Friday, April 05, 2013

The week in NYC

I’m back in Chicago after a week in New York City - great view of the city and its surrounds on the way home yesterday afternoon. In fact it was quite clear all the back to Chicago with wonderful views of the great lakes. Anyway.... Here’s a quick run down of the last week.

Got straight into things on my first night in town. The New York Jazz Workshop held an interview with saxophonist John O’Gallagher. The two hours served as an introduction to O’Gallagher’s workings with twelve tone techniques in jazz composition and improvisation and coincided with Advance Music’s publication of O’Gallagher’s book on the subject - available this month... It’s a thick volume accompanied with two CDs. An interesting talk but don’t expect this method to be a quick fix - it is very involved and I imagine would take many years to absorb and use these ideas spontaneously.

A number of my friends have been playing at the Friday evening jam session hosted by pianist Galen Pittman at Tender Trap in Williamsburg. It’s nice and low key without the ego you associate with some jam sessions around NYC. It was great hearing them play again but the evening was somewhat frustrating as the soreness in my arm (I had been playing a little in the afternoon and it didn’t agree with me) was stopping me joining in. The guys really enjoy playing there so hopefully it continues to develop.
IBeam 29 March 2013 Brooklyn
Richard Tabnik Trio
A few of us left the session early to head out to ibeam for the Richard Tabnik Trio - RT (as) Ken Filiano (b) Roger Mancuso (d). I was stoked to be in town when Richard had a gig. The trio improvised on standards and played a couple tunes from Richard’s later album. These three are full of surprises - Mancuso & Filiano are great pairing and there is something about Richard’s tone that needs to be experienced in the flesh for its full spectrum to be revealed.

Tagged along with some friends to another Williamsburg jam session on Sunday night. This one is hosted by saxophonist Matt La Von at Ba-sik. There’s a little attitude on show here (mostly from just 1 or 2 players) but for the most part it’s pretty good. We arrived in time to hear Nick Lyons tearing it up. Nice to hear some flute too (hi David). Afterwards there was a fun hang over falafel sandwiches.
March 31 2013
Ba-sik Jam Session

About nine of us got together for a session at Carol’s on Monday night. Over the span of the evening I played four pieces - three free improvisations (duo & trio) and “Out Of Nowhere” with a larger group. I was careful to pace myself leaving time between tunes to rest my arm - there was some aching towards the end of the night .... I would have loved to played more but I'm glad I didn’t over do it. Lorenzo was quick to sense the tiger balm. Considering the lack of playing of late I was pleasantly surprised - sure, my execution wasn’t always top shelf but I feel I contributed to the music. Great company too.

I was glad to be in town for Connie’s opening class at Jazz at Lincoln Center. This week the focus was on Billie Holiday (Lester Young got a bit of attention too). Many of my favourite tracks were played including.... "All of Me", "What a Little Moonlight Can Do", "Them There Eyes", "God Bless The Child", "Body & Soul", "Foolin' Myself", "Laughing At Life", "A Sailboat In The Moonlight" among others.
The message from the night - "Sing with these recordings!" - Tristano said that singing with records was his greatest teaching discovery and the key to transmitting jazz feeling to the student.
If you are a student of the music and want your playing to open up invest some time into singing with the great jazz soloists - it's a blast!

Played a duo session with Pianist/Vocalist Carol Liebowitz - a mix of standards and free improvising. Again, I took things pretty easy so as not to aggravate anything. Similar feeling to Monday night - while I wasn't at 100% we still made some nice music.

Roulette was the venue for my last night in NYC and then scene of a spellbinding set of solo piano improvisations from Connie Crothers. The next morning I made a few notes in the gig book - Mesmeric, Relaxed Intensity, Nuance, Sound Transformation, Clarity, Surprise, Dynamic. It really was a thrilling experience... I could go on and on.
This was my visit time at the new location - very nice space. Thankfully the roadworks out front didn’t bleed into the concert hall.

Lots on this weekend too. The ICP Orchestra is in town - they have gigs on Saturday & Sunday night and Ab Baars is playing a solo set on Sunday afternoon.

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