Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jam of The Day: 1.31.10

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rope-a-Dope Anniversary Videos

Jam of The Day: 1.30.10

Throwback: Blind Melon

Ron Carter On Piano Jazz


Hear The Session.

January 29, 2010 - Ron Carter first appeared on the national scene as a member of Miles Davis' second great quintet, which coalesced around the recording of Davis' album Seven Steps to Heaven. Carter has also worked with an unbelievable range of giants from inside and outside the world of jazz: from Coleman Hawkins, Chet Baker and Eric Dolphy to Aretha Franklin, Antonio Carlos Jobim and A Tribe Called Quest.

The session gets underway with a duet on "Blues in the Closet," written by bassist Oscar Pettiford. Carter holds down a steady bass line while Marian McPartland swings brightly through a solo; she then comps his bouncing solo with stabbing chords.

"His tunes are fun to play," McPartland says of Pettiford. "They've got a sort of cheerful vibe."

"It's a bass player writing for the instrument," Carter replies. "And anyone can play the tune and have a comfortable experience."

Carter and McPartland continue with a duet on "Stardust." Carter, who started out on cello in the Detroit public schools, brings a unique touch by leading the tune on bass as McPartland accompanies on the piano.

"It didn't sound rushed, and yet you played the whole verse and the whole chorus," McPartland says. "It sounded very romantic."

The session continues with a duet on another Oscar Pettiford tune, "Bohemia After Dark." McPartland follows with her solo rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's "New Orleans," which naturally leads in to another duet on the seminal New Orleans tune "Basin Street Blues."

"People put that tune in a certain category," McPartland says. "But it's nice the way you did that — you led me into doing things."

"One of the fun things about being a bass player is you can make those kinds of things happen," Carter says.

Next, McPartland plays another Piano Jazz signature — her solo musical portrait of the program's guest. The portrait she plays for Carter is both lyrical and playful, and evokes the understated beauty of the bass part in jazz.

"When one hears a musical portrait of oneself played so clearly and wonderfully as that you just played — it's a really humbling sound," Carter says. "Thank you very much."

They close with a duet on Miles Davis' iconic "So What," playing at a tempo somewhere between the steady original from the Kind of Blue sessions for Columbia and the breakneck pace of Davis' early-'60s quintet.

McPartland sums up the tune and this session: "I bet Miles liked it."

Originally recorded June 20, 2006. Originally broadcast in 2007.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Moog Guitar Demo: Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee

I thought this was interesting...


Hiromi: "Place To Be"


Place To Be set for release on January 26, 2010

If all the world is indeed a stage, pianist-composer Hiromi Uehara has played on just about every corner of it. Since the beginning of the decade, she has supported her impressive body of studio work with an ambitious tour schedule that has electrified audiences throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and elsewhere with performances that have pushed the limits of piano jazz to new frontiers of compositional and technical skills.

Each stop on her journey be it the world-class metropolis, the quiet college town or something in between has introduced her to a new and singular vibe that has left an indelible impression on her creative sensibilities. Indeed, she has come away from every new place with just as much as she has brought to it, and perhaps even more.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Festival Family

Festival Family is your one stop resource for music festivals. Festival Family is a unique experience combining the most comprehensive searchable music festival database, music festival reviews, a kind place to meet fellow heads and the only online shakedown street. Festival Family is music festivals!

At Festival Family, you will find music festival reviews located in the community section of the website, submitted by fans just like you. Going to a music fest for a first time? Just got back from a music festival? This is where we can learn about that particular music festival or share all those experiences with your friends.

100 Photos of a Decade...

Check out the Roving Festival Writer (RFW) for some beautiful photos by Andrew Wyatt. Truely an inspiring collection of photos taken from the scene.

Good work RFW.

A Review: moe. Live @ The Brooklyn Bowl

moe. Live at Brooklyn Bowl NYC 2010-01-26

By: Seanpatrick

This was the surprise show after the weekend run at Roseland Ballroom to kick off the 2010 tour. Tickets were only available on a first come, first serve basis at the door. Limited to around 600 in this sparkling new part bowling alley/ part venue/ part restaurant space and successor to the famous Wetlands Preserve.

The crowd was extremely energetic and thrilled to be a part of such a special event. This was definitely a crack team of hardcore moe.rons that scrambled to the venue on a Tuesday night.

The band took the stage looking dapper in suit and tie as they had at Roseland on Saturday night, wasting no time getting immersed in the evening with a dark and evil Tubing The River Styx> The Pit opener. The light rig was minimal on the small-venue stage and this was definitely a back to basics, intimate gathering -- a real coming home type occasion. While some were able to get right up in front of the stage, a few others bowled to the music just a few feet away, adding to the surreality of the event.

The energy between band and crowd never let up once throughout the evening. The entire first set was fire, with Al. leading the way with rocking guitar explorations weaved into extended jams. A stand-alone Wormwood --> 32 Things to close out the first set was definitely a highlight, turning the Brooklyn Bowl into an epic, psychedelic hoe down.

The second set maintained the up-tempo, psy-funk groove energy of the first, taking it even deeper and darker right into the close with a scorching McBain and a technically perfect Brent Black. moe. never fails to keep it fun, and the Take the Skinheads Bowling had people scratching their heads and chucking, but it worked in the moe.ment. Jim was possessed this evening. He usually doesn't call much attention to himself and keeps the beat behind the scenes, but his fully developed xylo solo on McBain was one of the best I have ever heard. The crowd went wild when he took the mic and busted out some tight, tight rapping with a rare Farmer Ben during the extended, two-song encore. Rather than looking to familiar closers, the band dug into the treasure chest and pulled out an Awesome Gary to round out the show.

The boys are starting off the tour and the year right, and Brooklyn Bowl was just the type of treat that keeps people coming back for moe.. "Twenty years, just getting started" is spot on.

Set I
1. -Peter Shapiro Intro-
2. Tubing The River Styx>
3. The Pit>
4. Drums>
5. Spaz Medicine
6. It>
7. Sticks & Stones>
8. Okayalright>
9. Wormwood>
10. 32 Things

Set II
1. -crowd/tuning-
2. The Ghost Of Ralph's Mom
3. Tailspin
4. Take The Skinheads Bowling*
5. Tambourine

Set II (cont.)
1. The Road >
2. Akimbo
3. McBain
4. Brent Black
5. -encore break-

6. Farmer Ben
7: Awesome Gary

Download the show HERE.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kung Fu

Tim Palmieri - guitar (The Breakfast)
Todd Stoops - keys (RAQ)
Kris Jensen - sax (Dickie Betts, Jaimoe, Warren Haynes)
Dave Livolsi - bass (John Scofield, Jazz Is Dead)
Adrian Tramontano - drums (The Breakfast)

Jam of The Day: 1.27.10 pt.2

Eric McFadden Live at Joshua Tree Music Festival on May 18, 2008.


