Thursday, December 28, 2006

Stop Making Fun of My Accent

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

In reality, I was born in Washington, DC and have lived all my life here except the last 6 years of my life, when I've been living in Pittsburgh and now Philadelphia since June.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dr. Jazz Ph.D. weighs in on DTM's Questionnaire

Recently, The Bad Plus started asking their fellow musicians the following set of questions. Following TBP's drummer (Dave King) and pianist's (Ethan Iverson) answers, TBP's bassist Reid Anderson and composer/pianist Guillermo Klein responded, enigmatic pianists Brad Mehldau and Jason Moran replied, Rosenwinkelian sidemen Jeff Ballard (drums) and Ben Street (bass) gave their two cents, followed by pianists Fred Hersch and Christopher O'Riley, fellow Brooklyn residents bassist Joe Martin and reedist Ted Reichman, Halloween Alaska bandmates James Diers and Ev Olcott and downtown squonkers Django Bates (piano & E-flat horn) and Tim Berne (alto sax and various other reeds),

All the while as is their wont, jazz and "new music" bloggers started listing and emailing their own lists to Ethan @ Do the Math. The lists became so voluminous that Ethan have to compile all the answers into Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Now that I finally have a moment to breathe and truly procrastinate (to the point where composing and formatting this entry have taken me over an hour), Dr. Jazz Ph.D. will add his remarks to the fray:


1. Movie score. "Laura" (David Raskin); "Inside Man" (Terence Blanchard)
2. TV theme. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Dennis Brown & Chuck Lorre)
3. Melody. "Lotus Blossom" (Billy Strayhorn); "East of the Sun" (Brooks Bowman)
4. Harmonic language. Coltrane on Atlantic and Impulse!; Bill Evans on Conversations With Myself; Paul Gonsalves
5. Rhythmic feel. Chris Potter; Max Roach
6. Hip-hop track. "All for U" (Aceyalone & RJD2); "I've Been Thinking" (Handsome Boy Modeling School feat. Cat Power)
7. Classical piece. Clarinet Concerto in A Major K.622 - Adagio (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart); Quartet for the End of Time (Olivier Messiaen)
8. Smash hit. "We Are the Champions" (Queen); "Gonna Make U Sweat" (aka Everybody Dance Now) (C&C Music Factory)
9. Jazz album. Stan Getz - The Dolphin; Charles Mingus - Mingus Plays Piano
10. Non-American folkloric group. Sexteto Electronico Moderno; Amadou et Mariam; Boubacar Traore; Ana Moura
11. Book on music. "Raise Up Off Me: The Autobiography of Hampton Hawes"


A) Name a surprising album (or albums) you loved when you were developing as a musician: something that really informs your sound but that we would never guess in a million years: Woody Herman - Woody & Friends: Live at the 1979 Monterey Jazz Festival; Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Returns to Berlin; Duke Ellington with Count Basie's Orchestra - First Time: The Count Meets the Duke

B) Name a practitioner (or a few) who play your instrument that you think is underrated: Rich Perry, Billy Pierce, Eric Kloss, Sonny Red

C) Name a rock or pop album that you wish had been a smash commercial hit (but wasn’t, not really): (no answer)

D) Name a favorite drummer, and an album to hear why you love that drummer: Billy Hart on This is Buck Hill; Lewis Nash on Renee Rosnes' debut album, Renee Rosnes

Saturday, December 02, 2006

DJA makes the NYTimes. Dr. Jazz Ph.D makes new friends.

Ratliff finally smells the coffee. Wish I coulda been there. I heard KADS was drumming.

I wish I could have made the Secret Society gig, but I was at the Mingus Orchestra @ Merkin Hall show. Some nice tunes. Michael Rabinowitz, Seamus Blake and Freddie Bryant stole the show. However Mingus' music is continually refreshing. Check out my more detailed entry here.

After the show, NY Times scribe Nate Chinen (who was there reviewing) introduced me to Simon Rentner, a musical genius with impeccable taste who is partially responsible for booking the 2006-2007 season at Merkin (the other cat is Brice Rosenbloom who used to run MAKOR when it was still around). Nate was escorting his good buddy GW who is looking pretty darn good for his age.

If I ever get around to figuring out how to use GarageBand, I may even start a Jazz Clinic podcast. Simon would make an excellent subject for an episode.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

giving thanks

I don't exactly know what "Thanksgiving Echoes" would be like, but hey - it looked pretty funny and wasn't terribly trite as far as the Google image search I conducted to find an image for today's Turkey Day post (note: no turkeys have been harmed in the production of this entry).

Today is the day of giving thanks. So here's an abbreviated list of things that popped into my head:

- I give thanks for being able to sleep two hours on the Chinatown bus to DC this morning.

- I give thanks for all the listeners who called in last night into the wee hours of this morning for my foolishly long midnight to 6 AM shift on WRTI.

- I give thanks that my MacBook's trackpad is working again thanks to a super friendly helper named Dan at the 24-hour Apple store in NYC (more on that at another time).

- I give thanks to DL, BR, SB, DN and EL for putting up with me at work and teaching me a heck of a lot about the PR biz and about life over the last 6 months.

- I give thanks to all my new friends in the blogosphere who have given me props or blogrolled me including Mwanji, Darcy, Doug, Tim, Jon, Jeff Siegel; and to Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press for secretly reading this point of pontification.

- I give thanks to my clients - the artists, without whom I'd be working a shitty desk job at some nameless company eager clock out at 5 every day.

You know it's Thanksgiving day, when you have no work email and 1-2 bloggers are online. Time to nap a little more and then eat some turkey and yes, watch football. Here we go with the decline of the American mind.


Now Listening to: World Saxophone Quartet - Bluogracy (Part 1) from Political Blues (Justin Time 2006).

Friday, November 17, 2006

carpe diem

Wednesday November 15

7:48 AM

Wake up. Brush teeth (no shower). Put on shoes (no socks), sweatshirt (w/ hood on). Hop in car. Drive towards Center City. Stop for the regular:

1 large decaf tea (cream and sugar)
1 toasted onion bagel with butter
2 French crullers

Sip tea. Eat crullers. Save bagel.

I'm finally driving downtown, using my morning productively to get my wallet which has been out of my possession for over 11 days. Surprising that I could exist that long without a wallet. Yes, I drove the 1.9 miles to work and back those 11 days without being hassled. Yes, I ate entirely at home and borrowed from fellow employees for little snacks during the work day. Yes, I tried to get it before (but not in the morning).

This was a painfully long commute into the city. I now know there are a world of people who get up every morning and deal with that shit. And I feel for them. I do. But even though most of them have health benefits, and better salaries, I don't envy them in the slightest. I still like my life right now, doing what I love -however unsustainable it may be. But I digress.

I got the wallet right where the guy whose wife found it, told me he dropped it off a week earlier. Want proof? Here!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Well America... We did it! We finally beat the Republicans. No more do we have to hang signs like this one:

In other news, for the first time in my life I witnessed Cecil Taylor live last Saturday (Nov. 4). In all honesty, I haven't studied Taylor's music by immersing myself in his body of work. Nor have I ever purchased a Cecil Taylor album.

