Posts tagged: Neil Welch

Brian Blade Fellowship

By , October 11, 2018 9:45 am

I first heard the Brian Blade Fellowship, now known as Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, in 2003 when they performed at the Ballard Jazz Festival.  I was not familiar with any of the musicians in the band except for Blade, and it was honestly one of the most significant turning points in my musical development.  The songs were melodic, sweeping, and epic, and the improvisations throughout were creative and free of any cliche or standard ideas.  I had been in the Jazz Studies program at the University of Washington for a year or two, and that concert blew my mind.

After that, the band’s second album, Perceptual, was my musical world.  I listened to that CD obsessively, listening to the songs, and also thinking about how expressive the soloists were.  From there I went back to the first album, just called Brian Blade Fellowship, and then back to Perceptual, and then some time passed.

In 2006, my classmate and bandmate Tarik Abouzied called a group of musicians together to play:  me, Neil Welch, Evan Flory-Barnes, Nathan Vetter, and a piano player that had just recently moved back to town from the East Coast:  Tim Kennedy (I’ve talked about Tim several times on this blog in the past).  At the end of the hang, Neil played us a bootlegged recording he had of the Fellowship, playing live somewhere, and it blew my world up all over again!  It was all the feelings I had had in 2003, from the same band, and I listened to that recording non-stop once again, playing it and burning it for anyone that would listen.  The Fellowship did release more albums, which I picked up of course, then some time passed again.

In 2013 or 2014, videos of that bootlegged concert showed up on Youtube.  It turned out to be from the Jazz Baltica festival in Europe.  We finally had video of those songs we had listened to all those years back!  Now I’m going back once again, learning some of the solos from that concert, and it is great to dig in to this music again.  Here is a short clip of Myron Walden’s solo from the first song on the bootleg.  Thanks Brian Blade, Jon Cowherd, Chris Thomas, Myron Walden, Melvin Butler, Kurt Rosenwinkle, Dave Easley, and everyone else involved in the Fellowship!

 

 

 

 

Spots I should have been going to a long time ago…

By , January 30, 2010 7:38 pm

Two venues doing positive things for the Seattle scene:

One of the great new additions to my list of places to be, the Seamonster Lounge is a great gathering spot for local heavies and for music that sometimes falls in those gaps between jazz, funk, and rock.  Featuring weekly appearances by the McTuff trio, Nathan Spicer, Woogie D, and others, the club has really cultivated a great jam band, groove-based vibe that doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to musicianship.  In short, a rocking venue.

Another inspiring spot that I hope to frequent more often is Cafe Racer in the Ravenna/U-District area.  You can go to Racer one night and check out a rock band, go the next night and see a blues duo, go the next night and watch free jazz.  I particularly was drawn to the new Sunday Racer Sessions, an open jam session curated by a different musician each week that usually revolves around open ended free improvisation.  I was there this last Sunday to see a solo performance by Neil Welch and was blown away.  Check his website here and check out the Racer Sessions site at http://racersessions.com

Congratulations to Bad Luck

By , November 16, 2009 11:03 am

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Bad Luck is a drums and saxophone duo with Chris Icasiano and Neil Welch, two classmates of mine from the University of Washington days, who have taken off on an amazing path of music-making since then.  Chris has gone on to work in a diverse range of settings, from free jazz to rock to West African music, and Neil has been leading a 7-piece group that fuses Indian music and jazz, releasing an album, as well as playing with Chris and squeezing in a road trip that spanned almost all 50 states! 

That being said, I was very excited to to see the Bad Luck CD release concert on Saturday night and hear what Chris and Neil were up to.  I had not heard the group since Hardcoretet played a show with them months ago at Lucid, which I still look back on regretfully and with some guilt, as the owner of the club asked us to cut Bad Luck short that night, and we did that rather than stand up for them and refuse to do so.

That unfortunate experience has done nothing to slow the duo’s momentum, however, and it was evident at the show on Saturday.  The Good Sheperd Center was packed, and it was definitely the place to be if you were a Seattle musician.  The compositions moved from wildly energetic and raw to achingly delicate and introspective, sometimes in a very short span of time, and Chris and Neil were on the same wavelength the entire night.  It was inspiring, interesting, and new, something any music scene needs as much of as possible.  Congratulations guys!

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