Wednesday, October 04, 2006

BMI/NY travel journals: episode 2

(liveblogged Tuesday night, posted Wednesday night upon my return to Montreal)

So I can live-blog, as I've discovered the hostel's Wi-Fi capability. As I type from the guest lounge, some British mates are chilling on the balcony blasting Radiohead and some grimy hip-hop, and I'm about to head out to the jam at Cleopatra's Needle. My first choice would have been Curumin at NuBlu, but an 11:35 pm start time and an 8:15 am train are highly incompatible.

Hindsight edit: I should have just sucked it up and battled the sleep deprivation to go to NuBlu. While there were some really fantastic players there - Jeremy Pelt showed up again and just kicked every tune into a higher gear, and the rhythm section I got to play with showed signs of a hook-up - there were some others there that were more about showboating and vibing other people than actually making music. There was one guy who was obviously trying to display his dexterity, without even worrying about changes or groove, and yes, such a player maybe deserves to be chastised or reined in. But the way it was done - an abrupt "Take the 'A' Train" ending, stop-time entry of the new soloist, all delivered with a rather snotty "Welcome to New York, asshole" attitude - didn't sit right with me.

The train yesterday (Monday) was much better than last week - customs was entirely more expedient; we even arrived at Albany in daylight hours! This ride clocked in at 11 hours, rather than 12, and it's funny how just one single hour makes a world of difference. Went to Smoke again, played a couple of tunes and hung out. Yuengling is surprisingly decent beer, though I'm missing my Quebec brews - MacAuslan Apricot ale, or even just a good solid Boreale or Griffon Rousse.

The BMI meeting was led by composer/arranger Dave Matthews, in lieu of Mike and Jim's absences (both are in Europe right now). We looked over music from the other composers, and I'm really humbled to be in such company. We also took a listen to a couple of Dave's Bach2000 charts, "Siciliano" and the Toccata and Fugue in D minor. He managed to make them swing - at the moment I prefer them to Jacques Loussier's take on Bach - and also managed to have such a bottom heavy line-up (bass clarinet, bass trombone AND tuba, and bass) not turn to gelatinous mud. We talked a lot about climactic points in pieces - the golden mean, how to generate momentum and create high energy, which seemed to amount to "loud, high trumpets." And while Matthews does that well, and it serves his music, it's gotten me thinking about how one can achieve a similar effect in different ways. Loud high brass is thrilling, but it's also a specific sound and I don't know that it belongs in every single piece.

I've also been added to the blogrolls of The Bad Plus and Destination: Out. Now that I'm in NYC more often I'm going to have to catch TBP's next hit (so long as it coincides with my time here).

Coming up upon my arrival back in Montreal: the Future of Music Coalition summit (and I stupidly booked a rehearsal during David Byrne's keynote speech...whoops), and Indigone Trio regroup and hit Upstairs (1254 Mackay) SUNDAY at 8:30.

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