So what made me go see Cecil Taylor live? I'm not sure. I felt somewhat of an obligation to myself to see what all the hype has been about. But I also wanted to discover what he and his music were about and more importantly how his playing affected me.

Coming away from last Saturday night's show, it seems as if buying a recording would only do injustice to the Cecil Taylor live experience. Just watching the guy curl and stretch and bang hurriedly across the keyboard in a swath of tempi and dynamics is a visceral experience for the eyes. I felt like my ears were trying to play catch up with what I was seeing. This melodramatic body language was central to the experience. It bespoke his internal struggle to express his personal voice without repeating himself (though he did, many times over).

I would probably prefer to hear his poetry on recording only, as I could barely hear any of his 5 minute monologue which preceeded the music. 95 minute show on the full Bosendorfer grand piano specially ordered for this gig, his first in Philadelphia in over 20 years.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Eyvind Kang's Dying Groud & Other Options

This weekend I didn't really go out except for Friday night when I went to see the violinist/guitarist Eyvind Kang at the Community Education Center in West Philly (Lancaster Ave. @ N 34th St.)

Unfortunately the turnout for the avant-garde show by this former Tzadik DIY artist was less than satisfactory. Including myself there were about 10 people. I'm not entirely sure why this was as I'd heard there was a HUGE turnout to the Dave Burell show the previous weekend (which I believe I noted that I slept through). Some of it had to do with lack of name recognition. (Sorry not sure whom to give credit for this photo. If it's yours please let me know).

But before I harp on why people didn't show up, lemme try to approximate the reason I showed up and stayed. The sounds I heard from Kang (whose bio is here) and his band, Dying Ground were entirely heavy and righteous but lacked something to keep me interested the whole time. A surprisingly impressive drummer, G. Calvin Weston (apparently a local stringer), smashed away while (electric) bassist Kato Hideki both violently and calmly strummed away and bowed his thick bass strings.

Weston and Kato sensitively freaked out in response to Kang's insanely loud amplified guitar with numerous effects applied to it. Kang also played amplified violin, the instrument for which he is more known (especially as a member of John Zorn's Cobra). On drums, while maintaining the music's essence, (one of rather simple melodic loudness with immense rhythmic variation), Weston played with a checked intensity. He had the ears of a Chad Taylor or Hamid Drake with the insanely clean yet powerful execution of a Bennink or Blackwell. Something he repeated a couple times through the performance which totally blew my mind was this move where he would be thrashing away at the toms and then all of a sudden whack the sh-t out of the snare and then instantaneously hit both crash cymbals, creating a shocking effect on the ears and the soul. You had to see it to understand what the hell I'm talking about. Perhaps we can get some video up from my new buddy Mark, who took video footage of this show as well as the DeJohnette show I disliked below.

As far as Kang and Kato are concerned, I seem to have lost my notes on their playing but what I recall in the melodies that Kang wrote was a very deliberate chromaticism coupled with strange rhythms that existed independent of the drummer's beat - a deliberate effort to cast off expectability. I felt that we heard too little in the hour and a half Dying Ground played to learn if we were hearing the group at its best but I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed on the whole. Perhaps I'm not into noise and kitsh as much as I used to be. Despite their unique build-up and release of tension and thorough musicality, I just wasn't totally feeling it.

Perhaps Friday's poor turnout had something to do with a slew of other shows competing for my and other people's money the same night or weekend (especially young professionals and students who don't have much cash to spend in the first place.) That night there was also a rather rare performance by Vijay Iyer's quartet at Princeton University (only a 45 minute drive from Center City Philadelphia).

This was the same exciting quartet which the pianist had assembled for his stellar 2005 release Reimagining, (which you can buy CD Universe).(I am going to recommend CD Universe from now on as they consistently seem to have lower prices than Amazon and offer a wider selection of jazz - especially obscure imports).

On the other hand, there had been another Ars Nova show the night before by what I understand was a terrific group called Tone Collector (w/ Eivind Opsvik and Tony Malaby). So if 40 or so people came out to that, perhaps they felt they were doing their part for the week to support creative music or couldn't bring themselves to come out again the following night.

Perhaps it had something to do with the Polish trumpeter and ECM recording artist Tomasz Stanko who was making a very rare US appearance as part of his current East Coast tour in support of Lontano, his latest album on ECM Records. The following night (Saturday 10/21), Stanko would still be at Chris' and Willie Rodriguez and the Bronx All Stars would be playing at the Painted Bride Arts Center in Old City which would be attracting any residual XPN listeners who might otherwise check out some "trippy" music rather than drinking box wine and dancing with their bland partners to salsa music. I shouldn't hate on the Bronx All Stars because the players are cats I respect, but I really feel no remorse in hating on the XPN crowd.

The fragmentation the music community is a lamentable thing but you can't really blame people for differences in aesthetic taste. It's just difficult to program anything when you've got competition on the same night.

Oh well. Comments? I want to see them. I know you're looking at this blog.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

attempt to make posts more coherent

I have noticed that I've posted a lot of entries with grammatical errors, run-on sentences and other stupid ramblings. I guess I'd like my loyal readership to know that I am sorry.

From now on, I will be trying to post more coherent entries so that your ready.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I never thought I'd see Jack DeJohnette at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia but when you unleash the powers of Bill Frisell's booking agent, The Rosebud Agency (possibly one of the oldest websites I've ever seen), anything is possible.

It was sort of an abbreviated set for me, as I awoke from a nap which prevented me from going to the Ars Nova concert I had really wanted to go to at I-House (Dave Burrell, Reggie Workman, Rashied Ali, Muhammad Ali).

Anyways, Frisell was bluesy and generally OK, DeJohnette sounded disturbingly uninspired on the drums (or perhaps simplistic) except when he sang the blues on the encore , Harris the quiet but powerful melodist (is that a word?). An unlikely highlight, seeing Jerome Harris for the first time was the best part for me. Sure it's Harris entered my consciousness fairly recently as the bassist of a recent Paul Motian record called Garden of Eden. His McFerrin-like vocalizations over DeJohnette's emotive Korg piano on which he played endless alterations on two basic arpeggios.

Really underwhelming on the whole. Wish I'd gone to see Burrell/Workman/Ali/Ali. Maybe once I hear the bootleg I'll change my mind.

Monday, October 09, 2006

troubled by Branford & things to come

As many of you probably saw, the New York Times' Ben Ratliff published what I've heard may very well be the last of his "Listening With..." series. This time around the focus was less on listening to records and more about spreading the pedantic generalizations the outspoken saxophonist Branford Marsalis rattled off to Ratliff at an intimate interview at the saxophonist's North Caroline home.
From the caption: Branford Marsalis has enjoyed great productivity as an alto saxophonist and bandleader since moving to Durham, N.C., five years ago. “I just want to play,” he said. “I don’t want to be in magazines.”

Marsalis said some very harsh things and only chose to listen to recordings pre-1955 and no real bebop or post-bop at that, let alone the Coltrane he is clearly trying to approximate on his latest album, Braggtown. Unfortunately, I tended to agree with most of the "damaging" comments Marsalis uttered.

