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Posts Tagged ‘Miles Davis’

Bowlive IV Night 6 Recap w/ John Medeski, Bill Evans, George Porter Jr & Shady Horns : Tonight Porter, Leo Nocentelli & Shady Horns

To many New Yorkers, Thursday signifies the start of the weekend. Music venues bulk up their staff and bands slated to perform anticipate an audience that is ready for a party.  Last night was the sixth night of Soulive’s Brooklyn Bowl residency, Bowlive IV. The foundation was set for a rocking night of music with the Brooklyn Bowl stocked with staff and Soulive ready to throw it down.

With so many amazing musicians sitting in with Soulive over the past six nights, it has been challenging to ensure proper love is given to everyone. Especially during residencies, focus on special guests and their performances become the unexpected highlights of the articles and sometimes people forget to focus on the core members of the residency themselves. Credit must be given where credit is due.

Guitarist Eric Krasno, drummer Alan Evans and Neal Evans, along with the Brooklyn Bowl, have created something extremely special and unique for the New York music community. Since it’s inception in 2010, Bowlive has turned into a musical Superbowl that pushes the skills of the best of the best. For eight to ten nights, these three rock stars provide a fusion of styles that showcase numerous artist and instruments with Soulive’s distinct sound providing the base. The shared respect between musicians to musicians, and musicians to fans amps the frenetic creative energy that flows from the first downbeat to the final bow. Eric, Alan, and Neal are all at the top of their game and are now standing out among the greats, using the glory of Bowlive to cement their place as a musical dynasty. A dynasty that began in 1999.  It speaks volumes that the trio can support an eight to ten night residency that packs the house every night and attracts some of the biggest names in live music. Last night continued the tradition of amazing collaborations with keyboardist John Medeski and saxophonist Bill Evans.

The power trio had to make a few changes to the musical formula last night. Due to a benefit concert earlier in the day, last night was the first and only night of the run where the power trio did not have a rocking opening band to set pace. Without an opening band, Soulive was tasked with pumping up the eager crowd that was filled up with party animals, packing the dance floor to the brim. By doing so, they completely reinforced to the fans why any of us were there in the first place. Soulive original, “Aladdin,” began the set, providing the first platform for Krasno to open up and slay his guitar.  Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” followed, a song that everyone can geek out on, especially the musicians playing the tune. After six nights, the guys were thoroughly warmed up and just crushing solos left and right on The Beatles tune, “I Want You.”

Enter The Shady Horns, consisting of trumpeter Eric Bloom, saxophonist James Casey, and baritone saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, for “Backwards Jack.” These three horn players provide a platform for the trio to open up and rage. Over the run, Eric Bloom has been experimenting with a guitar Wa Wa pedal during his trumpet solos, while James Casey has broken out the flute and provided percussion on many songs.

Continuing his guest appearance from the fifth night, London Souls guitarist Tash O’Neal joined the stage for the Beatles, “Get Back” and a slow “PJs.” Quality choices off their 2010 album, Rubber Soulive, made up the bulk of the first set before the audience was hit with a special unannounced guest.  Alan spoke to the crowd, “I am sorry for those of you who can’t come tomorrow night. You know, it’s a real shame that you won’t see George Porter, Jr. tomorrow. But it’s ok! Because you can see him now!!!” This was special.

Bassist George Porter, Jr. is an icon, legend and mentor, not only to the members of Soulive, but any true musician or music lover who loves funky, deep, in-the-pocket bass lines. A member of the legendary group, The Meters, Porter’s unique sound can be heard on recordings for Warren Haynes, Patti Labelle, Jimmy Buffett, David Byrne, Johnny Adams, Harry Connick Jr., Earl King, and Tori Amos, to name a few. Soulive is so well-versed on Porter’s catalog that the end of the set list simply read, “Whatever GPJ Wants!”  They cranked out Meter’s covers “Check Your Mind” right into “Funky Bitch,” without missing a beat.

Soulive continued to descend upon us with new musicians, adding keyboardist John Medeski (Medeski, Martin and Wood) and saxophonist Bill Evans to their Bowlive IV roster for the second set. A set that is hard to describe in words. Let’s just start with knowing the fact that Bill Evans was in Miles Davis’s band at the age of 22 and John Medeski was asked to perform on Jaco Pastorius’s 1981 tour while still a teenager. Along with Soulive and the Shady Horns, Medeski and Evans played a mind-blowing set.  Medeski’s avant-garde jazz quality added an incredible layer of sound to the stage, either filling every empty space with a melodic note, or simply striking one key and locking eyes with Neal. The set was filled with songs from Spark, a collaborative album with Karl Denson, released in March 2012. “Spark!,” the title track, kicked it off with Bill Evans crushing a sick solo on his soprano sax. Trombonist Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band) was the next unannounced sit-in who lent her sound on “Povo.”  “Nubian Lady” and “Liquid” followed, sounding exactly like the names suggest. The musicians were so tight, fluid, and everyone on stage was cranking out their notes in improvisational ways, yet sounded as if they had been rehearsing the same songs for years.  Unannounced drummer ?uestlove, who holds a standing DJ set on Thursdays for the Brooklyn Bowl, snuck in for “Nautilus” and proceeded to slam our heads into the beat of the song.  It was inspiring. Soulive encored with an extended, jamming “Tuesday Night Squad.”

