27 August 2007


Saturday, August 10: The Frame Quartet finished out the series, and maybe had the most difficult time with the acoustics. So much of what the band does concerns multiple layers of activity and these all need to be clear and audible. The sound in the Velvet space made everything a sonic wash no matter what the group did, and it became extremely difficult to get the music to move correctly. In many ways this band is the most demanding working unit I have put together, both for the musicians and the audience, it constantly asks them to challenge their expectations and stylistic attitudes. The ensemble’s rehearsal the day before the concert resulted in ideal performances, at the concert it felt like we were running through water, making it hard to feel like we accomplished what we were shooting for at the gig. I am happy that we have two more upcoming shows with Frame, I believe that everyone in the band knows what we’re after and how we can make the music sound like nothing else out there.

Part of the joy of tackling this series was seeing Fred Anderson each night. He was in great spirits and looked strong. I have a weekend held in December to come back to the club and play, already I’m looking forward to it. Thanks goes to Ben Gray for asking me to try this approach to having concerts at the Velvet, I’d definitely like to do it again.

For most of the summer, the cellist Daniel Levin had been in Chicago, performing a few concerts and checking out the music scene. We were able to get together on the afternoon of the 14th to do some improvising with the trumpeter Jaimie Branch. It was the first chance I had to play with either of them and was well worth it. Daniel is due back in February and we’re already planning to do a gig together at that time. In addition, he’ll be in Chicago again next summer, so I’m sure there will be even more developing ties made between him and the musicians in town.

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