Thursday, January 17, 2013

Winter Jazzfest 1/12/13

Yet another phenomenal year for the Winter Jazzfest in NYC.  This year the venues were more spread out than ever before.  It covered the west side and the east side, hovering around Bleeker.  I went back and forth a few times.

I started with Michael Formanek's Cheating Heart at Culture Project Theatre.  It was amazing.  I also liked the theatre.  In addition to the wonderful Formanek on bass, there was Chris Speed on tenor sax and clarinet, Jacob Sacks on piano, and Dan Weiss on drums.

I tore myself away to get to Le Poisson Rouge (LPR) for The Big Picture Show featuring David Krakauer.  I didn't know what it was, but I felt a pull to get there.  I also wasn't sure I'd get another opportunity.  It was a sneak preview of this new project.  They were showing film on a screen on stage and the musicians were phenomenal.  It was so great.  I was happy to see Greg Cohen up there on bass, I haven't seen him in ages.  Sara Caswell was captivating on the violin.  Adam Rogers was wonderful on piano.  Mike Sarin is an awesome drummer.  Rob Schwimmer was a great addition on piano.  David was phenomenal on clarinet.  It actually made me feel OK that I left Chris Speed for this.  It was very special.

One that ended, I figured I check out the Ari Hoenig Group at Sullivan Hall.  When I walked in and started making my way through the crowd, I was pleasantly surprised at how funky it was.  Once I got closer, I was happy to see Wayne Krantz up there on guitar.  No wonder!  I hadn't known the sax and bass before, but I really enjoyed them:  Tivon Pennicott and Mike League.

Next I tried to go to the Zinc Bar for some Donny McCaslin, but there was a line and it looked hopeless.  I ended up back at a very crowded LPR for some straight ahead jazz from The Cookers.  It was great, but the crowdedness was a bit much.
Billy Harper, tenor sax
Eddie Henderson, trumpet
David Weiss, trumpet
Craig Handy, alto sax
George Cables, piano
Cecil McBee, bass
Victor Lewis, drums

I made for across town at Bowery Electric for 40Twenty feat. Vinnie Sperazza on drums.  I saw that Jacob Sacks was in it, and I always love him on piano.  I recognized Jacob Garchik on trombone.   Dave Ambrosio was on bass.  It was a wonderful ensemble.

Then I went back to the Culture Project Theater for the Tony Malaby Tuba Trio.  I walked in at a very funky part and I thought it was different than the "out there" experimental music I expected.  It ended up getting more out there the longer I stayed.  It was very crowded, but great.  Also not quite as crowded as LPR because a lot of people were sitting. It was also set up so that you could stand and not bother anyone in various parts of the venue. It was great.
Tony Malaby, tenor sax
Dan Peck, tuba
John Hollenbeck, percussion

My final band of the night was Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra at the Bitter End.  I stayed for the entire 45 minute set.  It was all of these experimental musicians playing 1920s Trad Jazz.  They got a little out there at times, but mainly played the music.  It was great.
Brian Carpenter, trumpet, harmonica
Andy Laster, alto, flute
Dennis Lichtman, clarinet
Petr Cancura, clarinet, tenor, alto
Curtis Hasselbring, trombone
Mazz Swift, violin, vocals
Brandon Seabrook, banjo
Ron Caswell, tuba
Rob Garcia, drums

It seemed like everything was on schedule the whole time I was there.  Each band had a 45 minute set and it seemed to flow very smoothly.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ches Smith Trio plus guest Mat Maneri @ The Stone 1/5/13

Even without the phenomenal Mat Maneri this is quite a trio.  It was very engaging and I had a great time.

Ches Smith Trio plus guest Mat Maneri Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet) Stephan Crump (bass) Ches Smith (drums) Mat Maneri (viola)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gov't Mule @ The Beacon 12/31/12

Warren can play the blues!  He just continually impressed me in that 2nd set.  First set was short so that the 2nd set could be extra long. 

I could do without the Chronic Horns.  I think they could go down to New Orleans and get anyone and have more effective horns.  There were some good solos and they weren't bad, like the first year I saw them with Mule on the NYE run.  But, I'm disappointed they don't get more powerful horns.  Anyway, they certainly don't hurt, it's just they don't do much for the show.  It didn't really matter since the music was so good.

I did enjoy the 30th a little more, but it was a good night and a good show.

