I’m combining two nights’ worth of music into one post, since the headliner was the same both nights. On Tuesday I headed deep into the East Village in a sketchy part of town to Space 4 Art, a nice studio with a couple gallery rooms.
Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.
Jason Robinson started the show with a set of solo sax. Yes, he’s playing under an upside down boxing ring made of saran wrap. It’s art.
I can’t imagine listening to half an hour of this with any other saxophonist but Jason. He can play a varied set of tunes on his instrument that keep the listener engaged. He has a CD of solo sax out right now, you should check it out.
Hearing the same band twice in two nights is not something I normally do. But, hearing the same band improvise a new set two nights in a row, now that is something worth checking out.
Not only was Seesaw Ensemble playing with Philly’s free-jazz icon Elliot Levin on sax and flute, but they’d be playing the next night too.
I’ve talked a bit about free jazz before. It’s a genre that requires maximum focus and attention from both the audience and performer. No one knows what will happen next.
When I’m shooting a band, I try to think like an improviser. I might not
have any idea about the lighting, obstacles around the stage, and
performer positions so I’m constantly adjusting to the environment. I’m
looking for new angles, new forms, and lines. The things that a bass
player has to do to fulfill his role are the same things that a
photographer does to fulfill his. Stay out of the way and make everyone
else sound better. Whether our hands wield an axe or a Canon, it doesn’t
make much of a difference. It’s the eyes and ears of the person holding
it that make it something special.
The next night they headlined at the Tin Can Alehouse.
Preston Swirnoff joined the acoustic group this time. I love the colors at Tin Can where the contrast between hot and cold lights is delicious.
Having a chance to hear this group play two nights in a row was a quick way to see how fluid the music can be. It would be hard to give specific examples now that the show was a week ago, but they seemed a bit more fiery and propulsive the second night.
They played an electronic set later on that I wasn’t much into. It reminds me that Ornette Coleman did a double CD years ago called In All Languages that did the same acoustic/electric split session. His late 50’s band with Don Cherry and Charlie Haden played together as if they’d never spent any time apart. When his then-current Prime Time band played the same tunes with their crazy multiple guitars and basses, they couldn’t hear each other as well and it lost its intimacy.
If you missed the shows but want to hear this band, they have an excellent CD out, which just so happens to have cover art by four of the most interesing photographers around.
Another all-improvised set came from the openers of the night, Ogd_S(11) Translation Has Failed.
If the name isn’t a clue that this is weird music, then the mixup of genres, styles, and crazy bass/DJ effects give it away.
There were some brief spoken word interludes as well. I think the words were used as more of a sonic texture than actual poetry.
This makes me want to start a two bass band even more.
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