There was once a post here, it’ll come back later.
Today’s gig was painful in a way only a very special combination of lost music and missing people can make it. If it was a bad group I wouldn’t be so disappointed, but the group usually sounds a lot better than we did today. On the upside, there was free food afterward that was quite good, and I was asked to participate in a much nicer group starting next year when they have an opening in the sax section, and I’m very excited about that. That in addition to being in the UH jazz band should fill the musical void that’s been in my life this year. Time to shed!
I’m going to be playing a big band gig on the Kemah Boardwalk tomorrow, Sunday, at 2 PM. I’m going to be playing lead alto and I have a couple of solos and we might do one of my features this week. I’m performing a lot less this year, but next year my schedule will be as such to allow me to participate in more groups with hopefully more performances like this.
Last night was wonderful; I got to attend the Da Camera Dave Holland concert I had been wanting to see with Sarah thanks to some last-minute tickets from my uncle. The concert was really great, and as an added bonus I got to see Joe, who I haven’t seen in a bit. Afterward we had some great BBQ at Harlon’s, where they also had some good music. Anyway my day thus far has mostly consisted of getting everything moved over to the new server. Actually there is only one account left on the old server, and you’re looking at it. Because of its size (over two gigabytes), PhotoMatt.net is simply too big to move over the way I moved everything else over. I might just have to do it the old fashioned way.
Jay-Z’s new CD is in record stores today. I’m going to check it out and post my thoughts here.
Yesterday I finally got my first check from the Musicians Performance Trust Fund, even though I should have been getting checks from them for almost three years now. The MPTF is a union thing that sends out the checks for “green sheet” gigs where the money comes through the union. I play with a group called Young Sounds which is a union band and I’ve been signing the green sheet for years. What I think precpitated this first check is that before, for whatever reason, I had never given them my social security number, because I’m hestitant to give that out very often, and I think that’s why they had never sent a check before. Of course the money has to be somewhere, I should probably check to see if any of it is still there. Chris said I should frame this, and I think I will. Here’s a picture for its full glory:
For those of you who may be interesting, I’m playing a big band gig today at 2:00 PM at Saint Christopher Episcopal Church at 1656 Blalock. I think it’s some sort of festival or something, so it should be fun. We’re doing an interesting alto feature called “Harlem Nocturne” which yours truly will be playing. Sorry for the short notice though! I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday.
Hey Ma by Cam’ron featuring Juelz Santana is the song of the day:
Now I was downtown clubbin’, ladies night
Seen shorty she was crazy right
And I approached baby like
“Ma, what’s your age and type?”
She looked at me and said “You’s a baby right”
I told her,
I’m 18 and live a crazy life
Plus I’ll tell you what the ’80s like
And i know what the ladies like
Need a man that’s polite,
listens, and takes advice
I can be all three . . .
Yep, I went back out. I had talked to David previously about checking his gig out, it was late so I knew they wouldn’t charge cover, and (on David’s request) I had told Kenny Garrett about the gig at Cezanne’s and he said he might check it out. He didn’t, but I can’t really blame him though because he was staying on the other side of town and was probably dog-tired from the gig. David was burning though, and there were a couple of musicians who went there right after the Roy Haynes concert who said that the music was just as good, which is a pretty amazing compliment considering how good the Wortham concert was. I just realized I have to reinstall Photoshop to fix up all the photos before I upload them, so I better get to that. First though I think I’m going to install Service Pack I again, so wish me luck . . .
I’ve discovered the secret of growing old—subtlety. As I get older I find myself starting to really appreciate the shades of meaning in everything around me from art to architecture to music. Especially music. Truly great artists or groups that I may have appreciated only superficially before—Mozart, Radiohead, Frank Sinatra, John Coltrane—I’m now beginning to appreciate with more depth. What’s beautiful about great art, in any form, is that everyone can appreciate it on different levels. At a symphony concert you might have some people just enjoying the atmosphere and letting the music wash over them, you might have a critic listening and comparing it to past performances of the same piece, you might have a musician listening intently to one voice, or you might have a composer listening to the intricacies on how everything fits together, point and counterpoint. Each is perfectly valid, and I think that each can enjoy the music equally, regardless of intellectual depth. By that same token I think younger performers who may be incredibly advanced technically oftentimes lack a depth of emotion that seems to only come with age; this is particularly apparent in jazz.