Set 1
Bad Little Doggie with Kirk West Introduction
Left Coast Groovies
About To Rage
Streamline Woman
Endless Parade
Monkey Hill with She's So Heavy ending
Brighter Days

Set 2 Three Kings with Chronic Horns (Buford O'Sullivan, Pam Fleming, Jenny Hill & Steve Elson)
Freddie King
Kirk West Introduction
Pack It Up*
I Got The Same Old Blues*
Only Getting Second Best*
Texas Flyer*
She's A Burglar*
Albert King
Kirk West Introduction
Blues Power*
Crosscut Saw*
Down Don't Bother Me*
Born Under A Bad Sign
B.B. King
New Years Countdown >
When Love Comes To Town* with Nigel Hall
To Know You is to Love You*
How Blue Can You Get?*
I Got Some Help I Don't Need*
Hummingbird* with The Ass-ets (Machan Taylor, Alicia Shakur & Nigel Hall)

Set 3
Thelonius Beck
Beautifully Broken
The Hunter > with Chronic Horns, Oz Noy & Hook Herrera
Drums >
How Many More Years with Chronic Horns, Oz Noy & Hook Herrera

Three Kings Medley: with Chronic Horns
I'll Play The Blues For You* >
The Thrill Is Gone* >
Ain't No Sunshine* >
The Thrill Is Gone

* First Time Played

Gov't Mule @ The Beacon 12/30/12

It was awesome.  Lots of special guests.  Every song was excellent.

There was one part where Warren said they were going to do New Orleans Acid Jazz.  They had Jimmy Vivino playing trumpet, Danny Lewis playing trombone, and Bill Evans on sax.  I don't know if I would think "acid jazz", but I liked it, whatever it was.   It must have been John the Revelator because it was the first time Jimmy was on-stage.  He did pick up the guitar later.

Set 1
Railroad Boy >
30 Days In The Hole
Rocking Horse
Banks Of The Deep End
Painted Silver Light
Birth Of The Mule > with Bill Evans
Devil Likes It Slow with Bill Evans
I Think You Know What I Mean >
When The Levee Breaks with Hook Herrera
Set 2
Mr. Man
Broke Down On The Brazos >
Tributary Jam
Trouble Every Day with Bill Evans
John The Revelator with Bill Evans, Hook Herrera & Jimmy Vivino
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl with Hook Herrera, Jimmy Vivino & Bill Kreutzmann; without Matt Abts 
Long As I Can See The Light with Jimmy Vivino & Bill Kreutzmann; without Matt Abts
Blind Man In The Dark with Bill Evans; Pygmy Twylyte Tease
Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home with Bill Evans, Hook Herrera, Jimmy Vivino & Andy Aledort; with Let Me Have It All Lyrics

Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds @ the Beacon 12/30/12

They were awesome and belonged up on The Beacon stage.  The only problem was almost no one was standing.  I was disappointed in that.  It was awesome and completely danceable.  I resigned myself to chair dancing.  I didn't feel like being the only one for miles standing and dancing.

Warren sat in with them for one.  Later, the guitarist did a great solo, but it was hard for me to appreciate it after Warren.  Warren's just got something extra special.

There's a video of the Warren sit in on their site:

Spanish Fly @ Shapeshifter 12/29/12

Takes me back to the good old Bowery poetry club Fly Mob residency.  It was Sunday nights and whoever in Steven's network was available.  It was always amazing.

So, this was the real Spanish Fly with no substitutions.  It was amazing.  It started with a drumless trio before Ben joined them about 10 minutes in.  It was an amazing hour of incredible music plus a fun joke.  I hope it's not another 10 years before we see them again.

Steven Bernstein - trumpet
Dave Tronzo - guitar
Marcus Rojas - tuba
Ben Perowsky - drums

Dave Tronzo Trio @ Shapeshifter 12/29/12

It was a phenomenal power trio and a very good time.  I never saw the bass player before - he was amazing on a large acoustic bass that wasn't a double bass.  That set was enough - it was so great.

I was just talking about how I missed Dave Tronzo and I never see him anymore.  It was at the MMW Blue Note shows.  I was reminiscing about the Halloween MMW show where David Tronzo sat in.  In that conversation, I was told Tronzo never leaves Boston nowadays.  I'm certainly glad he came out this night!

Dave Tronzo - guitar
Stomu Takeishi -bass
Ben Perowsky - drums