Sunday, September 04, 2011

We Jazz Econo

So after posting the previous entry, I figured it was time to definitely find out if the rain had shut everything down and, if so, it was time to start drinking. I asked a couple people here around the lobby if anything was happening outside and the answer was, "No, but the guy was going to play such-and-such is going to play in hotel lounge." Who could it be? Jason Moran? Mandrill?

After returning my laptop to the room I came down and saw Jordy and Don sitting in what I like to call a Sinatra booth (a semi-circle booth that rises up in the back) with Sammy Figueroa, with Joe Lovano leaning over the back of it.

A few minutes later Terri Pontremoli, one of the key festival organizers, was running around telling everyone that, yes, there was going to be music here in the bar, which was already getting crowded. First it was going to be Jason Moran, followed by the Dave Holland Octet, then the Deacon Jones Blues Band.

The room started filling up and they had to move a lot of equipment around, and it made me think of when punk bands couldn't get regular clubs dates or got shut down and they'd just set up wherever they could and play. This was especially apparent when the Holland Octet was setting up. It turns out Jason Moran "didn't feel comfortable" playing there. I can understand that. It was a crazy spot and the emcee kept stressing that we needed to be respectful and not talk throughout the sets tonight.

I staked out a spot with a good view of the stage and stood there for about an hour (seemed like it) while the band set up. The other DIY/jam econo aspect to the evening is seeing Dave Holland take his bass out of the case and set it up himself while we all watch. There's always something that adds to the excitement of the music when you see that. I think it takes me back to seeing Sonic Youth in the '80s at the Electric Banana, tuning up a dozen guitars before they started their set. Last night especially, it proved that these guys really wanted to play more than anything else. Holland - who while we're on the subject of DIY guys, looks a bit like an older mellower Mike Watt - said as much: "My friends and I said we ain't leaving town till we play some music."

The sound was a little ramshackle. Gary Smulyan's baritone sax got a little lost during his solo on "Pathways" and there were times when the vibes and bass were coming close to drowning out the saxes in general, but ultimately it was a tight amazing set. The intimacy of the evening really seemed to charge things up.

After standing still that long, I felt spent for the rest of the night. Apologies to the Deacon Jones Blues Band, who sounded pretty tight in their first couple songs.

Making my way to the elevator, I saw Marshall Allen from the Sun Ra Arkestra. Considering he was first break into JazzTimes after I interviewed him nine years ago, I had to say hi. I heard the group tried to play as the rain started, but I missed them and expressed my regrets. Mellow sage that he is, he told me that you just have to roll with whatever happens because you can't control something like the weather. Or something like that. With that, it was off to bed.

1 comment:

barb said...

my friend was there in the lobby- she was FBing about it. I love that kind of impromptu spirit.