Soon to come, a multi-show review of this week's shows put on by local Philly avant-garde concert presenter Ars Nova Workshop. Last night was Brotzmann-Bennink playing duo. Tonight George Lewis & Matana Roberts play Houston Hall, which I believe is the Student Union at UPenn. The week continues with a performance by a band being billed as The Philadelphia Four: Dave Burrell, Reggie Workman, Rashied Ali, and Muhammad Ali (yes, the drummer with the same Arabic name as Cassius Clay is apparently still alive).

Look forward to some great shots courtesy of Cadence/Jazz Improv Magazine freelancer Ken Weiss, along with my reviews.

Now listening to Donald Harrison - The Survivor (Nagel Heyer 2068). Buy this album at iTunes by clicking the iTunes link below. Donald Harrison featuring Mulgrew Miller & Christian Scott - The Survivor

Thursday, October 05, 2006

current reading

Check out the Bag's tribute to Bill Dixon on his birthday. Very timely Marc and Derek. For some killer photographs that seem to be copy-protected, check out DMG.
Also, see Mwanji's concert review of Soweto Kinch playing in Belgique as well as his slightly more recent rebuttal of Darius Brubeck's scathing appraisal of Ornette Coleman.

Finally, from the land of 10,000 lakes, a hilarious
situation from the boys at Do The Math.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Two Trios

Last night I saw Jason Moran and the Bandwagon and The Bad Plus at the Blue Note. They say the Blue Note is a tourist club. Boy are they right! There were so many people standing in line who had literally no idea who they were going to see. All they knew was that their tour books had directed them there - many Americans but also many Japanese as the Blue Note is a much more recognizable brand in that country (multiple locations exist throughout the country - in Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, and of course Tokyo.

It was my first time seeing a show at the famed "Blue Note" since in the past their line-ups have seemed slightly less than impressive. Some call it pandering to the masses. Others call it staying in business. But I have to commend their programming for the month of September - all actual jazz acts. Wish I'd been up last weekend to see Scofield's trio with Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart. I'm still waiting for another album from them. Given Sco's new freedom from an exclusive label contract, maybe they'll do it on Swallow's XtraWatt label (a subdivision of ECM which he, Carla Bley, Michael and Karen Mantler and a couple others record on). It would probably have to be a Swallow date comparable to the situation where Swallow took a trio through Europe in 2002 and documented his work with Chris Potter and Adam Nussbaum on Damaged in Transit (2004).

Anyways, both bands played their asses off. Moran is an intense cat and The Bandwagon (which consists of Tarus Mateen on electric bass and Nasheet Waits on drums) is equally focused. There were definite highs and lows - dynamically, rhythmically, and stylistically. Moran is perpetually in the moment; reacting to everything including the noises of shaken martinis and clanging dishes. But particularly impressive are his bursts of furious right hand flights which not only boast technique but point to the beat subdivisions going on in his head.

The program began with Moran Tonk Circa 1936" from the 2001 album Modernistic. I believe that was followed by "Arizona Landscape" or "He puts on his coat and leaves..." from the new album, Artist in Residence (which came out Sept. 12).

Mateen is sort of an enigma. He is a guy I don't really get despite having llstened to this group for some time. It's not that I don't like his playing, which I do. It's just a bit too unstructured and incongruent for me to understand. Very infrequently does he play a groove except maybe on Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" which they played followed by a seamless segue into "Moon River" ("Planet Rock" was also recorded on Moran's solo album Modernistic).

For the rest, which I take it was essentially the same every night, see Darcy's appraisal which is far better than anything I could write now (not having taken notes).

So yeah. That's all I feel like writing about this event. However, that night that I was there I finally got to meet my fellow blogger, Ethan, who told me he'd be taking JaMo back to his dressing room to talk music for his blog. And that they did.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Globe Trotters: Rob Mazurek & Sao Paolo Underground

I had meant to make this post the night of the show, but I got home and forgot all about it.

I don't know if I've blogged about an Ars Nova show yet, but this past Wednesday night myself and a group of about 30 other people gathered in an unassuming black box-like theater. We sat in bleacher-like seating in dingy chairs and watched magic occur between a group of musicians that have come together as a result of one man's journey to find a new musical voice (perhaps a new life) in the Brazilian jungle.

Of course I'm speaking of the now-esteemed Chicago-born quasi-avant-straight-ahead trumpeter Rob Mazurek. His current project moves the spirit, moves the torso, taps the foot, and generally fucks you up.

Despite arriving about 10 minutes late, the set hadn't started. The band was aligned in a very specific manner: drum set up front on the far left (from the audience's vantage point). To his left was a cat playing various samples and distortion/feedback boxes. To his left and slightly forward was a seated Mazurek with an array of mutes and feedback/effects pedals at his feet. And finally to Mazurek's left was another drum set who also had an Apple iBook laptop directly next to his hi-hat so he could program beats (it was my impression). It appeared it was this 2nd drummer's job to keep the flow of the set going as his computer housed the basis of their set.

The concert was ultimately an experimental yet funky and generally moving affair. Mazurek has a strange yet refreshing tendency to hint at the avant-garde while momentarily dipping in and out of straight-ahead playing a la Freddie Hubbard. However while he's playing his trumpet, the rest of the band has the listener fully enrapt in a trance as they rock out over dub and hip-hop grrrroooves punctuated by the occasional solo cadenza by the bearded (and on this night red-shirted) Mazurek.

It was the most fun shooting the shit with the band members and Mazurek after the show. I made my best attempt to impress everybody with my musical knowledge, like the show-off I tend to be. Rob was a really chilled out dude; very casual. When I walked up to him, I introduced myself as the guy who tried to book him in Pittburgh and he remembered me. So I mentioned the Invisible Jukebox which ran in the June 2006 issue of The Wire. We talked about how he correctly identified Lee Morgan from The Last Session (Blue Note 1973) and about how a couple days earlier after the Guelph Jazz Festival the band went back to Dixon's home in Bennington, VT and Rob had asked the elder trumpeter if he had any copies of the renowned 6-CD collection of
of solo works, also known as Odyssey.

Dixon answered, "We only have one copy of Odyssey here....I guess the Odyssey goes to Rob." Dixon charged Mazurek zero dollars.

Speaking of Merch, the band had sold out of all copies of its latest CD, Sauna: Um, Dois, Tres.

Anyways, I think that about sums it up....Oh, I also met a middle-aged hippie woman named Linda who asked me for info on ProTools and I ended up driving home. Random, I know.

Rob called me the next day at work hoping to hook up and see my boss' record collection, but the reception was shitty and we got cut off. Sorry Rob. Until we meet again, it was a pleasure. Your music rocks.

Also, Guilherme, you owe me a CD! Don't worry. I am going to purchase the album

Go see the Sao Paolo Underground in Mazurek's native Chicago at the World Music Festival on September 20.

Sao Paulo Underground features:
Mauricio Takara, drums/percussion/electronics (the guy on the right)
Richard Ribeiro, drums/percussion (the guy on the left)
Gulherme Granado, samplers/percuscion/voice (the dude in the middle to Rob's left)
Rob Mazurek, cornet/electronics (well, its not hard to pick out Rob).

