From the Vault: Christian McBride Masterclass at Tango Del Rey, 6/22/09

This set of photos is from a couple months ago, but I’m excited I can finally share it. The fabulous Christian McBride gave a short lunch-hour masterclass to a group consisting of a large proportion of bass players at the Tango Del Rey back in June.

If you click on a photo, it will take you to the full photo gallery.

Christian McBride at the Tango Del Rey 62209© Michael Klayman-015

He’s not yet 40, and already a bass legend. He’s played with too many people to name, but perhaps you’ve heard of James Brown, Pat Metheny,  Sting, or Diana Krall? He’s backed them up. You might have also seen him on recent covers of Bass Player Magazine and Downbeat.

Christian McBride at the Tango Del Rey 62209© Michael Klayman-032

He spent part of the time speaking about his experiences as a sideman for superstars as well as putting together his own groups. It’s interesting to hear someone at this level talk about what drives him to work at getting better and not taking the easy way out, even though he could sit back at this point and relax instead of writing new music and taking on new challenges.

After a quick lunch break where he showed some things on piano, Christian played some solo bass tunes and then brought some people up on stage to join him.

Christian McBride at the Tango Del Rey 62209© Michael Klayman-026

I think I saw Joshua White smile more at this jam than every other show combined that I’ve shot him at.

Christian McBride at the Tango Del Rey 62209© Michael Klayman-029

Christian also plays drums and played as the other half of the rhythm section with Justin Grinnell, who was kind enough to lend his bass for this masterclass.

Christian McBride at the Tango Del Rey 62209© Michael Klayman-035

It was a blast being this close to a master, especially when he’s willing to share some of his wisdom.

Hialeah, Marasol, Appomattox, Low Red Land at the Ken Club, 8/21/09

Rosey was putting on a show on Friday night with some of her favorite bands, so I came down to support her. The two out of town bands were sandwiched in the middle- a good idea since it got the locals to the Ken Club early and kept them there the whole night.

Marasol opened the show practically on time. Wow, Rosey runs a tight ship.

Marasol at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-012

The Ken Club is notoriously dim, so I used my fast primes for the first three bands. Since they’re 28mm and 50mm, full group shots were going to be challenging.

Marasol at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-013

Marasol at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-005

Sarah had a fan blowing on her during their set, so I got some rock-star hair flying poses of her.

Marasol at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-006

Marasol at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-007

They debuted a few new songs which show some more maturity and songwriting progress. I’m looking forward to the next release!

————————————

Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Appomattox brought some pop-punk to the evening.

Appomattox at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-001

Hey Ken Club, it’s been two weeks. You think maybe it’s time to take down the NPMT banner?

Appomattox at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-005

The bassist was quite animated whic hmade for some fun listening and shooting. I practiced using him as a framing device for the singer in order to add some layers of interest to an otherwise empty shot.

Appomattox at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-010

Appomattox at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-003

I’d like to say something nice about the music, but it was actually pretty tough to hear the guitar so I’ll reserve judgement. Maybe next time I’ll get to see them at the Casbah.

————————————-

Rosey has a special place in her heart for Low Red Land.

Low Red Land at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-001

I didn’t catch their whole set since I was chatting about video ideas with Mr. De La Cruz, but I’m guessing that maybe part of her enamorization is due to their handsomeness. I’m secure enough in my masculinity to be able to say something like that.

Low Red Land at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-002

The drummer and Microphone Mike- separated at birth?

Low Red Land at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-003

I should have gotten a picture of them together.

————————–

Maybe the drinks were getting to me and making me feel courageous, but I pulled out my UWA lens for Hialeah’s set.

Hialeah at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-002

It’s a bit slower than my primes, but the short focal length range shows less motion blur at the lower shutter speeds. Blur is a function of image size, and short focal lengths shrink image size and thus, blur too. It’s good to know these things well enough that I can put them into action when I can’t think about them when in the moment, for uh, one reason or another.

Hialeah at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-007

Hialeah at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-008

Hialeah at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-010

Hialeah at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-009

They played some songs I haven’t heard before too. I hope I don’t have to wait too long for that CD either.

