Golden Age at Bar 355 June 9, 2013

My newest group is Golden Age, and I’m using it to focus on the more angular / rock-ish ideas I write down from time to time. With Ton Trio II I’m focusing on the swing, and this group is steering in a different direction. I enlisted Mark Clifford on vibes, Matthew Golombisky on electric bass, and  Jordan Glenn on drums to play a date back in April at Cafe Royale set up by our friends at SF Offside.  I brought together some new ideas, and retrofitted a few pieces from the Kodachrome Music suite that I wrote a few years ago, and even a piece written for Flockterkit. The group dynamic is working in this quartet, and the way Matthew plays electric bass really  pulls the material together in ways that keep it really unique in terms of the music I’ve been writing recently. I’m excited about the rhythm section combination of Glenn & Golombisky, one of the best things is that both of them are able to take basic musical kernels into compelling directions, and when they do it simultaneously it’s a good thing indeed. Pairing with a vibraphonist in the front line is one of my favorite things to do, and Mark has a unique style in improvising that is well suited for this music. We shared the bill with solo sets by Lake Millions (Joshua Pollock) guitar & electronics, and Moe! Staiano, drums & guitar. A more intimate audience this night, that’s what a Sunday in Oakland can be like…

Here’s a take of Crispy Crunchy, from the rehearsal for this show:

Dirty Snacks at Makeout Room June 3, 2013

Mark Clifford is a vibraphone player – a very good one, and he writes music too. I met him a few years ago at MamaBuzz Cafe, where he was playing in duo with a bassist. A random encounter that has proved to be fruitful – he’s definitely one of my favorite musicians to work with, as he’s a great player, an interesting composer, and he keeps pushing himself. He’s got a lot of interests musically, but not eccentric. We’ve played together notably in a quintet called “These Are Our Hours”, my new group “Golden Age” and a recent collaborative quartet with Kyle Bruckmann and Anton Hatwich. The group he leads is called Dirty Snacks, and it brings together a few of his interests including through composed song forms, stretched over bars polyrhythms and variety of orchestration into an indie rock-ish starting point. We played at the Makeout Room on June 3rd at the Makeout Monday – the long running monthly show in the Mission. We shared the bill with Karl Evangelista’s Grex and Moe! Staiano’s Surplus 1980.

The lineup for this show, and the one Mark wants to stick to (I think) was Mark, vibes & voice; Elise Cumberland, voice; Hannah van Loon, violin; myself, alto sax& bass clarinet; Marty McGinn, keyboard; Scott Brown, electric bass; and Geneva Harrison, drums. A strong lineup for sure. We were able to really work on the material and the show felt great – the most complex of the tunes not giving any problems,  excellent performances from everyone in the group, and a crowd that showed up early to actually listen! If you’ve ever wanted to see a vibraphonist lead a band and sing at the same time (on only a few tunes), then you’ll want to keep an eye out for the next show.