tonight was the first of three nights where the phrenology fest takes over the hungry brain. there’s music on every sunday night at the brain, and though the crowd can be hit or miss, and sometimes quite challenging, it is usually a good time to play, the audience takes a large interest in the music, and you leave feeling allright about music. this year is the fourth time that they’ve had a three day festival with 3 groups a night. i’ve been asked to play multiple times this time around, the first group being jason adasiewicz’s rolldown – a quintet with him on vibraphone, me on alto & bass clarinet, josh berman on cornet, frank rosaly drums and jason roebke bass. (and if people say the incestuous musical relationship continues – it’s not our fault that each of us has separate ideas of how to use similar parts to create music). The music shevitz has wrote for this group tends to be really rooted in jazz, especially reminiscent to me of some hutcherson/dolphy pieces but with a leaning towards the softer side of the spectrum. the set felt good and was well received.
the second group of the night was to be ron perillo’s trio. i’ve never heard the fellow, but he is a respected local pianist who plays the straight ahead jazz music. berman & reed had asked his trio to play to give them a chance to play a concert in front of a listening audience, not just another restaurant gig. unfortunately ron didn’t really think the piano was up to snuff. apparently something was funky with the sustain pedal and after about 45 minutes of set break decided that his group wasn’t go to play at all. kind of a strange decision, especially after what happened next….
craig taborn is a great piano player. i’d never heard him before sunday night. he played a duo set with gerald cleaver, a drummer who lives in detroit that knows what he’s doing. they were orignally to play a trio with lotte anker, a reed player, but lotte got stopped at the canadian-american border without work papers and was not allowed into the country. terrorist. craig and gerald played an improvised set that showed their musicianship and talent while also showing how to deal with some equipment which may not be perfect. drummer’s pretty often use other folks sets and pianist always have to deal with the whatever’s at the club, but these guys really showed that music transcends the physical limitations. craig made the piano, rejected by perillo, sound great. the fact that the pa it was played through was crackling a bit just added some individuality to the night. after their set everyone seemed happy, especially whoever it was that yelled out “who’s ron perillo anyway”….