The Andrew D'Angelo benefit concert last night went well. We postponed the start until the Habs-Flyers game was over, after which an intimate but loyal crowd of friends came up to listen and donate. Big thanks to Anna Webber for suggesting the idea and co-organizing it, the gang at La Brique for hosting us, and to all the musicians who gave their time, energy and spirit. Special mention to Phil Melanson, who played drums in all three groups!
Indigone Trio kicked it off. It's been so long since we've played as a trio, sans strings, that it was nice to dust some of the "trio-only" book off, including a new tune I wrote for Andrew called "Tonglen." I might post it here or on the MySpace in a few days. Anna's quartet with J-S Williams, Erik Hove and Phil followed - her writing has really opened up and her tenor playing has grown in leaps and bounds. She's still killing as ever on flute, too. Pianist/composer Malcolm Sailor's new klezmer-punk-jazz group The Youjsh capped the evening with an energetic set full of songs dedicated to one Steve Day ("You Are the Steve Day of my Life," "On the Sunny Side of Steve Day," "Help! I Can't Stop Writing Songs About Steve Day!"). Trumpeter Gordon Allen led a closing improvisation with journalist/clarinetist Marc Chenard, The Youjsh's Adam Kinner on soprano saxophone and drums, as well as yours truly and Alex Mallett from Indigone Trio.
People asked me last night why we organized it, whether I knew Andrew personally or not. I don't know Andrew personally - I've never met him, I've never seen him play live. Quite frankly, that shouldn't matter. We're very lucky here in Canada to have public health care, and it's a difficult enough path to dedicate one's life to the pursuit of creativity and truth through art - any art - that to be sidelined by something as huge as what Andrew is currently fighting is something I sympathize with dearly. The community of musicians is small enough that it feels like a global community - all for one and one for all. If we band together, art really can make a difference.
Skirl Records was kind enough to send up a box of Andrew's new CD, Skadra Degis. We sold a few at the concert but I'm going to hang onto the box for a little while longer. If you're in the Montreal area and would like a copy, contact me. If you were unable to come to the concert and would like to donate, the information for that is here.
On a related note, I don't want the plight of Scott (Scotty Hard) Harding to go unnoticed either. As a fellow member of the Ropeadope family, and a fellow Canadian, this one hits home too. In brief, Scott was in a car accident in February that left him partially paralyzed. He doesn't have health insurance, either, and has been recuperating for the past two months in hospital. For more information go to Work Hard, Pray Hard, Scotty Hard and check out Ropeadope's Hard Wear shirts.