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Yoshis, Oakland

October 25, 2012

10pm set


10pm set only. Got a Goldstar ticket for the 2nd set. Seen Ron twice before, and both times very pleasantly surprised. Very stately, in the pocket, sophisticated jazz with none of that edgy craziness and polyrhythmic complexity that I so love, but still, he seems to pull off nice sets of music. This show maybe didn’t impress me as much, but it was still good, solid music with moments of great propulsion and swing.

Rosnes is quite a player – she crushed it, getting off a couple of excellent solos that were much needed in an otherwise maybe too stately set of music.  Again, this was one (almost) set-long slab of linked tunes that melted into one another. Opened with a loose, freeish, quiet bass/perc interplay that transformed into a balladish tune, and then into a great upbeat Milestones that had a long, outstanding Renee solo (she is a force when she gets going) – then into a slower, blues tinged tune with another great RR solo. Fairly long bass solo tune and into a final number that ended the suite. Then they played a stand alone You And The Night And the Music (apparently a request, which is unusual for them – as RC said, he likes to prepare his paragraphs of music before the set – no surprise there) – upbeat with a flying Rosnes solo. Ended the tune with a cool duet bass/perc solo that had some ridiculously flying perc – that man is blistering – very cool. Nice band, good music, nothing bothersome and nothing earthshattering either, just a swell late night set of swing – I can live with that.






Duende (well, not yet – Starline Storefront, 2236 MLK), Oakland

October 19, 2012



Shuffleboil, or so their called. Turns out to be the perfect name for them – sinister shuffle beats and all a-boil in furious swells and intensity. Great music from a band of players I’ve never seen before. Horvitz I know from Naked City, of course, and other Zorn projects – and Previte from a Zorn bootleg – but the whole band turned out to be dynamite. Previte is a beast. Drumming like a madman and loving every minute of it. Very unusual intrumentation – not sure I’ve heard anything set up quite like this – 3 chordal instruments and drums. Horvitz had the Rhodes distorted to near-guitar sounds for a bunch of it – dark, dirty guitar. The sound had this cool mix – 3 dark, earthy and noisy players grinding out grooves and clusters of intensity, and the guitarist with a lighter, cleaner sound on top, nicely popping along (well – he plays some nasty guitar, lots of creative ideas and sounds, but the overall playing was almost like dancing afloat this churning mess of awesomeness).

Duende is this new restaurant/music club opening in uptown – spoke with Rocco at the door and he said they are planning on having experimental jazz a couple days a week (yess!). But, this isn’t Duende, not yet. This was supposed to be their pre-opening concert, but because of construction delays, they moved it to some guys open loft downstairs from the Starline (also not opened yet) – it was at 2236 MLK. Came across the info randomly – and was unsure what the music would be. Appaerently, the chef of this new Duende place is good buds with Zorn, so we’ll see if they can keep up this style of music.

Went with Gage. The show was LOUD – many tunes building quickly from either ambient searching or popping grooves to all out battles – Doria is a great player, ripping off fleet organ solos, often entwined with Hovitz’s dark Rhodes – trading lines or just inputting comments into the others solo. Horvitz had some furious playing and great solos. Previte was playing a storm from the get-go, and by the end he was just drumming like a bad season – quite impressive. Great music. 

WAYNE HORVITZ –Fender Rhodes

JOE DORIA – Hammond B3

TIM YOUNG – guitar



SF Conservatory Of Music, SF

October 14, 2012



The 2nd part of a great Sunday – went to Adam Kolker Trio at Chez Hanny at 4, then booked it over to the conservatory for this amazing trio at 7 (snug; perfect).  Got a ticket earlier in the week off craigslist – good deal, good seat (4th row). Haven’t seen Danilo as a leader before – but just a tight, fantastic band. Street, of course, always a great modern player. Cruz I haven’t seen and was younger than I thought he was going to be – nothing really flashy about his playing, but sticks well to the ebb and flow of the music and helps it ball together. They play amazing, searching and adventurous music that spins out from its beginnings and finds grooves and landscapes far from its birth. Very much like Wayne Shorter’s band (and Brian Blade’s Fellowship, which begs the question of how much those 3 influenced Wayne, or how much Wayne showed them the way). Either way, this is what I love about modern music – no head-solo-head, no swing in the drums or walking bass or steady floor to stand on, just music hunting across uneven terrains for deep emotion. Awesome.

