I’m writing from partly sunny Amsterdam, recuperating from a fall I had last week. Yep. I biked in the rain my second day here, tried to avoid someone, slipped and fell. Banged up my knee and have been on crutches for a week and just a couple days ago got the go ahead to work back towards normal walking life. It goes OK.
I don’t know why this happened but those close to me seem to think it may have something to do with the heavy schedule I’ve been keeping up. And me literally not taking a break for weeks on end. Perhaps this was a rather mellow warning to slow down. Take it easy and reflect. Seriously.
So what all happened in September? It was an amazing, musically schizophrenic month where I recorded and mixed one record and released another and where the Evolving Voice Series celebrated a one year anniversary.
September started off with a gig and a recording for Silkheart Records. Silkheart’s owner Lars Gustavsson and I met about four years ago when he stumbled onto a gig of mine at Enzo’s Jazz Club in Midtown Manhattan. He liked what he heard and he wanted me to record for his label but didn’t have an idea for a project. Over the years we threw a few ideas back and forth. Nothing really gelled until he came to the Vision Festival in 2009. We met there and there he came upon the idea of doing a project with the legendary Other Dimensions in Music (or ODIM – trumpetist Roy Campbell, reedist Daniel Carter, bassist William Parker and drummer Charles Downs). He even spoke with Roy and William at the Festival about the idea and they were both into it – which was an honor for me. So cool that they were willing to do a project but WHAT would the project be??
Lars suggested I take the time necessary to figure that out and in the end decided to do something with my roots in the Caribbean and the legacy of Calypso as a people’s music, important to tell the REAL news of the day. After some research and discussion – I arrived at the idea of focusing on the lyrics of calypsos alongside free improvisation. I thought this might be an organic way to spotlight the importance of the message in a given calypso with an improvised musical backdrop sometimes recognizing the source – ofttimes not. It turned out to be a good idea and on Labor day (MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2010) ODIM and I performed on the Evolving Voice & Music Series at the Local 269 to a packed house and unleashed the crux of the project. The response was so strong that it garnered two live reviews, one here at AAJ.com and the other review here, in AAJ-NY’s October issue. We went into the studio two days later to record and it looks like the record will be ready for release by early 2011. I’ll keep you posted.
In the midst of this project came the CD release for BARE, the project of the ExPosed Blues Duo, released on AUGUST 31 on Greene Avenue Music(you can purchase directly from the Website now!). What a night that was!! The back room at Barbes on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2010 was standing room only and what a beautiful audience it was. Guitarist Anders Nillson and I were thrilled to be recommended by both the New York Times AND Time Out New York for the concert. TONY even went on to put our CD release on the small list of Must See Shows that night in town with such luminaries as The Bad Plus and Marc Ribot!
Then just five days later we celebrated the One Year Anniversary of the Evolving Voice Series on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2010. We celebrated by having an all vocal night featuring poetry with Steve Dalachinsky and Patricia SpearJones and music by the wonderful Lisa Sokolov and co-curator Patricia Nicholson Parker did a powerful set with William Parker on bass. The music opened up with the Fay Victor Ensemble presenting new music that Jochem and I have been writing, gearing up to record early next year. It wasn’t our best gig but it was great to try the music and look forward to more gigs in the coming months as we delve deeper into the new ideas.
What a month!
Now I’m in the Netherlands. Got here at the end of September to rehearse and perform with reedist Michael Moore’s Fragile Quartet, and I’ll play on a great experimental series tomorrow(SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10th) in Utrecht at the Centraal Museum with flutist Mark Alban Lotz and guitarist Jasper Stadhouders. Next week Sunday (OCTOBER 17, 2010) I’ll conduct a workshop called “Opening and Evolving the Voice” just a few days before heading off to Germany for three weeks on a Blues tour with a wonderful German pianist by the name of Christian Bleiming. If you know someone in the area who may be interested pass on the word. I have a few open spots left.
In between, seeing friends and family, making as much music as possible and getting my leg back up to fighting strength.
Be well and thanks for reading,