Tonight’s jam sessions will start at 8:30 with Leroy Justice opening. Special guests will include bassist George Porter, Jr., guitarist Leo Nocentelli and The Shady Horns will be back in full effect to give their fans one extreme night of funk and fury.

Karen E. Dugan

http://tinyrager.com

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Robben Ford, Toss Panos, Andy Hess & John Scofield @ The Blue Note (12.01.10)

Happy Birthday To Ali Greenberg!!  Ali made my night by picking a wonderful choice performance for her birthday celebration, choosing an intimate John Scofield and friends performance at the Blue Note in the East Village, NYC for a lovely Wednesday night of music.

On stage tonight was:

Robben Ford – Guitar & Vocals
Toss Panos – Drums
John Scofield – Guitar
Andy Hess – Bass

Robben Ford, Toss Panos, Andy Hess & John Scofield - The Blue Note, NYC 12110 (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Robben Ford, Toss Panos, Andy Hess & John Scofield - The Blue Note, NYC (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Video and pictures, other then professionals, were prohibited and as our crew arrived early, we were sitting pretty much directly on the stage and I was unable to get away with much.  Thank goodness for Dino Perrucci of Dino Perrucci Photography being present to capture a few moment on camera for us! The pictures throughout the article are his. THANKS DINO!!

I was excited to see tonight’s performance not so much for John Scofield this time but for Andy Hesss and specifically Robben FordRobben Ford is a five-time Grammy nominee and has played with artists as diverse as Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Witherspoon, Miles Davis, George Harrison, Phil Lesh, Bonnie Raitt, Claus Ogerman, Michael McDonald, Bob Dylan, John Mayall, Greg Allman and many others.

Robben Ford - The Blue Note, NYC 12110 (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Robben Ford - The Blue Note, NYC 12110 (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

After the first song (unknown title), John Scofield introduced the members of his posse on stage.  There was a joke made then went into Traveling Riverside Blues, a Robert Johnson original made famous by Led Zepplin.  A JAMMING Good Morning Little School Girl was next, a song covered so many times that it has been acknowledged by the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.

The joking continued throughout the night into the next song.  Robben Ford suggested that John had created this blues style song during their two day rehearsals in L.A. and he believed it didn’t have a name.

Yes! We practiced!Robben snickered.

Scofield responds, “Yeah, you have to rehearse the blues.  And actually, the song does have a name and it’s called Slow Blues in F Sharp. ”

It’s in the second fret,”  jokes Scofield to Robben, the audience half gasping, half laughing. “Just kidding! He knows what he is doing!

Robben Ford & John Scofield - The Blue Note, NYC 12110 (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Robben Ford & John Scofield - The Blue Note, NYC 12110 (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Andy Hess, ex-bass player for Gov’t Mule, ripped his spot the entire set.  Being that I was positioned directly under Scofield, hoping not to get sweat dripped on me as the place was scorching hot, Andy was blocked most of the set but his strings stood out in each song. My ears kept being drawn to his style of playing.  I found their song choices for the evening fun and feisty as opposed to some stiff jazz performance. The boys had fun in that short window of music.

John Scofield - The Blue Note, NYC 12110 (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

John Scofield - The Blue Note, NYC 12110 (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Sadly, the set only last a little over an hour, one hour and seven minutes to be exact.  Having to pay $35 to be seated at The Blue Note plus having a $5 minimum at your seat (which really means another $10 plus tip as nothing costs $5.00), brought the bill up and I expected more music for that price, especially since the following set didn’t begin until 10:30pm.  I felt a bit slighted, not going to lie.  AND you have to pay again to view the second set.  Alas…it was annoying but it was worth it regardless.  A nice birthday celebration with friends over a show is never something to complain about 🙂

The crew on stage debated over the next song.  Lovin’ Cup was “on thier list” so they choose that one. John Scofield talked about how he and Robben were fourteen years old together back in 1966 and loved this song.

