Friday, November 06, 2009

New Blog Location!

I've moved this blog - it's now on my website:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Shelton Healy Duff's House 10-6-2009

Played with Trevor Healy at Tom Duff's house in Berkeley - a nice spot for playing. It was two duos that night, the first being Jacob Zimmerman, an alto player at Mills right now and Mike Carreira, a drummer. Their set was first, Mike played a very stripped down set of small bass drum, snare and small cymbal. Spare sounds - worked well with the composed music that I think was written by Jacob. The music focused on distinct aspects of playing by Jacob - trills, high tones, etc. Mike has definitely explored the smaller sounds of drums -he used tiny scrapes and movements to good effect. A short break and Trevor and I played - the last time was back in early August (on another duo bill with James Fei and Kyle Bruckman) and we fell back into our style - which has developed over time to be a process of building up thick affected drone sounds with interspersed field recordings and ghostly melodies. Meditative. This was a good set and Tom recorded it with a nice pair of overheads. Hopefully that will be unearthed before too long....

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Marches Makeout Room 10-5-2009

There's a monthly series happening at the Makeout Room in SF - first mondays of the month - the bay area is all about mondays - or so it seems sometimes....
So, Marches played our 3rd show - so far Cory, Jordan and I have been at all three - our bass / organ position has been moving around a bit, thankfully there's good players out here that fit well into the music we're playing. This night we had Eric Perney join us on bass, and he did a great job of interpreting the music. He's a strong player, particularly when playing arco. We played a five song set, starting with the through composed ballad "the Walk". On "Turning", a kind of slow moving power waltz that disintegrates in an Aylerian way, my mouth completely dried out. It's very hard to blow alot of air through a horn when you've got no more moisture.....Cory played some great tenor & baritone solos. Jordan took a drum solo that really changed the mood of the set ....KFJC came and documented the night with video and audio.
The first set was played by Nathan Clevengers sextet. In it I played tenor, alto and clarinet; Kasey Knudsen played alto & tenor; Sylvan Carton baritone & tenor; Sam Bevan bass; Eric Garland, drums; and Clevenger on the guitar. Nice tunes - interesting writing with independent parts for the different voices. We didn't have a rehearsal - so I was pretty green on some of the arrangements... I also played mostly free solos, as specified by Nathan's arrangements - these were good sections, Garland said it was the most interactive he's felt while playing free. But, I did ask Nathan for some solos on changes the next time around.
Lords of the Outland played the middle set - alot of energy by that quartet of Rent Romus, CJ "Reaven" Borosque, Ray Scheaffer & Philip Everett. The crowd at Makeout was pretty talkative. The effect of having shows in bars that have happy hour until 10. Though, when you're playing you don't notice it quite as much as when you're trying to listen.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shelton Nordeson at Blue Six 9-24-2009

Played duets on Thursday night at Blue Six in the mission with Kjell Nordeson. Part of the Active Music Series, it'll be a monthly concert where I'll be bringing a project and inviting another group to share the bill. This night Darren Johnston brought a new quartet called Farallon where he's joined by Sheldon Brown on alto, Noah Phillips on guitar and Jordan Glenn on drums.

Kjell and I played the first set, all improvised - we played four pieces, the first two were more rooted in tempo based forms with Kjell creating multi-layered rhythms with lots of variations and colors of sounds stemming from his kit that includes many "little instruments" in addition to the standard elements. Really fun to play with him, I like his feel when playing time - driving & intense, with a solid pulse supporting all the variations.We played four pieces - the first two were pretty high energy tempo driven affairs, lots of forward momentum and repetition. I started on tenor and switched to alto halfway through the second. The third piece dealt with more quiet tones and silence at first. Kjell then created a pulsing theme utilizing some complex sounds which developed into an ostinato in a kind of 12/8 feel with cross rhythms on top. I was able to float on top of this with melodic material. A very patient feel to the piece. We were able to record it with 4 tracks, here's the second track, where I play first tenor and then alto:

