Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Whammies at Constellation

Jorrit Dijkstra (Alto Sax/Lyricon) Pandolis Karayorgis (Piano) Jeb Bishop (Trombone) Mary Oliver (Violin/Viola) Jason Roebke (Bass… Nate McBride on the albums) &  Han Bennink (Drums) make up The Whammies. And they were at Constellation on Saturday night playing the music of Steve Lacy (with one from Thelonious Monk added along the way).

Being a fan of Lacy I was interested to hear not only what compositions they played, but where they took the music.
A lot of the music Lacy debuted during the 1970s and there was quite a bit I had not heard or wasn't that familiar with such as "Skirts," "Threads" & "Lumps." Others I was more familiar with - "Feline", "Revolutionary Suicide""As UsualMonk's "Shuffle Boil"

The addition of the lyricon to the line-up had me curious. My only other experiences with similar instruments (the EWI) left me disappointed. This was not the case with Dijkstra who was creative in sonically and as an improviser. He displayed plenty of taste and didn't over do things.

For me, the second set seemed a little stronger overall with more variety in the tunes and improvisation. Mary Oliver had a very nice solo on "Pregnant Virgin" and "Feline" was hauntingly beautiful - the trio of piano, violin and lyricon blended superbly. The sextet finished off the night with "As Usual" which included the most perfectly timed smashed glass in the audience I've heard. In one of the quieter moments and right at the end of a phrase…. SMASH!!… It fit so well into the music I wouldn't have been surprised if the culprit was Han Bennink (who roared with approval and rushed to the front of the stage as the audience cracked up). A wonderful moment.

I left with a smile and a copy of the groups latest album, The Whammies Play The Music Of Steve Lacy Vol.2 (Driff Records 1303) - mostly due to Vol.2 having a few more tunes on it - Time to add it to this week's playlist.

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