Rob Mazurek's annoyingly cubist website.
If you get discouraged with the navigation, try this.
Strangely, Rob Mazurek is strangely on MySpace. Go figure.

Now listening to: RJD2 - F.H.H. from Deadringer. Buy it at
RJD2 & Jakki Da Motamouth - Deadringer - F.H.H.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Six Degrees of Separation

I first got turned on to drummer Ted Poor when my boy BK brought guitarist Ben Monder's group to the Underground at CMU. I was charged with taking care of the band and overseeing things at the show since BK ended up having to miss the show as he was in the pit orchestra for a local musical theater production. So that Thursday in April 2005, I picked up Monder, Theo Bleckmann, Kermit Driscoll, and Ted at their hotel; brought them to the CMU campus; down to the radio station where I taped an interview that never actually aired to my knowledge (props to Matt Toups for producing it). So that night the band was to perform at the Underground and like I said I was in charge of things.

Anyways the gig was very poorly attended due to it being booked on a Thursday and the fact that BK did very little advance publicity. Only a handful of guitar freaks showed up (mostly non-CMU affiliated cats either in high school or local musicians). It was a terrific show - as if I were sitting hearing this great band in Brooklyn or the Village - but in Pittsburgh at the most awkward venue on campus and possibly in all of Pittsburgh...

Anyways, since then I've seen Ted in a variety of different settings - with Ben Monder and singer/songwriter Rebecca Martin (who is married to bassist Larry Grenadier - they play together in the latest incarnation of Paul Motian's Trio 2000 + One), and with the extremely underrated pianist David Berkman on a live recording session at Smoke back in August of this summer.

At one point this summer, late one night at home in Philly while on my computer, I read about this group (The Respect Sextet) in a review on The Respect Sextet had its start in Rochester where its members were students at the Eastman School of Music. It was a review of their performance this June at the Rochester International Jazz Festival - a festival that has grown immensely in stature in the last 3 years. Now, all but one of them are in NYC toughing it out on the jazz scene. Who knows if NY with wear them down or whether they will weather the storm finding jobs as they come along. It's always a gamble with that city...

Anyways, when I saw Ted in August we discussed the band and now (roughly 3 weeks later) my new buddy DJA is posting about them on his blog. And now that I think of it, I met Darcy that night before I went uptown to see Ted with Dave Berkman. Crazy!

My conclusion: This jazz world we live in is very small. There are at most three degrees of separation between myself and every young musician in NY under the age of 30. Everybody knows everybody and I guess MySpace and Facebook "help" these random events to occur. I find myself fortunate to know about musicians like Ted Poor, who despite his name is a fantastic musician, composer, and guy.

My inspiration for this post. Respect.

Now listening to: The Joe Lovano Ensemble - Fire Prophet - Part IV from Streams of Consciousness (Blue Note 2006)

Chris Potter 2006 Online Lessons Project

So I hate to post another thing about CP so soon after mentioning him in my Sunday post, but I have to comment on his latest update to his website.

Not so revolutionary now that we've become familiarized with the ArtistShare model, Potter is now offering downloads and streaming content discussing the process of composing, improvising over, and recording Traveling Mercies (2002), Lift (2004), as well as his approach to playing the Jerome Kern standard All the Things You Are.

I think it's terrific if somewhat overdue (i.e. the only change in the website since it launched in late 2004 besides tour dates). You can't really fault the guy. I mean, he's constantly on tour, composing, rehearsing his band, or just relazing between all the above.

Lucky for saxophonists and musicians worldwide, Potter had some time this summer to sit down with ArtistShare creator/technological facilitator Brian Camelio and talk about the inspiring music on these previous albums.

No word yet on whether these sections will actually be updated biweekly as the participant offers claim, but all we can do is hope for the best.

Also don't be fooled by the dates on the main page (namely the "upcoming dates" section) which Chris regularly updates. If looking on the top navigation bar, click on "Events" for the same information. Someone really should show him how to update the main page to reflect that he has made changes to the tour dates so its more obvious to people who look at the site.

Now listening to Gnarls Barkley - Who Cares from the album St. Elsewhere (Atlantic 2006). Buy it.
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere - Who Cares?

Friday, September 08, 2006

....I missed the Dewey Redman train.....

This past week I deleted everything in my MacBook's iTunes library with the genre "Jazz."

Why would Dr. Jazz Ph.D do such a thing? Well, I could say it was a cleansing of sorts but I'd be lying. The reality was that my MacBook kept coming up with error messages saying "Startup Disk Almost Full" and it was freezing up programs left and right.

Here I was, back where I'd been all the past year and a half since living with only 40GB of space on my one broken iBook G4. This time around though, I'd transferred everything I had on the old iBook to this MacBook as well as the iMac I bought along with this new MacBook to celebrate my graduation from college (thanks Mom & Dad). The iMac and the MacBook were holding everything I had ripped and/or downloaded from the Pittsburgh years plus everything I'd ripped since I got into Philadelphia town.

Thus I had a redundant system. A couple albums that were on the MacBook weren't on the iMac and vice versa but I had a problem and it needed fixing, so I deleted the bulk of the drive (i.e. all my music tagged as jazz), and tried to start anew with the bootlegged stuff that I hadn't bothered tagging with a genre and the random assortment of other types of music I listen to.

I was left with a mess (my recent rotation).

Some Sufjan Stevens tracks I'd just legally downloaded from iTunes, a bunch of Aceyalone (with various projects), Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, an Ahmad Jamael track, a bit of Ella Fitzgerald I hadn't tagged "jazz" or was tagged something ridiculous like "alternative/punk," several albums and singles produced by RJD2, a shit ton of music by the avant-rock group The Residents and a smorgasboard of other stuff.


You're probably wondering at this point what the fuck this post has to do with Dewey Redman. Right?

Well, a couple days after I deleted all my music - Dewey Redman died. This week I must have read 15 tributes to Dewey Redman in addition to all the threads going on at AAJ, Organissimo, JazzCorner. I found out before many as I happened to be chatting with Margaret Davis (who is Henry Grimes' partner and manager). "We lost Dewey last night," was the way she broke it to me Sunday morning in the midst of bemoaning the dwindling number of original jazz masters alive today. Note: We were strategizing about bookings this November for Henry, Roy Campbell Jr. and Chad Taylor (three quarters of the Spiritual Unity band - apparently leader Marc Ribot will only be on the Philly and NY dates).

It was only when I went to my CD and LP collection that I realized not only did I not have anything with Dewey Redman as a leader, but I couldn't find a thing with him as a sideman either. I must have heard him or played him sometime on the radio in the jazz journey of my life, but I'll be darned if I could describe what he sounded like or pick out any of his tunes... Thus, somehow, some way i missed the Dewey Redman train. I was on his son's proverbial "train" from his debut on Warner Brothers. But I always knew Josh was his dad's foil - a much straighter player.

It really goes to show you how players and listeners of my generation can know so little about the music of the elders because of all of the media attention goes to the young kid (in this case Josh) whose technique in all registers wove circles around his dad Dewey. But do these acrobatics necessarily make him the better player?