Eric McFadden
James Whiton
Doug Port
Bernie Worrell

Jam of The Day: 1.27.10

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jam of The Day: 1.26.10

Monday, January 25, 2010

Feds OK Ticketmaster/Live Nation Merger


"LOS ANGELES and WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Jan 25, 2010 -- Live Nation, Inc. and Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. today announced that they have reached agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and with the Canadian Commissioner of Competition, clearing the way for the merger of the companies. Upon closing, the company will be renamed Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. to reflect the combination of Live Nation's concert promotions expertise with Ticketmaster's world-class ticketing solutions and artist relationships.

Under the terms of the proposed final judgment filed today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the companies have agreed to divest Ticketmaster's self-ticketing subsidiary, Paciolan, to Comcast-Spectacor and to license the Ticketmaster Host technology to Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc., as well as to other terms that protect competitive conditions in ticketing and promotions. Seventeen State Attorneys General also participated in the matter and have joined in the U.S. consent decree. The parties' consent agreement with the Canadian Commissioner of Competition is on substantially equivalent terms.

As previously announced, in connection with the merger, each issued and outstanding share of Ticketmaster common stock will be cancelled and converted into the right to receive a number of shares of Live Nation common stock such that Ticketmaster stockholders will receive approximately 50.01% of the voting power of the combined company. Subject to final confirmation, the companies expect each share of Ticketmaster common stock to be cancelled and converted into the right to receive 1.474 shares of Live Nation common stock in connection with the merger and for Live Nation to issue approximately 84,613,661 shares of Live Nation common stock to Ticketmaster stockholders in the aggregate.

The combined company will be led by Michael Rapino as CEO and President of Live Nation Entertainment and Irving Azoff as Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and CEO of Front Line. Barry Diller will serve as Chairman of the Board of Live Nation Entertainment. The Board will consist of 14 directors, seven from each company."

moe. To Play Surprise Show at Brooklyn Bowl


moe. has just announced a special two set show at the intimate Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY for Tuesday January, 26. Tickets are only available at the door and will cost $25. Doors open at 6 p.m., moe. will play at 9 p.m.

Complete moe. tour dates available here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

moe: Tow Nights @ The Roseland Ballroom...

Session Spotlight: Toubab Krewe


Session Spotlight: Toubab Krewe Performs "51 Foot Ladder"

"Asheville's Toubab Krewe is an instrumental band which fuses the music of Mali and other West African influences with American musical styles. The band has travelled several times to West Africa to study with indigenous instructors, as well as participate in a centuries old music festival in the desert.

The band recently stopped by KUT's Studio 1A for a captivating session that featured the usual rock band instruments (guitar, bass, drums) augmented by a kora, ngoni, djembe, krin and scraper. The performance had the familiar underpinnings of rock 'n' roll, but with an otherworldly feel like nothing you've ever heard."

Toubab's New Year's show...

Toubab Krewe Live at The Orange Peel on December 31, 2009.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jam of The Day: 1.23.10

A Review: Max Creek in Rochester

Friday, January 22nd. Day one of the two night run...

I went into the evening knowing full well that this may not be a show that takes me there... A few weeks ago I was listening to a Max Creek set on the Archive, and it was so bad my girlfriend asked me to turn it off. Then a couple of nights ago I had the thought that maybe I was just listening to an "off" show, so I gave it another whirl... Not good.

Luckly when I showed up at Water Street (after a bottle of wine, in the back seat of a car), with the assistance of my buddy Jason; I was able to wook a free ticket. The crowd was modest and as with most Max Creek shows; older. I found one of the two opening bands to be fairly entertaining, however not entertaining enough to catch their name.

Max Creek's first set was very short and extremely uneventful. Little to no impressive musicianship, the songs were slow and drug on, and the crowd seemed "distracted". After a 45 minute set break, the band re-emerged with less energy than before (if thats possible). They teased some Dead, played "Loser" and closed with what I felt was their first entertaining song/jam of the evening. My party left after that jam, not even sticking around for the encore.

I was offered a couple of free tickets for the following night of the two night run, and didn't even consider the option. Although I enjoyed my evening with good friends, The highlight of the evening was hanging out after the show.

Overall: 1/5


Friday, January 22, 2010

Official Statement from Rothbury...


"During the past three years, all of us involved with ROTHBURY have greatly appreciated the tremendous outpouring of support for the future of the festival. For 2010, we have had to make the tough decision to postpone our efforts. A contributing factor in our decision is that, due to various artists’ recording and touring schedules, we now believe that timing will not allow for us to assemble the cutting edge roster that everyone has come to expect from ROTHBURY. The result for this year is that we are not able to move forward with the integrity and high standards that we demand from ourselves and for the festival.

Despite the 2010 postponement, we intend to move toward continuing ROTHBURY in 2011. This event is something very special, and we are unwilling to potentially tarnish what ROTHBURY is, and can become, by working under conditions that will produce anything less than a magical experience.

ROTHBURY is more than a festival. It is a mission intended to discover strength in community, and what it means to be a large-scale sustainable event in these times. Our efforts are certainly not coming to an end.

It is important for us to thank the people of Michigan, Oceana County, The Village of Rothbury, Grant Township, and the Double JJ Resort. Also, we thank our team members, volunteers, creative contributors, media partners, and sponsors. We have made many friendships that will last a lifetime.

To all who attended the first two years of ROTHBURY we thank you for the soul you gave the event. Those times entered rarified air because of your energy.

We hope you have a fantastic July 4th this summer."

Rothbury Will Not Take Place in 2010


"Rothbury will not take place this summer, according to The Detroit Free Press. According to the article, “After an initial embrace from residents near the Double JJ, rumblings of discontent began to emerge in recent months. Officials with Grant Township were considering the adoption of ordinances that would have forced a 1 a.m. noise curfew.” The environmentally-friendly festival debuted in 2008 at Rothbury, MI’s Double JJ ranch featuring the likes of Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band, Trey Anastasio, Phil Lesh & Friends and Gov’t Mule. The festival faced scares in late 2008 and early 2009 after the Double JJ ranch’s owners went bankrupt, but returned to the site this past summer. Last year’s festival drew even larger crowds with a lineup that featured The Dead, String Cheese Incident, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and the Black Crowes."

There have also been rumblings of a hoax... I'll keep you updated.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jam of The Day: 1.21.10

Phil Lesh and Friends Live at Independence Hall - Cricket Arena on April 20, 2001.

-Warren Haynes
-Jimmy Herring



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stanton Moore Trio w/ Benevento Russo Duo

Stanton Moore, Robert Walter, Will Bernard, Marco Benevento & Joe Russo...

Part 6 was missing.

Bela Fleck Outlines 2010 Plans


Bela Fleck has confirmed a series of winter dates with his Africa Project. The banjo player explains:

This time I am bringing over a 7 piece Malian band that features the Malian banjo – called the N’goni. Bassekou Kouate leads N’goni Ba, which includes 4 n’gonis two percussionists and the great vocalist Ami Sacko.
I am proud to report that I am also bringing back Anania Ngoliga and John Kitime, from Tanzania.