Aside from the short length of the performance, it was a nice quick bite of music for a Wednesday night.  Can’t go wrong with that 🙂  Everyone should check out Robben Ford when you get a chance.  The guy wails.

Set list: Unknown First song, Traveling Riverside Blues, Good Morning Little School Girl, Slow Blues in F-Sharp, Lovin’ Cup

John Scofield - The Blue Note, NYC 12110 (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

John Scofield - The Blue Note, NYC 12110 (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

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Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Paul Motian, and Sp. Guest John Scofield @ The Blue Note (05.12.10)

The Blue Note, NYC

The Blue Note, NYC

I was completely FREAKING OUT!  110% shaking like a leaf with excitement.  My friend was standing next to me just kinda staring at me.  It was physically noticeable.  With a genuinely concerned look, she asks me if I am OK.  Honestly, I might as well been on 100 Five-Hour Energy Shots and crack.  I was on the verge of hyperventilating.  That is how ridiculously excited I was.

Chick Corea took The Blue Note by storm for two weeks, from May 4-9 and May 11-16.  Playing with a brand new project featuring Eddie Gomez on bass & Paul Motian on drums, Chick celebrated the lesser known works of Bill Evans, the project simply called Further Explorations of Bill Evans.

Bill Evans

Bill Evans

For those of you who need some schooling, Bill Evans was a famous, FAMOUS Jazz Pianist/Composer/Arranger who…

“influenced a generation of pianists including: Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, John Taylor, Steve Kuhn, Don Friedman, Denny Zeitlin, Bobo Stenson, Michel Petrucciani and Keith Jarrett, as well as guitarists Lenny Breau, Ralph Towner and Pat Metheny.” ~Wikipedia~

In 1958, Bill Evans was a pianist in Miles Davis’ group.  Can you imagine?  I know Chick Corea and John Scofield certainly can.  Evans influence ran so deep with Miles, his talent so respected, that he wrote the liner notes for Miles Davis’ classic Kind of Blues; the best selling jazz album of all time.

Tonight, I got my chance to see two of my biggest musical heroes celebrating one of their musical heroes.  I found that exhilarating.  Of the 12 days Chick Corea played at The Blue Note,  I chose tonight specifically because John Scofield would be the special guest and I was geekin’ out.  Tonight’s Line Up:

FEATURING:
Chick Corea, piano
Eddie Gomez, bass
Paul Motian, drums
w/ sp. guest: John Scofield, guitar

The Blue Note

The Blue Note

At 69 years old, Chick Corea is still going strong.  Having become a fan of his music through my love of Fusion Jazz, Chick Corea has been on my radar for many, many years.  Most of you should recall Return to Forever, with it’s classic lineup of Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Di Meola on Guitar and Lenny White on drums.  If you haven’t heard of Return to Forever, you might want to stop reading and go check it out.  Seriously, get away from this article and go listen to the music instead of reading about it.  I don’t mind.

For weeks prior to his two week stint, Chick Corea was offering up free tickets to each of his shows through Twitter and via e-mail.  I entered twice a day, every day allowed, but alas, it looked as if I was doomed to pay the $65 for a table or $40 to stand at the bar.  Not a big fan of The Blue Note for these high prices but in this case, I would spend my savings account to see Chick and John play together in this intimate setting.  I mean, it was one of the world’s most famous jazz clubs, how could I complain?!

Stage Sign

Stage Sign with Eddie's bass below

The plan was to get there early and see if we could get a seat at the bar ($40) vs. getting a table ($65) plus a $5 minimum purchase (nothing there is under $7), plus tipping your waitress…you get my point.  Unfortunately, we just missed snagging a seat by one person. We were the first ones standing.  I took a trip upstairs, just figuring out they had restrooms and gift shop up there…and figuring out that this was where the Green Room was located.  I just don’t go to The Blue Note that often for shows so this was a fun discovery. Especially when I saw John come out of the Green Room and throw a smile my way.   People come from all over the world to stop in at The Blue Note, it’s gift shop stocked with all kinds of paraphernalia that  I wanted like the piano ashtray or the hanging poster of Lionel Hampton that isn’t even for sale.  When it does go on sale, my friend “E” and I will be fighting for it to the death.  After my explorations upstairs, we stand around for another 45 minutes.

