My jazz group, The Essentials, plays once a month at 1642 Beer and Wine in Historic Filipinotown! EVERY FIRST SATURDAY. It’s a great bar and this gig is always a good time so come on out for the hang. Here we are providing some background tunes for the Alex Theatre’s closing ceremony last month:
Also, don’t miss the Tes Elations EP “Base Awakes”. Even though the band broke up earlier this year we already had an album in the bag and couldn’t be happier with the fruits of our labor. So that’s why we’re presenting it as the band’s official tombstone and giving it away as a free digital download. Right here: http://www.teselations.com/baseawakes.html
I played drums on this limited edition 7″ by Bouquet. You can stream (or buy) the whole album on bandcamp.
In other news, the new Tes Elations EP will be dropping this week in time for our release show, I’ve finished tracking drums for the Battery Amp debut which will be coming out later, my gig with Joe Santa Maria’s quartet next tuesday is an LA Weekly pick of the week, I’ve begun playing shows with Sanglorians and there is a facebook page for my classic jazz group, The Essentials, which you should go and “like”. Check the shows section for info on upcoming gigs by all of those bands including some out of town excursions to Mexico and the East Coast with Timur at the end of July.
Helloooooo. I’ve got some shows coming up with new projects that I’m very excited about. Please check the shows section for details and come on out and support!
My very good saxophone friend, Joe Santa Maria, and I have formed a two-horns quartet to perform classic albums of the jazz cannon. It is our intention to play at bars and have a good time while digging into the albums that have inspired us. We’ll be debuting this event April 27 at our favorite bar, 1642, and TOMORROW at The Famous in Glendale playing the music of Lee Morgan including his immortal Blue Note classic “The Sidewinder” in it’s entirety. Completing the band is Frank Silva on tenor sax and Toshi Sato on bass.
On April 6, my other saxophone friend and long-time collaborator in bands such as Pitch Like Masses and the Vinny Golia Sextet, Jon Armstrong, is leading a big band performance at the blue whale. We’re gonna fit upwards of twenty people in there, and it’s ALL original music. Much of his music does not sound like traditional big band jazz music, rather it encompasses the kaleidoscope of the many influences that make up his personality. Trevor Anderies, Randy Gloss and Chris Payne will all be joining me in the batterie section. This is gonna be pretttty cool!
Also, my very good buddy and roommate, Gabe Deutsch, has a killer rock band called Battery Amp (formerly known as Baby Gabey and the Cameltones). We’ve been underground rehearsing on and off for about two years now. Our last (and first) show was on Halloween 2012. Check out the pics on facebook. I most definitely did wear a bloody white dress and wig. Please do come to our second outing at Lot 1 in Echo Park on April 17. This band is loud and super super fun. We also play all original music, straight from the one-of-a-kind mind of Gabe.
Sooooooooooooo to recap what’s been happening so far in 2013… I’ll go reverse-chronological. Pitch Like Masses appeared in a revised line-up to perform two shows at a Chinatown indie puppet theater space called Automata. Our frontman, the irreplaceable Billy Mark, moved to Detroit last year. We are not foolish enough to attempt to replace him however in his absence we’ve added Alex Noice to thicken the texture on guitar, keyboard sampler, kaos pad, pedals, etc. This show was a collaboration with animation team, Magnuzaki Labs, called “Into the Sun: in three movements”. The piece was sonic-visual improvisation which lasted about 45 minutes, exploring different aspects of the sun as our central cosmic body, one that guides us through the passage of time, that purifies us and is part of our bodies in the most basic level: life energy.