Farallon played the second set. It was quite good, some originals by both Darren and Sheldon and one Herbie Nichols tune which was quite an interesting interpretation largely due to the instrumentation and the playing style of Noah Phillips. Instead of comping in a jazz way, Noah's concept has a strong rock influence, and he would create backings which reflected this, while maintaining the chordal aspects of the written music. It was a real juxtaposition which I thought worked well. The music written by Darren and Sheldon was strong and you could tell how much those two had played together in the past. Darren's been sounding extra good these days - a benefit of playing alot of shows all over the place (I think he was in Chicago, Toronto and New York in the past month.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Weasel Walter Quintet 21 Grand 9-23-2009

Last night played with Weasel Walter's Quintet - first show in a few months - me, Aaron Bennett, Darren Johnston, Damon Smith and Weasel. It was good. We didn't have a rehearsal, we played the first piece Weasel had brought to the group, "On the Verge of Destruction", so we all knew how to approach it. I think because of no rehearsing, the looseness that we played with actually helped the music. Darren, Aaron and I are all good readers, so the notated music was there, and the improvising was really interesting and varied. Probably because we hadn't played in awhile: those situations always tend to freshen the ideas. I think structurally there was a good amount of variation too.
The first set was with Josh Allen, Mike Guarino and Tim Orr. Two drummers, one saxophonist. Alot of energy. I hadn't seen Tim play before - used alot of extra percussion, cymbals and such, with his kit. Sounded good.
The last set was a trio made up of Derek Moneypeny and two fellows from Sacramento, Chad Stockdale and Kevin Corcoran. Drums, guitar and electric saxophone. More energy music! Loud - loving my westone earplugs these days.........

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cylinder Double Quartet at Heaven Gallery 9/12/2009

The third concert of Cylinder's Chicagoland run was at Heaven Gallery in Wicker Park. We had Jeb Bishop, Dave Rempis, Anton Hatwich and Frank Rosaly join us in this endeavor, we had a quick and focused rehearsal the day before that went well. All four us brought pieces, I wrote a new one that began with a bass melody with stacked chords by the horns, which led to a bass duet. Then some in time playing - had Rempis on baritone take a solo with Kjell and Lisa, I took the second one on alto with Anton and Frank. Up next was an expanded personnel version of Kjell's untitled piece - a light structure with few instructions, but effective. A lot of energy. Darren brought a piece called the Paper Garden, he asked Josh to join us as well, so it was up to nine players. Lisa brought a modified arrangement of her piece the Deep Disciplines - inspired by deep divers, they can go down to 100 meters below the surface. All in all it was a fun set. I felt that getting all of those musicians together was very worthwhile. Hopefully we'll get a chance to do it again sometime.
Paul Giallorenzo and Hans-Peter Pfammatter played the first set of the night. A piano duo. Paul played the upright piano, Hans-Peter played the baby grand. Both used preparations. Very good pacing. Lots of interesting sounds. Paul also added some synthesizer towards the end of the set. If not for the loudness of the Milwaukee Avenue Saturday Night drunkenness alot of the sounds could have been heard better.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cylinder at the Sugar Maple 9/11/2009

In January I played up in Milwaukee for the first time - somehow in the 6 years I lived in Chicago I had never made it up there. Bruno Johnson of Okka Disc runs a great bar up there called the Sugar Maple. He has a music room and has been holding concerts for a few years now. After a rehearsal for the large group pieces for a concert at Heaven, we picked up a rental minivan and headed up the 94, through too much traffic, with a stop at a gas station where Kjell and I were approached by a spray-on wipe-off car wax hawker, past the Cheese Castle and finally to Milwaukee. It was our first quartet concert since we played at the Musicians Union Hall in San Francisco back in August - we had some rehearsals before I headed to Chicago a few weeks ago and we had a little time before the show to warm up and run some parts. It was a good concert - a small turnout, but enthusiastic - we played really well. The room is very live, and I think that gave some extra energy to our playing - our maybe it was that Bourbon Barreled Scotch Ale that I had on during dinner..... Afterwards we hung out with Bruno at the bar, tasting some really interesting micro brews from Wisconsin and other parts. Got to bed real late - got up a little too early - felt it on the drive back to Chicago.