin was Dave Fulmer from before.

Then we got Madof, Uri Gurvich and I think Frank London.  There's always one piece I can't quite remember when I go to write it up.

Madof was invited to stay up with the vibes and that snare drum guy who came up with more percussion this time.

Next was the violin, Uri on alto, and Frank on trumpet.

Then we get a great percussion trio (vibes, Centazzo, and that snare guy again with even more percussion).

Then Jeremiah with Uri's cool electric mic and one other, I think it was Frank.  Jeremiah was so awesome that I was mesmerized and couldn't pay much attention to anything else.

After that we had the grand finale with everyone which is always fun.

Bill Evans Soulgrass @ Blue Note 4/11/12

I've for the most part figured out how to do Blue Note.  I still don't like it, but every once in a while I just have to go.  I get that seat way back by the soundboard so I can get up and dance without bothering anyone.

Oh was this show worth it!  How everyone else remained seated I do not know.  It had a lot of soul, R&B feel, Medeski, and awesome musicians.  I love having the banjo.  I already knew how much I enjoy Bill from his sit-ins with Warren.  It turns out he's also pretty funny, which added to the entertainment.

The music was just awesome!  The drummer is also the singer.  He wasn't bad as a singer.  Sure, I would have preferred Robert Plant, but he wasn't bad and it did seem the type of music most people would want a singer for.  (You probably know I have singer issues and Robert Plant is the only stellar male singer I can come up with that definitely rates).

There was an amazing banjo/sax duo piece.  Apparently, Bill & Ryan have been together for a long time.  I really love banjo.

Medeski was awesome, both in his solos and as a sideman.  I'm so glad I chose his night.  I also loved the bass.

What a great night!

Etienne Mbappe bass
John Medeski organ
Josh Dion vocals and drums
Ryan Cavanaugh banjo
Mitch Stein, guitar

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Avram's Electric Kool-Aid @ Nublu 4/10/12

It was my first time to Nublu since it reopened after renovations.  They just painted the day before so the smell was lingering.  You can't go outside out back anymore and they only sell beer, wine, and sake (probably soda, but you can't be too sure).

I saw it listed in the DMG newsletter and when I saw Dave Phelps was in it, I knew I had to go.  I knew the name Kenny Wessel and recognized Avram Fefer from Burnt Sugar.  He was great as were they all.  I've been looking out for Dave ever since Steven Bernstein curated The Stone.  He did not disappoint. He's a great psychadelic rock guitar player,  Kenny had an interesting electric guitar.  The bass was awesome.  The drums were good.

It was too bad there were only a few people there.  I was the only one dancing and the only one in front of the stage.  Everyone else was sitting on the couch on the side or way over at the bar.  I don't know how they managed, it was really grooving.  I had to leave a little before 11 to pace for the week.  I hope I didn't miss much.

Avram's Electric Kool-Aid - Featuring:
Kenny Wessel - guitar / Dave Phelps - guitar
Jason DiMatteo elec. bass / Chris Eddleton drums
Avram Fefer - saxes and composition

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Alone Together @ LPR 4/10/12

Free for members and I would have gone anyway!  I went for Billy and he was definitely my favorite.  I did enjoy Sarah.  Gregory was great - I could certainly feel it - just a little more mellow than I would like.

It started with a 15 minute phenomenal Billy solo.  He had a scaled- down setup compared to the massive amounts of instruments I've seen him haul out to gigs.  It really doesn't matter what he brings - I'm happy with whatever he wants to play.  He had a standard drumkit, mbira, some flat bells on the floor, some kind of glockenspiel, a bunch of interesting tribal whistles, those shaky things I still haven't found the name of, probably something else.  It's interesting how whistles and duck calls seem to be in the percussion family.  I need to research that.

At the end of the phenomenal 15 minute set, Gregory came out to play some piano.  He had some visual artists put together films after listening to his compositions.  There was a mixup at first and he played a very sad song to a funny film piece and then the more lively song to the sad visual.  I liked the concept, it was more mellow than I wanted that night.  Also. When I skimmed the listing, I thought he was going to be playing tablas and I was excited about that.

Sarah Neufeld came up to join him a little for the last piece before she went into her violin set.  She has a very interesting sound.  There's almost some kind of drone or hum that's included and it makes it sound alive in a different kind of way.  I enjoyed it.

Billy was sitting on the floor of the stage for the other 2 solo 15 minute sets so he was ready to start his next one right after Sara ended.  It was phenomenal and much more for me.