It’s not just applicable to art either, you could say the same thing about relationships, almost anything. Do any
older more experienced people have thoughts on this? (Old = older than me) 🙂
After a hard day, I really wanted to kick back and relax. Usually I do this by either taking pictures or listening to music, it was a hard day so I decided to do both. I got an email from Kel earlier saying his band, Grenade, had a gig tonight at my new favorite jazz venue, the Iris Jazz Resort off of Richmond. I caught the last couple of songs from their next to last set and I it was quite good; I think both of the people in the audience enjoyed it.
Seriously, there were probably between around fifteen or twenty people there, but the crowd was nowhere near what the music deserved. Since I left I’ve rationalized the reasons there were so few people there: it’s a Wednesday, not that well-known place (yet), last set, school night, et cetera. It just made me a little disheartened with jazz’s state of popularity. Oh well, maybe there’ll be more people at the Kemah Jazz Festival this weekend. If you go there and see a guy running around with a digital camera, say hi to me.
I saw an absolutely amazing concert by Roy Hargrove, jazz legend, at the new jazz club, IRIS. The venue was really nice and it was pleasing to see a new place just for jazz listening, even if their musical lineup tends to lean a little towards the smooth. Roy Hargrove and his band just blew the roof off. His large jam group was comprised up two drum sets, an organist, keyboard player (Robert Glasper, HSPVA grad), guitar, bass, vocalist (who was excellent), and two sax players (on alto and tenor was Keith Anderson). The grooves were hard and the music was incredibly energetic. One thing I really enjoyed was how the band built solos, starting it chill and then taking it to a very high level, with the crowd in hysterics. It was very well put together show, and you could tell the musicians had their act together.
I got to talk to Robert for a while and he is a very interesting cat. We talked a bit about piano players, and he suggested I check out more Lenny Tristano, Ahmad Jamal, and Keith Jarrett. He told me a bit about some of the musicians he has played with in New York, which included pretty much every big name I’ve heard of, including Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett . . . We talked about his sense of time, which I’ve heard stories about from David a bit. In his trio instead of feeling a beat or measure, he can feel a section, be it eight bars or thirty-two. It allows the music to move in different directions, but still land right. This is really unique and I’d like to hear more of his playing so I could get a better sense of it. He has a new album on its way so I’ll definitely want to check that out. He also gave an interesting perspective on the “Jazz died with Trane” argument: he said that because people Trane did so much and were at such a high level, musicians put them on a pedestal and say to themselves that they’ll never be that good. This mental block actually prevents musicians from advancing because they already have this limit of how far things can go, a pre-conceived idea of that the highest level is. Of course things can always be taken higher, but it takes someone with a lot of guts and talent to do it. I think that Branford doing A Love Supreme (arguably best Coltrane recording ever) on his latest album is a good example of people with a respect and understanding of the past, but still trying to take things to a different level. Jazz shouldn’t move horizontally, it should be moving forward. Look at how much changed from 1940-1960 in jazz, now look back two decades and think of what has really blown you away. Let me know what you think. I know I’ll be thinking about it a lot.
Update: The pictures from tonight are now online.
