Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Endangered Blood at Littlefield and the awesomeness of Skirl Records

Endangered Blood (formerly known as the Benefit Band) played a double-bill with Icelandic bassist/soundscape-ist Skuli Sverrisson. I was bummed that I missed Skuli's set, but Endangered Blood did not disappoint! I'm not sure, but I think it was all Chris Speed's music. He announced only the last tune they played, most of the set flowed together without any kind of lull. I'm a huge fan of Chris Speed's playing and writing. One of the most inspiring musical experiences of my life was seeing his band YeahNo play at the Knitting Factory and Tonic many years ago. All of the hallmarks of that group, and Chris' other bands with Jim Black were present in Endangered Blood: instantly memorable melodies, balkan-influenced odd meters, and a very soulful, direct manner of expression. There was even a cover of Monk's "Epistrophy" in 7/4. Usually, jazz tunes played in odd meters make me cringe, but this tune really sounded like it fit the band's language. A lot of Chris' tunes use just a single melodic motive, like Monk.
These cats are about to do a European tour AND a US tour! Can't wait to hear them when they get back from that. They already have a CD that will be released on Chris Speed's label, Skirl Records. Skirl is fast developing an amazing catalogue documenting the Brooklyn scene. I'm also excited to hear Ches Smith's new CD with his band These Arches. There's a lot of activity going on in the Skirl circle, they have events planned in Europe, too! Very Inspiring.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Belated Live Music Report/Thoughts on harmony in free improvisation..

Last week I saw two great sets of all-improvised music, both with the bassist Todd Sickafoose. The first was at Korzo with Eric Deutch on piano and Ben Perowsky on drums. This trio has a very melodic and groove-driven musical language, which seemed to me as something of a rarity in a group playing completely improvised concerts in New York. Their interplay was really wonderful, and the music evolved with great freedom and openness. As a pianist, I have always struggled with the issue of harmony in free-improv situations. I often fear that if I play too tonally it limits the other players, and that I become the "leader" and everyone else has to choose their notes more carefully, and the music takes on a tentative quality that can stop the flow. I think this is part of the reason that a lot of players, not just pianists, avoid tonal improvising. It's a lot easier to "match" when everyone is playing atonal, or playing non-pitch-specific sounds. The same thing with grooves. Sometimes when a groove happens in a free improvisation it can take control of the course of the music too much, or it can be hard to get out of it. The trio at Korzo didn't fall prey to any of these problems, however. I mentioned to Todd Sickafoose after the set that it was refreshing to hear a trio improvise in such a tonal language. He replied "Oh, I'm not afraid. That's 98% of music!"
Then the next night I heard Todd play again in an all improvised set with Jonathan Goldberger and Jim Black at I Beam. This trio has been developing a musical language of electronic textures, fractured grooves, and spacey ambience. Jonathan's guitar effects and Jim's laptop electronics conjured mysterious alien landscapes of sound. And of course, they also HIT! A short sample:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"As a karate expert, I will not talk about anyone up here."

There I was driving in my car listening in to the NY gubernatorial debate, expecting to hear some outrageous Paladino antics. But wait, what's this?

I wish I could visit an alternate universe where this guy is governor.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mid-Week Live Music Update

Tuesday was a really great night of music at Korzo in Park Slope. This week James Carney's music series featured a new Tim Berne trio called Snake Oil, with Matt Mitchell and Ches Smith. They played Tim's music, some of it I was familiar with from his band Hard Cell, which has the same instrumentation but with Tom Rainey and Craig Taborn. Tim mentioned at the beginning that they were also planning on incorporating other people's music into the band, naming Matt Mitchell, Craig Taborn, and Django Bates as possible sources. Their set was great, I was especially blown away by how Ches Smith shaped the music, and what an intense and original approach he has to the drums. I was sitting right by the piano, and could watch Matt Mitchell play those incredibly hard piano parts that Tim writes! Matt is such a great improvisor, I feel like I learned a lot just watching his hands.
Then Mike Pride's band Bacteria 2 Boys played, which was also awesome. So much good drumming! Mike's music for this group really took me by surprise. I had always seen Mike playing drums in very out settings, but this band's music is largely tune-based. There was even one straight-up jazz ballad!

