Friday, August 17, 2007

RIP Max Roach

Check out Max playing "Big Sid" and other drum solos in this, one of so many incredible Max Roach videos on Youtube. I learned parts of Big Sid early on while transcribing Max's solos (along with Elvin, Roy, Philly Joe, Tony). Had the pleasure of playing parts of Big Sid with Adam Rudolph and Big Black while living in LA in both of their groups.

I've been watching/listening to/reading about Max Roach all day. Its moments like these that make me very thankful for Youtube and internet radio streaming. Sad that the death of a master is usually what it takes to precipitate extensive, cathartic re-investigation, but hey, at least the resources are out there.

There are so many people listening to WKCR's tribute broadcast to Max here that the stream keeps being interrupted. Frustrating, sure, but its a wonderful thing that this many people are tuning in. And WKCR will be playing Max's music for a week!

Its been said very eloquently here and here and here how important Max Roach's legacy is. From these links you can find your way to many other Max treasure troves.

Max Roach will forever be a great inspiration as an Artist, as a Musician, as a Drummer. He was a supreme melodist who played with astonishing clarity. He was a forward-looking innovator who continued to challenge himself and his audience throughout an almost 70-year career.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

RIP Paul Rutherford

Got word this morning that Paul Rutherford, seminal British trombone innovator/improviser, has passed. Very sad news. Had the good fortune to spend a couple weeks on the road with him and bassist Torsten Muller January 2006. I feel blessed to have spent that time with Paul, and to have met him on several other occasions in Vancouver, LA, and in the UK. I love Paul's incredible humor, razor-sharp wit, and complete disdain for b.s. He will be missed by many. He should be celebrated much more than he has been so far.

Above are a couple photos from the 2005 On the Outside Festival (Newcastle UK). He sounded incredible!

Esteemed Attendees

Great couple sets last night at The Stone. 8pm set was an improvised first meeting with Charles Burnham and Shanir Blumenkranz. We've played in other contexts but this was the first as a trio. Had a lovely time and what a treat to see my friend, the fantastic Cuban bassist Yunior Terry in the audience. Think he ended up there with a friend of Charlie's; great to re-connect.

The second set was my horn band, Gewel, with Michael Attias,
Taylor Ho Bynum, Russ Johnson, and Nate Wooley. Three trumpets (well, two and one cornet) and bari sax. Oh yeah. First gig for this group; we played my arrangements of Senegalese sabar drum ensemble music plus some transcriptions of old-time Senegalese pop music (mbalax). We had a quick 1.5 hour rehearsal the day before and all things considered, the music came off fantastic. Kind of sparsely attended as much of New York is on vacation, but had the good fortune to look out in the audience and see a couple good friends, composer/percussionist Aaron Siegel and Bjork trumpeter Sylvia Hlynsdottir who had come straight from the airport, plus the esteeemed composer/performer Henry Threadgill. A true honor to have Mr. Threadgill there.