Well certainly more exciting for a young sax player to listen to. I wouldn't have "gotten" Dewey based on Ethan's description as a young player.

My past insistence that Chris Potter is the funkiest mainstream sax player of all time is proof positive of the limitations in my listening experience. The fact is that while Potter may be one of the most exciting players with music readily available for me to listen to, he is one player within a very small time compartment jazz history.

I recently learned that Eddie Harris (an woefully unsung cat) did a lot of the same stuff that Potter has been doing, but I just hadn't gotten around to listening to Harris' stuff both because my peers weren't talking to me about it, and because I just hadn't been willing to sample some of the greater earlier post-Coltrane tenor playing.

There are tons of other cats out there. Old and young. Obscure and famous....that are playing music just as vibrant and relevant as Chris'. I really think that the lesson learned here is that it can't hurt to take a step back from what the magazines and our close friends tell us to dig on, and look back to earlier periods as well as the current scene for what it really is: a diverse mix of concepts and musical sensibilities.

Maybe by erasing all my "new modern jazz" from the computer, I am getting a fresh start and will be able to focus more on the predecessors to Chris Potter, Josh Redman, Mark Turner, and Seamus Blake, etc. This will make some critics of my listening tendencies very happy and I do actually think I'll benefit from a change in my listening regimen.

But the following bloggers straightened things out for me on Dewey. And there were so many recordings referenced that I've got my collecting work ahead of me for years to come.

Do The Math has a very lucid appreciation of the man, his music and his essence. Also, Marc Medwin (Bagatellen), Pat (visionsong), Aldon Lynn Nielsen (HeatStrings), David Ryshpan (Settled In Shipping), Mac (Portastic), Destination Out, DJ Matt Durutti (Los Amigos De Durutti), etnobofin, the NYT (Ratliff), the UPI, Washington Post and the
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Now listening to: Brad Mehldau - Wave/Mother Nature's Son (Largo - Warner Bros 2005)
Brad Mehldau - Largo - Wave/Mother Nature's Son

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

David Weiss @ FatCat Tonight & Every Wednesday Night

Fat Cat
David Weiss and the Point of Departure Quintet

David Weiss- Trumpet
J.D. Allen- Tenor Sax
Nir Felder- Guitar
Luques Curtis- Bass
Jamire Williams- Drums
Kendrick Scott- Drums (August 30)

Fat Cat
75 Christopher Street
(between 7th Avenue and Bleecker Street)
(212) 343-0612
Wednesday August 30
Shows at 10 pm and 12 midnight
$10 Cover with this invite

Go see this killin' band tonight (Wednesday August 30) in Greenwich Village (subway: 1/2 to Christopher Street) if you are in NY. I will post more info in a bit. Gotta run....

Monday, August 28, 2006

Fat Possum Records documentary on IFC

Fat Possum is a blues and indie rock label that was started by some white dudes who loved the music of the Mississippi Delta and wanted to record some of the last remaining original players who had never left Mississippi to pursue any kind of careers in the music industry. Now their roster includes such lame indie rock acts as The Fiery Furnaces and The Black Keys (whose latest album is covers of Junior Kimbrough's music, one of the original Delta blues artists on the label - now deceased).

Now these musicians are old uneducated black men, many of whom can't read or write so having them sign a record contract is a bit dubious to say the least. But the documentary I saw on IFC, You See Me Laughin': The Last of the Hill Country Bluesmen (2003) (produced and directed by Mandy Stein), gives you the impression that the guys who started the company are not in it for the money. They want to expose new audiences to the music of these guys by pairing them up with remix producers and punk bands like Blues Explosion to make the music more accessible and palatable to young people. I think its a noble mission.

Anyways, check out Fat Possum Records' website. And check your local listings for IFC on the right side of the page in the second search box from the top here.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Esperanza Spalding; Doug Ramsey - Rifftides mentions The Jazz Clinic!!!

So tonight by phone, I introduced the amazing Esperanza Spalding (Full Discloser: a client of mine) to the world of, which readers of this blog know I'm crazy about. But I'm also crazy about Esperanza's music. The title of this entry links to her artist page and if you all could go and vote on the picture of her I posted so that it can go up, I would appreciate it. Of course, you'll have to sign up for an account but it's totally free for the basic service. For the price though that I've paid, I've been turned on to so many new artists to me as well as music by artists I already knew, just hadn't heard the specific albums.

Check out Esperanza's music on the Esperanza Spalding Myspace Page that I created for her. She melds bass and vocals fluidly to produce a uniquely indentifiable sound which draws heavily on spontaneous creativity and soulfulness. I mean, I don't want to take this space to rant about my clients but I do want you all to hear her music.

And if anyone has a 2-month sublet available in New York, I might know someone looking for a place for September and October.

Thanks to Doug Ramsey for linking to my blog. This probably means more people are reading now and I'll have to professionalize my blog a little bit and post about my personal life elsewhere...get a livejournal account....and really focus on jazz for this blog.

Anyways, to continue with a tradition I have, I will leave you with the music I'm currently listening to right now.

Currently listening to: Maria Schneider Orchestra - Começar de Novo (featuring a stunning soprano sax solo by Tim Ries) off of the recently released Days of Wine and Roses: Live at the Jazz Standard.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

George Garzone - The Fringe in New York

This album is absolutely sick! Garzone is basically Joe Lovano without press. He's the cat who everyone at Barklee has shedded off but cats don't talk about when listing their influences. To give you an idea, here is a track from this album. Let the music do the convincing.

I can't figure out the hosting stuff right now. So just listen at the outlets below.

The Fringe In New York

The Fringe In New York

George Garzone
NYC Records

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Jimmy Greene Quartet @ Smoke Aug. 18-19, 2006

Here is my pick for THIS COMING WEEKEND:

August 18-19, 2006
Jimmy Greene Quartet appearing at Smoke
3 sets per night at 8 PM, 10 PM, & 11:30 PM

(From left to right): drummer Eric Harland, Jimmy Greene, bassist Reuben Rogers, and pianist Xavier Davis) Note: On the far left of this picture is drummer Eric Harland who appears on Jimmy's latest recording True Life Stories (Criss Cross Records). Eric will be replaced by Greg Hutchinson on this gig as he is on the road with saxophonist Charles Lloyd. Everyone else in the picture is on this weekend's gigs.

Jimmy Greene - saxophones
Xavier Davis - piano
Reuben Rogers - bass
Greg Hutchinson- drums

Jimmy, who grew up being mentored in his native Hartford by Jackie McLean should be most well-known as the 2nd Place winner of the 1996 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition for saxophone, but is actually better known as a member of the Tom Harrell Quintet, the Harry Connick Jr. Big Band, Claudia Acuna's quintet, and drummer Lewis Nash's band.

For more info, visit Smoke's website.

Visit Jimmy online here.

Smoke is located at 2751 Broadway (between 105th and 106th streets) New York, NY 10025.

The phone number is (212) 864-6662.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Michael Brecker

Brecker is feeling better these days after a partial marrow transplant from his daughter. You can read more about that here. (on his MySpace page of all places!).

