Willie Waldman Project 6.7.12

Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Feat. Bukaty, Wisdom, Keener, & Callarman

Words, Photos & Videos By Nicholas Stock
Audio Recording By Corey Sandoval (
Kind Recordings)

The last time Bukaty, Wisdom, Callerman, and Keener (live painters) were together was at the Kanrocksas Music Festival. This time around they were painting a Free Jazz performance from Willie Waldman Project. WWP is a group that morphs on the regular taking on different members based on locale and availability. This time around the musicians consisted of Willie on trumpet, Brian Jordan on guitar, Cory Kertzie on drums, and Garrett Sayers on bass. A tight group to be sure, but the night also had its fair share of surprises. I arrived early and met with the band for an interview. I wanted to dive into the collaboration between the live painters and the musicians.

I have been seeing Wisdom paint with Waldman for ten years now and the most interesting element of his painting is his reliance on the performance rather than the final product on the canvas. He paints on an illuminated background and when he is done he takes a picture and wipes it away. The impermanence of his art is mind-boggling. Bukaty has a flowing, sometimes frenzied style, however as of late he has opted to let the music dictate his work. Don Callerman, also known as the “House Painter” at Quixotes ranges from linear impressionism to more direct representational pieces. Laurie Keener does some incredible caricatures of the musicians and is well known for the way she depicts not only the performers but also their instruments.

So with the painters in “Quadraphonic Surround Sound," it was time for the set to get underway. As they started there was only about thirty souls gathered on the newly renovated patio at Quixotes. I would have to point out that the light turnout had to do with the fact that the show was poorly promoted. For the caliber of music and level of talent of artists painting it was most definitely a shame that not more people made it out. That did little to detract from the musical performance or the artists and the music was absolutely top notch.

Willie was not only the bandleader but also his soulful trumpet acted as the glue that tied the act together. Brian Jordan is plainly stellar, working with a wide range of musical styles he pulled out all the stops on his guitar throughout the two set show. The dynamism between Sayers and Kertzie built over the course of the entire evening. Kertzie is a monster on the kit and working with someone as accomplished as Garrett really gave him the room to shine. The paint splattered on the canvas as the group flowed in and out of Latin, world, jazz, and rock soundscapes. There was no setlist really, as it is all improvised.

Willie Waldman Project Live at Quixote's True Blue on June 7, 2012.

The second set saw more surprises including a sit-in from Cecil “Pnut” Daniels who stopped by after playing a Thursday set at the Highland Tap. Not only have Wednesdays with Garrett Sayers Trio become incredibly popular, but Thursdays have begun popping up as well. Pnut plays a Midi Horn that looks almost like a toy saxophone; however the music he created was anything but child’s play. I had heard of Daniels, but this was my first chance seeing him live. It was a great addition to the night’s performance! Another gentleman stepped up to the microphone for a version of “Big Boss Man,” which got the small crowd dancing on the patio. All in all it was a great night of music that I wish more people had the pleasure of seeing. When Willie has a backing band that is made up of quality musicians, he can really rip on the trumpet. I would go so far as to say that the band was as good as any group I’ve seen him with. It was a lot of fun, and I would love to see this exact lineup again and again.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery



Popular posts from this blog

Livetronica Sampler 3.22.11

Billy Strings 4.18.19

Buckethead: Gimmick or Guitar God?