I must say, Bassekou and Anania are the two musicians I felt the most akin to while on my trip to Africa. They are both incredible improvisers and very open eared musicians and we have so much fun playingI look forward to seeing what we can all do together!

The tour will coincide with the release of Throw Down Your Heart: The Africa Sessions Part 2, Unreleased Tracks. The album, which will feature additional material from the Throw Down Your Heart project, will be available beginning February 2.

Fleck has also outlined the rest of his year. In April, Fleck will travel to Australia with Oumou Sangare, and this summer he will tour with Edgar Meyer with Zakir Hussain. Fleck also plans to regroup with the Flekctones for some recording sessions in the fall and a tour in December. In addition, he plans to on a banjo concerto and possibly a movie score.

Fleck’s dates with the Africa Project include:

February 2 Durango, CO— Fort Lewis College
February 3 Santa Fe, NM—Lensic Performing Arts Center
February 4 Fort Collins, CO — Aggie Theater
February 5 Aspen, CO — Wheeler Opera House
February 6 Grand Junction, CO — Avalon Theater
February 8 Boulder, CO — Boulder Theater
February 10 Dallas, TX — Granada Theater
February 11 Oxford, MS —Lyric Theater
February 12 Murray, KY —Murray State University
February 13 Lawrence, KS — Liberty Hall
February 14 Urbana, IL —TBA
February 16 Oberlin, OH —Oberlin’s Finney Chapel
February 17 Ann Arbor, MI — University of Michigan
February 18 Athens, OH —Ohio University
February 19 Indianapolis, IN —Butler University
February 20 Omaha, NE —Holland Performing Arts Center
February 21 Chicago, IL —Old Town School
February 22 Hamilton, OH — Miami University
February 24 Wilmington, DE —Grand Opera House
February 25 Storrs, CT —University of Connecticut
February 26 Waterville, ME — Opera House
February 27 Lewisburg, PA —Bucknell University
March 1 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada —Ottawa Jazz Festival
March 2 Brunswick, ME —Bowdoin College
March 3 State College, PA — Penn State University
March 4 Roanoke, VA —Jefferson Center
March 5 Frederick, MD —Weinberg Center
March 6 Atlanta, GA —Georgia State University
March 8 Orlando, FL — Plaza Theater
March 9 Fort Pierce, FL — Sunrise Theater
March 10 Jacksonville, FL —Florida Theater
March 11 Tuscaloosa, AL —BAMA Theater

Jam of The Day: 1.20.10

Stanton Moore Live at Exit/In on September 7, 2008.

Stanton Moore Trio Featuring; Robert Walter & Wil Bernard.



Jam of The Day: 1.20.10

A Review: Project/Object 1.2.10 Martyr's, Chicago, IL


Frank Zappa hit me like a tornado. My boy T-Bone turned me on to Zappa about 2 years ago and I was instantly obsessed. I spent about 3 months listening almost exclusively to Frank. I sucked down anything and everything I could wrap my mitts around. After studying a number of albums, I got completely hooked on Roxy & Elsewhere, Over-Nite Sensation and Apostrophe. It's to the point now where I feel like I could split my head open at the jawbone like a Pez dispenser and just pour Zappa down my neck. I love it. All of it. So it pleases me to no end that there are some kickass Zappa tribute bands currently shredding all over America. Of course there's Frank's son Dweezil's project: Zappa Plays Zappa. But as I recently discovered, there is another band still proudly keeping the Zappa fires burning: Project/Object. And this band features two members of Frank's old crew, Ike Willis and Ray White. So I knew I'd be in for a classic show.

P/O made their annual stop at Martyr's a two-night affair to kick off 2010. But after the madness of Umphrey's I needed a night off and skipped the first show. Turns out this was somewhat of a mistake as they played some of my favorite songs in this set; featured were "Peaches En Regalia", "Inca Roads" and "I'm The Slime". I obtained this knowledge when I first arrived at the venue. I snuggled up next to the stage in my usual Martyr's spot and right next to me was this old Head who absolutely reeked like a greenhouse. I knew he knew what was up so I asked him if he saw the previous night's show. He smiled and pulled out the setlist to let me examine it for a minute. I was bummed that I missed those songs, but this knowledge reassured me that they would play some rippers. It turned out that this night's set would be pretty similar to the previous night, but without the songs mentioned above and adding a few tasty treats.

They started the show off with some strange improv to inform us that this show was definitely going to be unique. Zappa's music always seems to amplify the absurd and this show held true to this ethos. Throughout the first set, which was littered authentic Zappa energy, Ike & Ray injected bits of humor into the lyrics. Their focus of ridicule on this night was Tiger Woods. Apparently they got swept up in the media circus surrounding Tiger's scandalous ass, because they absolutely let him have it. A highlight for me was "Cosmik Debris", during which Ray shredded a guitar and they changed up the lyrics to: "Look here Tiger... don't you swing those clubs at me". Fucking golden. Also joining Ike & Ray on stage were a trio of talented musicians. On the keys was Eric Svalgard (for some reason he looks exactly like I always pictured a guy with the name "Napoleon Murphy Brock" would look like, but alas, it wasn't him), commanding the lead guitar was Andre Cholmondeley and on bass was David Johnsen. It was Johnsen who blew up the next highlight song, "Apostrophe", by showing his chops with a fuzzed out & powerful bass lead. Towards the end of the set, they just couldn't help themselves and brought back the hilarity that is the downfall of Woods' life in "Montana". This time the lyric was: "Movin' to Montana soon... gonna be a Tiger floss tycoon". Personally, I thought it was pretty damn funny and felt like that kind of stuff is exactly what Zappa music is all about. However, some knucklehead standing next to me kept grumbling, "Ahhh, get off this golf crap!" I wanted to pee in his beer.

The second set featured a bunch of songs that I wasn't very familiar with. Part of me was disappointed that I couldn't groove to the songs I know and love. But part of me was incredibly stoked by this because I loved all the songs they did play, which only further (I keep typing Furthur, :) ) proves just how vast & amazing Zappa's body of work truly is. A serious high mark for me was when they stomped out "The Illinois Enema Bandit" which is definitely one of the goofiest Zappa songs and I feel could play as his thesis. This version featured an amazing display by Ray where he'd play a chord and harmonize it with his voice, sounding almost like a guitar duel of sorts. Ike & Ray kept up the Tiger bashing intermittently, adding that they "knew the horse was dead, but had to keep beating it". Indeed, the overexposure of a subject like this is integral to the absurdity of it all and Ike & Ray played that angle all the way to the bank. But Tiger wasn't the only humor in the show. Ike's sense of humor was really on display the whole time as he'd chime in with funny shit that sounded exactly like a lot of the banter on classic live Zappa recordings. After a particularly scorching solo by Andre, Ike belted out, "LORD HAVE MERCURY!" Then between songs he'd add to the weird by whispering something like, "hey brah hey brah got the heady nugs brah?" He basically captured exactly what I imagined being at a Zappa show in 1974 would have been like. In fact, I was almost as entertained by all the banter and silliness as I was by the show. This is no surprise as one of my favorite Zappa "songs" is "Dummy Up", which is essentially a skit constructed with nonsense & absurdity. The banter was definitely awesome, but they ended the show with an uber crunchy "San Ber'dino" that sent me home on a high & fantastic note. The music of Project/Object definitely holds up to the standard of Frank Zappa and I left this show with tremendous respect for these guys. They certainly do ol' Frank justice and that is no small feat.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

John Medeski: Strong as Ever with MMW


The Medeski, Martin & Wood band, one that has amassed followers like a snowball rolling down a mountain of wet snow since its emergence on the scene over 18 years ago, is one of those exceptional organizations that doesn't stick to playing what might be expected by its audiences. They don't play it safe, instead choosing to explore sounds, grooves, genres as the spirit moves them. And 2009 saw the spirit moving them a great deal.