Tonight myself and about 30 other local jazz musicians presented Kelly Dean with his belated 40th birthday present, an iPod. He’s really wanted one of these for the longest time and the look on his face when he got it was amazing. Things were put together relatively hastily, starting when he left for a 5 day cruise on Saturday with an idea. Got in touch with Dana Rogers and she was a huge help in contacting so many people, in fact the majority of the musicians who donated she called. Kel had a gig tonight with Erin Wright at The River Café on Montrose, which turned into a birthday celebration, culminating with the presentation of the iPod, which had been hidden inside a Vaio box :). Pictures will go up tomorrow morning. I’d like to thank the following people, a veritable who’s who list of Houston jazz:
So far I’ve only seen this in print form, and when they put it online last year it was in the form of a inaccessible, unsearchable image, so as my public service for the day I’ve written out the schedule for the upcoming Kemah Boardwalk Jazz Festival, and added links to the artists where I could find them. I’d like to expand this with personnel of each group, so if you know who’s in what band let me know in a comment or email.
5th Annual Kemah Boardwalk Jazz Festival
September 26–29, 2002
Sponsor: Kemah Boardwalk
Cosponsors: University of Houston-Downtown, Houston Professional Musicians
Association, Local 65-699, H&H Music Company
Founder and Festival Director: Robert Wilson, UH Downtown Arts and
Humanities Falculty. Member and Director, UHD Civic Music Program
|6:00-6:50||McGinty Brothers Quintet|
|7:10-8:00||Steve Allison and Resolution|
|8:20-9:10||Eddie Lewis and Living
|6:00-6:50||Woody Witt Quartet|
|8:30-9:30||Trumpet Great Bobby Shew with HPMA Big Band|
|10:00-11:00||Pamela York Trio|
|4:40-5:30||Carlos Garnett/Will Cruz Latin Jazztet|
|5:50-6:40||Norma Zenteno Latin Jazz Band|
|6:45-7:00||Presentation of the Kemah Boardwalk Jazz Achievement Award|
|7:10-8:00||Sam Jackson Jazz Orchestra|
|8:30-9:30|| Saxophone Great Ernie Watts
with the Pamela York Trio
|1:00-1:50||Young Sounds of Houston Teen Jazz Orchestra|
|2:10-3:00||Ethan Atkinson Group|
|3:20-4:10||UHD Civic Jazz
Orchestra with Trombone Great Ron Wilkins
|4:30-5:20||Sax No End|
|7:00-8:00||The Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra|
It looks like one of my favorite saxophone players and member of one of the most illustrious families in jazz, Branford Marsalis has started an indie label called Marsalis Music. I was planning to check out Branford’s new CD anyway, so it looks like I’ll be able to support one of what I hope is a new wave of smaller labels which will reinvigorate the jazz scene.
Last night at Sambuca’s I saw Kelly’s group Grenade. They put on an amazing show and the crowd (those who were paying attention) loved every minute of it. Rene, Jeff, and I managed to get a good spot in the bar right by the stage, and clung to it the entire night. I would have loved to eat there, but the food is very expensive, though I don’t feel it’s overpriced, because it’s quite good. It was a nice end to what otherwise had been an extremely stressful day. Got some more motion photos that I’ll put up later today. Update: Photos online
Everyone should attend a live jazz performance at least once a month. It reaffirms the soul and cleanses the spirit.
I was just lying in bed, soaking in the music and resting my eyes. There was a killer soprano player on, and as I walked to my desk to get something, I said that had to be Coltrane. The band was heavy with energy, the harmony was thick, a synergy/focus was there that you only hear from the very best jazz groups. As the drummer, who I could’ve sworn was Elvin kicked the melody back, I saw the artist on my Winamp playlist: Joshua Redman. Usually in instances like that I am inwardly embarrassed at my misidentification, but for some reason I felt proud of Joshua. Good for him. Spirit of the Moment: Live at the Village Vanguard is the name of the CD; it has Peter Martin on it, who I had the pleasure of meeting a year or so ago by the kitchen in a crowded and smokey New Orleans jazz club. Snug Harbor I think.
Speaking of jazz, and continuing today’s pattern of double entries, I’ll be seeing David Caceres, my teacher and first client, tonight at the Red Cat. He’s playing with Sebastian Whittaker and it looks to be a great show; I just wish I didn’t have a headache.