Monday, November 18
that was saturday - i also had the time to chat with my folks on the phone for a while, and say hello to hannah (in case any others of you are still unsure about this: hannah is my girlfriend, and has been for some time now), but then i had to run off, in black tux jacket, linen slacks and the shirt dan gave me, for to prepare for jazz band concert. a final runthrough was just what i (and the band) needed to finally get a handle on some of those tunes, and i'm sure the big cardboard box full of sesame chicken didn't hurt either. any hey, the concert turned out really well. we played far better than we ever had in rehearsal, i'm sure. i did soloistic things on hip-bop "seven steps," funky "green dolphin street," bolero-ish "lullaby of birdland," "spain." we made noise, and they liked it.
two cups of cider, then i dashed off to haverford with matt and elena (no doubled date) for another concert, with the "cranberries-heavy" mix on the way. though sunday night's was a close second, this show was undoubtedly the most impressive, the most enjoyable, and certainly memorable of the five. you should have been there. happily, by showing up two hours after doors, we only had to wait a half hour (albeit a half hour of mindless sopranino sax/electronics/spoken word mumbo freeform nonsense) for the headliner: marc ribot y los cubanos postizos.
oh man. on our right we had the rhythm section: funky-hatted brad jones with his electric stand-up and big-eyed expressions, plus the brothers rodriguez on traps, timbales and congas (ej, who manned the latter two, made the most effort of anyone to connect with audience - egging on the group of enthusiastic boyz in front of him.) an older organist stared into space and sat almost motionless behind his plastic portable hammond, too quiet but occasionally contributed some glowing notes. and then there was marc. probably the best guitarist i have ever seen. matt ("ungodly," he said) was flipping out, and for once i didn't think he was exaggerating or going overboard (okay, except the "he carries his pedals around in the same bag as me" bit), because i was right there with him, in awe, in ecstasy.
the impossibly infectious rocked-out dance tunes were great ("postizo" appeared early in the set, "jaguey," "el divorcio" and an extended "pa'huele" later), and the whole room was in motion (this was in a part of their carpeted cafeteria). but the true magic came with a lengthy rendition of "aurora en pekín," essentially a long, soft, sultry improvisation by ribot over a slow clave that gradually revealed itself. matt and i were right in front of marc, sharing his moment, and it was truly powerful. matt yelled "shut up" to hush the murmur of crowd noise, and was astoundingly successful except for a drunken idiot yelling from the back of the room - e.j.'s "la boca! callate!" took care of him.
sunday was more sleepily. i woke up at nine but was lulled back by adam wernick's "lullaby" (well, no wonder), so i was a half-hour late for a 10:00 dance rehearsal. flowed through brunch back to my room for wernick+reading+hannah, then met ben in old tarble and underhill to work on a party proposal, eve back here to drive into the city (for concert #4) and back, then sharples again, lang to practice and the last concert, sac meeting, and finally home again.
both of these concerts, like friday's, featured works by george crumb. i didn't care for much else on the program at the seaport museum - barber's 'knoxville' was pleasant but went on too long; wernick's 'kaddish-requiem' demanding and difficult, and not sufficient to keep me awake. crumb's 'night of four moons,' in contrast to friday's 'black angels,' was more engaging live - the deliberate theatricality of gradual exits is quite effective, even though i was too sleepy to get the full effect. it was also quite nice to have a chance to talk to eve, whom i don't know all that well. she is generous and observant.
then, a strikingly original and remarkably enjoyable performance by italian pianist/barone-chum emanuele arciuli, of his many solicited variations on "'round midnight," among them efforts by g. levinson, fred hersch, uri caine, milton babbitt, david crumb, and a nine-part suite by george. though that last was perhaps the most significant portion of the program, i found myself almost constantly intrigued, entranced, and amused by the music. as wide a range of variations as one could expect, with plenty to explore. i hope there's a recording available.
i'm really happy that music is becoming such a big part of my life (again.) not that it isn't always, but i'm starting to feel it belong to me again in a way that it hasn't necessarily lately, or at least some serious music. it's nice to be getting this sense of the scene. i'm really excited about the concerto. well, i love music.