Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Michael Brecker Tribute Video

A truly touching Michael Brecker tribute video which I found on his fan page on MySpace: WATCH IT HERE!

Monday, January 22, 2007

the days turn into weeks, the months into years - as I fall behind on blogging...

I know. I've been very inconsistent in my blogging habits of late - mainly due to the fact that I have an unprecendented amount of work for my "on the side" gig, doing online and "new media" publicity for independent artists in multiple genres.

I currently have some projects with unlikely artists given my personal taste. But I'm trying right now to seek out music that moves me and makes me want to dance... or at least think about dancing. While I try to keep the artists I work for out of this blog, sometimes its impossible since they are often on my mind a lot - and what else is a blog for if not to unload some of the topics on one's mind?

This week one of these artists is Karl Denson's Tiny Universe whose newish online-only EP entitled Once You're There is a current priority for me. Originally I took it on as a means to make some extra bread, but this funky/electro hook-based music has become a guilty pleasure. It makes me want to dance. And I guess that's a good thing because it probably makes others want to do the same.

So that's that.


In other news:

Pianist Frank Kimbrough playing at Dewey Redman's Memorial Service Sunday Jan. 7, 2007
- I attended Dewey Redman's Memorial three Sundays ago - my first visit to St. Peter's Church in Manhattan (aka the jazz church) - I know I blogged about it in advance of the show on my MOG and Last.fm pages but I don't believe I mentioned it here. Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny, Geri Allen and Jack DeJohnette gave the most touching performances of the evening. Violinist Leroy Jenkins played a bouncing pentatonic blues, Joe Lovano with his wife Judi Silvano (who was surprisingly good) did a operatic ballad that was amazing and the vociferous/jocular emcee Matt Wilson (who played with Dewey from 1994 on) played in a trio with Cameron Brown and Frank Kimbrough at one point. And I learned a lot about Dewey from the legions of folks who got up to speak about him and a short excerpt of a film about him. Ethan Iverson and Reid Anderson played a tune with Wilson and Dewey's son (Joshua Redman) played too - one short solo piece and then again on the last number with Haden, Metheny and Roy Haynes on the Ornette Coleman blues "Turnaround," which happens to be on the recent Sound Grammar.

- I attended the IAJE Conference in a work capacity from Jan. 10-13 in NYC. I mostly worked afternoons in the press room credentialing journalists, photographers, radio people and others who claimed to be there to write or communicate to different audiences about IAJE.

It was a bit of a drag since most of the good industry track sessions I had taken a roll in planning, I had to miss (i.e. Down Beat 1:1 with Greg Osby interviewing Ornette Coleman, JazzTimes Presents: Producing Miles Davis with producer heavyweights such as George Avakian, George Duke, Bob Belden and Marcus Miller, Latin Jazz: The Perfect Combination, The Marketing Nightmare)

Shows in NY that week were insane as was to be expected. Memorable performances include:

- saxophonist/woodwind doubler Steve Wilson with his long-standing quartet of Bruce Barth on keys, Ed Howard on bass (Ed doesn't seem to have a website or I would link to it) and Adam Cruz on drums at Jazz Standard Thursday night

- drummer/composer John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble late night Thursday at the Sheraton Metropolitan Ballroom

- an 11:30 set at Joe's Pub by wunderkind trumpeter Christian Scott (introduced to the world on recording at 16 by his uncle Donald "Duck" Harrison. this cat is the real deal, folks. though extremely haughty, well-dressed and a tad immature.

Mulgrew Miller w/ Bob Hurst @ Smalls - 1:30 AM set
-a late night Friday set at Smalls by Mulgrew Miller and Bob Hurst III with surprise guest Eric Harland (who arrived after this cell phone shot was taken)

Charlie Haden and The Liberation Music Orchestra, Saturday Jan. 13 - Final Performance of Evening Concerts in Hilton Grand Ballroom
-the French Elite All-Stars with Michel Legrand, violinist Didier Lockwood, guitarist Sylvain Luc, accordionist Richard Galliano and others; followed by Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra paying tribute to Michael Brecker and Alice Coltrane


Darcy James Argue's Secret Society at Bowery Poetry Club
-I stayed an extra day and night and finally got to see DJA's Secret Society large band in its native environment - the Bowery Poetry Club. it was tight. Saxophonist Mark Small (also of the Michael Bublé Orchestra - yes, that Michael Bublé!), trumpeter Shane Endsley (of Kneebody) and saxophonist Erica von Kleist (of JALC's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra) impressed thoroughly in their respective solos.
the writing was of a very high quality. i could hear the brookmeyer influence. also very relevant song titles that fit the tunes - especially Drift and Habeas Corpus.

More recently:

- I began looking in earnest this weekend for a new apartment in Northern Liberties and different places across the Schuykill River (Manayunk, Roxborough or East Falls)

- I saw Greg Osby 4 this weekend in a surprising packed-house at Philly's Zanzibar Blue, an unlikely spot for Greg's music - this coming weekend is Dave Douglas' quintet! Another unlikely booking for ZB. What's going on over there?

And finally... this January is heavy with sadness over the passing of Michael and Alice. and its cold outside.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

What Michael Brecker's Death Means to Me...

It seems like eons ago that I was marveling at Michael Brecker's solo playing Two Blocks From the Edge, Don't Try This At Home, his killing 1980 collaboration with Chick Corea, Three Quartets, and finally his 2004 large-ensemble masterpiece Wide Angles, which I think represented a shift in where he was headed musically - since his previous 10 albums had been small-group focused.

So many players I love today, I discovered through Michael Brecker recordings - the late Don Alias, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Joey Calderazzo, James Genus and John Patitucci among others.

I guess I just want to say that Michael had a huge influence on me. He made me want to keep playing saxophone when practicing just seemed too hard or futile. Hearing Brecker's flawless technical mastery, angular yet hard-swinging lines, and soulful interpretation of standards inspired more than two generations of saxophone players and hopefully his recorded legacy will continue to inspire musicians to reach new heights through both thorough mastery of their instruments and devotion to masters who came before us all.

I don't know what else to say? Thank you Michael for your music and your spirit.

Michael Brecker Lives!