Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Monterey Jazz Festival The Jon Jang Seven

Ah yes, Jon Jang. Pianist, activist, wild man extroidinaire.
We played Sunday afternoon on the Garden Stage. What a great set! Jon and musical conductor Dr. Wayne Wallace put together a set of creatively arranged Chinese folksongs that really took the crowd to another place. On sax were Jim Norton and Francis Wong. Dave Belove (aka Butterfly) was on electric bass, Deson Claiborne on drums and myself on tpt and flugelhorn.
Man, you should have seen their faces when Francis blew this incredible solo that was at times channeling Trane, Joe Henderson and Pharoah Saunders. That was one of the highlights of that gig. Seeing the audience react to what we were doing told me we were really reaching them and they were getting it.
Look for more on Jon's band in future blogs. We also have a new CD coming out in the spring of "06". We recorded it last week at Open Path Studios in less than two days!!!! That's a testament to the strength of Jang's concept, depth of musicianship in the group and organization/arranging of the Doctor.
Ok...I'm off to my gig. WorlView is playing this evening at Santana Row from 6-9pm. More to come regarding future WorlView events and don't miss Tim Solook's gig this coming Sat, Oct 1st at BoAs/Club Elite.

Monterey Jazz Festival/Carla Bley/Steve Swallow Big Band

Greetings all!
Well, it's been awhile since my last post. Susan and I went to WI for vacation, been spending a little time at the beach and two weeks ago I had the extreme pleasure of playing the Monterey Jazz Festival with Carla Bley/Steve Swallow Big Band. The big band was made up of local players plus the cats in Carla's group. George Young contracted us and by the way, played his ass off!!! He's a NY session/jazz saxophonist that retired and moved out to Monterey,CA. This cat is bad!!! If any of you happens to be in the Monterey area, look him up.
Carla's music was as happening as ever. We premiered her new piece, Black Orchid as well as On the Stage in Cages & One Way. Marty Wehner played the solo bone stuff and really showed everyone what he's made of. Marty is a bad boy for sure. Louis Fasman, one of the bay area's stellar lead trumpeters played a thoughtful, melodic melody on One Time. Louis is one of my best buds dating back to the Marriot's Great America days. He kept us on track thru some perilous twists and turns. Everyone got a little space to play. I got to play a little more than the other trumpet players. I played on the ballad section of Black Orchid as well as On The Stage In Cages. The ballad was done on trumpet w/ plunger. I know that Lou Soloff plays with her a lot and likes to use plunger so I did the same. Plunger is a fun mute to play and can be very expressive. The other solo was done on open trumpet which is rare for me. Usually I play my flugel when I solo but my Bach tpt has a sound I've always wanted to get so I'm working out more with it.
Carla and Steve are two of the most supportive folks I've ever played with. It was an honor to be a part of their music reality. I'm still awestruck at her ability to hear every note in every part. I'm not the same person after being a part of this. Next, part two....The Jon Jang Seven