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 (www.jazzpublicity.com). 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 www.arsnovaworkshop.com 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....