On Wednesday I saw most of a set by John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble at Littlefield. Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckmann were singing together, which was really wonderful to see. I'm always amazed by how many different musical territories that John explores in his writing for this group. I heard him say once that he tries to approach every composition differently, using a different process, almost to try to make each piece sound like it was written by a different composer. The pieces that Kate and Theo sang on were very tonal and almost pop-sounding. Another piece had lengthy sections featuring John improvising with saxophonists Tony Malaby and Ellery Eskelin over cued atmospheric backgrounds.

Put a Motor In Yourself recording project

At long, long last, this powerful power-trio is recording some music! Here is a mini-rockumentary of our first recording session at I Beam Music in Gowanus. Stay tuned for more info about the music.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Khaira Arby at Zebulon

Last night I heard Khaira Arby and her amazing band at Zebulon. I hadn't heard their music before, my friend Kenny Warren of Slavic Soul Party had told me about the band after performing on the same bill with them. Seeing them play reminded me about why it's great to live in New York, where you can see a great band from Timbuktu at a small club. The band's rhythmic feel was unbelievable. The drummer was playing the kit in a way that was so different from what my western ears are conditioned to hear, and the two electric guitarists weaved interlocking strands of rhythms over the powerful groove. When they played hits together, it had an uncommon impact, I can't really describe it. It also had the energy (and volume!) of a rock band, but with an incredibly graceful finesse. At one point I commented to a friend about how great the drummer sounded, and my friend replied "everyone in the band is playing like a drummer!"
At the center of the band's sound was Khaira Arby's powerful voice. This is a musical tradition that I know nothing about, and will have to look into. Better just to hear it for yourself. I found this video on Youtube, I think this is the song they were playing when I walked into Zebulon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Magic Mountain

"We live on Magic Mountain. No one leaves Magic Mountain."

I just finished re-reading Thomas Mann's 1924 novel, the Magic Mountain. I first read it about seven years ago, and it made a huge impression on me. I would always cite it as one of my all-time favorites, although as years went by I forgot more and more about the multitudes of ideas in the book. I've only recently started re-reading my favorite books, and am finding it to be an incredibly rewarding experience. In a way, authors have it tough. We listen to our favorite songs or even albums hundreds of times, but most books are read once and put away.
Re-reading the Magic Mountain gave me a glimpse back to my life seven years ago. At certain points in the story, I could remember where I was when I first read it, and the emotions that it stirred had a familiar feeling. It is truly an epic book. I knew when I first read it that a lot was going over my head, such as the allegorical nature of the characters, and the sometimes lengthy philosophical arguments played out between them. But the beauty of Thomas Mann's writing held me in thrall, just as it did when I first read it.
I had forgotten so many things about the story! The best surprise came towards the end of the novel, when the sanatorium in which the hero, Hans Castorp, is living his hermetic existence gets a new gramophone player. The chapter is called "Fullness of Harmony", and describes Hans Castorp becoming an obsessive audiophile.
At a later point in the story, a young girl who is a patient at the sanatorium is discovered to be a clairvoyant medium, and they begin holding seances. Someone theorizes that having music playing in conducive to connecting to the spirit world, so Hans picks out his favorite records to play at the seances. Essentially making a mix tape!

Listen to This

I have excitedly begun reading Alex Ross's new book "Listen to This". Ross's first book, "The Rest Is Noise", is one of my favorite books about music, he has a real gift for tracing common threads in the work of disparate artists and moments in music history. He's a bit like Leonard Bersnstein in a way, although with a more cool-headed approach. One theme of the book seems to be dissolving the borders between "classical" (a term that Ross derides) and "pop" music. There are chapters on Schubert, Bjork, Bob Dylan. Books like this are like manna from heaven for me.

Some memorable passages so far:

"What I refuse to accept is that one kind of music soothes the mind and another kind soothes the soul. It depends on whose mind, whose soul."

"All music becomes classical music in the end. Reading histories of other genres, I often get a funny sense of deja vu. The story of jazz, for example, seems to recapitulate classical history at high speed. First the youth-rebellion period: Satchmo and the Duke and Bix and Jelly Roll teach a generation to lose itself in the music. Second, the era of bourgeois pomp: the high-class swing bands parallels the Romantic orchestra. Stage 3: artists rebel against the bourgeois image, echoing the classical modernist revolution, sometimes by direct citation (Charlie Parker works the opening notes of The Rite of Spring into "Salt Peanuts"). Stage 4: free jazz marks the point at which the vanguard loses touch with the masses and becomes a self-contained avant-garde. Stage 5: a period of retrenchment. Wynton Marsalis's attempt to launch a traditionalist jazz revival parallels the neo-romantic music of many late-twentieth century composers. But this effort comes too late to restore the art to the popular mainstream."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Current Listening