The music was some sort of celebration of the 500th year of Panama, or something like that, according to Danilo’s brief intro. Took them a bit to find the road to adventure, but by the 3rd tune they were off; a dark, shifting, intense and varied piece with Shorter-like grooves. A phenomenal version of Round Midnight (and let’s be honest, how many more times does one need to hear that tune? Done like this – original, dark, barely skittering across the top of what’s expected from the song – plenty). Then some sprawling piece that began with at least one if not more Monk tunes, but travelled very far indeed from those grounds (how many Monk covers did I hear today?); an amazing tune (and band, damn) – completely free and ‘found’ music, very adventurous (and “dangerous” as Danilo says). Spent several minutes building and building over a slightly varying figure to a brutal climax. Some seriously badass intense music. Followed it with what seems to be the new obligatory Stevie Wonder cover Overjoy – (don’t know the orig. but this was a  great version).  Then closed with a dynamite, beautiful solo piano tune. Monster player – awesome music and band.

set list

1. Panama 500


3. Galactic Panama

4. Panama Vio

5. Chocolito

6. Round Midnight


8. Overjoy

9.                             (solo piano) 



ADAM CRUZ – drums


Chez Hanny, SF

October 14, 2012



The week continues. A great day – a Sunday that felt like a day in NY. I had a ticket to go see Danilo Perez Trio at the Conservatory that started at 7, and I haven’t been to Chez Hanny in a long time, so I decided to go for gluttony and hit Hanny at 4 for this trio, then bolt over just in time to make Danilo. Perfectly timed, and dodging crazy Bay Area 49er’s and Giants playoff traffic (uhgg), I literally ran from Hanny’s at the first clap at the end of the last tune. Closely timed events and multiple jazz shows in one day – great NY vibe to it all (and a sence of what would be my rapid demise if I ever lived there).

I never heard Kolker before, or McLaughlin either, but the trio sounded intriguing, and I’ve gone from never hearing of Denson to seeing him 3 times in the past 6 months – he’s a heck of a bassist, good song writer and seems to be involved with a number of top players. Kolker is a nice tenor player – solid originals, nice sound and good trio playing – and the drummer played well throughout. Some nice standards – opened with I Hear A Rhapsody, then, later, a nice grooved, good take on Monk’s Let’s Call This.  The 2nd set was substantially better – tighter playing from the three of them and more urgency in Kolker’s playing. Great Oska T (Monk) to open; awesome All The Things You Are with an excellent tenor solo, and Denson with a very good bass solo (seasoned solo – he’s been playing with Lee Konitz’s band, and I think Lee often plays this).  Very cool, off-kilter and awkward We See (Monk again), and then a great mid-tempo take on Wayne Shorter’s Dance Cadaverous (yesss – for all the standards and Monk stuff, it’s always heartwarming to see players cover Wayne, who seems, possibly more than anyone, to be the foundation builder for so much of modern jazz). An original Kolker blues, and a nice Alone Together to end. Hilarious intro on the blues – Kolker ‘Let’s play a blues’; Denson ‘Mine or yours?’; Kolker ‘Mine. Let’s talk about MY problems… MY gig, MY problems.’