We got another piano visual arts 15 min then another violin 15 min.  It ended with Sara on violin, Billy on the drumkit, and Gregory on some percussion bells with sticks.  It was an awesome 75 minutes.
The Alone Together Tour - An Evening of Solo Works
w/ Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood) , Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre) and Gregory Rogove (Devendra Banhart, Priestbird)

Three instrumentalists from different but related musical communities step out of the band atmosphere to present their solo compositions for this very special "Alone Together" tour. Each artist will perform solo on their respective instrument, exploring a variety of different compositional approaches. Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood) will perform his impressive array of spontaneous percussion/drum set compositions, Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire/Bell Orchestre) will present her unique and vibrant solo violin pieces, and Gregory Rogove (Devendra Banhart/Megapuss/Priestbird) will play his minimalist, solo piano pieces, from his recently released PIANA album (Knitting Factory Records).

The Alone Together Tour - An Evening of Solo Works
Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood)
Above all else, Billy Martin believes in the power of unguarded expression to capture glimpses of the truth – sometimes only fleetingly, sometimes for extended, intoxicating stretches. He pursues the ecstatic and the insightful from a variety of vantage points: as a drummer and percussionist, as a composer, as a filmmaker, sculptor, visual artist, and even as a carpenter. To varying degrees, each endeavor is marked by Martin’s dearly held belief that unfettered improvisation and an honest commitment to the moment at hand can bring about new levels of understanding, new perspectives, new sonic textures, and a more profound emotional impact. “In any circumstance, any medium,” he reflects, “you need to be sincere with yourself and with your audience. This is who you are, and you’ve got to be trying as hard as you can to create something for the situation that’s new and fresh. There are going to be some mistakes, it may not be perfect, but you’ve got to be willing to take that chance at any given moment.”

Photo: Danny Clinch
Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre)
Gregory Rogove (Devendra Banhart, Priestbird)
Gregory Rogove grew up in Amish Country, Pennsylvania. At the age of eighteen he moved to Mumbai, India to study the tabla. In 2002, he moved to NYC where he remained for six years. There he met Saunder Jurriaans and Danny Bensi and formed the band Priestbird (Tarantula A.D). Priestbird released two EPs and two LPs on Kemado records and shared the stage with artists such as Pearl Jam, Grizzly Bear, Marc Ribot, and the Sword among others. While in NYC he also collaborated, toured, and recorded with artists such as the Flesh, Metallic Falcons, CocoRosie, and Devendra Banhart. Greg contributed to Banhart's Cripple Crow album in 2006 and the following year joined the band full time, recording and touring in support of Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (2007) and What Will We Be (2009).

In 2008 Greg moved to Los Angeles and formed Megapuss with Banhart and Fab Moretti (the Strokes). That same year Megapuss released their first album, Surfing, on Neil Young's Vapor records. Priestbird recently recorded a new record with Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) at the helm in his studio Litho in Seattle. They released their new album, Beachcombers, in May, 2011.

In early 2012, Knitting Factory Records released the Rogove’s album Piana, a collection solo instrumental piano pieces, which were performed by John Medeski (Medeski Martin and Wood) for the recording. Piana includes a DVD of musical and visual reinterpretations, or “remixes” of the piano pieces.

Greg has participated in a few multi-drum ensembles including the Boredom's 88 Boadrum piece performed on 8/8/08 at the La Brea Tar pits, and along side Beck and Caetano Veloso for Doug Aitken's 20 drummer/auctioneer/gospel choir/whip master piece for LA's Museum of Contemporary Art in November, 2010. In addition to his full time projects, he has recently recorded with The Family Band, Living Sacrifice, Tamara Kaboutchek, Chase Cohl, and Adam Green; and co-produced Natalia Lafourcade with Noah Georgeson. Greg recently scored the film Guadalupe the Virgin by director Victoria Giordana.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chano Dominguez: Flamenco Sketches @ Jazz Standard 4/4/12

I saw this a few years ago when they did the CD recording at Jazz Standard.  It was one of the special shows for Jazz Standard's 10 year anniversary.  This music was extremely good.  I was blown away by all of them.  I especially loved the piano.  I loved the bass and drums, Dafnis Prieto is always awesome.  I considered staying for the 2nd set, but I was still jetlagged.  It seemed it was going to get better and better in subsequent shows.  They almost ended too early that night.

Chano Domínguez – piano
Omer Avital – bass
Blas Cordoba – vocals/percussion
Dafnis Prieto – drums
In 1959, “Flamenco Sketches” was one of the most haunting tracks on Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue – later to become the best–selling album in jazz history. Now, Flamenco Sketches is the title track of a new Blue Note CD by Chano Domínguez, wherein this brilliant Spanish flamenco jazz pianist offers a fresh and invigorating take on the songs of Kind Of Blue. Flamenco Sketches was recorded live on our stage over four incredible nights as part of the 41st Voll-Damm Barcelona Jazz Festival. Born 1960 in Cadíz, Spain, the artist transcended early influences like Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk to become an explorer of flamenco forms through the lens of the post–bop tradition, including collaborations with Paquito D’Rivera, Paco de Lucía, and Wynton Marsalis. Chano first played Jazz Standard as a featured artist in the “Catalan Days | Barcelona Nights” event in May 2009, and we welcome him back to celebrate our tenth anniversary.