Through most of February I was on a three week European Tour with singer-songwriter, Simone White. We played in Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France and Italy. This was my first time incorporating live sample triggering into my setup. Simone’s current record is very production heavy so reproducing the songs live necessitates this approach. I used a drumKat 3.5 with Logic. It was definitely a learning curve and there were definitely some technical hurdles but this is something I’m happy to be able to add to my arsenal and plan to explore further. Also in the band was Ihui Cherise Wu on keys, a delightful road companion if there was one. Lots of laughs. I have to say my fondest memories are of the amazing food and drink we were treated. Met some real wonderful people, too. Can’t wait to go back. LA peeps can see me and Ihui play with Simone at the Bootleg Theater on April 28th for Derde Verde’s EP Release Party. I can’t recommend them enough, by the way. Friendships notwithstanding, their first album Moon/Mirror is amazing and can’t wait to hear what they’ve got coming.
Before that, in January, Timur and the Dime Museum was invited to be a part of the Prototype Festival in New York which took place at the HERE theater space in SoHo. We spent five days there doing a multimedia set with Jesse Gilbert on interactive visuals. Check out the band website for a good idea of what we’re working on now. I can’t really verbally describe adequately what this band does, though this NPR interview gives a good idea. We recently finished an album.
Merry Christmas from Tes Elations!
See you soon New York!
(where? …. HERE!)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’m spending it with my San Diego family and hope you’re preparing to gang up on a turkey with your loved ones, too. I’ve been without a computer for a spell, so to sum up the last couple months……. In October, I joined up with Bouquet to hop on the last 2 weeks of Mount Eerie‘s US tour. We played 14 shows in 14 days from Arizona to Washington and had a blast doing it. Phil Elverum’s current lineup is a mostly very young group of Anacortes,WA-based multi-instrumentalists. They are all great folks and sound great together. Highly reccomend!!! Here’s a group shot from underneath the Cozmic Cafe in Placerville:
Worth mentioning are a couple CDs I acquired along the way that I cannot stop listening to. Do yourself a solid and get your hands on these:
- Overgrown Path by Chris Cohen ::: The last show of our tour was the first show of his, supporting his first proper solo album. Very glad I snagged a copy. Incredible songwriting. He was a member of Deerhoof during my favorite period of their’s (Apple’O) and I can see now what an influence he probably had on their music at the time.
- Aggressively Humble by CHLL PLL ::: In Placerville we played with local band Biosexual. Upon hearing of my Zach Hill obsession, their drummer Zac Nelson gave me a copy of this cd they made together. Hill provides the insane drumming, as usual, over which Nelson layered keyboards, harmonized vocals and electronics. The two have a ridiculous chemistry and surprisingly, for all it’s hyper-progressive elements and complex production, a lot of these songs are catchy as hell… Jocelyn Noir (other Biosexual member) also gave me a tape of her solo project ALAK and it is also totally amazing! I’m pretty sure Placerville is a secret UFO landing ground and these guys are humanoid alien expats living in the forest sending letters home via their bandcamp pages…… All in all, I’m really down with this crew and will be keeping up on their output.
After returning home with the songs all honed in, Bouquet tracked 5 songs at Roy Silverstein’s home studio in SD. They will hopefully be released next year in the form of a couple 7″ records. This was not before I did a session at Eddie Rivas’ Total Annihilation Studio for Bostonian brass man and composer David Dominique. We got a group together of my favorite partners in crime to lay down David’s Mingus-inspired jazz works. Brian Walsh, Joe Santa Maria, Gavin Templeton, Alex Noice, Colin Burgess, Eric Km Clark, and the leader on flugabone. Looking forward to hear how these albums turn out!
I bought a drumKat. I wonder where this will lead me. Got some ideas…
December will be a pretty chill month. Preparing a four night stint at the Prototype Festival in NYC with Timur and the Dime Museum. More on that…… here.
Here’s a vid our friend Daniel snapped of a brand new song Tes Elations premiered last friday at our Echo show w/ Julia Holter. We put so much work getting it ready to play that we haven’t thought of a title for it yet… The past few days we’ve been tracking drums for the next album and I’m already excited for how it’s gonna sound!! Woo! Here we are earlier this month on our brief NorCal tour enjoying the clean air and beautiful scenery of Santa Rosa right after a morning blackberry picking excursion. Dig Isaac’s kinky top.