Hialeah at the Ken Club 82109 © Michael Klayman-006

Horse Latitudes at Tango Del Rey, 8/19/09

I’ve been packing my nights with shows lately for reasons I’ll get into later on, and it’s been great for seeing lots of great bands. The downside is that all my free time is spent working on photos and lately it’s been invading my dreams. I’m starting to have nightmares that I get to a show only to not have any media cards on me. Or that I shot everything in lo-res JPG mode. I really hope I don’t have that dream where I show up wearing nothing but my camera bag and underwear.

I found out about Horse Latitudes playing this show by chance on MySpace. It was an early show and would only take an hour, so it looked like fun.

Horse Latitudes at Tango Del Rey 81909 © Michael Klayman-001

From left to right, this band is Nathan Hubbard, Jason Robinson, and Nazo Zakkak.

Horse Latitudes at Tango Del Rey 81909 © Michael Klayman-004

I’m not even sure this is an actual band. Nathan has a pretty wry sense of humor, so it might just be a band and name he threw together quickly. Or it might be exactly what he said during the band introduction- that Horse Latitudes started as a Credence Clearwater Revival cover band. In 1958.

Horse Latitudes at Tango Del Rey 81909 © Michael Klayman-017

Being 7pm on a Wednesday night, this was a very sparsely attended show. I was the entire audience until some guys showed up for the jam session that was taking place afterwards. This is bad news for the band, but great news for me, since it afforded me the opportunity to get nice and close without being in anybody’s way.

Horse Latitudes at Tango Del Rey 81909 © Michael Klayman-019

Horse Latitudes at Tango Del Rey 81909 © Michael Klayman-026

Horse Latitudes at Tango Del Rey 81909 © Michael Klayman-032

Horse Latitudes at Tango Del Rey 81909 © Michael Klayman-023

Jason and Nathan form half of the excellent Cosmologic, and I picked up Nathan’s big band double-CD, Skeleton Key Orchestra which features Jason, Gabriel Sundy, Danny Weller’s mom Ellen, and Justin Grinnell. It takes the free jazz concept and expands it to a dozen players. There’s collective improvisation, electronic breaks, spoken word, multiple basses, found and manufactured instruments, even an interlude of what seems to be studio banter between various musicians. It’s a very ambitious project which works for the most part. If pared down to a single CD, it would be truly stellar.

Horse Latitudes at Tango Del Rey 81909 © Michael Klayman-042

On that CD and at this show, Nathan paints with many colors.

Fever Sleeves at the Casbah, 8/17/09

Fever Sleeves are a quartet again, so I had to check them out with Lain Weck on bass.

Casbah 81709 © Michael Klayman-002

Casbah 81709 © Michael Klayman-011

The music is a bit slower and heavier now that there’s a low end. There are still some rough spots that will get worked out over time, no doubt.

Casbah 81709 © Michael Klayman-016

Nick stuck his tongue out just so I could get that shot.

Casbah 81709 © Michael Klayman-010

Tony’s not ready to give up all the bass duties just yet, so Lain plays some guitar too. He’s in three popular bands now and is poised to take over the San Diego rock scene- kind of like a Rob Crow: The Next Generation.

Casbah 81709 © Michael Klayman-007

Ian Tordella Promo Shots, 8/16/09

In between sets, Ian, Jeff, and Brian gave me a couple minutes to do some promo shots.

Ian Tordella Group Promo Shots 81609 © Michael Klayman-005

I decided to shoot in the same place as last time only in the opposite direction. Jeff wanted a shot that showed how he’s taller than Ian.

Ian Tordella Group Promo Shots 81609 © Michael Klayman-004

There ya go.

Ian Tordella Group Promo Shots 81609 © Michael Klayman-006

I’m still not very good at this type of photography, but I’m starting to think about it more, so hopefully I’ll get better. I’m still using ambient lighting exclusively, so that’s definitely a huge limiting factor for what I can do. I think I could get by with a cheap reflector, but that would require an assistant. If anybody is willing to work for a 90% cut of what I make for these shoots, you’re hired!

Ian Tordella Trio at South Park Bar and Grill, 8/16/09

I hadn’t shot anything after Tuesday night, and by Sunday I was getting an itchy shutter finger so I went down to South Park Bar and Grill for a drink and the Little League Baseball semifinals.  It just so happened that Ian Tordella was playing….

