Look Up There….

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It’s a cloud
Made of sound.

CD

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I have an album.
See it on cdbaby.

Savion Glover @ The Joyce Theater June 26, 2011

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This was my second time seeing Savion Glover at this venue. This show was far more scaled down than his previous performance.

Most of the show was just Savion. Really, just Savion. There was no music, no additional personell, just Savion. He was very good, but just tap can be a little trying. It’s like listening to very avant garde jazz when you’ve only heard Kenny G.

Nonetheless, it was excellent. He did have another dancer that he would occassionally trade solos with, but even then, there was no background music. It’s gotta be tough for someone else to dance with Savion since his tapping is so loud and bombastic. He’s almost like a force of nature as he is soloing away. Covering so much ground in terms of rhythm, technique, and style, another soloist must wonder, “where the hell do I go from there?”

The high point of the show featured the music of John Coltrane. First, he had someone come out and play a medly of Coltrane tunes on soprano sax. The other part was a duet to Apology off of A Love Supreme.

The duet was very interesting. Savion soloed along with the piano solo by McCoy Tyner. He did it rhythm for rhythm. The Marhsall Davis Jr’s solo went along with Coltrane’s solo, but instead of doubling his line, he tapped out an occampiament and counterpoint. They were both excellent.

The one odd part of the show was the immoble Asian dude sitting on the stage. Apparently, he was suppossed to be meditating or praying. Whatever it was, he would assume a pose at the beginning of a song and then keep it until the next song. Maybe this had something to do with the electronic candles at the back of the stage, or the hanging photographs of prior jazz greats (like Hines, and Davis Jr.) EIther way, I don’t feel the dude added anything to the performance. IF anything, he was a distraction.

It was surprising that the show was not sold out. Then again, the entire city had descended upon Greenwich Village for the Gay Pride Parade.

Hiromi @ The Blue Note June 12, 2011

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“Hiromi’s playing The Blue Note.”
“Oh, cool. What date?”
“We’ll be back in the town to catch her last night.”
“Ok.”
“She’s playing with Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips.”
“Ok. I’ll see what’s going on that night.”
“I’m going to this show. Hiromi, with Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips? I’m going.”
“Ok. Like I said. We’ll see what’s going on.”
“No. You don’t understand. I’M GOING. As in I AM GOING. If you would like to go, let me know and I’ll get you a ticket. I don’t know what you’re doing or what may be going on that night, but I’ll be at The Blue Note seeing this show.”

That was how the conversation went between my girlfriend and I. There was no way that I was missing this show. Happily, she came along.

IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!

I got to see Hiromi once before with her Sonicbloom band. It was excellent, but this was an entirely different level.

There really isn’t much I can do besides gush, so I’ll just put some links down here. Check them out. Their individual technical abilities will immediately be apparent. Together, they blend fantastically without running over one another’s toes. Enjoy.

Additional Links:
Youtube promo for “Voice”
Hiromi’s website
Drummerworld profile of Simon Phillips
Anthony Jackson interview with Bass Player
Simon Phillips drum solo

Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca @ KPAC April 29, 2011

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In an effort to ease the burden of Christmas shopping, I thought I would make life easy on myself and get everyone tickets to a show. Add appropriate number to the shopping cart, and I’m done within minutes. Make sure that the show date is far enough out that everyone can attend and all should be well, right? Right. That part went well. What comes next…

You’ll find a couple reviews of Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca on this site. Their performance is, for lack of a better term, fantastic. I try to see them every time they are in New York. I don’t know the first thing about flamenco technique, styling, or rules, but each and every time I watch the troupe perform, I am impressed.

The first time I saw them, at The New Victory Theater, there were people that were familiar with flamenco in the audience. How do I know? They were the ones shouting out to the troupe. Calls of “Ole!”, “Como?” and other exclamations rang out throughout the evening. This particular performance could not have been more different.

The Kingsborough Community College Performance Arts Center is a nice venue. It can hold a good crowd, but is not an incredibly cavernous space. The stage itself is very large, so I’m sure that bigger dance companies really enjoy booking there. The house was nearly full, and I was not surprised to see plenty of people with gray hair in the audience. (Sorry, but it is just a fact. When I go to dance or classical performances, there are very few people that are not either in or near retirement. I’ll leave you to speculate on the reasons.) I don’t have a problem with their collective age. I have a problem with the fact that this was, by far, THE MOST OBNOXIOUS AUDIENCE I have ever been in.

Holy crap! What a collection of jerks! The woman next to my girlfriend had her cell phone ring three times. Not three rings, three separate occasions! A woman sitting across the isle had a coughing fit. A coughing fit is perfectly understandable, but should it take you three minutes of rustling through what must have been the noisiest plastic bag ever created to get a swig of water? People in front of me started a loud conversation. It’s one thing to whisper a word or two, it’s another thing to begin talking. It’s another thing to talk so loud that people around you can hear what you are saying. It is yet another thing to do it when you are sitting IN THE SECOND ROW! I would not have blamed a dancer for beaning them in the head with a shoe. UNREAL!

Add to all of the above, the crowd was dead. They didn’t know when to clap after solos. They applauded, but it seemed like it was just out of habit. I started to clap louder after solos, just to get a few other people in the right frame of mind. Again, I am no flamenco expert, but I’ve seen enough jazz to know when to clap after a solo.

Sadly, I think the troupe noticed the audience problems as well. After a few numbers, you could tell that their attention went inward. They were not playing to the crowd as much as playing to themselves. This is not to say that their performance was lacking or that they were not appreciative of the audience. However, you could sense that they had to feed off one another’s energy instead of feeding off the crowd.

I am firmly of the belief that the performer must entertain the audience. The crowd is not obligated to participate. They are not required to join in the show. They paid their money, they have the right to sit back and be entertained. Nevertheless, standing on the stage and playing to a lifeless crowd is rough.

I wonder how many people there had season passes of some kind and just show up the performances. There is definitely a big difference between those who seek out a performance and those who just happen to be there every Friday.

Additional Links:
Review of Noche Flamenca at the Lucille Lortel
Review of Noche Flamenca at The New Victory Theater