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Berkeley Arts

2133 University Ave, Berkeley, CA

November 4, 2012



This was a Goldberg show entitled ‘Come Back Elliot Smith” – all the music written for Mr. Smith or inspired by his music. I don’t know anyone in the band except for Ewell, a very good bassist I’ve seen in the past, and Wiley, who I’ve seen a couple of times as an alto sax player (which I like), and I’ve heard that he’s playing a lot of drums these days, but this was my 1st chance to hear him do so. It was a double bill thing, so I stuck around to hear Positive Knowledge just for the heck of it – but more on that later.

Berkeley Arts – was just there last night for the Tony Malaby gig (well, John Ettinger). Thought I’d go check this out too. Goldberg’s a, well, you know, a clarinet player, which is nowhere close to one of my favorite instruments (too clean and all), but that said, he is an excellent player and can sound great esp. when he surrounds himself with edgy players. The band had a great sound to it, rich, moody music that had a nice combo of arrangement and imrpov to it. Cressman knocked out a couple of excellent trombone solos – earnest and searching and full of effort, he impressed me taking a long, bluesy and Dixieland to edgy and out solo on The 2nd Interlude. Nice set of music and playing. Goldberg even read a poem in the gap between songs – a funny and good poem from What Narcissism Means To Me.


BEN GOLDBERG – clarinet                                    KASEY KNUDSEN – alto sax

JEFF CRESSMAN – trombone                              ROB REICH – accordion, piano

DAVID EWELL – bass                                             HOWARD WILEY – drums



Berkeley Arts (Duende sponsered)

2133 University Ave, Berkeley, CA

November 3, 2012

Tony Malaby week continues – concludes, actually. Great band – Hart, Sickafoose, Malaby . . . Never heard Ettinger before, but with a band like this, he must be good. And he is – great sound to the band, nice, unique instrumentation. And good writing – the tunes all with a distinct mood and element. This was supposed to be a show at Duende – but due to construction delays, it had to be moved. Same story as the Shuffleboil show – which means even though Duende doesn’t really exist yet, it is like the best concert promoter in town – 2 for 2 – and with Yoshis like a carnival of terrible these days, I can barely handle the wait until Duende opens. First time I went to Berkeley Arts (which is where it was moved to, thanks to Philip Greenlief)  – a very nice sounding room – think I’ll go back tomorrow night for Ben Goldberg.

The music – 1st tune and the 1st soprano Malaby’s played all week – and damn! he rips it up on that too – excellent edgy sound to the usually thin and boring instrument. Sickafoose is a man that basically never swings – he plays a modern bass style, all grooves and interaction – a beastly player in his way. Two sets of music – all very good. The 2nd set had 2 high points – Amdigato (or something like that) had a vicious, way out Malaby tenor solo with Hart all busy and interactive underneath. Sickafoose kept giving these funny looks where he would look from Malaby to Ettinger and back, like he was checking if the crazy ass stuff coming out of Malaby’s horn was acceptable or not. Indeed, it was the best music of the night. Torrential train-wreck tenor playing. Love it.

They closed with Kissinger In Space a really cool tune that went from thick groove to spacey out and back – sort of. On its return it felt all fractured and altered as if space twisted HK’s mind a bit. Great deal at the booth – all 3 Ettinger cd’s for $15 – that, I like. A great show, modern and excellent.

1st set

1. Shunyata

2. August Rain

3. Just Like Tomorrow

4. Dogleg 

5. Better Angels

6. Dual Diagnosis

2nd set

1. Talking Leaves

2. Ambigato

3. Harper Lee

4. The Doors Are Closing 

5. Kissinger In Space


TONY MALABY – tenor and soprano sax

JOE PREUSS – guitar


LORCA HART – drums