Also, unlike many groups that stay together a long time for music making, these three gentlemen like each other. They tour the world playing their music, changing it nightly, and doing it according to their own vision. After all this time, the group hasn't gotten stale. It was a particularly fertile year for MMW. For proof, Exhibit A is Radiolarians: The Evolutionary Set, released Dec. 8, 2009, by Indirecto Records (the band's own label). It's a collection of music developed through the course of the year, some of it released previously as Radiolarians I, II and III, but now available in one package and augmented with more musical accessories.

"It's almost like it was in the early days again," says John Medeski, the keyboardist whose skills blend so deftly with those of bassist Chris Wood and drummer Billy Martin. "That's what's so weird. After 18 years you think we wouldn't be talking to each other. But we're like family. We're friends. We get along. I think this past year, doing this Radiolarians project, we get along better than ever. It's really a very creative thing for us, to do the three records, write all the music. It was very inspiring, and re-connecting, for us, with what we're capable of doing."

The new package set compiles the Radiolarians music released individually during the year along with three previously unreleased bonus tracks. There's also a special edition, high-quality audio, double-vinyl pressing of highlights from the three Radiolarians albums.

More? Sure. There's a 10-track disc of remixed music featuring contributions from nine different DJs and producers.

Enough? No. Toss in a previously unreleased 70-minute live album of the new material, and then a Billy Martin-directed DVD feature film entitled "Fly In A Bottle." Filmed in the studio and on the road, it provides an intimate portrait of the band and its music.

The Radiolarians is expansive, the trio bringing in many influences in both their playing and writing. Different styles and grooves. It gets funky, ethereal, complicated and slick. The process involved the trio getting together for brief writing retreats, then performing only that new material on tour. Then recording it immediately after getting off the road. It occurred three times while touring in different regions of the United States and South America.

The Radiolarian moniker comes from a type of single-celled marine organism with a very intricate exoskeleton. German biologist Ernst Haeckel's drawings were featured on the covers of all three Radiolarians records—and were a visual inspiration for the trio's music throughout the project. Haeckel is credited with discovering and naming thousands of new species and popularizing the studies of Charles Darwin in Germany during the late 1800s.

"Sometimes we'd come up with ideas [individually], for other things we would create music together, which is something we have been doing for a long time," says Medeski. "It's easy for us. We created a night of music, then we would go out and do that for the whole tour. We would develop and work it out on the road ... Elements are open for improvisation so every night can be a little different. So, that's what we did. Every night would be a little different. It gave us the opportunity to develop, familiarize ourselves with a lot of aspects of the songs and where they could go, using a live audience for inspiration.

"So, we would come back and record. A couple days in the studio we'd do a very live recording. Our engineer who mixed the records, Dave Kent, is also the live engineer. So he got to hear the music for 10 days before [recording]. So everyone involved with the recording was very familiar with the music. We were able to go in and knock it off very quickly. Sort of a more jazz style. Be able to do it quick. Which was great."

Medeski says the process is fun and was a rare chance to get together just for writing. In previous cases, "because we have lives and do other projects, as a band we get together and do music when it's called for, [which means] when we're going to make a record, if we have a special project. For the past 10 years, we haven't just been getting together and writing songs just for the sake of it. We always have so many projects going and so many things going on that we, in general, have just done stuff that needed to be done."

But with Radiolarians, "This was a way of using our touring life as a reason to write this music. We sort of created the opportunity, basically. Created a way for us to do this. It's a way to keep things fresh, which we've always tried to do. There were definitely times years ago when we could have gone the more obvious route: the jam band-MMW-funky-groovy-easy-obvious selling route. Maybe we should have," he adds with a laugh. "We could all retire. But we didn't. We made a concerted effort to keep things fresh. That's who we are as individuals and musicians. We never would be happy, we certainly wouldn't still be together, had we done that."

Albums are still being made on vinyl, but its rare for a band of the status of MMW to do so. Simply put, they like the sound of the vinyl disks and people who still enjoy that medium will be more than pleased.

"We've always loved vinyl. There are people always asking for it. Truth is, vinyl sales have gone up. It makes sense, because it is an incredible format. People are re-realizing it, and it tends to be people who have the means to buy the nice audiophile equipment," says Medeski. "There is nothing like it. If you're into it, you're into it. It's something you can't reproduce any other way. In truth, soon the downloadable technology is going to be as good or better than CDs. Right now, the MP3 thing is a complete disaster and drag, in my opinion. But that'll change. Eventually you'll be able to download super high resolution stuff. [Currently], they sound like shit. It's the worst element, the worst nightmare of what, sonically, digital music means. Especially if you compare it to a [vinyl] record. Put on a record and listen to it, then listen to an MP3. It's unbelievable. You listen to a record, you feel the music. You're in it. You put on MP3 and it's just kind of there.

"People argue digital is just as good. It's only barely getting to be just as good at the highest resolution. It will be eventually, because all the stuff is getting better. It's just a matter of figuring out how to make things go faster, and more, which they seem to be doing all the time. Soon, you'll be able to get high- resolution recordings digitally and downloadable. It's all going to be out there ... We've been recording at high resolution. Unfortunately, they don't come out on the CD that way but they go to the vinyl that way. When you hear it back that way [in the studio], it really does sound better. It's richer and there's a lot of dimension to it."

While many MMW fans have live concert tapes that they swap, the new live recording will show a different side to the music that was developed this year. "Because the music is open, every time we play these songs, it's different. Even now. So you can hear we're playing the same tune, but the solos are going to be different, the energy's going to be different. It's kind of a way to hear different versions of these tunes that we've codified on the records, to show what the other options are," says Medeski.

There's a lot more going on in the music of MMW, even though they were tossed into the "jam band" category years ago, as they played seamless sets that often glided from motif to motif, composition to composition. It wasn't unusual to have young people in tie-dye T-shirts—emblems of the Grateful Dead fans—at their shows dancing care-free to the music. Performing on bills with the rock band Phish certainly added to the jam band reputation.