The Bad Plus - "Never Stop"
Beach House - "Teen Dream"
John McNeil and Bill Mchenry - "Chill Morn Me Climb Jenny"
Kris Davis, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey - "Paradoxical Frog"
Arturo Benedetti Michaelangeli - "Debussy: Images, Children's Corner"
Kate Bush - "Hounds of Love"

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lee Konitz Quartet at the Iridium

I was fortunate enough to catch the last set of Lee Konitz's run at the Iridium with an amazing quartet! I've seen Lee play several times over the years, and I'm always struck by how fresh his playing sounds. There's such a purity to the melodies that he plays, they grab you instantly but are always surprising. One of the things you always hear people say about Lee is that he never seems to repeat himself, although he's played the same repertoire of standards for....a long, long time, he's 83 for god's sake!
The rhythm section was equally fascinating of course; Ethan Iverson, Larry Grenadier, and Jorge Rossy. I had heard about Lee's policy of no amplification, and wondered how it sound. At the beginning of the set, I found myself straining to hear the piano a little, but as the kept playing either my ears adjusted or the band balanced themselves out and everything sounded perfect. I think the lack of amplification also gave the concert a more intimate feel. Ethan mentioned on his blog about what a powerful tone Lee has, and it was definitely true! Lee's alto sound is so clear and strong, and the acoustic rhythm section only made this more apparent.
There were also many surreal moments. Lee wandered around the stage, at times playing right by Ethan at the piano, sometimes at the far left of the stage, and occasionally in the front where the leader is supposed to play. Lee let the other guys start a tune of their choice, and Larry started playing Stella By Starlight unaccompanied with such a powerful and elusive groove, I had no idea what tune he was playing. Then Ethan took an incredibly abstract solo, "jazz surrealism" par excellence, to borrow a term that Ethan uses. At the end of Ethan's solo they started playing the tune in a very straightforward manner to make way for Lee, who had been watching at the side of the stage with an inscrutable look on his face. I couldn't help but laugh when he asked Ethan what tune they were playing. That was the other benefit of no amplification. With your ears more attuned to what was coming from the stage, you could hear all the banter.
At one point, Lee announced that Jorge was going to sing a song. After a somewhat awkward pause, Jorge and son broke into a rendition of Chet Baker's "Dandelion" using that technique where you cup your hands and clap in front of your mouth, making a sound like a tuned drum. It was great! Jazz surrealism, indeed.

Minerva at Cornelia St

A big thanks to everyone who came to Minerva's show at Cornelia St last week! It's such a pleasure to play at a venue with a good piano and a receptive listening audience. It's actually a little intimidating how quiet it gets in there! I've gotten so used to playing in noisy bars, which is I guess where jazz has traditionally been played all along. I heard Paul Motian remark in an interview once about how playing at the Village Vanguard has changed so much since the 50's and 60's. It used to have more of a casual cafe atmosphere, with people talking (just listen to Bill Evans "Sunday at the Vanguard"), and Motian even said that he preferred that informal vibe to the reverent silence that reigns during performances at the Vanguard now.
I can appreciate both settings, I guess it depends on the music. Sometimes when I see a great band at the Tea Lounge, I get frustrated that people are on their laptops with headphones on while these musicians are playing their asses off. And other times, a dead serious listening space like the Stone can feel a little stifling.
But I digress. Minerva did a recording project in July, and we are starting work towards releasing our first CD! Stay tuned....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Abby Payne Music Video!

Abby has a new video for her song "Lost and Found", which will be the first single from the forthcoming EP "Sasquatch". There were some seriously talented people behind the video, which was directed by Elizabeth Leitzell and featured choreography by Emily Vetsch. We had a video release party earlier this month at the House Of Yes in Williamsburg. Definitely a cool venue! They had trapeze rings suspended from the ceiling, and some of those thick gymnastic mats.
The video is now live on Youtube!