I was so happy to hear about his surprise appearance onstage at Carnegie Hall during the JVC Jazz Festival with Herbie! The last time I saw him live was on the 2nd Directions in Music tour with Herbie, Roy Hargrove, Terri Lynne, Scott Colley in Pittsburgh.

Brecker, thought his vibrato can drive me up walls, was a major source of inspiration to me as a saxophone player. Growing up and hearing the overtones he does on "Two Blocks From the Edge" totally changed how I looked at the possibilities on the saxophone. he man definitely got me through some rough shit in high school. Granted, there are like 3 or 4 people on Earth can touch Brecker technique-wise and those who read this blog know who at least one of those people is. I shouldn't have to say it.

But, man, only Brecker can do Brecker. He is so ridiculous and when he is in the groove with an adventurous rhythm section he can swing like a crazy M-F. JESUS! Listen to him play Oleo here way back in 1983 (the year I was born!):

For those of you wanting to see some newer rare Michael Brecker ish from before he got sick, here you go (I have no clue who that pianist is that they show on camera) but this is one of the definitive songs that changed my life:

If you didn't see it go pick up the June issue of JazzTimes at a library or music store or just purchase a pdf online (I have done so before) which ran a cover story of anecdotes from the jazz community on Michael Brecker and what he means to so many cats.

Ok. Going to bed thinking about how amazing Michael Brecker is. Thank God for Michael Brecker and we all continue to pray for his speedy recovery. Jews out there: Say a Mishebeirach for Michael Brecker if you are at a shul in the next few days or weeks! I wonder what Michael's Hebrew name is? Maybe someone can find that out and post it as a comment.

Apple commercials

Disclaimer: this post has nothing to do with jazz.

So after having seen the original Mac vs PC commercials, I got hipped somewhere in the blogosphere to go check out the spoofs of these witty Apple commercials. By the way, I wonder whose job it is to dream up these commercials. I know Google hires these "creative" people whose job it is to simply dream up this shit. Perhaps Apple does the same? Probably. They can afford it.

Here are some of the originals:

Despite some horribly bad-looking actors and screw-ups in dialogue, some of these things are insanely funny and had me ROTFLMAOing (or should that read RingOTFLMAO?). Anways, here are some YouTube vids of my favorite spoofs: some more posts in the works right now (something about supermarkets, something about Michael Brecker, and something coming up about Robin Eubanks). And a PODCAST from me will be coming very soon as I gather good audio content with not just my own voice!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Chris Potter on YouTube!

Finally. A video of saxophonist Chris Potter with his own band to satiate my unending urge for new bootlegged Chris Potter. Can't wait to see this band again. I was looking IMN World's site and apparently they are coming to Philadelphia (Chris' Jazz Cafe) in February of 2007. But I'll have to go up to NY before then. Meanwhile I think I'll enjoy his albums and these two videos which another fan seems to have clandestinely taped with the camera under his table in the front row of the Jazz Standard in NY.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


woke up around 1:30 PM, started with the computer, talked to my dogg about JAMO and his blind date through, did my duty, got in the shower (with my glasses on), glasses fell off while shampooing, didn't worry about it, finished shower refreshed ready for a new day, crouched down to pick up glasses, found one lens and frames, other lens must've gone down the drain, SOL, looking at screen with left eye shut, guess I have to hobble to the closest pharmacy....(thanks google maps)

As Mindy of Animaniacs might have said, "Lens go down the hohhhl."

now listening to: Tim Hagans - "Are You Threatening Me (Kingsize Remix) off of Phonography (on newly updated "recommendations radio" player).

fragments of a day

did the jazz clinic, trained to NYC, had meeting at blue note, shopped for expensive menswear, realized I left my MacBook at Blue Note, met agata, bought a TimeOutNY, chatted on a park bench, checked email on a park bench, agata left me, went to catch pianist michael weiss at the kitano hotel, a japanese destination in midtown, came to to the conclusion that steve wilson, the saxophonist, is an insane man. the guy is incredible, talked to kendrick scott of terence blanchard's band who was reading for michael's drummer chair and was masterfully sublime, chatted for a while about the biz, headed downtown to see if I could catch some of monder w/ rebecca martin at FatCat (who I keep wanting to call Kate McGarry because in my mind they sound similar, but in reality don't at all). what a bizarre place. pool tables, checkers, Mac minis, ping-pong courts, and live jazz behind mystery door #1? ok..... lost my wallet, found it, checked email, charged my MacBook, cabbed across to East Village, waited for Siffert to call me back, drank framboise in a bar called Burp Castle (which by the way had a stellar selection of imported bottles) with WRCT friends Anthony, Matt, and Matt's girlfriend Jen, took a cab to the Bronx for $35, found nothing to eat in Anthony's fridge, dranks some OJ, plugged in the laptop, entered the WEP key, tried to send email, failed, fell asleep writing this post....

now listening to: John Fahey's "The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death" as inspired by the feature appreciation in the June issue of The Wire

white noise maker

white noise maker

This is my friend Sarah's blog. She is funny and smart. Read it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Do You Feel Alive?

View from the Third Tier

Last night, the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center was transformed into an international dance fest as the king and queen of world music, Amadou & Mariam (a blind married couple from Bamako - the capital of Mali) energized a mixed-age audience into a really energetic set of fun.

The band definitely started out slow. But song-by-song for the roughly 75 minute set, the band built up the energy to a fever pitch by the end. Amadou was definitely the leader, as his wife and partner Mariam only came on-stage to join him for about 3 or 4 songs. Her visage was totally blank though except for a couple smiles when she rubbed Amadou's head while saying in English, "I love you, baby."

The other really funny part and the reason for this post's title is Amadou kept repeating the phrase, "Do you feel alive?" in his strong Malian accent. Obviously, he doesn't know much English and this was a genuine phrase that both fueled and captured the energy the band was generating for the enthusiastic crowd.

Highlights for me were from their latest album, Dimanche A Bamako. Some of the songs played included the title track, M'Bife (which I think has something to do with love), Liberte, and an engaging audience participation piece where the audience would repeat these words after Amadou uttered them in succession in the song's verse: "fatigué," "malheureux," and "misérable," which in French mean tired, unhappy, and miserable respectively (go 8 years of French!).

View from Stage Right

Anyways it was hot. This was all part of World Music Wednesdays that the Kimmel Center is hosting throughout July. Next week is a group called Daara J from Senegal, the week after a group from India called Musafir, and they are ending the miniseries with Tiempo Libre from Havana via Miami.

Friday, July 07, 2006

no Jazz Clinic today

I woke up at 10:15 today and called a friend to sub for me since I had to work anyways this afternoon. Rushing up there with 40 minutes to get there and prepare and then drive right back did not seem like a worthy prospect.

So please await the return of the Jazz Clinic to WPRB airwaves next Friday promptly at 11 AM.

Now listening to Grachan Moncur - Evolution (Blue Note)

Saturday, July 01, 2006 - amazing!!! is an amazing blog featuring full album downloads of rare jazz, avant-garde, psych-rock, and noize bands from the 60s through today.