Admits Medeski, "We were so surprised to have been thrown into that [jam band] category. We call our music homeless music. If anybody asks us now what we call our music, that's what we call it: homeless music. I understand why we were embraced by that [jam band]) community. It's great. My mother always said, 'Don't bite the hand that feeds you.' We've had mixed feelings about it over the years, but you really can't pick your audience. And if you do, then maybe you're not being true to yourself. If you're going out of your way to attract a certain audience, then you're preconceiving your art. It's not really art then, is it? It's not really expression, it's entertainment. And we're really expressing ourselves. So whoever comes, comes. What are you gonna do? [laughs] What can we do about it? You gotta love it."

"In all honesty, sometimes it's great, but there are elements that are a drag. Sometimes we want to go certain places that sometimes an audience is not ready to go. We tend to go there anyway. Hard part is, you can feel what the crowd wants. Sometimes they just want you to do this thing that they hear all these other bands do, just be funky and play a thousand notes forever. But we can't do it. It's an endless balancing act."

The Radiolarian series is a way of keeping the music interesting and creative to Medeski, Martin and Wood themselves. Says the pianist, "The whole idea really is about creating a certain energy when you play. Playing music that helps you get to that place to create that energy. Create a certain space. That's what we're trying to do, we're trying to create that space. The way we do that is by being inspired and being excited. If we're playing the same old stuff all the time, we don't get there and if we don't get there 'it' doesn't get there. We want it to get there. That's another reason we tried doing it this way this year."

The project goal, that desire to produce something that is art, is surely a creative act. That is all the more glaring because, according to Medeski, making the three albums was "in all honesty, financially, a disaster. All the clubs we did were small club tours. We made three records at a time when nobody's buying CDs anyway. We definitely didn't do it as a commercial venture."

The real payoff is the music and where it has come from—an artistic aesthetic.

"We're happier than we've been in a long time, as a band," he says. "It reminds me of the old days. We're having fun playing. We're looking forward to getting together and playing all the time. It's exciting still, after 18 years. We don't have separate dressing rooms and travel in separate vehicles. We hang out. We eat dinner together. We talk. We play. It's great."

Medeski, Martin and Wood met in Brooklyn. "The great drummer Rakalam Bob Moses made us aware of each other when I was still living in Boston. We got together in New York City. I have to give Moses credit for being the guy who turned us on to each other. Then we got together and played and it was instant. Medeski and Wood were students at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music. They decided to move to New York City. Martin was already there and had taken some lessons with Moses. From the start, the trio experimented with various rhythms and genres. Gigs began to pile up in New York city, including spots like the Village Gate and the Knitting Factory. Then it was off on the road.

"We were in a van, then we bought a camper together. We got a trailer," says Medeski. "We really committed. We went on the road for a couple years and just stayed out. We played all over North America and built an audience. That's not really a jazz way of doing things, from what I've seen. It is, in the old sense, back in the '40s and '50s. That's what people were doing, driving all over. But in the past 20 years, 30 years, that hasn't been the mode. Most jazz musicians go to Europe [for more gigs and to reach audiences]."

The audiences grew. "It all worked out perfectly. I don't think we could do what we did 15 years ago now, doing every single thing ourselves. I don't think we could handle that at this point. We're lucky [currently] to be in a position where we can have some help doing everything."

The group's first album, Notes From The Underground, came out in 1992 on Amulet Records (originally issued by Gramavision). Next they signed with Gramavision, which lasted for a few albums before a jump to Blue Note records. The first release on their own Indirecto label was 2007's Out Louder, a collaboration with guitar master John Scofield. Building their music, and discography, in a grassroots fashion springing from a vast amount of touring from their camper, built a strong fan base and foundation for the band. Unlike some emerging jazz artists who jump on the scene with fanfare, only to fall by the wayside, this was not a house of cards being constructed, but one of brick and mortar.

"Absolutely," says Medeski. "We realize that. That's why we did it. That's the only way to build something, for it to be real, is to go out and do what you do. If people really like it, they'll be there. They'll come back, or tell their friends and you'll find the people who are interested. We certainly weren't getting much help from record companies or anything like that—at all. I don't think we ever once took tour support for a tour. I think maybe one time, going to Europe, we got a little help, we did a few things in Europe. We've always been very independent that way."

He adds, "Our very first record, Notes From the Underground, we made cassettes first, then we made CDs and we sold them at our gigs. We still own that. The very first record that we did, we did completely independently. Then we got signed on to Gramavision, which became Rykodisc. We silk-screened our own T-shirts and sold them after the show, off the stage. We've always been independent. Even when we were with record labels, we still kept an independent spirit. It was very important to us."

The topsy-turvy nature of the recording business now has many musicians wondering which way to turn. Some labels are still working. Others are going with independent backing. It's an industry in flux. "It's harder, there's no question," Medeski says. "The thing that's killing the music industry effects everybody, musicians of all kinds. We had a great run with Blue Note, but we were ready to be done when we were done. We were dying to be on our own so we could put stuff out how we wanted, when we wanted, the way we wanted, without any pressure or expectations. Blue Note is a fantastic record label ... For us, at the time, they were very hands-off ... That's the way it should be. They didn't ever put any pressure on us artistically. They let us do what we do. And did what they could with it. But I think we're better off now. We're happier as a band."

As for Medeski himself, he was born in Kentucky and grew up in Florida before his journey northward. "I guess I've played my whole life," he says of his early attraction to the piano. His father taught him to play blues and jazz standards on the piano at a very young age and he remained fascinated with the instrument. He enrolled in the Pinecrest School, a private institution where he studied classical music and theory. "I was into playing classical piano and then I would play songs that my parents liked as well. I'd just read the sheet music to some of these old tunes. Then I heard Oscar Peterson [on record] over at a friend's house playing some of those same songs. I was like: Holy shit. Really? You can play it like that? It doesn't have to be Lawrence Welk? You've got to be kidding me."

Medeski became more interested and started taking jazz lessons, first from Lee Shaw. Then his horizons began to expand beyond acoustic piano. "When I was up in Boston, I was in a blues band. Jazz and blues band, I guess. I started playing organ. A guy turned me on to all this organ music. I was only 19 years old. I never imagined I'd play it. When I was a kid I guess I played Fender Rhodes piano, but in all honesty I never took it seriously. It was what you did because they didn't have a piano," he says. "Obviously things have changed. I've fallen in love with all these old keyboards. It's great. I love it."

He was influenced by the lineage of great pianists, but cites Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Bill Evans, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Sun Ra, Billy Preston and Stevie Wonder as highlights among them, as well as drawing inspiration from musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Wayne Shorter.

Of course, MMW has never been his sole outlet or claim to fame. He continues to explores classical music at times and can be heard in various jazz contexts as well. He has scored films. He's produced projects for groups including The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, gospel instrumentalists The Campbell Brothers and The Wood Brothers, which is his band mate Chris Wood with brother Oliver Wood on guitar. He's performed with New York-based musicians John Zorn, Marc Ribot, John Lurie and Steve Bernstein, among others, and has recorded with the likes of Rufus Wainwright, k.d. lang, Iggy Pop, Maceo Parker, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Mavis Staples.