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Do Not Doubt I Am Limitless: Walt Whitman's Brooklyn

I can't think of a happier return to Brooklyn than this. The good people from the ISSUE Project Room and the Brooklyn Heights Association were celebrating the poetry of Brooklyn's own Walt Whitman. There was a great lineup of bands, poets, and musicians
performing in Brooklyn Bridge Park against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline and, of course, the majestic Brooklyn Bridge. I was playing with composer and fellow Silent Leaguer Shannon Fields, who composed a piece setting fragments of a letter that Whitman wrote to Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It was a beautiful day, I wish that I could've stayed for the whole event! I did see poet Steve Dalachinsky read "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry", and Henry Grimes play a short set of solo bass and violin.
Whitman's poetry continues to be a huge source of inspiration for me. Such an incredible spirit of generosity in those words. Something that's good to come back to again and again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Old Time Musketry Northeast Tour!

I'm hitting the road today with Old Time Musketry for a 7 city tour of the northeast! So excited to get out of New York for a bit and to bring this music to new places. Our itinerary:

6/23 The Montague Bookmill
Montague, MA

6/24 The Starving Artist
Keene, NH

6/25 The PACE Theatre
Easthampton, MA

6/26 The Elliot St Cafe
Brattleboro, VT

6/27 The North Star Music Cafe
Portland, ME

6/27 The Lily Pad
Cambridge, MA

6/29 Abilene Bar and Lounge
Rochester, NY

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Put a Motor In Yourself w/ DDYGG at I Beam

Put a Motor In Yourself continues it's recent flurry of activity tomorrow at I Beam Music in Gowanus. Also playing that night is DDYGG w/ Brian Drye, Mike McGinnis, Mark Dodge, Khabu Doug Young, and Matt Glassmeyer. This is a reunion gig for them, and will no doubt be a very special evening!
Look at this beautiful poster that Connie Wang made. Sweet!

These people know magic!

On Tuesday I went to Korzo in Park Slope which has been hosting James Carney's music series. First I heard Jesse Stacken's trio with Jeff Davis and Eivind Opsvik. They were playing music from their new CD, which I am very excited to hear. The first full composition that I heard developed very slowly and patiently, with a sort of minimalist repetition. The trio played with the subtlety of a chamber group, with great attention to sound and texture, and really set a hypnotic mood. The set ended with a full out rock jam, which started with Jesse repeating a single note, strumming like a guitar, filling the room with the sound of that one pulsing tone. I don't think I've ever heard a pianist do that before.
Then Kris Davis, Tony Malaby, Eivind Opsvik, and Tom Rainey played an improvised set. I was completely blown away by how well they played together. One thing I always notice with master improvisors is how the music has such an organic flow that it changes almost imperceptibly, like the way leaves change their color. You hardly notice the new directions that the music is taking until the change is already upon you. One of the highlights of the performance was a moment when Kris Davis was playing a repeated 2 note figure on the Rhodes, and Tom Rainey started playing 2 empty beer glasses on a table and THEY WERE THE EXACT SAME PITCHES! The musicians in the audience exchange astonished glances.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Put a Motor In Yourself at Zebulon with The Caribbean and Yer Sweet Chimneys

I sure am excited for this show tomorrow! Very much looking forward to hearing the Caribbean and Yer Sweet Chimneys. I met Matt Byars (of the Caribbean) at SXSW this March at a party put on by the record label Hometapes, which has some great bands on its roster. Yer Sweet Chimneys sound great, too, and have a very interesting blog that I was just perusing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Emitt Rhodes tribute at Union Hall

Last Friday the Silent League played at a tribute concert to the songwriter Emitt Rhodes. The Silent League had recorded one of Emitt's songs for a compilation tribute CD, and we shared the stage with some great bands also featured on the CD, Robbers on High Street, and Grand Mal.
I was not familiar with Rhodes' music, but I took a liking to it instantly. While there's definitely a Paul McCartney-esque spirit to his music, it also reminds me of Big Star and Harry Nillson. The songwriting is very sincere and direct, and the music has a certain quirkiness. While we were rehearsing the song "Fresh as a Daisy", which was one of Rhodes' biggest hits, we had to simplify a few sections that had very irregular phrasing and odd pauses.
You can listen to the Silent League's version of "Somebody Made For Me" here. I love this song!
His career also has an interesting story. He was known as "the one-man Beatles", because he played all the instruments and sang all the parts on his records. He also recorded his first album, "Emitt Rhodes" in a studio he built in his parents' garage! He later signed a recording contract to put out an album every six months (!!) and was sued when he couldn't meet the deadline.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alone Together concert at Launch Pad Gallery

