Showing posts from March, 2011

Joe McPhee & Ken Vandermark: A Meeting in New York

The Stone is a vanguard not-for-profit music venue, founded by composer/musician and MacArthur Genius Award winner John Zorn. The space is located on the corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street on the Lower East Side in New York City. Described by some as a hole in the wall, it is a pretty well-designed one. The interior walls are brick but they are covered with black velvet curtains that fall from a high ceiling to a concrete floor. The room is about two and a half times as long as it is wide. At one end of the space, brick is still exposed; a small room with a white door has been built in the corner. Black plastic folding chairs fill the room. The wall seen on entering is covered with sheet-rock, painted white, and on it are displayed Peter Gannuskin's black and white photographs of the musicians who have curated performances throughout its six year history.

On March 18, 2011, a landmark event occurred...landmark, because Joe McPhee and Ken Vandermark have never played in a duet befo…

Matthew Shipp Trio: The Art of the Improviser Live

I have been writing about improvised music for close to fifteen years. A few times, I have made mistakes in technical language or citing the wrong composer's name for a standard. Even though it gives me a minor headache that these errors passed me by before I let go of the articles to be published, I realize that, in the long run, these mistakes are no big deal and they do not override the content of the writing-only put a scratch in it that can usually be rubbed out by an editor or by a vigilant musician.

I trust myself to open my ears fully to take in the music well enough to describe my feelings on how I hear. I am nervous though every time my fingers hit the computer keyboard to start this process, because, to paraphrase Anne Lamott, you have to rid yourself of all distractions by stashing them metaphorically in jars so that the mind can calm down.

Within the last few weeks, I have been to several concerts. A couple of years ago, I decided that it was tedious to take no…