He also recorded with sax man James Carter on Heaven on Earth (Half Note), recorded live at New York City's Blue Note nightclub during an engagement and released this year, with a monster group consisting of Christian McBride, Adam Rogers, and Joey Baron.

"That was really a blast," he said. "It's a pretty exciting band. Every night was great. Hopefully we'll get out there and [promote] that some time. That would be great ... I've always been doing a lot of different stuff. I've got some stuff going on right now. Some stuff with Zorn ... I was involved with a Tony Williams Lifetime tribute at the beginning of this year with Vernon Reid, Cindy Blackman and Jack Bruce. We did a run at the Blue Note In Japan. That was really fun."

He adds, "I've been working on a lot of solo piano. I'm working with this guitar player right now and working on a few records with guitarist Tisziji Munoz. That band is Bob Moses, both Don Pate and John Lockwood on basses. We have a few records coming out. We're trying to finish them up right now."

His MMW mates are also busy with their own projects, but MMW is going as strong as ever and it appears that fans can continue to expect new and stimulating music for the foreseeable future.

"We certainly have the longevity of a rock band. We're not really a rock band. Our music is different every night. We re-invent stuff," explains Medeski. "We're improvising. We're communicating musically on stage. We're not just playing the same old radio hits from 18 years ago. We find ways to keep growing musically. If we weren't, we would stop. That's when we're going to be done. If we aren't still getting something out of it creatively, we're not going to do it any more. That's the kind of people we are as individuals ... We keep ourselves going. We all have other things and other interests and we respect that, honor that, for each other. That enables us to do what we do."

Going forward? "You never know," he says, chuckling. He approaches saying the music is as good now as it has ever been, but then pulls back slightly on the reins. "I don't know, it's not really for me to say musically whether it's as good as it's ever been because I have no perspective on it. We just do it. But it in terms as what's going on between us as a group, it's as good as it's ever been. Whatever that means, we'll see."

One thing for sure, MMW will stay inventive because the members won't have it any other way, as their discography, exemplified in the Radiolarians package, attests. This won't be a stodgy outfit.

Jamage of The Day: 1.19.10

Jam of The Day: 1.19.10

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lunar Crush: John Medeski & David Fiuczynski

Stop what you are doing and download this...

Lunar Crush

Hiromi: Pachelbel's Canon, Reinvented


Pachelbel's Canon' by Hiromi

January 15, 2010 - Pianists have long played Pachelbel's stately Canon, but Japanese jazz player Hiromi Uehara stands out for her treatment of this classical chestnut. In the version on her new CD, Place to Be, she starts off sounding like a typical, earnest student, plunking the oft-heard melody at a deliberate pace. Then the piano takes on a weird sound — strained, thin, metallic, almost like a robo-harpiscord. Hiromi has "prepared" her instrument by placing a metal ruler on the strings to alter its essence. Instantly, the Canon loses its familiarity.

Next, the 30-year-old keyboardist fiddles with the piece itself, adding syncopation and swing and charming, stuttered notes. She turns the melody over to the left hand; her right hand reappears with enchanting trills and intricate improvisations on the melody. Rolling chords, tinged with dissonance, rise and fall like ocean waves.

Throughout, Hiromi's classical technique is evident in her firm yet light touch, in her impeccable sense of time and in her respect for the structure of the piece, even as she turns it inside-out. Her reinvention of the Canon is whimsical and witty, moody and meandering. Yet, in the end, the piece wanders back to its original form: Hiromi's restless fingers land on the final chord, delicately and sweetly, just as millions of pianists have done before her.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

Jam of The Day: 1.18.10

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jam of The Day: 1.15.10

Wanee Announces...

Wanee Music Festival 2010, Located at The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. April 16th, 17th and an extended kick off party on the 15th.

Tickets go on sale January 22 at 10 am.

Initial Line-up:

The Allman Brothers band 2 Nights!
Widespread Panic 2 Nights!
Gov't Mule
Derek Trucks Susan Tedeschi
Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman
& Jay Lane Are Scaring the Children
Stephen Stills
The Black Keys
Dr. John
Hot Tuna Electric
7 Walkers Feat. Bill Kreutzmann & Papa Mali
JJ Grey and Mofro
Johnny Winter
George Clinton & Parliment Funkadelic
The Funky Meters
The Wailers
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
North Mississippi Allstars
A Family Affair with Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk performing Sly & the Family Stone
Jaimoe's Jasssz Band
Chuck Leavell With The Randall Bramblett Band
Oteil and Kofi Burbridge with the Lee Boys
Col. Bruce Hampton
Devon Allman's Honeytribe
Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio
Bonobos Convergence

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bach and Friends

Below are clips from "Bach and Friends". Available on DVD, January 2010 at Ths film is a New Documentary on Johann Sebastian Bach; involving a wide range of musicians.


Under The Covers: Yonder Mountain String Band

This compilation collects all the Yonder rock and roll covers, from Floyd to Zappa to the Misfits. No Grateful Dead covers - see the "Yonder Plays Jerry" compilation for those. And for those who worry about these things, the criteria for a song making it in here was that all four YMSB members had to be on stage for it to count.

Compiled, tweaked and torrented by the Yondermeister.
Greatful thanks to Pastor Tim and all the tapers. And the biggest thanks go to YMSB and Ben Hines, soundman supreme.

DISC ONE [71.55]
01 3rd Stone From The Sun (Jimi Hendrix Experience) 04-02-2004 7.41
02 4 Walls Of Raiford (Lynyrd Skynrd) 04-02-2004 3.55
03 20 Eyes (The Misfits) 11-20-2002 2.16
04 All Hell Breaks Loose (The Misfits) 10-31-2003 1.42
05 And Your Bird Can Sing (The Beatles) 04-06-2002 3.16
06 Astro Zombies (The Misfits) 10-31-2003 1.51
07 Bloody Mary Morning (Willie Nelson) 11-20-2002 3.21
08 Cocaine (JJ Cale) 03-31-2005 4.00
09 Come Together (The Beatles) 06-18-2005 7.01
10 Corona (minutemen) 10-31-2003 2.21
11 Crazy Train (Ozzy Osborne) 10-08-2005 7.58
12 Dear Prudence ^ (The Beatles) 06-25-2005 7.03
13 Dixie Chicken # (Little Feat) 06-29-2003 6.57
14 Dogs (Pink Floyd) 10-31-2005 15.00

DISC TWO [60.51]
01 Dominated Love Slave (Green Day) 02-09-2001 2.03
02 Don't Bogart That Joint (Little Feat) 04-20-2007 3.53
03 Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere % (Neil Young) 06-24-2005 6.35
04 Fly Like An Eagle # (Steve Miller) 02-19-2005 7.27
05 Funkytown # (Lipps Inc) 02-19-2005 4.38
06 Girlfriend Is Better % (Talking Heads) 06-24-2005 14.35
07 Good Ol' Boys # (Willie Nelson) 02-19-2005 2.19
08 Goodbye Blue Sky (Pink Floyd) 04-20-2006 3.08
09 Heroin (Velvet Underground) 03-31-2005 4.47
10 I Am The Slime @ (Frank Zappa) 06-26-2004 12.01