Last Friday I took part in a concert with a very unique format put together by guitarist/composer Myk Freedman. The concept was an evening of 10 minute solo performances, featuring some very wonderful musicians: Alan Sondheim, Jacob Wick, Jay Foote, Jason Vance, Jesse Gold, Kenny Warren, Josh Sinton, Mike Kammers, Owen Stewart-Robinson, and of course Myk Freedman himself. I played a structured improvisation piece that I had developed on accordion. It was the first time I've played a solo accordion performance, (besides busking in a park, once).
Playing solo is such a challenging thing, and I think it's a very valuable experience. It was fascinating for me to see how each performer approached playing a short solo piece. I think the experience has strengthened my resolve to work on solo piano playing. I think that when you play by yourself you really come face to face with how you hear music, and your relationship to your instrument.
The concert was held at a community center in Crown Heights called the Launch Pad Gallery, which was an awesome space run by some very nice people. It would be great if every neighborhood had a venue like this!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Live Videos

I just posted 2 recent live clips on Vimeo. The first is NOOK performing at Glasslands, and the second is Put A Motor In Yourself performing at Matchless.
In HD! Enjoy.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Benefit show at Glasslands

Last Saturday I took part in a very memorable concert at Glasslands, playing with NOOK and Abby Payne. The concert was organized mostly by Abby as a benefit for two local animal shelters, BARC (Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition) and NYACC (New York Animal Care Control). Several local Brooklyn businesses very generously donated items for a raffle drawing; Cafe Grumpy, Dandelion Wine, Babeland, and Alter, to name a few. There was also great performances by the People's Champs, and Hurrah! A Bolt of Light!. Thanks to everyone who came out to support a good cause (and live music) in one fell swoop!
Here's a link to a video of NOOK performing at the event. Dig the cosmic stage backdrop!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

SXSW Roundup

Now that my head has cleared a bit after being back in New York for a few days, I've had a chance to look through my camera and my scattered memories of the festival. Here are some of my favorite performances by bands I hadn't heard before.
The very first day in Austin I saw a band from Denmark called Slarrafenland, which means "the land of milk and honey." They were awesome! Great musicians, multi-instrumentalists, they had great vocal harmonies reminiscent of Brian Eno, and cool horn parts. Their music had a lot of sonic variety, which I am always drawn to.
Almost immediately after I saw a band called Mount Righteous which was a sort of punk/thrash/marching band thing. The singers sang through megaphones, and their performance was very joyous and strange, I loved it.
Later in the week the Silent League played at a party held by the Hometapes record label. It was a great time, despite the temperature dropping to 38 degrees! (the show was outside, mostly). The first performance was by Sharon Van Ettan, who played solo at 11am while a small but attentive audience had a pancake breakfast. Her songs were hauntingly beautiful, she has the kind of voice that stays in your memory, the feeling of it.
Yacht from Portand, Oregon also blew my mind, they brought the party more than any band I saw that week. So good! More on them in the next post...

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Rise of the Machines: Pre-Recorded Tracks in Live Performance

I wanted to share my impressions of the trend I observed at SXSW of bands using pre-recorded backing tracks in their sets. I was really taken aback by how many bands were playing along with samplers. I'm sure that I have a different perspective on all this since I'm a musician myself. The joy of playing music for me is interacting with other musicians in real time, whether in a rock band playing the same songs night after night, or playing jazz or free improvisation. I'm interested in music with a human warmth and I can't help but be a little concerned about what the rise of pre-recorded tracks means for the future of live music. Maybe I'm also worried about losing my gigs to a machine!

A staple of the festival was the dance-disco-electronica duo with a live drummer and a singer who played keyboards or guitar. The band Memory Tapes is a duo with an excellent drummer who played along with the backing tracks with real fire and a strong groove. The singer also played guitar, but the huge pulsing sound of the band was coming from the pre-recorded synth tracks and electronic dance beats on the samplers. By the end of their set almost everyone in the crowd was moving. I enjoyed the music but I couldn't stop thinking that the performance would be so much more alive if there was a full band. But on the other hand, these guys made those tracks exactly the way they wanted them to sound and were now able to reproduce them perfectly at every show. Maybe some of these bands see the use of backing tracks as a way to fully realize their musical vision.

I saw a few bands whose records I was familiar with using pre-recorded tracks and they sounded exactly like their albums, which to me is a little unsatisfying. I like to see bands create their music from scratch in a live setting, reacting to things on a human scale like the mood of each person in the band, the crowd, and the sound of the venue. All these factors should make for a unique experience and a special representation of the music. I feel like this becomes less of a possibility when bands play to backing tracks. As an audience member I enjoy seeing the chemistry of a band. "Chemistry" in the true sense of combining different elements and watching them blow up, dissolve, or turn a strange color.

