I saw some great music in November both in NYC and here at home, let me tell ya' all about it:
Scheinman is a fantastic violinist who has been getting a lot of exposure in jazz circles recently and rightfully so, she is a wonderful, unique, and creative musician. Jazz violin often suffers from too much technical flash and pyrotechnics but not enough substance, Scheinman is the complete opposite of that stereotype. While she is no slouch technically her improvisations are clever and melodic. She does not play many jazz cliches as many of us often do, her vocabulary is rooted in Americana and bluegrass as well as jazz.I saw her at the Village Vanguard and she knocked my socks off, besides being a great musician she is just gorgeous with an uncommonly handsome face and the body of a model. Her looks are only part of her stage presence though, she is truly captivating while playing. You might remember me gushing over a pianist named Jason Moran in the past, well Jason is in her band and it was my first time seeing him live too. The show was fantastic and one of the best I've seen in a while.
Pianist Cecil Taylor is one of the fathers of the avant-gard/free jazz genre. To most folks who don't listen to much else besides popular music (nothing wrong with that btw) his music would either sound confusing or childish much like when you see a Jackson Pollack painting for the first time and think "that's not art, I could do that." But Taylor has a unique and beautiful musical vocabulary that is all his own. He is older now and doesn't tour much so I jumped at the chance to see him at the Village Vanguard. He was playing in duet with a drummer/percussionist. I was astounded by his playing, there were no licks or cliches that resorted back to, music was free-flowing from him the entire night. I always thought that his stuff was freely improvised but he actually had some sheet music in front of him that was in some kind of script I didn't recognize. This isn't the type of show you want to see again and again in a short amount of time but it was fantastic nonetheless.
Dos is a band comprised of bassists Mike Watt and Kira Roessler. Watt is a iconic bass player and punk figure, he used to play with the Minutemen, fireHOSE and has his own solo projects. Roessler played in the legendary punk band Black Flag. I didn't know much about the show before going, the show was at a pizza parlor where a buddy of mine used to work and was free (how punk is that?). The show was really interesting, Kira sang a little but mostly it was just the two basses rocking out. You would think a show like that could get really old really quick but they had a lot of neat arrangements worked out and the styles of the songs they played were really diverse. After the show I did a little more research and found out the two used to be married. I'm not going to run out and buy all of their CDs but I'd certainly see another show.
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