DISC THREE [72.51]
01 I'm Only Sleeping (The Beatles) 04-22-2004 2.33
02 In My Life (The Beatles) 05-14-2005 2.28
03 It's All Too Much (The Beatles) 08-11-2006 7.28
04 It Takes a Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry + (Bob Dylan)
11-01-2003 5.10
05 Low Rider # (War) 07-01-2001 3.37
06 Maggie's Farm $ (Bob Dylan) 12-31-2004 10.12
07 No Expectations * (Rolling Stones) 06-26-2004 13.40
08 Oklahoma (JJ Cale) > Whipping Post (Allman Brothers) > Oklahoma
10-02-2003 12.10
09 Only A Northern Song (The Beatles) 09-29-2001 6.11
10 Ooh La La (The Faces) 12-31-2006 4.44
11 Rock & Roll All Night # (Kiss) 07-01-2001 4.42

DISC FOUR [61.34]
01 Shady Grove (trad) > Don't Stop Til You Get Enough (Michael
Jackson) > Shady Grove 04-21-2001 8.03
02 Skulls (The Misfits) 10-31-2003 2.25
03 Spanish Harlem Incident (Bob Dylan) 04-20-2001 3.36
04 Stairway To Watchtower # (Led Zeppelin/Bob Dylan) 02-19-2005 7.21
05 Suspicious Minds (Elvis Presley) 11-11-2003 4.21
06 Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynrd) 06-19-2002 5.02
07 Think For Yourself (The Beatles) 10-08-2005 2.18
08 Whipping Post (Allman Brothers) 06-17-2007 10.09
09 Word Up # (Cameo) 03-20-2007 5.37
10 Yellow Submarine jam (The Beatles) > Keep On Going reprise
09-29-2001 3.16
11 You May Be Right # (Billy Joel) 07-01-2001 5.07

# w/Keller Williams
+ w/Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Cassidy
* w/Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury, Robbie McCoury & Jason Carter
@ w/Brittney Haas & Rushad Eggleston
% w/Eric Deutsch (keys) & Marc Dalio (drums)
^ w/Jefferson Hamer (guitar)
! with Martin Fierro (sax)
$ full-on electric version: Ben on keys, Adam & Jeff on electric
guitars, Billy Sewell on drums, Keller Williams on bass & Lou Gosain on harmonica

Darol Anger (fiddle), the 5th member of YMSB, is on about half these

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.


Jamage of The Day: 1.14.10

Del McCoury Band Live at WFPK Studios on October 5, 2001.

Great set, great recording, so clean...

In Search of Contributors...

I do the best I can to bring as much good music to you as I can... But I am only one man. I am looking for assistance in the form of show/album reviews, solid links, articles, and your perspective. If you would be interested in contributing please let me know. Be it one review or weekly contributions; every little bit helps. The more help I have the more good music I can drop at your front door.

Thanks again for stopping by The HeadStash, I hope you enjoy it.





Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Great New Resource

Today Jambase shut down "The Official Download Thread"... One of the best resources for heady music I have ever seen and a treasured past time for many community wooks. Hundreds and hundreds of pages of user submissions...

Jambase had this to say:

The Official Download Thread has been deleted.

Although JamBase is not liable for any alleged infringement based on your posting links on this forum to pages on other domains that make copyrighted music available for download, we are terminating this thread at the request of, and as a courtesy to, the artists who produced such material and of whom we are all fans.

Please note that, while JamBase takes no position on whether infringing activity occurred on this thread, we have the right pursuant to our Terms of Use ( to delete, with or without notice, any content for any reason or no reason. At this time, we determined that JamBase does not wish to host pages that contain links to pages on third party sites that we know to contain downloadable copyrighted music without permission of the copyright owners. The number of such pages in this thread was numerous enough to warrant, in our sole judgment, removal of the entire thread, regardless of whether there were messages that did not contain such links. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

In the future, if you wish to post links from a JamBase-hosted page to external sites that make copyrighted material available for download, we suggest that you make sure you have any necessary permissions. Thank you for your cooperation.


Since the fall of Jambase's Official Download Thread on the evening of Wed. Jan, 13th; a new forum has stepped up to pick up where the good times/sharing left off. Trust me, this will be a solid resource for free heady music. Download, contribute, request shows...


The New Official Download Thread.


Behind The Scenes: The Flecktones

The Flecktones Rehearsing for the Nov. run with Howard Levy.

Medeski Martin & Wood Live @ Jazz a Vienne, 2005

Duane Allman's Last Show...

This was Duane's last show from Oct. 15, 1971. Two weeks before his untimely death on Oct. 29, 1971.

Download Here.



Jam of The Day: 1.13.10

The Bad Plus: Live At The Village Vanguard


December 31, 2009 from WBGO - It's no use pretending that The Bad Plus' reverently outre re-imaginings of pop hits aren't a crucial part of the band's wide appeal. For its latest record, For All I Care, the trio even asked rock singer Wendy Lewis to join in the fun, completing a transition to a peculiar sort of jazz-inflected cover band. But for their New Year's Eve bash at the Village Vanguard, Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson and Dave King are again but three on stage. And they executed a set of mostly original compositions — none of 'em rock tunes either. The Bad Plus counted down to midnight in the Eastern Time Zone on a performance recorded live for Toast Of The Nation and made available as a live video Webcast.

Longtime fans were treated to material that has yet to surface on record — newer tunes by all three band members. But The Bad Plus also dipped into its expanding repertory, which includes pieces first drafted by Ornette Coleman and Gyorgy Ligeti. (Mention of the latter drew unexpected hoots from fans of the composer.) The trio's orientation permits pianist Ethan Iverson to play his happily weird self, with power chords or trinkling tinkles between his spoken introductions. Reid Anderson is as bold on the upright bass as he is deft as a composer, and Dave King — soon to release a solo piano-and-percussion album — drums with a manic temperament, keeping things merrily rollicking along.

It's fitting that The Bad Plus ushered in a new decade: Keen jazz observers would be hard-pressed to imagine the last 10 years without them. The group reached ubiquity in the jazz world, and broke through to other audiences, with its first major release, 2003's These Are The Vistas. Since then, it's recorded a steady stream of new original works, while mining the vast well of pop music, late 20th century jazz and the odd contemporary classical interlude.

The trio has toured the world steadily since its first breakthrough, playing the jazz club circuit as frequently as it hits rock halls and festival stages. But in New York, it's a favorite draw at the relatively tiny Village Vanguard. It wasn't be the first Bad Plus New Year's Eve at the club either — apropos for a band that's always plied both festive humor and crackling talent.

Listen Here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

STS9- Axe The Cables

As of the last few years I have not been a fan of Soundtribe. As many have said "They have fallen off hard." However on December 29th , 2009; STS9 played an acoustic show. In an effort to be fair to the bands that I am critical of; I listened to the show. I though it was mellow but very enjoyable. I also thought it was relevant to the current scene so I thought I would post it...