Another consideration is that it's very expensive to tour with a full band. If you can cut things down to 2 or 3 people touring can become a little more financially viable (meaning you might lose less money!). I saw a few solo acts as well, some only pushing buttons on the sampler to cue the next song and occasionally singing.

It was very telling to me that the last instrument to be replaced was always a live drummer. It's long been my belief that the drummer is the most important part of a band. Many of the bands I saw had a live drummer in addition to electronic drum tracks and I think a big reason for this is the visual impact. There is nothing as captivating as watching a great drummer embodying the band's rhythm with the choreography of their limbs in motion. I think when you take that away the performance crosses over entirely into another kind of experience.

All of these concerns aside, I really believe that it doesn't matter what the means are in creating music as long as the end product is something compelling enough to move people. Paradoxically, one of my favorite shows was the band YACHT who played along to backing tracks that were so loud I couldn't tell if the rest of the band was doing anything at all. Their set instantly took on the energy of a big party fueled by the two extremely charismatic singers who danced and mimed the lyrics to the songs and exuded pure style. The music was heavily indebted to the Talking Heads but the songs were infectious and really fun. The humans playing in the band wore tuxedos. The invisible machines pulsed along into the night.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Letters from the road

I intended to blog more consistently from the Silent League tour, but things have been pretty hectic and I've fallen way behind! It's now our 4th day at SXSW and I've seen many many bands, played 4 shows, and had some great barbecue and breakfast tacos.
I thought I would try to document a little of what's happened on our way down to Austin, and I'll try to do a SXSW roundup at a later date. I've been taking short videos of my favorite bands, and I'll try to put them up later.
Our first show was in Charlottesville, VA, a very nice college town, a lot of the buildings on campus were designed by Benjamin Franklin. There was also an amazing potato donut place called Spudnuts. Highly recommended!
Then we played in Greensboro, NC at the Blind Tiger, as part of a music series called Monkey Whale. To my surprise, the Brooklyn band Pearl and the Beard was also playing and they sounded great! I had met and played with their cellist, Emily Hope Price before with Abby Payne, and it was great to catch their set.
Then we had an epic drive to New Orleans and played at a very interesting venue called the Pearl. It's an old mansion that's been putting on shows for almost 20 years, a very bohemian setting. I wish I had taken more pictures, the place was really unbelievable! It was my first time to New Orleans, and I wish I had more time to explore the city, which was beautiful.
OK, back to indie-rock summer camp!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

March tour dates announced for the Silent League

This will be my second tour with the Brooklyn-based chamber-pop band the Silent League. I'm very excited to get to go to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin after hearing about it for so many years! I'm going to do my best to blog from the road and the festival.
The Silent League has a few shows coming up in Brooklyn before we hit the road. This Saturday we're playing at Sycamore in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. This will be a somewhat acoustic show, with a small chamber ensemble joining us.
For more info check www.thesilentleague.com

The tour dates:

3/12 Boylan Heights - Charlottesville, VA
3/13 Blind Tiger - Greensboro, NC
3/14 The Pearl Lounge - New Orleans, LA
3/15 Rubber Gloves - Denton, TX
3/16-19 South by Southwest Festival, Venues TBA - Austin, TX
3/22 Venue TBA - Little Rock, Arkansas
3/23 Grimey's - Nashville, TN
3/24 Venue TBA - Columbus, OH

Friday, February 26, 2010

Minerva Trio gigs

A new collaborative piano trio project played its first public performances this week! Minerva Trio features Carlo Costa on drums and Pascal Niggenkemper on bass. We've been playing together informally for a while, doing lots of improvising and having a great time. At the shows we played compositions by each of us, and improvised a few pieces.
Minerva was a Roman goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, magic, and was also the inventor of music. Not too shabby! She is often depicted with an owl, a symbol of wisdom.
The first show was at the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, a great venue dedicated to experimental music. A wonderful trio called Yugonaut played after us.
Then last night we played at the 5C Cafe and Cultural Center in the East Village. What a great spot! It was a very cozy environment to play in while Manhattan was being buried under endless torrents of snow.
Here is a very short video excerpt from the 5C Cafe. (Thanks, Devin!)