This was a festival of 3 nights (plus one night of improvised duets), held at 3 or 4 venues near each other with 4 to 6 groups playing at each venue. According to my quick unchecked count, it added up to 53 different performances. I went two nights and heard only 3 groups the first night and 5 (all of them) the second night.
Night one for me was June 23rd at Le Poisson Rouge which is 350 steps (3 min. walk) from my abode. Lucky, huh!
The concert began with Satoko Fujii and her quartet; didn't get the names of the bass, drums players, but the excellent trumpet player is her husband, Natsuki Tamura. I really admire Satoko's playing and creating. In fact, I released her first Minamo CD with Carla Kihlsted on Henceforth Records. It's really good. It was another wonderful set from them. I've heard her play with a variety of bands and always like whatever it is they play.
Marc Ribot played a solo set. I haven't heard a lot of his music but know how good he is and I look forward to hearing more.
Tarbaby. This is a jazz group with Eric Reeves, Nasheet Waits, Orrin Evans and Oliver Lake played with them this night. I thought they were really good. I realize the group plays mostly mainstream music but with Oliver playing, he took it out and added some of his energy and vitality.
Then I left and missed 3 groups. I really wanted to see Ceramic Dog but just couldn't wait until midnight this night. Still sorta jet-lagging I guess.
Tonight was a Brooklyn night. I found my way to Public Assembly Stage 1. Stage 2 was across the hall and really too close. There was lots of sound-bleed from one space to another.
First up - Bizingas. Brian Drye – Trombone, Kirk Knuffke – Cornet, Jonathan Goldberger – Guitar, Ches Smith – Drums. I know how good Kirk and Ches are. The other two were new to me. I like it, but not totally rememberable.
Second- The Claudia Quintet with Theo Bleckmann, but Theo wasn't there. Damn. I love his work. This was a change that didn't make the program. Headed up by John Hollenbeck, I was pleasantly surprised with their music. I thought it would be bland and it wasn't. Happy to hear them again.
Third - Oliver Lake Organ Quartet. I have wanted to hear this group for a long time and was not disappointed. Sadly, at this writing some weeks later, I don't remember who all was in the quartet. But I will try to find out. Okay, here they are: Jared Gold (Organ), Freddie Hendrix (Trumpet), Chris Beck (Drums) I am not sure this is correct but it's what's listed. They were great. Oliver, to me, is a real master. The final number performed was "I Want Jesus to Walk the World with Me." I asked Oliver about that and he told me he likes to end his performances with that - something accessible to the audience. It was a real pleasure for me, that's for sure. Love Gospel music.
Fourth - Ari Hoenig Quartet. Good but not great. Wish I liked it better. Maybe it was because it was late and I was distracted by the sound from next door and waiting for good friend Peter Brotzmann who was up next.
Fifth - Peter Brotzmann's Full Blast. What else could it be called. He always plays at full blast and it's always great, in my view. His loudness is not just that. There are plenty of nuances and timbrel changes and great musicianship. He performed once at my old venue, Spruce Street Forum with Jackson Krall, Lisle Ellis and Marco Eneidi. The audience was stunned. There's a CD of this concert on Marco Eneidi's label and I have many in case anyone wants to buy one. I was so glad I waited until 1 am to hear him. Don't ask who else was with him. Don't know. One of his musicians was refused entry at the Canadian border. Bummer and not fair as he pointed out. Americans musicians can come and go to Europe to perform but we don't offer the same reciprocity.