Download Here.


Umphrey's McGee: A Review

By Greg Molitor
Photos By Jessica Pace

The 29th show was my 47th UM show, and it was the sloppiest performance I've seen them play. A few members were noticeably three sheets to the wind which held the band back for most of the night. They DID encore with a righteous Nopener which straight-up kicked ass, but night 1 was severely lacking in their signature complex phrasing and harmonized guitar solos. N2F and Pay the Snunka were pretty rough takes of some crowd favorites. After the show, my buddy got the set list and we saw that Miss Tinkle's had been dropped from the set. Bummer. The 30th had to be better. No doubt.

The next night's show, the 30th, was a 10 out of 10. Five stars. Straight rage. Push the Pig was the first set opener. As the band starting to explore the space in the first jam of the show, I could tell the band much different working attitude in comparison to the night before. Tinkle's and Milk were solid and rockin' as always. Wappy Sprayberry...super good. Stopping and starting on a dime, Jake and Brenden were locked in this night. Their harmonized guitar solos can get so fast and smooth, and often times, transcendent. To even out the sound, UM brought out saxophonist Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, DMB) for two songs. His explosive and spine-tingling tenor sax screams floored the crowd while adding some serious flavor to the UM sound.

Coffin's work on Made to Measure was solid, but the real treat of the 30th was Lady Madonna. This cover was sharp and included some ridiculous playing by all members, especially Jake and Jeff Coffin. The moments just kept getting better. A nasty Higgins>Jimmy Stewart>Higgins was a great transition. The band worked its way into a short “Start Me Up” tease in the Stew which I felt was a bit odd, but I went along with it. Bright Lights featured a short but energy-filled jam, closing out on an adventurous second set.

The encore, All in Time, could probably be played at every UM show I go to and I would still enjoy it. It's an A++, hell of a good tune and its an extremely consistent jam vehicle. This one was no disappointment. Beautiful, beautiful stuff...

NYE is THE night to get loose as a goose. There was no place I'd rather be. Chicago...Umphrey's McGee at the the fourth straight NYE with the band. Yes sir! I mean, c'mon. I get to see one of my favorite bands play with a full horn section on the biggest night for music of the year. Hell yes!
After the 29th and the 30th shows, Kris Myers had already earned most valuable musician award. Kris is the driving force behind the UM sound and is unbelievably consistent night-in and night-out. Big props to him for beasting the kit like he does.

The 31st opened with an average Cemetery Walk I featuring Jake on the slide guitar. His Gilmour-influenced guitar lines near the end of that song exemplify the growth he has show over the years with he playing. Jake's personal style incorporates so many staccato-type phrases that I often forget about his repertoire of soulful licks. His Cemetery Walk I slide solo always reminds me of these, usually in the form of goose bumps. Triple Wide came second...huge...ridiculous. A dance party ensues. The third tune they played, Divisions, is another one of my favorites and kept the good vibes flowing throughout the crowd with some rockin' jamming. To me, Divisions features some of Brendan Bayliss’ most inspirational lyrics to date…powerful and introspective. Like All in Time from the previous night, this tune is the real deal. Always huge. For their next tune, Red Tape, UM introduced the NYE horn section, Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret. Red Tape isn’t one of my favorite tunes off Mantis, but this version rocked. After Red Tape, Jake moved to percussion and the band welcomed former drummer Mike Mirro to the stage. From here, the band played an older tune they had only played once previously, titled Headphones and Snocones. After the spacious and melodically pleasing instrumental, the band finished the first set with a classic Mulche's Odyssey. Killer. Straight to the point. Huge.

The electronic jam to start the 2nd set was novel but lacked depth. I could tell Kris wanted to get back to his drum set ASAP. The crowd really got into it, which was fun to see. The band crushed the whole second set that followed. The highlights this set included a high energy Tower of Power cover featuring a spirited Kris Myers on vocals, a dark and funky Ringo with horns, and great rock moments from Bridgeless and Haji.

The third and final set started at 11:45 PM central time. I thought this was a bit early to start a song that's going to jam into NYE. What was the bust out? Much Obliged! Yes! Yet another UM that I am very passionate about :) There's no other feeling in the world like the joyous release that occurs when UM jams into midnight. I experienced this NYE countdown with a friend who is relatively new to the scene. He was blown away to say the least.

The rest of the set included a standard but always rockin' Hurt Bird Bath, a heartfelt Gulf Stream, a Jimmy Stewart soaked Phil's Farm that goes huge, and the official debut of Turn and Dub, a version I enjoyed very much on NYE. After a classy and classic Ryan Stasik bro-out (you kick ass Pony, sorry about the glowsticks in Traverse City), the band crushed a Cemetery Walk II which featured one of the biggest jams of the whole run. What a way to finish the third set! Dance party indeed!

After the encore break, UM came out and thanked the crowd multiple times. The band came across as exhausted, but grateful nonetheless. The encore was a double shot; the first was 1348, the last track from Mantis. The tracks from Mantis all have a beautifully full sound thanks to hours of meticulous studio production and post-production. But even beyond that, UM translates most of these tunes into the live setting ridiculously well. And for those tunes, 1348 is the tip of the bud. The song is the greasy, grimy, funkiness that most UM fans live for. On NYE, 1348 brought the house down...again. The band finished the run with Steely Dan's, "Reelin' in the Years". I'm not a Steely Dan lover, but I do enjoy some Steely Dan from time to time. As Umphrey's McGee does with 99% of their covers, they nailed it.

The 31st was not as tight musically as the 30th, but that's's NYE. I give this show an 8.5/10 musically and a 10/10 for the experience that it was...magical.
And although the 29th was a disappointment musically, magic happened after the show. Jekisa, ZachNoob, 2immer, and I got a picture with the whole band during a private meet and greet. Awesome! Jeff Coffin was staying at the same hotel as us and a couple of us got to meet him for a few seconds too. He was very gracious with his time and hooked us up with a picture. Thanks a lot UM! You did it again. Next show is #50 :)

Oh yeah, by the way, Jeff Waful is THE BEST light guy on the scene right now. No can touch him right now.

Jamski of the Day: 1.12.10

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jam of The Day: 1.11.10

Bowlive: Two Weeks of Soulive at Brooklyn Bowl


Soulive will play ten shows at in Brooklyn this March. The group’s Bowlive residency will take place at Brooklyn Bowl from March 2-6 and 9-13. Tickets for the shows are $10 for weeknights and $12.50 for weekends. Guests are expected to join the trio throughout its residency.

Soulive will perform at Killington, VT’s Pickle Barrel on January 28, Northampton, MA’s Pearl Street on January 29 and Woodstock, NY’s Bearsville Theater on January 3. The band will release an album of Beatles covers later this year.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jams of The Day: 1.10.10

(Click links below to listen)

The Heavy Pets Live @ Propaganda on January 1, 2010.

The whole second set with Particle... Space.

Fareed Haque Group Live at The Underground at Morewood Gardens on March 26, 2009.

Awesome, jams.