1st set

1. I Hear A Rhapsody

2. In Or Out

3. Let’s Call This

4. Body And Soul

5. Nash

2nd set

1. Oskar T

2. All The Things You Are

3. We See

4. Dance Cadaverous

5. Kevin’s Birthday Blues

6. Alone Together

ADAM KOLKER – tenor sax




On Sacred Ground : The Rites Of Spring

Herbst Theatre, SF
October 12, 2012

This was part of SF Performances. A special event that I randomly came across. The Bad Plus  performing Igor Stravinsky’s Rites Of Spring. Yeah-hah. I was waffling right up until 5 of 6 and leaving work (it’s a week of 6 concerts), and I called Gage and he was up for going. Turned out to be fantastic. The Bad Plus are sort of hit or miss – always decent, but sometimes tiring – and sometimes really great (at Herbst with Wendy Lewis, amazing – at Amoeba, short but excellent), and this was definitely one of their great ones. Two sets – 1st set Stravinsky; 2nd set originals. THE RITES OF SPRING: There was a video display at first in front of the the whole stage with a recording of what sounded like spliced edits of the original that drew up when they started playing. The rest of the piece, there was some standardvideos behind them – but it was indifferent. The music though was anything but. They played the whole thing – a 40 minute, continuous slab of constantly shifting and extremely varied music. And they did a fantastic job at capturing the spirit of the piece and updating it, with all its difficulties and abstractions and abrasiveness – and this was very abrasive music. Loud, aggressive, chaotic and wonderful. Amazingly, although the drums were very integrated, and the music never repeated but quite specific, King had no sheet music and played the entire 40 mins from memory and feel (??? – bewildering) – and perfectly too. It ended and Gage said ‘that was for Jeff – dark and difficult’ – which it was to the max. He also described it as “definitely overwhelmingly bombastic” which pretty much sums it up.

2nd set was a wonderful set of originals – one of the best sets I’ve seen of them – tight but energetic, the songs good and worked out, all playing really well – Iverson even ripping off some very busy, very full almost concerto piano clusters. Reid introed the 2nd set with ‘we opened with a Stravinsky piece that we like to use as a little warm up’. A great original Reelect That with King on the brushes in a very impressive way – and how often do I say that – even a fantastic brush solo. Great tunes Seven Minute Mind and In Stitches (both Anderson) and an encore of Never Stop – which I love.  Great show.

1st set

1. Rites Of Spring 

2nd set

1. Pound For Pound

2. Wolf Out

3. Reelect That

4. Seven Minute Mind

5. In Stitches

6. Never Stop        (encore)



DAVID KING – drums


Yoshis, Oakland
October 11, 2012
10pm set

Never seen Archie before – was debating about this – plus, Yoshis, both of them, have SUCKED of late, and I haven’t been in quite a while. It’s like I’m mad at them, and justifiably so since for years they were the best thing about the Bay Area, now they Kenny G and John Tesh multiple times a year (though this month there’s this, plus Tyshawn Sorey(!) and Ron Carter). But notice, 6 awesome shows in a week – none that seemed necessary, but all overstepped their expectations and were excellent – and only 1 of them at Yoshis. Oh well. Anyways, I found ½ price ticket on Goldstar, so went to the 10pm set only. Shepp is, what, 75? (looked it up, he is) – but still playing very much the same, it seems – great, rich tone, babbles a bit, but nails excellent soulful lines in there, plus that edgy, 60’s out hint to everything. Other than Sharpe, I hadn’t heard of the other 2, but they played great – solid drumming, and excellent piano solos. The band had a  real nice hustle and movement to it . Archie blowing longtime, with his rich tone. McClung ripped off some very good solos, and his original “Burning Bright” was one of the better tunes of the night.

Sharpe – damn, that guy can play some bass – strumming and everything. A really nice band. Archie sang, improving I think, on 2 tunes. The lyrics seemed to follow tunes I thought I knew (Come Sunday, My Ideal, I think), but the lyrics were not those lyrics, so I think he was just going at it with whatever. Decent though. He’s an odd duck – someone I’ve never really wrapped my head around – you think he’s a free jazz guy, or a politically intense player, but then he plays way more inside than most (with rumbling solos and out notes and an out edge, but the tunes are in the pocket), or he’ll croon his way through a tune, all wispy and Johnny Hartman-ish. 1st tune was a long, rambling tenor solo – but they tightened up from there on with some nice Archie playing and all. A very pleasantly surprising, very good show. Good stuff Mr. Shepp.

set list

1. Hope 2

2. My Ideal

3. Un Petite Surprise Pour Mademoiselle

4. Come Sunday

5. The Stars Are In Your Eyes

6. Burning Bright

ARCHIE SHEPP – tenor sax, vocals

TOM McCLUNG – piano