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.

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