Saturday, July 04, 2015

It's the Fourth of July

Playing right now: the new Exploding Star Orchestra album
I've been asked to write about Rob Mazurek, the leader of ESO, so I'm digging into this mammoth new release by them.

It's the Fourth of July and I'm working today. Just for a few hours, though. First time I've ever done that. And I figure since my dayjob involves retail, and I like the people I work with, I should help out. Then it's off to Ohio for a day.

In other news, the band Thumbscrew (Michael Formanek, Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara) have been in Pittsburgh for over a week, doing a residency at City of Asylum and tomorrow evening is their free show over on the North Side. Here's info on it, for the benefit of anyone who is in town tomorrow and wants to go.  I'm hoping to make it back in time.

So much music going on around here. Of course there was Ginger Baker a few weeks ago. I took copious notes but never got to report on the show. Here's the feature. I found out a few days before the show that no one else in Pittsburgh got to interview him, and I got a bit of a head rush. Then at the show, Ginger mentioned he had been sidelined two weeks prior to the show with pneumonia, and was in the hospital. I did the math quickly and figure it must have happened right after we talked. That might also explain why no one else did.

Considering his frail state, it was impressive that he made it to the show at all. It was a good night. Not spellbinding, but definitely tight. He and percusssionist Abass Dodoo definitely have a strong rapport and are locked in tight together. Ironically, while Ginger was swinging hard with his band, just about a mile across the river, his mate Charlie Watts was playing with the Rolling Stones, who by all accounts really rose to the occasion that night.

The incessant rain and, again, work kept me from checking out more of the Pittsburgh JazzLive Festival which went on all weekend downtown. But as I walked to Penn Avenue from the parking garage to the Byham Theater, Joey DeFrancesco was tearing it up on the B3 on one of the stages. A little rain will never slow down a B3.

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