4/24/14: Made To Break arrived in Vienna, VA in the late afternoon for our show at Jammin’ Java, and the irony of playing a concert in a town called Vienna was not certainly not lost on Christof Kurzmann. The folks at the venue were really helpful with our setup and provided us with everything we needed, including dinner. Unfortunately, the audience was small, the lightest turnout of the tour, and the response to Christof’s playing was less than enthused (backstage after the show Christof started laughing out loud when he recounted looking up during one of his extended solos that evening to see five people, about a third of the audience, get up and go to the bathroom). The good news was that the band again made a leap forward with the music, which was extremely satisfying after what I thought was a mixed performance in New York. When the group finished our soundcheck I talked about trying to get back to the some of the basic criteria of the band: refocusing attention on non-hierarchical playing (avoiding the traditional roles and conventions of rhythm section vs. soloist, etc.), utilizing more variety in components (thinking in terms of the organization that James Brown used with groove based music by getting to “the bridge” as opposed to staying on the same vamp for extended periods, like Can), laying out more often so spontaneous duos and solos can come up in the music. The result was that the concert was much, much better overall than the previous night, truly well-defined while simultaneously being much more free.
4/25/14: After a decent night’s sleep and expecting a leisurely drive to Raleigh, the trip was faced with tons of traffic delays due to car accidents on the highway, tornado warnings, and intense rain, which meant the group had to drive straight to the venue instead of dropping off luggage and relaxing at Jeb Bishop and Jaki Cellini’s place beforehand. Once we arrived we were treated extremely well, able to eat a great dinner and setup in the most relaxed way possible. Once we brought the equipment up the stairs at Kings I got an email indicating that I had been awarded a DCASE grant for the ensemble Audio One. Without the help of Kate Dumbleton to write the application I know I would never have received it. I was struck by the strange synchronicity between this email and the phone call I got from the MacArthur Foundation during a 1999 tour, which came after driving for hours in the rain with the Vandermark 5 to Chapel Hill, a town only a half hour away from Raleigh.
The turnout for the show was light, but this mostly likely due to Moogfest taking place in Asheville (a bunch of listeners and musicians in the Raleigh/Chapel Hill area were attending that) and, in addition, a jazz festival taking place in Durham, about 30 minutes away. In any case I was very happy with the performance (I decided to play one complete set without a break, the first time the band did this on the trip; maintaining the necessary concentration and intensity for an hour+ was a nice challenge, and one the group met with well earned self-assurance). The audience seemed to really enjoy the music, and I was especially happy that Skylar Gudasz was there to hear the performance. As was Christof Kurzmann, who said that when he looked up and saw her smiling during the gig he was much more inspired than by the folks rubbing their chins… After the show I talked to her a bit and caught up with the progress on her solo album which she and Chris Stamey asked me to play on. She’s one of the best vocalists I’ve heard on the music scene today, on par with Silvia Perez Cruz. After the gig everyone buy levitra pills headed to Jeb and Jaki’s to hang out and listen to great music (in particular, a duo album with Steve Lacy and Ulrich Gumpert called Deadline, which featured an unbelievable piano solo on the title track- improvised Nancarrow!).
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