I was hipped to this blog at 1:30 in the morning by a drunken member of the Dreadnots (the one who usually spits the rhymes and plays with various manipulation boxes), a Pittsburgh nerdcore experimental hip-hop band. They are three white dudes who have so much musical knowledge between them that it boggles my mind as why & how the hell they're still in Pittsburgh!

He dialed me arouund 1 AM with his number blocked and told me first he was Jonathan Winters, whom I googled and found was the famous the character actor. Then he started dropping knowledge on me at alarming rates about the Sun City Girls, the Sublime Frequencies series, The Residents, and various other psych bands whose names I had heard but whose music I had/have not really checked out. The discussion ranged from Frank Wright to Jean Claude Vannier to Soft Machine.

During the span of the call he told me about this excellent blog, but also about how he was recording an album with Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls and that the recently split-up Sleater-Kinney girls were coming over to get high.

When I finally figured out who the guy was, I was congratulated by the Underwater Culprit and told that DJ Negative One had also beek punk'd earlier.

Thanks guys! Mighty entertaining!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

JVC Jazz Fest Honors Lorraine Gordon; Car Troubles Come to an End

Well, the last time I blogged for you I had come back from NY and I was reeling from seeing some amazing music. Well...the fun continued on the following Monday (June 19) with a trip up to New York again to A) volunteer for the Jazz Journalists Association Awards (JJA Awards) & B) to see another free show at Carnegie Hall - this one a celebration of the continued work of Lorraine Gordon, the proprietor and manager of the legendary Village Vanguard which her late husband Max Gordon, a German Jewish immigrant started in the 1930s as a haven for artists of all kinds (it was originally conceived as a meeting ground for poets and other literary figures but the jazz is the thing that eventually stuck).

JJA Awards

The Jazz Awards were fun but rather tiring and made me pretty nervous about not having enough energy or stamina to see the show that night and also get back to Philly. However, by volunteering I got free admission. I also got to meet Jason Moran and his Bandwagon (referred to in my last entry), Gerald Wilson, Joe Lovano, a lot of label people from Blue Note and Mack Avenue Records, journalists I've grown up reading in Downbeat and JazzTimes, as well as legendary festival producer George Wein, and record producer George Avakian. I also saw a whole bunch of people I already knew from the radio world like Linda Yohn from WEMU, Tatsuya K from Dreyfus Records, Terry Coen from Palmetto, and Tom Mallison from South Carolina Public Radio.

The Concert: Sweet Lorraine

To a much more enthusiastic audience than Ornette had (I think a lot of people went to that show just to be able to say they had gone to see Ornette Coleman), Carnegie Hall and the JVC Jazz Festival transformed the Vanguard into a much larger Uptown space for one night (with horrible sound). How did the transform Carnegie Hall into a bigger Village Vanguard? The festival producers had the good sense to book five distinct acts that Lorraine & Max Gordon nurtured over the years with consistent bookings. Many of these bands developed their sound and some of their mystique from their gigs at the Vanguard. After all, as the evening's emcee rightly put it, the Vanguard is a connundrum. It is hallowed ground. Yet every 20-30 minutes the 7th Ave express rumbles loudly beneath the clubs flimsy wooden plank floor. The club has not been renovated or altered once throughout its history. The only thing that has changed over the years have been the number jazz icons hanging on the club's walls often with signatures.

On to the music: the lineup was stellar. Dr. Michael White and His Original Liberty Jazz Band playing "trad jazz" - i.e. the music of N'awlinz. Dr. White's band were one of two all-black acts that evening, the other being the Roy Hargrove Quintet feat. Bobby Hutcherson on vibes. Second came Paul Motian's Trio 2000 + One w/ guest vocalist Rebecca Martin (who knocked my socks off) and the bands regular: Larry Grenadier on bass, and Chris Potter on tenor sax. They played a mix of rarer standards and slithering, free Motian tunes. Potter played in a totally interesting free yet lyrical, even singable manner.

Then came Hargrove's band who breezed through a varies set of straight hard-bop a la Cannonball Adderley Quintet. His sidemen were his regular touring band of Justin Robinson on alto, Ronnie Matthews on piano, bassist James Genus, and drummer Willie Jones III. The special guest, whom no one in the hall could hear, was legendary vibist Bobby Hutcherson. There was one Latin flavored tune from their new record Nothing Serious that really got to my heart as well as a ballad whose melody modulated upwards by step four times each time they played the head, giving the listener a feeling of being on different planes.

A 15 minute intermission followed.

Then came The Bad Plus, who played a sublime set of new compositions and one cover. Refer to Ben Ratliff's review for the way they played. It pretty much captured anything I could say here.
Last, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra performed w/ guest soloist and band alumnus tenor saxist Joe Lovano. I left the hall before they started to secure a position to hand out flyers of the winners from the JJA awards from earlier in the evening, but I heard parts of their set from the lobby and they sounded in top shape as usual. Rich Perry killed on tenor as always and I heard a bit of a Terell Stafford trumpet solo which was swingin as hell. forward to today.....many poker games later (yes the cards bug has bitten me once again; helped by my new roommates passion for the game - but I'M UP folks!!!)

As many of my readers know, recently my car has been giving me some trouble. In May when helping a friend make I movie, I managed to basically disable the driver's side door. Long story short, I now drive an otherwise champagne-colored '96 Ford Crown Victoria with a BLUE door. Yeah, I know. No one is going to steal this car.... At least I can be sure of that much. So today, it went in for another $300 of work. But the point of this story is that I got a new reliable guy in Philly. His name is Larry and he works here at the Shell station. He is a real pro and a gentleman. If you're in the Philly area, I highly recommend him - not quite as highly as Tony's Garage which is here back in Pittsburgh on Mellon St.

Aight....more to come...

In the meantime, check out REGINA SPEKTOR, the singer.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Friday Night 06/16/06 in NY

So, I told you I'd update after the Ornette Coleman show:

Ornette at Carnegie Hall was actually not that impressive to me. Sure, I got to see him in his blue suit, pink shirt, yellow cravate and pork pie hat playing his wailing yet absolutely squeak-free altissimo and other high notes on his white alto (occaisonally switching to trumpet), but the music lacked enough pep to keep me interested all the time. All the tunes sounded like Ornette Tunes - all outside, but ending in Copeland-like "American" consonance. In the end, hearing Ornette live with a typically strange instrumentation (Greg Cohen on upright - plucking, Tony Falanga on upright - arco, and Al McDowell on electric bass, Denardo Coleman on drum set) is better than recording. But I felt that the sound was not very good and you lost a lot of what they were doing to the size of the hall. And it's freakin' hard to hear what three bassists are doing when playing on top of each other.

Attendance was particularly good -- not too surprising considering Ornette basically created the genre we now know as "free jazz".

I'd estimate there were about 1500 people out of a possible 2800 in the hall.

Brad dug the hell out of it (he was rocking back and forth the whole time).

Some perks of being with Brad: I got to meet Ben Ratliff of the New York Times and Ashley Kahn, author of several jazz books profiling Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, Coltrane's A Love Supreme, and most recently a volume chronicling the story of the Impulse label entitled The House That Trane Built. The encore was Ornette's Lonely Woman - a personal highlight for me.

