...and boy is my left arm tired...

blog 2/8/10

A lot to talk about: I spent the last week in New Orleans, which I'd never been to before. The music down there is great - I met up with Missa, my once and future busking partner, and brought my accordion down so we could go chasing our glory days on main streets of Western Massachusetts again; in the process, I ended up joining one of her bands for a week, featuring fabulous musicians and songwriters all - Saymus on a baby banjo that was tuned like a ukelele, Sal on guitar and harmonica, and Eli on acoustic bass guitar, with Missa playing trumpet and flute and a guy named Jason who was a whiz on clarinet and alto sax, and we were joined for one gig by Dizzy on the washboard. The music ranged from klezmer to more traditional New Orleans jazz, some old-time and swing, as well as some more ambiguous tunes written by members of the group. All in all, between busking and playing with these folks for a week, I learned about two dozen songs, most of which I still remember. I really appreciated this idea of playing accordion with a rhythm section, as there is a certain percussive quality to pretty much any strummed or picked instrument that is difficult to replicate on an accordion, especially while singing. And I have serious clarinet envy in a city like that, especially how the best players just make it look so damned easy...

I timed my return so I'd be able to see Kayo Dot play their first album Choirs of the Eye and their latest, Coyote, in full at the Stone. My full impressions go up later this week, along with an interview with composer/guitarist Toby Driver, at the Avant Garde Metal webzine, but suffice to say it was extraordinary, presenting two sides of what is very clearly the same band exploring different sonic terrain. It makes me extremely excited for the upcoming release of "Coyote" - and interesting to note that I saw live performances of both this album and their last release, "Blue Lambency Downward," prior to the album's release, which is an interesting perspective to get as a fellow composer-performer, trying to figure out how to realize complex music in live performance. Plus I'm a huge fanboy, so it's really a win win.

February 26th is the digital release of G. Zarapanecko's latest ep, Glitterdämmerung. Finally got the mix to a desirable level and have nearly finished the artwork. There might be a bonus track lying around for the taking too. Enough said for now.

Almost finally, and I forgot to add this to my page, but I'll be playing an acoustic show at the Elm City Infoshop on February 15th, with Brook Pridemore, Liv Carrow and possibly others.

Finally, Broadcloth. Just prior to leaving for New Orleans, Broadcloth had an exceedingly joyous and contemplative set at Audubon Strings on January 30th, which included Gabriel Bolaños Chamorro's "Big Crunch Singularity" and compositions by each of the group. I talked this gig up endlessly, and I would dare say it lived up to the hype, while being extremely different from our debut gig. I want to wait to make any judgements until I have the audio, which Lou Guarino Jr. graciously recorded. Kinan Faham took tons of pictures and took video of the whole performance. You can see a clip here, or search Broadcloth on Youtube for the rest:

Last night we played a set at C.O.M.A., the Citizen's Ontological Music Agenda, and it was a very different beast than last week's set. We played a set entirely of improv, in contrast to the highly composed playing of last week's set, and the result was quite energetic - it didn't hurt that the first set, the duo of Dave Ross on guitar and Shayna Dulberger on bass, was similarly full of energy, and something one might call extreme pointillism, which put us in a good mood. I like all kinds of crowds but this was the first that was having serious uncontrollable physical reactions to the music, which was also good inspiration to an improvised performance. The structure of the night is that two acts each have a set, followed by an open session during which series curator Blaise Siwula pairs off groups of participants from the audience and from the performers, so I got the chance to do some free improv with players I haven't met before, including Dave Ross, Blaise on Alto Sax, and folks whose names I didn't all catch. Anyway, the series is a great and supportive environment for new music, and while we were competing with the Super Bowl, it was more gratifying to know that the people in the audience either really wanted to see and support new music (or just really hated football). At any rate, expect a digital release from this group, and probably, gasp, a myspace page.

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