Inside The Blue Note ~ Chick's Set Up

Inside The Blue Note ~ Chick's Set Up

Already weary from a long day’s work, standing in line outside for 30 minutes and another hour and a half inside, it didn’t take long for my friend to talk me into upgrading to a table so we could sit.  We had to wait until the rest of the reserved patrons were seated but we finally got a seat, in a decent spot for me to see Chick’s side view and John’s front view.  I was happy but, and this is a big but, we were HORRIBLY crammed into our seats, I was practically on top of my neighbor and I am a small little lady.  I felt like a sardine and my back was to the stage the way I was seated.  I turned and was grateful that I WAS a small human being and manipulated my way around to see the stage.  It is also about this time that I said screw the money and I made the MOST out of the awkward situation.  I ordered a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and a scrumptious Flat Bread Salad with Grilled Chicken.  So much for the $40 budget, I think I walked out with a $130 bill that night…so worth every penny.

The Blue Note Bar Sign

The Blue Note Bar Sign

The stage was set with Chick’s grand piano to the left, Eddie’s stand up bass in front of that, Paul’s drum kit raged the middle of the stage and to the right of the stage stood John Scofield‘s stool and music stand.  The scene was set and everyone was waiting.  When they came onto the stage the venue erupted in applause.  I scanned the room looking for someone younger then me and my friend. I was hard-pressed and it made me weary.  I wished there were more young people who are willing to learn from a real musician instead of what was on their radio stations and MTV…barf music.  The set list that night was kind of hard for me, I picked up on 5 out of the 8 songs.  It was hard to tell where one ended and another began.  Luckily Chick’s website had the set list:

SET LIST:
Diane
Stella By Starlight
Song #1
Little Rootie Tootie
My Foolish Heart
Someday My Prince Will Come
Bessie’s Blues
Peri’s Scope

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Diane, a song by Erno Rapee and Lew Pollack, was fast and playful. A great opener, a great song to show case their talent immediately.  There was playfulness between John and Chick right off the bat.   John breaks into his first solo of the night.  What do you think it sounded like?  It was crisp and fast and he was up off the stool as if the music had lifted him right out!  This first song was easily 10 minutes, so long and lovely.  They each took their turn down the line soloing.  Chick was second and being that Erno Rapee was a virtuoso pianist, this song was written for Chick to rage it.  Then it was Eddie’s turn and then it got quiet.  Chick starts the twinkling on the keys…playing scales.  I can see his fingers with his head lowered and slowly Paul sneaks back in with the beat.  John gets up and out of his seat again as he plants another lucrative solo on us.  This was just the first song and I was satisfied.  Great wine, great food, great company, GREAT music.

John Scofield @ The Blue Note

John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Stella By Starlight is a jazz standard, written by Victor Young, that I recognized immediately, but couldn’t grab the name when Chick gave it to us later. Chick started off plinking the keys.  So very slow, Miles Davis’ version has horns but there would be no horns on stage tonight.  With soft taps on the cymbals, Paul joins the songs.  It all seemed so very My Fair Lady, very lounge-y.  Eddie’s bass joined in with slow pulls of his bow here and there, so light and timid.  Just a gorgeous song.

Chick stands up and introduces the band to the audience. There is massive applause for each member.  “These are brand new Bill Evans songs composed a while ago,” Chick says.  “Happy belated Mother’s Day. The first song was called Diane.  We are doing song with ladies in the title….ladies tunes. We will be doing a few Thelonious tunes…”  And the music continues…

Eddie Gomez and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Eddie Gomez and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Song #1 is beyond me.  I had no clue what this song was and I still don’t.   John’s face was contorted into a knot as he played.  The main vein of the song was John on guitar with Chick coming in sporadically on keys.  Chick stopped to take off his jacket, taking a turn to smile at the audience as his back was to half of us.  My wine finally comes.  Even better.

Pounding on the keys with Paul’s drum backing Chick, Little Rootie Tootie, a Thelonious Monk song, was next.  A cute song that reminds me of Charlie Brown cartoons for some reason.  The piano section is just exquisite.  Chick was working up a sweat and dried off his key with the towel.  But it didn’t end there.  John picked up the melody and using his towel, Chick made strokes across the piano from one end to the other making the sounds he needs to banter with John.  This was so cool and lasted for a good three minutes.  My focus then went to Eddie on bass, plucking away as Chick inserts his two cents here and then abruptly ending.  Monstrous applause.

Eddie Gomez @ The Blue Note

Eddie Gomez @ The Blue Note

My Foolish Heart, another jazz standard by Victor Young, was to follow.  Mainly a solo piano piece, this was not to be Chick’s grand solo.  Eddie Gomez starts off very, very slow, dragging his bow across his bass.  With daunting pulls, he stood alone, his sound so deep and lovely.  I remember having to focus very hard as the table full of European tourists were drunk and talking loudly.  It is VERY hard for me to focus. I tried so hard. Luckily the manager came over and quieted them. It didn’t last long.  Did these people not know who they were watching?  I couldn’t believe their lack of manners.  This was not the show to be having a conversation and I was NOT the neighbor to be having a conversation by.  I only had to ask them once.  I was livid for a hot minute and I quickly let the music sooth me.  Heal my anger.  It didn’t take more then a few notes, a sip of my wine and a bite of my lovely salad to be put back into my happy place.  I fell in love with Eddie at this moment.  It was simply magnificent.