After we left the hall, while chatting with jazz writer David Adler (another stellar writer for All About Jazz-New York, Jazztimes, and The New Republic Online, Signal to Noise, etc) we found out that Chris Potter was at the 55 Bar. So we headed straight downtown by cab. Before getting in the cab, I stopped at an ATM to get cash for a night of spending. After searching through my wallet, I found I had lost one of my ATM check cards, so I used the other and while riding downtown called to cancel the card. It turned up in my backpack 10 minutes later while waiting in line on Christopher Street!

Also while waiting in the line (did I mention it was a long-ass line) to see Chris at the 55, we read in All About Jazz-New York that one of our clients, Jason Moran (and his band, The Bandwagon - bassist Tarus Mateen & drummer Nasheet Waits) were backing up baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett at Sweet Rhythm a couple blocks away. Since I'd been left wanting more after hearing Bluiett at The Five Spot a week earlier with David Murray, and we were taking a chance at the back of the line for the Potter show, we made an split-second decision to go over there hoping to enter for free through our connection to Jason.

It worked out and the band was stellar. They played originals and standards including Misty. It was great to hear the chemistry of The Bandwagon, a band that's been together for at least 4 years. With Bluiett, it was doubly sweet. For those not in the know, Bluiett is the king of wailing altissimo on bari. However, his low end packs an equal if not greater punch. Waits was killin'. He is totally one of my favorite drummers.

At Sweet Rhythm we met up with Ted Panken (writer for Downbeat, Jazziz, and radio host for WKCR FM at Columbia University). He told us he was going to see the late late show by Chris at the 55. So we left the Bluiett gig around 11:30 to see Potter.

After waiting in line again in front of the 55 for at least a half-hour, we were treated to an amazingly intimate set of music ranging from Joni Mitchell to a Middle-Eastern tune to Big Top (which is one Potter's latest disc, Underground)
and a song called Boots. The band was Potter on tenor and keyboard (no Taborn cuz of the Vision Festival), Nate Smith on drums, Adam Rogers on guitar, and Joe Martin on bass. I won't gush. It was fucking amazing. No words can describe what went on.

Now listening to: Robin Eubanks' podcast on iTunes.

Friday, June 16, 2006

New Digs; WPRB - First Show; Trip to NY

Wow. It's been a while and a half since I blogged. Where shall I begin?

Well first off I am now living in Philadelphia just inside the city line about 2 miles from my main job at DL Media ( I am having a blast at work. Probably too much. My first project has been tour publicity for this bassist who's been with Paul Simon since the Graceland days named Bakithi Kumalo. I've been pitching his CD to the cities where Paul Simon's Surprise tour is taking him this summer. This past two weeks was focused on the Ohio dates between June 28 - July 2. I also covered some of the national media as far as bass publications were concerned. Looks like we may get some coverage in Bassics magazine and even Bass Player too since the editors of both dig Bakithi. Also trying to convince my office to go on Skype to do conference calls and the like for free rather than paying long distance all the time.

Aside from work, which is still jazz-related and offered me mounds of free CDs and other stuff, I've seen a couple concerts in Philly:

1) David Murray & Hamiett Bluiett of the World Saxophone Quartet performed a very terrific show w/ electric bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma, drummer Lee Pearson (Erykah Badu, Lauren Hill, Snoop Dogg), and Murray's son Mingus. This show was very well attended despite being on a Thursday night and put together with very short notice for press, of which there was virtually none. I would call it avant blues funk w/ squeaking! And no one can squeak like Murray and Bluiett.

2) Ken Vandermark/Paul Lytton/Phillip Wachsmann & Trio BraamDeJoodeVatcher played the latest Ars Nova show (actually the first night of a 2-night European improvisers mini-festival at UPenn). It was my second time seeing Vandermark and this trio (called Cinc - no significance in the name....I asked) was sublime. Ken did a lot of circular breathing and as my co-worker and friend Brad said, "It's all about a transfer of energy." That was it. Everybody was intensely listening to each other so intensely yet gently and sensitively that when they hit the last note of a section, they all knew it was time to end. It was cool to see their level of aural communication as opposed to visual cues. The second group, also a trio, from Amsterdam was much more structured but still very free. The pianist and default leader Michael Braam was like a stride-playing avant-gardist. He had a definite penchant for sounding like he was playing a rag while entirely freely improvised. The bassist DeJoode was good - excellent plucking - INTENSE facial expressions, but the drummer who reminded me of the facial and bodily movements of Ari Hoenig was a bit annoying and didn't really fit with what Braam was doing much of the time.

Visit for some other great improvised music coming up in the Philadelphia area including Henry Grimes & Oluyemi Thomas, Charles Gayle, Han Bennink/Peter Brotzmann, and many others!

Today, after working really late at the office last night (for no overtime pay) and talking at length with my boss' son about the best restaurants in Philly to hit up for cheesesteaks, sandwiches, and Japanese, I drove to Princeton, NJ for my first official radio show at WPRB Princeton. WRPB is Princeton University's student & community radio station where I have my new radio home. On my first show, I had guest bassist Reuben Rogers in the studio with me to discuss his new record. I played several albums by cats in his musical circle including saxophonist John Ellis, and pianist Aaron Goldberg, with whom he's going to Europe with for a couple weeks very soon with guest saxophonist Chris Potter. I wish I could see that band in the states. Reuben also played a couple of his favorite tracks (Wayne Shorter, The Poll Winners, and something else) that either inspired him early on or inspired cuts on his new album - Things That I Am, his first as a leader. I also played the latest Blue Note albums by Greg Osby (Channel Three), Terence Blanchard (Flow), and Joe Lovano (Streams of Expression - in stores August 1) as well as the new Liberty Ellman on Pi Recordings. I saw Liberty a couple months ago in Philly when I first came to meet with my current boss and talk about what I could do for his business. He was in Henry Threadgill's Zooid band.

After the radio show, I picked up Brad and we drove to NYC, where I am right now. After much confusion and several moving violations in NJ we got into the city, parked for a lot of money and went to a great little Brazilian place at 48th St and 8th Ave called Brazil Grill. We both had amazing seaford dishes. We are now vegetating in Starbucks at 51st and Broadway writing, checking email (well, at least I am) and waiting to do what we came here to do - SEE ORNETTE COLEMAN FOR FREE @ Carnegie Hall. This will be my first Ornette show and my first time at Carnegie Hall. Will post an update after Ornette!

Now digging: John Ellis - By a Thread as well as Brian Lynch's new ArtistShare project which I will be working on later this summer. Also look out for a new Monk/Coltrane "Complete 1957 Riverside Sessions" double-CD from Concord.

Jazz Journalist Awards are on Monday which I will be back to work and then see another Carnegie Hall show quadruple bill honoring Lorraine Gordon, proprietor of the Village Vanguard featuring The Bad Plus, Roy Hargrove's Quintet w/ Bobby Hutcherson, Paul Motian's Trio 2000 + One w/ Chris Potter, Larry Grenadier, and Rebecca Martin (vocals), Joe Lovano w/ The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Dr. Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band - for my job - for FREE! Living the jazz life....

Peace, bitches....