Aside from a couple of rehearsals and a concert online pharmacy amoxil with the Vandermark 5 on July 20th at Elastic (trying to keep the band in tune and working on some new material during the summer, our next tour is in Europe starting in November), my main concert focus has been with Bridge 61 and the Dialog series (duo concerts with some of the best drummers in town). The members of the quartet each contributed three new pieces for a new book of material. So far we’ve performed live on WNUR on the 21st of July and held a cd release concert at the Hungry Brain on the 23rd. Later this week the group plays a hat trick of Michigan gigs (Ann Arbor, Detroit, Kalamazoo) that start on the 27th. The new album, “Journal,” (on Atavistic) came out beautifully, and the latest compositions feel like they’re extending the ideas presented in that first collection of work.
The first performance in the Dialog series was with Mike Reed, held at the Empty Bottle on the 18th. Playing with him again was a real pleasure, the music felt completely open whether tuneful or deconstructed. Despite feeling pretty wiped out after rehearsing all day with the V5 after just getting back from Holland, the energy of the music really recharged me. Tonight the series continues with Frank Rosaly, on August 1st it finishes with a performance with Tim Daisy. Working in the duo format with drums and reeds is one of my favorite improvising environments, and I’m looking forward to these other chances to investigate the music this way.
The trip to Holland was in order to play with The Thing at the Northsea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, a long way to travel for a single set of music, but playing with these guys is incredible and well worth it. Northsea always feels like some kind of surreal business convention instead of a Jazz festival: hundreds of musicians, tens of thousands of listeners, presenters, record labels, and writers everywhere, merchandise and food booths scattered all over the place, festival staff, technicians, and security milling around, Kanye West as a headliner… All this under one roof. Not surprisingly, it’s not the best situation to hear great music, especially when a real sound check for most of the bands isn’t possible- thank you Clear Channel. Despite all the problematic insanity, getting a chance to play in a small ensemble with Mats Gustafsson again, while propelled by one of the best rhythm sections in the world, helped the music take flight.
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