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)

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