Ian Tordella Group at South Park Bar and Grill 81609 © Michael Klayman-020

Ian has his debut CD coming out in a couple months.

Ian Tordella Group at South Park Bar and Grill 81609 © Michael Klayman-025

Jeff Denson on bass:

Ian Tordella Group at South Park Bar and Grill 81609 © Michael Klayman-007

Brian McLaughlin on drums:

Ian Tordella Group at South Park Bar and Grill 81609 © Michael Klayman-003

Ian and Brian are traveling to South America next week and will be on national TV in Colombia.

Ian Tordella Group at South Park Bar and Grill 81609 © Michael Klayman-033

Ian Tordella Group at South Park Bar and Grill 81609 © Michael Klayman-004

It’s a shame that modern jazz is popular enough to get prime time coverage in every country except its own.

Ian Tordella Group at South Park Bar and Grill 81609 © Michael Klayman-027

Ian Tordella Group at South Park Bar and Grill 81609 © Michael Klayman-028

Ian Tordella Group at South Park Bar and Grill 81609 © Michael Klayman-031

I’m purposely keeping my posts short these days since I’m getting a bit backed up with things in the pipeline. Lots of stuff is going on right now, which I’ll mention in the coming weeks.

Hostile Combover, Lozen, Canon Canyon at the Radio Room, 8/11/09

This was a bit of a sad night for me since one of my favorite bands was playing their last show, but that’s what happens. I got to the Radio Room nice and early so that I could see Secret Fun Club open the show, but I popped over to the Soda Bar to meet  up with a couple people for a quick drink, and I got back just as they finished their set.

Canon Canyon is from the Northwest and I only managed to shoot one song before the drummer left for the rest of the set.

Canon Canyon at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-001

Canon Canyon at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-003

Not much to say about them, half their set was just bass and drums, and the final two songs were just the guitar player. The bass player’s amp was pretty cool though.

Canon Canyon at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-005

Verellen makes some high end handmade amps, and it got a few of us bass players talking between sets.

———————

Not only does Lozen share the equipment with Canon Canyon, but they share a drummer too.

Lozen at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-001

Lozen at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-005

This music was more my style, heavy distorted bass and screaming.

Lozen at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-011

In fact, the singer/bassist is the drummer in Helms Alee, who I shot when they played Soma as the openers for Minus the Bear last year.

Lozen at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-009

Lozen at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-012

I actually like Lozen more than Helms Alee, but maybe that just because I got to see them up close this time in a more cozy venue.

————————————-

I didn’t take a lot of shots of Hostile Comb-over this time. Since it was their last show, I wanted to take in the music one last time. Besides, I’ve shot them quite a few times here already.

Hostile Combover at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-010

Hostile Combover at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-002

They’re all moving on to other bands. John is now drumming in Rat’s Eyes.

Hostile Combover at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-009

Cole might be joining him in another spin-off band.

Hostile Combover at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-004

And Ben will be laying down his mellow drum grooves with subtle fills in an as-yet-unamed band.

Hostile Combover at the Radio Room 81109 © Michael Klayman-006

I’d say I’m going to miss them, but they’re not going anywhere. They’ll have a final batch of songs out at some point, and by then I’ll be seeing them in other bands. That’s how it goes, if you find a group you like, go see them while you can.

North Park Music Thing, 8/8/09

I wasn’t going to go to the North Park Music Thing. But after a couple beers that afternoon at Blind Lady Ale House, I happened to pick up a schedule and see that there was a shuttle service between the clubs and a stop just a few blocks away. Even through my IPA-colored glasses, I could easily envision a schedule that would include some bands I know, some I don’t, and all at three clubs I’ve never stepped foot in. Heather was willing to drive home and pick me up when I was done, so I could actually have a night where I didn’t have to watch my alcohol intake!

MutantSpaceBoy was opening up at the AC Lounge.

MutantSpaceBoy at AC Lounge 80809 © Michael Klayman-005

It’s really dark in there, but seems like a hip club, although not primarily a live music venue. Since it wasn’t even 8pm, it was basically empty, but I can imagine it fills up easily. Tricky lighting would be the theme for the night.

MutantSpaceBoy at AC Lounge 80809 © Michael Klayman-006

Gabriel Sundy leads the band from the sax, but it’s really a collaborative improvisation group with four major talents from the jazz world. They play some twisted lines that weave through each other.

