25 September 2011

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The Lean Left tour completed, I move immediately to a string of 4 radically varied concerts. 1st, Paal Nilssen-Love and I travel to Ljubljana to play a duo concert, adding the guitarist Jasper Stadhouders to the end of the set, he plays with beautiful intensity, completely different than Terrie Hessels and Andy Moor, but somehow it’s funny to be once again on stage with guitars (almost non-stop since the end of August…). I’ve got to take an overnight train after the gig with Carina Khorkhordina, who is setting up the Russian leg of Paal and my duo tour in October, to make it to the embassy in Vienna in time to get my visa application submitted so it gets back to me by Wednesday; of course the paperwork is incorrect, lots of back and forth with an official who insists on using an intercom system through a thick plexiglass window that features only excruciating feedback and indecipherable chunks of Russian- without Carina’s assistance there’s no way I’d be heading to Russia the following month… A nap at Christof Kurzmann’s place in the afternoon, then I head to Porgy & Bess to sit in with The Thing and their concert that night, playing the 2nd with them. It was the first concert I played without earplugs in more than a month, it was the 32nd concert I had played in 32 days- a new personal record. Playing with Paal (how many shows has it been?), Mats, and Ingebrigt was a blast, and the folks at Porgy treated me well, but friends in the audience, many of them musicians, said that the sound in the room was unfortunately dead and distant- definitely NOT what was happening onstage. Tuesday was a much buy online in usa needed day off, I celebrated by checking out Vienna with Carina, walking through the streets, looking at the World Press Photo show at WestLicht, but mainly digging a book of Erwin Erwitt shots. On the 28th I played a trio concert organized by Christof Kurzmann, and with Martin Brandlmayr; a return to the trio that played together for the first time at the Nickelsdorf Festival last year. The music was extraordinary, essentially improvised but each piece with a specific “mechanism” (a phrase, a simple game strategy, a suggested sequence) that gave it a unique character and shaped the music in completely unique ways. I’ve got to do more work with this lineup. On Thursday there was a trip to Schiele drawings at the Leopold and a fantastic exhibit called, “Museum of Desires,” at MUMOK; the MUMOK show opened with the most striking use of a Giacometti sculpture I’ve ever seen; a single large figure striding toward the viewer from a white wall, the 1st and only thing witnessed as you entered the exhibit. September 30th was the final concert of the tour, a duo performance in Girona, Spain, with Håvard Wiik, the 1st time we’ve ever had a chance to play in this format. The music was completely improvised, Håvard playing a solo piece at one point, me at another. The audience was superb, wonderful to play for, room full of excitement. Afterward, Håvard and I stood on the street waiting to head to a late night dinner, and he said, “The media keeps saying that people won’t understand, won’t like this music- but look at tonight!” And I replied, “Yes, and this isn’t the exception, this is more like the rule.” Lean Left concert in Wels: