11 November 2011

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One event ends (Long Story Short), another immediately begins (1st tour by Made To Break [w/Tim Daisy, Devin Hoff, Christof Kurzmann]). Tim and Devin arrived in Wels the last day of the festival, then the quartet rehearsed on the 7th at the Schl8hof. Bumped into Paal Nilssen-Love and Peter Brotzmann at lunch before they headed home, everyone tired but excited by the results of the Unlimited Festival. The rehearsal with the band went extremely well, a real feeling that we could start up where we last left off (our only concert so far, at the Okka Fest in early June). On the 8th the band traveled to Seville and it felt fantastic to be back in Spain again. During the previous couple weeks of touring I began writing the 2nd book of material for Made To Break, and at the rehearsal/soundcheck in Seville we worked on the 1st piece in this series. Devin and Tim are tremendous musicians so it was possible to perform the piece that night at the concert after only a couple of run throughs. Things felt great during the afternoon work, all technical details in order, but at the gig we followed another band and had to set up our equipment again with the audience watching us from their seats; tried to get the presenter to close the curtain but it didn’t happen, so everyone in the group was in a rush to get organized- retuning the drums, coordinating the electronics, checking stage levels without really being able to play together. Of course this lead to problems at the start of the performance- the tubes on the bass amp apparently were starting to die so Devin was too quiet at the start, the opening tune lacked punch; no chance to feel the sound in the room again before tackling the unique systems of the music, the material which is still very new. By the 2nd half of the show the band got it’s footing and the music was taking off, but frustrated to put so much work into the initial gig and feel like we came up short. The next day featured my most severe inter-European travel day I can remember- 20 hours from Seville, Spain to Kaunas, Lithuania; we left at 8am and didn’t get to the hotel in Kaunas until 4am the next day. During the trip we had a layover at the Warsaw airport where a nefarious caper in a smoked salmon salad cracked my back molar, and the ongoing traveling/performing since August finally took its toll- I got hit with a bad cold. I slept as late as I could, then headed to a master class at the music conservatory to discuss improvisation and Jazz history since 1970; great question from the participants, a nice discussion about contemporary music and contemporary ideas. Made To Break played another double bill at the Jazz Connections Festival, following a group from Lithuania called 11:11. The concert was free to university students, always an interesting gamble because if a show is free people might take a chance on music they don’t know, but they are also more inclined not to pay attention because they haven’t paid to get in, turning the experience into more of a social situation than a musical one. In this case things panned out at their best, the audience was incredible, a couple hundred listeners who really got what the new band is about. This led to the best performance by the group yet, everything came into play- the open structures, the independent organization, the ensemble and sub-group improvisations, the execution of the written material; a very special evening on every level. Paal Nilssen-Love and I from Ekaterinburg: