Posts tagged: Seattle

East Coast, California, and Oregon

By , October 21, 2015 3:46 pm

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Home again home again after a busy couple of weeks:

– The Polyrhythmics East Coast Tour was overwhelmingly positive, both individually and as a group. Although our time in each area or city was usually pretty short, I really enjoyed being in areas where the moods, personalities, and cultures were a bit different than that of the Northwest, from New England to New York to DC to North Carolina. Equally interesting were the parts of some of the cities that I found really similar to Seattle and the Northwest; sometimes it was the way a town felt, sometimes it was the way the people were, sometimes it was something else. Regardless, there was strong support and love for our music, which was heartwarming. New York in particular was wonderful; I reunited with several friends with whom I always enjoy catching up.

– After that, our stops in California and Oregon were familiar in the best of ways. Many of the venues we’ve played several times before, and it’s comforting to know that the place you’re playing any given night likes you and will treat you well, and you will probably see some familiar faces too! I talked about music a lot with a couple of the guys on this run, discussing where we see our music (both as individuals and as a band) fitting in compared to all of the other music getting made out there. I always find those conversations very rewarding, and think it makes me a better musician (or at least makes WANT to be better).

The Polyrhythmics twitter and instagram accounts were pretty active on these runs, so there are more detailed descriptions of the tours here and here.

It is not easy to make tours like this happen (much of the credit should go to Ben Bloom, our guitarist and tour manager), and there are sacrifices each of us in the band make to do it, but I feel very fortunate to be along for the ride.

On to the next!

More on Musical Circles

By , June 30, 2015 1:57 pm

Although I won’t be in town, I was excited to see that Kamasi Washington is coming to Seattle, playing at Neumo’s on July 30:

I’ve read a fair amount about Washington in the last couple of months, but one aspect of his approach that particularly interested me was his participation in creating the West Coast Get Down, which is the community of musicians that have known each other since high school, play together in various combinations in Los Angeles, and recently collaborated on a month-long recording session, which resulted in a whole wealth of material written by different individuals in the collective. Kamasi’s album The Epic is just the first release from that material.

What I really like about musical collectives is they give you a wider view of the music that’s coming from a particular time and place. Because a group of like-minded people that know each other well are involved rather than one individual dictating ideas to others, the end result feels more collaborative. The West Coast Get Down and Kamasi Washington’s album is what a certain part of LA’s jazz community sounds like in 2015. I do wish the other members of the West Coast Get Down were mentioned as often as Washington and the collective are, but perhaps that will come in time when the rest of the material from that recording session is released.

I talked a bit about Seattle’s musical circles here, but the stories about Washington’s album and the West Coast Get Down got me thinking about them once again (post edited: I tried listing all of the music communities I consider collectives or near-collectives, and the list was just too long, I’m sure you all know many of the ones I do), and it made me wonder what Seattle music in 2015 sounds like to people that don’t live in Seattle or haven’t listened to it very much.  Perhaps it’s better to refrain from over-categorizing and trying to define the music being made; when it comes down to it we’re all just trying to be musically honest and playing what we like without making it fit into a style.  I know I’ve had this type of conversation with different people many many times, but it always seems to be on my mind, so if I’m repeating myself I’m sorry, friends!

 

 

Earshot

By , October 27, 2010 4:22 pm

So the Earshot Jazz Festival is about halfway over.  The Seattle Times talked about it a bit , as did Lucas Gillan of Accujazz and Jason Parker from One Working Musician.

As with every year, I am impressed with the diverse schedule of music and film, and several of the musicians in particular have been hype-worthy for me, in particular Mark Taylor, Steve Lehman, Dafnis Prieto and Agogic, and the Brian Blade Fellowship, but there really is something for everyone.

There’s some talk that the turn-out hasn’t been great for some shows,  but that seems to me to be par for the course at Earshot, and an understandable side effect of a festival that can book Robert Glasper, Charlie Musselwhite, and Steve Lehman in the same festival. 

In addition, you’ve got multiple shows going on at the same time sometimes, so the audiences are split, not to mention that at 20-25 bucks a pop folks like me are going to pick and choose what they can afford to go to.

 I can specifically remember going to festival events in the past that were on both sides of the attendance spectrum (Manuel Valera and Kris Davis are two concerts where I remember thinking there should be way more people there, while Ravi Coltrane’s first appearance at the festival I nearly didn’t get into), and I’ve talked with some musician friends of mine that know for a fact some acts are booked for the festival with full knowledge that they might not necessarily bring an incredible amount of listeners, but the music is bad-ass, so Earshot does it anyway.  I really admire that. 

I’m also really happy that Earshot continues to feature local groups as well as out-of-town groups.  Hardcoretet was fortunate enough to have our cd release party as part of the Festival last year, and who knows?  Maybe we will have the chance again, but until then there are plenty of top-notch Seattle musicians on the schedule, all of them well worth supporting (Mark Taylor and the Teaching both come to mind). 