The Great Park @ Hasenschaukel, Hamburg, GER 3/31/12

He wasn't bad.  We thought we were getting some kind of jazz club and it was a mellow singer-songwriter solo guitar.  While I normally don't go for that, I did like him and enjoyed the club after a fun night out.

Here's a link to his site:

Here's a link to the place, which I liked.

Bob Degan/Valentin Garvie @ Romanfabrik, Frankfurt, Ger 3/29/12

Piano and trumpet/fugelhorn playing variations on the music of Thelonius Monk and Paul Hindemith.  It made for some awesome music.  It was a great space to listen in.  It reminded me of the space in the Rubin Museum only about half the width and they had a bar in the back.  The seats were around tables.  It felt really good in there.  There were no mics for the piano or trumpets.  Valentin would step up to a mic at times to tell us about the compositions.  He spoke in German, of course.  I was with a friend who was able to let me in on it.  They did some Monk pieces that were originally written for an octet.  There was one piece where Valentin played both trumpet and flugelhorn at the same time for quite a while.  Impressive.  He also played the piccolo trumpet sometimes.  I enjoyed both of them and the compositions a lot.

I used google to translate this, so it's not perfect:
Bob Degen & Valentin Garvie
& Hindemith Variations on Monk

The American Bob Degen (piano) and the Argentinian Valentin Garvie (trumpet, flugelhorn) have their musical collaboration has gorgeous with their CD Community: What's Your Dream (2008), together with Ralf Cetto and Uli Schiffelholz, and the 2010 released CD Jake Remembered demonstrated. The critic Hans-Jürgen Linke stated: ". Maybe Valentin Garvie is exactly the musician, Bob has been missing sword" Now they face a new duo again reduced project before, in which they maintain the traditions of their musical heritage. The jazz pianist Bob Degen, for years at home in Frankfurt, brings a Thelonius Monk, coming from classical Valentin Garvie, a member of the Ensemble Modern, the leading composer Paul Hindemith Hanau in his luggage. This promises to be a highly artistic musical Glass Bead Game to be!

In friendly cooperation with the Frankfurt Jazz Initiative.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dezron Douglas Quintet @ Small's 3/23/12

I was especially drawn to this show to see Stacy Dillard.  I really love him.  The whole band was great, he just especially gets to me.  They were recording for a live CD.  It didn't stop the talkers in the back.  It's nice how people come and go there and I eventually got a bar stool right up by the stage.  The talkers eventually left, too.

It was a great lineup and some really awesome music. Each of then enhanced the music in a big way.

I could even handle Dezron's Giant tribute "Big Blue Wrecking Crew".  Given that I'm from Philly, that's huge.

The Dezron Douglas Quintet (LIVE RECORDING)
Dezron Douglas - Bass , Josh Evans - Trumpet , Stacy Dillard - Tenor Sax , David Bryant - Piano , Willie Jones III - Drums

Tepfer/Konitz Duo @ Jazz Standard 3/21/12

I may have been the only one there for Dan since Lee Konitz is one of the icons.  There was an issue with his mouthpiece and ligature - they didn't make it back with him from Europe and he was using borrowed parts. I'm going to presume that's why I wasn't feeling him as much as Dan.  He was good, just didn't quite catch me like Dan's playing did in each moment.  I did enjoy the set.

Lee Konitz alto saxophone
Dan Tepfer - piano
After seven decades of playing creative music, alto saxophonist Lee Konitz just keeps on keeping on. Best known for his work on Miles Davis landmark Birth of the Cool sessions and his affiliation with the Lennie Tristano school of improvisational theory, the 84yearold altoist has recorded more than fifty albums as a leader and continues to gig in quartet, quintet, and nonet settings. I really kind of think of myself as a sideman being invited to join people to play, Lee told All About Jazz in 2004. I get to play with many different people that way. Tonight, Jazz Standard presents a different side of Lee Konitz as he performs in an intimate duet setting with pianist Dan Tepfer. One of the most formidable musicians on the international jazz scene, Dan has been hailed as a player of exceptional poise by The New York Times. On his latest CD, Goldberg Variations/Variations, Dan Tepfer builds a bridge across centuries and genres to spark a dialogue with Johann Sebastian Bach. (The Wall Street Journal)