Posted by flotz
Monday, November 4, 2013 |
School will be in session on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at Jazz Alley when the drum titan Steve Smith will be on hand with his band Vital Information. The all star lineup includes keyboardist Tom Coster (Santana/Gabor Szabo), bassist Baron Browne (Jean H Luc Ponty/Billy Cobham), guitarist Vinny Valentino (Bill Evans/Jimmy McGriff) and of course drummer Steve Smith (Journey/Hiromi/StepsAhead) voted 2012’s #1 Fusion Drummer in Modern Drummer Magazine. As he puts it himself, “Our music allows for individual expression and reHinvention. We thrive on swing, groove, and creativity. We want to surprise each other every night on the bandstand with new ideas and in the process keep our audience ‘in the moment’ with us.” Git ready...
Moon Hooch is #acousticEDM. Lotza energy, lotza fun. Two saxophones holding it down. Novel sound, fresh, not like anything you’ve quite heard. Drums big, almost always with that signature EDM beat, four on the floor, and then some big fills. The saxes blended great, usually with one bass saxophone which held down the low end. Instruments filled the hall nicely, some wack delay effects on the saxophones that reverberated around quite tripped out. Can imagine them in a subway stop inciting raves which is where M. Doughty saw them. Or at the Knitting Factory. Hope these guys keep finding an audience.
M. Doughty as three piece playing all Soul Coughing tunes. That’s rare apparently --great article/interview in Seattle Weekly that explains the dealo. Fans were out fer sure, happily dancing to all their fav Soul Coughing hits: “Super Bon Bon,” “True Dreams of Wichita,” “St. Louise Is Listening,” “Janine” and more. Cool arrangements, a little different on each one, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, turntables, keyboard, samplers, etc. Backing band was great: Catherine Popper on the upright bass, Pete Wilhoit on the drums. Songs found their groove and didn’t let up. But most of all it’s about his voice: it was phat in the mix and filled up the hall with his weird inflections, poetry slam cadence and signature quality. Fun show.
The Triple Door Musicquarium always good for a chill time on a Tuesday evening. They’ve got a tasty specialty beer on tap (the dark ale) and a fine limited wine (Confucius Sez) and some good eats. Meantime, up on stage, first act, really warm vocals, nice accompanying guitar/harmony, original tunes, think it was Strange Jerome paired down. Then Mozo who had folks out to support ‘em, drums and guitar, more of a folk pop feel, catchy. Then solo female performer, very quiet, intimate, not sure her name. Last was two folks, Annie Ford was one, pretty sure, again, paired down, just fiddle and banjo, playing mostly old timey stuff (“Poor House Now,” “Don’t Let That Deal Go Down”) great bluegrass harmonies, best part was they weren’t even mic’ed up, just playing unamplified to a small crowd, people into it, singing along.
(If this is wrong, please tweet corrections to @flotzam or contact us via this blog.)
Steve Lehman Trio lived up to expectation as “affirmed in the jazz vanguard” -- shit they killed it to a packed house standing room only at The Royal Room. It was precision jazz done with total tact. Started out with a Chick Corea tune that established the tone for the evening – we were in safe hands. Then did one of their own from their most recent record, Dialectic Fluorescent. Super complex, intricate, drums and bass superbly aligned, and Lehman’s lines modal, abstruse, engaging. Then a more straight up number of Duke Pearson’s, love hearing players like this switch it up and play it straight, well sort of. More then from their new record, the bass player, Matt Brewer, given a chance to shine on one tune and the drummer, Damion Reed, on the next, taking a gorgeous solo with mallets, creating melody on the drums. Lehman’s compositions are beguiling, sometimes hard to tell where the composition ends and the improvisation starts. Played a Coltrane tune (Lehman: “Yeah, he’s pretty good”) and ending with their take on the song, “Pure Imagination,” which worked on many levels, speaking to the imagination of the entire set, the ability to keep pushing jazz while acknowledging tradition. Great show.
That time of year again when ear bending music gets played as part of the Earshot Festival. Bye bye 4/4; adios major pentatonic; goodnight minor pentatonic; we bid you adieu tonic and dominant and subdominant.
Caught last night’s performance of some great players. First up was Bad Luck, just sax and drums. Sax with very skillful use of delay and loops, creating sonic foundation underneath the compositions. The songs were either insanely tight, with the drummer locked exactly to crazy runs that made no sense or very loose, with ambient improv explorations. Didn’t catch the player’s names but think the saxophone player was part of the Roscoe Mitchell Nonaah piece as they are on Tables and Chairs and he looked familiar and he sang the praises of Roscoe Mitchell during the set. One tune was called NW Puppet Center:
Chris Speed, Dave King and Chris Tordini came out smoking and let it rip where meter and time became lost in the best of free jazz type explorations. Crazy three way conversation that mutated into a sound unto itself. Speed’s tone and range are expansive, never predictable. King’s drumming unbelievable, always against the grain, pushing, pushing. And Tordini kept it nonstop on the bass. He had a solo that was gorgeous, playing with intervals and harmonics. All three played around the beat, eschewed predictability and forced the ear to go new places. A good ride fer sure. Funny, after free jazz assault, they ended with “All of Me” playing it super straight up, the first song ever jazz student learns, great juxtaposition.