Wow. What a weekend. I think I'm finally just starting to see the light of day now. I don't ususally do that much partying and drinking but I had to make an exception this weekend. What a fun weekend. It didn't start out all that well but I managed to pull it together in the end....I think. Trumpter Jim Rotondi, drummer Joe Strasser, bassist Chris Tarry took the stage with myself on alto, Brad Turner on rhodes and Rob Hamilton for three nights of some pretty funky shit. I have to say I felt a tad out of my league on Friday night but as I mentioned earlier I think I pulled it together for the rest of the weekend. I can't single out anyone for playing well because everyone played their asses off. Strasser and Tarry hooked up so well and really layed it down. Hammer sounded wonderful I thought and Turner played the rhodes like it was a little toy in his hands. I mean he really really ripped it up. There was this tune called 'Mr. Creignos" that has this vamp section at the end that BT just pounded. It was wicked. Rotondi is as happening a trumpet player as they come. For some reason he doesn't get as much play as Jeremy Pelt or Roy Hargrove but make no mistake this man can freaking play.
On Friday night we had a colossal train wreck. It was beautiful. The whole band screwed up and then we just stopped and all kinda of looked shell shocked just all standing there looking at one another for some sense of direction. It was truly a classic moment. What a thrill to be up on stage with Jim, a consummate professional in all aspects. It was also cool to have Ian Hendrickson-Smith up here recording to. As I looked at around the room at the end of the night and say all the guys hanging out it was neat to just look around and see what we had created. Friends from across the country coming together to hang out and make music.
Strasser is one of the funniest guys I have ever met in my life. Im not even going to attempt to tell you why because it just wouldn't translate well in a blog but just take my word for it, he is hilarious. My gut and mouth still hurt from laughing so hard. CLASSIC. It was also neat to see a whole pile of musicians come down to the club and check out what was happening. Mike Allen, Jesse Cahill, Terry Deane, Brandon Davis, Chris Davis, Josh Cole Melody Diachin, Doug Stephenson, Rene Worst, Don Fraser, Steve Mynett etc. Sorry if I missed anyone. Its been a long time since I have seen that many musicians at The Cellar. Thanks guys.
3 Storys High did another wonderful job of helping bring people down and warming the crowd up for us. Thanks guys, as always you sounded wonderful. Most pleasurable of all however was the fact that there were people in the room all three nights which was awesome. It was pretty much a packed house for three nights in a row which was music to my ears and made for a fun recording.
Okay, in the CD player this week some goodies:
Eric Alexander "Its All In The Game" High Note Records - Once again Eric has put out a fantastically solid release. Hard bop at its finest played by one of the best tenor players on the planet. There are a few modal like ditties on this disc that you get to hear Alexander really stretch out on which is cool. A nice arrangement of an R&B standard "Where Is The Love" and a great version of "Ruby My Dear" The only negative thing about this record is that Harold Mabern (piano) is way to low in the mix. I don't know what they were thinking but its a shame because Mabern deserves to be higher in the mix. ****/5
Wayne Shorter - The Soothsayer, Blue Note - Smoking record as it should be with the all star cast of James Spaulding on alto, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, McCoy Tyner on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums. I bought this record because it has 'The Big Push" on it which we played with Rotondi this weekend. Rotondi's solo changes however were suspiciously harder than the ones that the boys on Soothsayer played over. Hmmm, I will have to ask Rotondi about that one. A beautiful ballad from Shorter's pen called Lady Day is another highlight of the record as well. ****/5
Uri Caine - Bedrock. WOW, Uri Cain is one of the most underrated players of his generation. Bedrock is his funky project if you will and this album is really killing. It features him primarily on Fender Rhodes which is my new favorite instrument. The whole group propelled however by the explosive drumming of Zach Danziger. If you like the funky stuff go and by this record. ****/5
Andrew Hill - Time Lines, Blue Note - Im a little undecided about this record at the moment and it may take a listen or two more to formulate an opinion. There have been some great moments so far but the music is a little bit different. I was eagerly anticipating this album and perhaps my expectations are to high. I will write more on this a little later.