MutantSpaceBoy at AC Lounge 80809 © Michael Klayman-008

They’re nominated for an SDMA, so go vote for them!

——————–

Next stop, U31 for Boyscout. Another venue I’ve never been to.

Boyscout at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-010

They had some strobe lights going which got me a little dizzy while shooting them. Just as I was wishing that the strobes would die, half the back wall fell on Justin, almost making my wish come true.

Boyscout at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-007

A stage malfunction can’t hurt Justin, it will only make him angry. Although if there’s any band that could survive minus one drummer, I guess this is the perfect band.

Boyscout at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-002

Boyscout at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-003

Boyscout at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-008

——————-

I got to Bar Pink just in time to see Tape Deck Mountain’s last song.

Tape Deck Mountain at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-003

I really would have liked to hear more from them, and I’m glad I had a chance to hear enough to put them on my radar.

Tape Deck Mountain at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-006

Those aren’t snowflakes, they’re red and green laser pointers. I felt like I was being targeted by a thousand snipers. I don’t know why I’ve never been to Bar Pink before, but it always seemed to me that Thursday nights were the good show nights here, which is usually a couch potato night for me. I mentioned to Rosey that it was my first time here during the show, and she gave me a funny look. I think I lost some street cred with her, ha!

Tape Deck Mountain at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-007

——————-

I got to chatting with Dan from Modern Rifles and he said that he was friends with the next band, Lights On. I stuck around to check them out.

Lights On at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-008

Lights On at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-002

Not really my kinda music, but it sounded like 80s pop, if you’re into that sort of thing. I recognized Andrew the guitarist as the guy from the now-defunct Cape May, a band that my old band shared the stage with a few times about 4 years ago or so. I’m always surprised how small a world it is.

Lights On at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-009

———————

Then back to U31 for Apes of Wrath who had more crazy lights going.

Apes of Wrath at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-001

The best group shot I have of them is where they’re mostly shadows. It was tough to get good shots since the projector had rapidly moving bands of color. If I was epileptic, I would have been in the hospital by this point in the night.

Apes of Wrath at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-002

Apes of Wrath at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-007

I’ve shot them before, and you all know and love Apes of Wrath, so no need to talk about the music. Always a fun show when they play. They kept switching instruments too, which I don’t think I’ve seen before.

Apes of Wrath at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-010

Apes of Wrath at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-013

———————–

I ran back to Bar Pink to try to catch the end of Get Back Loretta’s set, and just made it for their last song. I wasn’t able to get to the front of the stage by the time they were done, but I did get there during the set change for El Ten Eleven.

El Ten Eleven at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-009

I wonder if they know that if you spell their name with lower case letters and numbers and as short as possible, it’s a visual palindrome- l1011.

El Ten Eleven at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-002

It’s a duo making really catchy dance music. The bass player, Kristian
Dunn, used to play in Inch, one of my favorite bands from my college
days.

El Ten Eleven at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-003

He plays a fretless bass and a dual guitar/bass. He loops lines, taps, uses effects, and plays super fun melodies over his own basslines. This was the highlight of my night.

El Ten Eleven at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-004

Again, the bad lighting made it tough to get a proper group shot, but seeing this bass player in action from a foot away was awe-inspiring enough for a whole band.

El Ten Eleven at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-006

El Ten Eleven at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-008

El Ten Eleven at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-011

During one of the last songs the drummer came up and drummed the beats of the song on the bass side of the monster guitar/bass.

El Ten Eleven at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-027

El Ten Eleven at Bar Pink 80809 © Michael Klayman-017

I’ll be sure to see them again next time they come down from L.A.

———————————

By this time I was ready to go home, but since I was so close, I ran back to U31 to see Transfer for only my second time.

Transfer at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-002

Here’s another band that my ten readers probably know better than I do, so no need to say what they sound like either. Rabid fans for these guys, as evidenced by the absolutely packed, sweaty room.

Transfer at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-008

It was late, I was tired, and now I have to deal with more flashing spotlights? I only ended up with 9 shots, all the same, so I put the camera away after a couple songs and just enjoyed the show.

Transfer at U31 80809 © Michael Klayman-006

All in all, a fun night with some great music. Maybe next year I’ll try for a press pass.