A coworker took his family to see the Darius Jones Trio on Saturday.  He didn’t know Jones’ music, he just knew that Earshot was going on and wanted to see at least one concert and take his kids too.  I was able to forward him this post from Destination:  OUT on the trio’s New York appearance and their most recent release.  He soon realized Darius and company was a little outside of his comfort zone, but enjoyed the show anyway and was glad he went.  I think it’s safe to say he never would have gone to see, much less heard of, the Darius Jones trio if not for the Earshot Festival, which is as strong a piece of testimony as I can think of for the value of the Festival (not that I ever thought its value was in question).

What does Earshot mean for local musicians the rest of the year?  Not much, in my opinion.  The festival is a great platform to have in the moment, but once that time is over, it doesn’t really lead to much else, and although the Earshot organization does have some concert series at other parts of the year, they don’t seem to me to do much more in terms of a band’s promotion than a gig that the band went out and booked itself would.  That said, I always look forward to Fall in Seattle, I check out the artists list as soon as its announced, and I hope Earshot continues for a long, long time.

Sasquatch/IO Awards

By , June 18, 2010 8:58 am

I’m back with another double post that I’ve been wanting to do for a while, a recount of and some thoughts about Memorial Day Weekend. 

I was very excited for this weekend for several reasons.  There would be great camping with some of my favorite people, a full day’s worth of music that was largely new to me, and then the IO Awards at Benaroya Hall to cap it all off.  First, Sasquatch.

When my sister Emily first suggested a bunch of us buy Saturday Sasquatch tickets, I probably was familiar with 3 or 4 of the bands out of the 12 hours of music that would be happening that day.  Part of the great birthday present my girlfriend Brittany got me was a package of burned cds of almost all the bands playing at Sasquatch when we would be there, a primer of sorts so I knew what to expect, and listening to these just got me more pumped.  As I’ve said here before, I pretty much come from a jazz background, and haven’t listened to very much of anything else, although my horizons have definitely expanded in recent years, and this was an opportunity to open my ears even more.

Saturday at the Gorge did not disappoint.  Artists like Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, Miike Snow, Broken Social Scene, Vampire Weekend, the National, and Brother Ali all were top notch, and obviously seeing all of them at the Gorge in beautiful weather was an amazing experience (camping was incredible too, but I’ll stick to the music here).  From noon to midnight, I can’t remember a single act that I was honestly disappointed with, and they all had their own style and sound, not to mention incredible amounts of stage energy.  I was really impressed with all the bands’ ability to put on an awesome show and really get into it, often with little or no pageantry or flash.  Everyone seriously rocked their sets, but there was nothing lost in the execution of the music, and these are things I think I could think about more often when I play.

Monday night was the first ever Inside Out Awards.  All in all, it was an immensely impressive event that Lucid’s David Pierre-Louis pulled off, and it was fun, at least for a small part of the night, for Brittany and I to feel a little fancy walking around the Benaroya Hall lobby.  Hardcoretet didn’t win, but there was even some fun in that; after hanging out and joking around with our friends in Gravity, who beat us out for the mixed-genre album award, a tongue-in-cheek feud was born, and I hope it goes for a while.  You win this round, Gravity, but next time!

Most importantly, I hope that this first time around for the Inside Out Awards was an experience that can both be improved on as an event as well as a catalyst for increased musical activity in Seattle.  It definitely gave a snapshot of the incredible musical diversity here, and if listeners continue to seek out new venues, new bands, new artists, and new music, the scene will benefit.  I think it’s important to recognize that one of the possible negative side effects of emphasizing any particular community, whether it’s jazz, rock, sculpture, poetry, or anything else, is that the circle tightens, and even though the bonds inside that community get stronger, it begins to isolate itself.  That being said, the Inside Out Awards event was a fun celebration of what we have going on here in Seattle, and I for one was energized to look ahead to the future!

So that was Memorial Day Weekend.  Stay tuned for another post soon about the Polyrhythmics, the band I’m in that recently took an Oregon mini-tour of our own, and come celebrate Solstice this Saturday the 19th at 7:30 at Cafe Solstice(!) with Dead Zerious featuring Andrew Swanson, IO award winner and subject of this week’s Better Know a Badass on www.hardcoretetmusic.com.

Art

Almost Done…

By , August 9, 2009 3:38 pm

I told myself I would wait to put posts up until my site was fully operational, but this is close enough, and if any of you out there have suggestions on how to make it cooler, let me know!

I also am not completely sure what I’m going to post about, or how often I’ll get on here; I think that’s a question that will probably take care of itself. I do know that I’d like most, if not all, of the content to be music-related, and ideally focus on Seattle music in particular. I’ve found that every musician I talk to about the scene has pretty clear ideas and opinions on the state of live music in this city, but tend to keep them to themselves unless they are asked about it, in which case the floodgates open! I’ve been exactly the same way, so hopefully this blog will change that. Stay tuned…

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