Eddie was playing this technically classical jazzy song all by himself and he had hooked me into a dream world as I closed my eyes and let his sound take me over.  There is something about how he played. I could have listened to it for hours. It was the most soothing part of the night. This was not jazz.  This was classical goodness and with the bass! So much appreciation!! It went on for quite some time…and then John comes back in…

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

As I sit there listening, I realize that the songs have been mashed up as Disney’s Snow White’s Someday My Prince Will Come was teased amongst the songs.  In my head I start singing:”A Dream That You Wish Will Come True”.  I also feel as though Norah JonesThe Nearness of You was teased by John.  I thought of my sister and wished she was there to hear this.

John Scofield @ The Blue Note

John Scofield @ The Blue Note

John Coltrane’s Bessie’s Blues brought us a new song, a new sound. Chick starts plunking the keys, pacing the song.  Straight Jazz.  Medium pulls on the bass strings, Eddie is very evident in this song.  Just a yummy jazzy song, all instruments playing at their leisure…that whole organized chaos vibe going on.  John pulled out a faster guitar here and during his solos, shredded his guitar with his face in a million different directions.  Chick’s fingers were moving fast as lighting.  John strums his guitar.  These two were just killing it and this became my favorite song of the night.  Eddie started playing so hard that you could hear his breathing over the music…his voice came out and he couldn’t help it.  And with an oh-so-bluesy ending, more applause and a huge smile on Chick’s face 🙂

Chick on Mic

Chick on Mic

The final song was Bill Evans’ Peri’s Scope.  I think that was the only Bill Evans song they performed to be honest unless that Song #1 is his.  This is not something that held back my happiness one bit. The night had been glorious and it wasn’t even close to being over.  A typical jazzy tune, John filling in for the horn section, it was lovely.  The piano was playful and John and Chick banter with their instruments. So upbeat, light. Soft taps of the cymbals and paced pulls of the bass strings. They were having fun and we felt it.

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, and John Scofield @ The Blue Note

I felt as if it were over as soon as it begun.  I was in love with what I had seen and actually needed more.  Right then.  But there would be no encore and I had been surrounded by overly chatty people, the old gentleman behind me was drunk and HUMMED the entire set.  These things didn’t matter! Within a few minutes I was up out of my chair and ready to go straight up meet these legends.   And that is exactly what I did.  To the Green Room…

John Scofield and TR @ The Blue Note

John Scofield and TR @ The Blue Note (05.12.10)

Upon first meeting John, he asks me if I play guitar.  He asks my girlfriend the same question.  I believe he asks all the ladies this question as his follow up statement was “YIPPIE, I have girl fans.”  LOL!!!  The man was genuinely intrigued and a conversation began between the three of us that continued on for some time.  I lost track of my entire life during that time.  We spoke of the Montreal Jazz Festival, music, guitars, songs, NYC…to transcribe it would take forever and it’s times like these that I don’t need to write down for I will never forget these moments…

Chick Corea and TR @ The Blue Note (05.12.10)

Chick Corea and TR @ The Blue Note (05.12.10)

Upon meeting Chick, he wasn’t as excited but wasn’t fan-blocking me or anything either haha.  We talked about the set, this is the point we discussed song titles and I missed a few as I lost my mind a little during this meeting as well.  There are some artists where I can talk to them like they are family but there are others I can’t even look in the eyes for fear I might explode or turn to stone.  Yeah, it’s like that.  Just so much love for their music, I almost can’t speak to them cause, really, want me to be brutally honest??  The person is so different from the music and I am terrified of changing my relationship with the music.  I don’t generally like to have big sit downs with artists I like.  But when I do, I PRAY they are as genuine as their music.

In this case, Chick and John were lovely people, Eddie and Paul included, even though I barely spoke three words to them having the attention of Chick for a few minutes and John for a few minutes…that was good enough for me.  My friend and I raged the Green Room area for a bit meeting Chick’s wife, who was covered in what I referred to as “glitter.”  She corrected me and said, “Fairy Dust.”  She was a kindred spirit for sure.  After about 30 minutes of straight chillen, my girlfriend and I left The Blue Note completely speechless.  As we walked down the street, neither of us talked but I knew exactly what she was thinking: HOLY SHIT!!  THAT – JUST – HAPPENED!!!

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