What’s up next?? … Two back-to-back museum gigs with the Vinny Golia Sextet. First, the Hammer Museum in LA on sept 14th, then the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad on the 15th.
Then a little bit later, going on a two-week West Coast tour supporting Mount Eerie. While I was not previously savvy to this band, I am now a total fan. Their latest release Clear Moon is quite wonderful… This will be with a new band called Bouquet.
More details about these things in the shows section.
Alright, that’s all for now! Thanks for checking in.
May was a quite busy month playing drums in Anne Lebaron’s Crescent City Opera. We performed eleven shows (several sold out) at a cool venue / art space / bar / gourmet pizzeria called Atwater Crossing. Anne’s multi-faceted music, which combined New Orleans grooves, electronica, and contemporary classical, was a joy and a challenge to interpret. Read Mark Swed’s LA Times review of the opening night for more insight on this wildly unique and confrontational “hyperopera” production (though it definitely got better near the end of the run).
This trio album was quietly released earlier this year. It’s basically an informal trio session of familiar jazz standards with frequent partner in crime, Alex Noice, on guitar and long time Canadian-Japanese bass player buddy, Toshi Sato. This is oddly the first time Alex or I have ever recorded a standards album. The three of us had built up a good rapport from meeting up regularly at my house to share a 12-pack and play tunes. With Toshi now back in Montreal, it was nice to sum up this partnership by throwing down these tracks and infusing some well-worn material with our own sensibilities. It’s available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby. Aesthetically, I’d say it’s reminiscent of Bill Frisell’s trios and maybe some Gateway thrown in there. Recorded by Chris Votek at the Echo Manor.
I’ve also been working a lot with Tes Elations. We had a great CD release show for the debut album, rocking to a packed house at the Bootleg Bar. The effervescent Julia Holter shared the bill with us and played a captivating and magical solo set. We are taking a break from performing to collaborate on new songs and work on our world-domination scheme. Lookout for exciting things from this band in the imminent future…
And a new Pitch Like Masses live set from RAWR Fest. (Warning: not the best sound quality, but hey it’s free)
What’s next??? Vinny Golia’s label Nine Winds Records celebrates it’s 35th year with a wednesday night residency at the Blue Whale. I’ll be playing with his groups on June 20th and 27th. Hope to see you there!!!
- A -
Two new albums I am very proud to have collaborated on with some dear friends. They were both labors of love and I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as we enjoyed making them.
Joe Santa Maria Quartet feat Larry Koonse: The Illustrated Man (self release 2012)
Joe’s gift for melody, harmonic ingenuity and beautiful sound on alto saxophone allow for even his more cerebral ideas to come across with a folk-like clarity. There are no grand concepts or showboating egos here. Just a varied and memorable collection of songs with an original approach to the jazz tradition, a soulfully swinging and subtly progressive sound world. And world class session guitar master Larry Koonse is the perfect foil. For the album’s warm and earthy feel, big kudos must be given to engineer Nolan Shaheed who really made the sound shimmer. He’s played with Stevie Wonder, Duke Ellington and was Marvin Gaye’s musical director so clearly this man knows about great acoustic sound. The album has a distinctly West Coast feel, which I hope Joe’s NYC crew finds refreshing.
Vinny Golia Sextet: Abstractions and Retrocausalities (NineWinds 2011)
Vinny is an iconoclastic genius of modern music, up there with Threadgill and Braxton. There is a common misconception among musicians who come in contact with his music that because it is often ridiculously challenging, non-idiomatic, and emphasizes group improvisation that it is not meant to be played correctly. I hope this album serves to dispel any such notions. This ensemble has dedicated the last few years developing a personal group sound as Vinny’s working band with a more groove-oriented electric approach. His music is like nothing else in this universe and this record sounds like none of his other records.