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:


Marches Ivy Room 8-24-2009

Last night I played at the Ivy Room with Marches, it was our first show with the lineup of myself on alto & tenor, Cory Wright on tenor and baritone, Nate Brenner on bass and Jordan Glenn on drums. This was the original lineup I had in mind when getting the gorup together, but I’m glad that the group has a shifting lineup – it makes each show that much different.

This night was part of the Active Music Series, which is new, and is starting with concerts at the Ivy Room and Blue Six in the Mission. Marches was joined by two groups on this night: Telepathy, with Patrick Cress & Aaron Novik; and ACMD, a quartet of Alan Anzalone, Curtis Hollenbeck, Moe Staiano and Damon Smith.

Telepathy’s music is written by both Patrick Cress and Aaron Novik. The instrumentation of alto & baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, upright bass and drums. The pieces have alot of composed parts, with grooves and a strong rock influence. Tim Bulkley has been back in town for a few weeks from New York – and sounded great on drums. My favorite part was late in the set when there was a baritone, bass and drum trio with alot of space and good textures.

ACMD’s set was a stark contrast – fully improvised, it was a really good quartet. Alan Anzalone brought his soprano sax and bass clarinet, Curtis Hollenbeck played trumpets and typewriter, Damon Smith played bass and Moe Staiano had a drumkit with interesting unusual percussion objects and a large but shallow bass drum. Really strong improvising from everyone in the group, Curtis gravitated towards mainly muted trumpet playing, and interspersed typewriter at the right moments. Alan sounded good on both soprano and bc. The dynamic between Damon and Moe was interesting – Damon was really watching Moe at times and waiting for the right moment to interject ideas.

The Marches set was third, and like I said before, the first show with this lineup. We played some material that wasn’t on the last show with Gene. Nate is a strong bassist, and having him and Jordan play together is a great foundation for playing. Most of the material we have right now is in time, with plenty of room for blowing by the horns. We started with the Walk, which is a ballad we play without improvising. It’s based on a melody the sound of tenor, baritone, bass and drums created a fullness that was a good start to the set. We played the set with a controlled energy, saving the most freedom for Turning, a piece that is in a very loose three with a strong debt to Ayler in both melody and style. Right now my favorite songs in Marches all use tenor and bari! Such a full sound – I’m very into it. Here’s a track:

A good night at the Ivy Room – thanks to ken for hosting! The next show on September 28th will feature Cory Wright’s Group and Cylinder.

Shelton Perkis Smith Glenn Uptown 8-18-09

A really great show last night at the Uptown in Oakland. It’s part of their “Avant-Garde” Tuesday series, one show a month with no cover charge, but with donations asked for inside the main room. It’s really a good space – super high ceilings, dark and almost cavernous. This month the lineup was three sets, the first being the duo of Tom Rainey and Ingrid Laubrock – yes, Tom is very well known for his work with Tim Berne, and it was great to see him play here with Ingrid, who is a great saxophone player – I really liked her tenor playing which had a very interesting edge and total control of the instrument. They set up on the floor (which is the best place for an acoustic group to set up in that room), and played very well as a duo. The addition of the half filled wine glass as percussion worked too…..
The second set was a trio of music with Philip Greenleaf, Tim Perkis, and GE Stinson up from Los Angeles with video by Brenda Bynum. Very good – the music and film worked quite well together – the sounds had a strong sonic-texture orientation, the images are moving stream of related and changing images that had been reduced to simpler color schemes – it fit perfectly in the space of the Uptown.
The third set I played in with Perkis, Damon Smith and Jordan Glenn. The first time I think that Jordan played with Damon & Tim. A little over a month ago I played at 21 Grand with Tim, Damon and Josh Berman, who was visiting from Chicago. It was a good improvising group with lots of activity and possibilities. Adding Jordan’s percussion style into the group worked well and balanced group with almost a traditional “jazz” lineup – saxophone, bass, drums with laptop. Tim is very good with his electronics – very flexible, able to play and change at a moment’s notice. I asked him afterward if he has perfect pitch, because the two of us matched many times throughout the set – he told me that he doesn’t, but he’s definitely on top of it.
So, all in all a good night at the Uptown – until the next time….

Marches Blue Six 8-12-2009

My new group is called Marches. I’m thinking of it as a compartmentalized group where the music can be played as a trio, quartet, quintet or larger. The music has been on my mind for a bit now – I played some of it back in April with Bauder, Ajemian and Eisestadt when I was in New York; played some of it in June with Keefe Jackson, Anton Hatwich and Marc Riordan in Chicago. But now I’ve brought it back to the West Coast where I wrote it and am starting to get some dates with Jordan Glenn on drums, Cory Wright on tenor & baritone saxes, Gene Baker on organ and Nate Brenner on bass. Like I said, the lineup can change. A few weeks ago I played some of the music with Gene and Jordan – and it was alot of fun.

Tonight was the debut of quartet style: played with Cory, Gene and Jordan at Blue Six in the Mission. Last month, when I was up in Oregon with Jordan and Cory, we played a show with Reed Wallsmith and Sly Pig, the saxophonists in the band Blue Cranes. They’re good fellows who play good music, and they were coming down for a California weekend. So, we shared the bill this night. They played the first set, and their music is very well written, with pop sensibilities and a full sound for a band. I had learned the secret code for “you’re getting too loud” and got concerned when I heard it used during their set, because in practice Marches has been pretty full. The music is active and energetic with strong melodies that need to be played with some volume. Also, I’m playing tenor in the group and my tenor setup – a Buescher Aristocrat – is not shy.

well, we played and as the set went on, we never got the cue to tone it down – either we weren’t that loud or Joe really liked it (I think the latter, after talking to him after the show). Again, playing the music was FUN – lots of energy – this band is a strong combination of players – Cory sounds especially great on tenor. We’ve got some work to tighten up the music, but from where we’re starting, I feel this will go somewhere good. Here’s a track called Pacheco. I wrote it with Ton Trio in mind, but it works very well with this group. I’m playing tenor, Cory’s on baritone.

In other news: looks like the Fast Citizens album we made in January will be coming out this fall on Delmark Records! It will be released in October – it’s very good news…..