Monday, August 27, 2012

Two of Anything at I Beam this Wednesday!

My quartet Two of Anything is back in action this week, sharing a bill at I Beam (168 7th st, Brooklyn) with Pascal Niggenkemper's trio, Wanderlust.

Should be a good one!

The details:



Pascal Niggenkemper - Bass
Darius Jones - Alto Saxophone
Tatsuya Nakatani - Percussion


Two of Anything

JP Schlegelmilch - Wurlitzer and Synthesizer
Eivind Opsvik - Bass
Jason Nazary - Drums and Electronics
Jeremy Viner - Saxophone and Clarinet

Friday, August 24, 2012

"Tootie for President"

Ah, many summer days have passed with no blogging. C'est la vie. I've been mostly cloistered in my apartment working on music for a gig next week at I Beam with my quartet Two of Anything.

I did venture out to the Village Vanguard last night to hear Ethan Iverson, Ben Street, and Albert "Tootie" Heath. It was fascinating to listen to this cross-generational trio. Tootie Heath is a master jazz drummer who played on John Coltrane's first recording, and he kept the music afloat with joyous swing the whole evening. Ben Street and Ethan Iverson each have a very personal and modern approach to the jazz tradition, and there was a wonderful tension in their adventurous improvising combined with Heath's very grounded beat.
Great choices in the repertoire, too! I can't remember the last time I heard "Stompin' at the Savoy" at a gig.

Oh, and the band were each wearing pins that I thought were for the Obama campaign, but on closer inspection read "Tootie for President."

Friday, August 10, 2012

All-female Russian band takes on the Patriarchy

My ears perked up when I heard the BBC reporter pronounce the name "Pussy Riot" on the World Report this week. The Russian band is currently being held in custody after making an anti-Putin statement at one of their concerts at a church. Madonna has since weighed in on the band's behalf. These are some brave musicians!

Some BBC coverage. It's worth it just to hear them say the name..

Also, there are few things more badass than the tradition of all-female punk bands with names like the Slits, Bikini Kill, and of course, Hole.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Out Of Your Head at Freddy's Bar!

I'm very excited to be playing a set of improvised music tonight with some great musicians from the Out Of Your Head Collective. Please come check it out if you're free!

Where: Freddy's Bar (627 5th Ave, Brooklyn)
When: August 5th, 9:30pm
What: Andrew Bishop-reeds
Oscar Noriega-reeds
Kenny Warren-trumpet
JP Schlegelmilch-keyboards
Gerald Cleaver-drums

Here's the blurb from the NY Times:

"Out of Your Head Brooklyn (Sunday) This biweekly series assembles crews of young musicians for first-time spontaneous interplay. The first set, at 9:30 p.m., will include the saxophonists Andrew Bishop and Oscar Noriega, the trumpeter Kenny Warren, the keyboardist JP Schlegelmilch and the drummer Gerald Cleaver. The second set, at 11 p.m., will feature the tenor saxophonist Eric Trudel, the bassist Greg Chudzik and two drummers, Kate Pittman and Nathan Ellman-Bell. At Freddy’s Bar, 627 Fifth Avenue, at 17th Street, South Slope, (718) 768-0131,,; free. (Chinen)"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Stravinsky in the air

At last, at long last the Bad Plus is performing their arrangement of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" in New York! Tomorrow, August 2nd, for free, at Lincoln Center's Out of Doors concert series.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of this still-badass masterpiece, I'm looking forward to a lot of "Rite" and Stravinsky related activities. The Carolina Performing Arts has launched a website dedicated to celebrating and exploring "The Rite". There are some great commentaries from composers about their encounters with the piece.
I've been reading Stephen Walsh's biography of Stravinsky and listening to his works in (mostly) chronological order. I've decided that things really get interesting for me at "Petrushka".
I also finally got around to reading "The Apollonian Clockwork", a kind of free-form collection of essays about Stravinsky by composers Louis Andriessen and Elmer Schonberger. This book lives up to the praise heaped upon it by countless musicians and critics. My favorite quote about the book is from Stravinsky scholar Richard Taruskin: "The one book about Stravinsky that Stravinsky would have liked."
Thank god for the Performing Arts Library, they have 3 copies of this rare book. It fetches a high price on Amazon.