Saturday, June 30, 2012

Words and Music review

The Words and Music series at the Prophouse is now complete, as are all but one of my jazz festival gigs for this week.  The series was absolutely amazing and inspiring.  Great audience every night, lots of sparks on stage with such a diverse and rich cast of creative people.  I just loved meeting everyone, listening, and playing.  There were some important collaborative connections formed which will surely bear fruit in the near future.

Check out Daniela Elza's blog for some pictures and a more detailed review. Below is a picture of Clyde Reed, Daniela, and Me on the opening night of the series. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Words and Music at the Prophouse

As jazz fest time rolls around again, the city is in a flurry of creative activity. Bassist, Clyde Reed, is organizing a week-long series of words and music collaborations at the Prophouse Cafe. Several years ago, Clyde began working with the poet Kate Braid, collaborating with her at numerous readings, poetry festivals and the like. The partnership proved to be very successful and inspired Clyde to think of other collaborations with words and music. The Prophouse is a warm and intimate venue that provides close contact between artists and audience.  

Words and Music draws on Clyde's long-term artistic relationships with amazing musicians , poets, vocalists and spoken word artists from up and down the West Coast. Out-of-town guests will be Michael Vlatkovitch (trombone, Los Angeles), Rich Halley (tenor sax, Portland), Mark Weber (poet, New Mexico), and Laura Winter (poet, Portland). These folks will improvise together, with Clyde and local artists Kedrick James (spoken word), Jared Burrows (guitar), Daniela Elza (poet),DB Boyko (voice), Vivianne Houle (voice), Coat Cooke (saxes/flute), plus Ion Zoo: Carol Sawyer (voice), Steve Bagnell (saxes/percussion), Lisa Miller (piano).

The series will feature some established, long-term collaborations such as Kate and Clyde, Michael and Mark, Kedrick and Coat, but also a lot of new and unexplored combinations. Expect an incredible variety of improvised collaborations between words and music: song, poetry, found text, and spontaneous vocalizations of every description. 

Prophouse Cafe
1636 Venables St. Vancouver
admission by donation
June 25-28, 5-7pm. Sets at 5 and 6pm.

June 25

1st set: Daniela Elza (poet) plus Clyde Reed (bass) and Jared Burrows (guitar)

2nd set: Kedrick James (spoken word) plus Clyde, Jared, and Coat Cooke (reeds)

June 26

1st set: Kate Braid (poet) plus Clyde Reed
2nd set: Viviane Houle (voice) plus Clyde Reed, Jared Burrows, Rich Halley (reeds), Michael Vlatkovich (trombone)

June 27

1st set: Mark Weber (poet) plus Michael Vlatkovich and Ion Zoo: Carol Sawyer (voice), Lisa Miller (piano), Steve Bagnell (sax and percussion, Clyde Reed (bass)

2nd set: Ion Zoo

June 28

1st set: Laura Winter (poet) plus Clyde Reed, Rich Halley, Michael Vlatkovich

2nd set: DB Boyko (voice) plus Clyde, Coat, Jared Burrows and Michael Vlatkovich

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dave Robbins Electric band studio session complete!

This afternoon we finished up the studio work for Dave Robbins' Electric Band project.  Working with these guys on various gigs over the past six months has been just fantastic.  The sessions went very well indeed with a relaxed feeling in the band and no technical hangups of any kind to distract us.

I am always a little apprehensive about recording creative music in a studio situation with headphones and people in different rooms etc.  I'm the first to admit that this kind of playing under an audio microscope makes me uncomfortable.  I needn't have worried though as Brad made it all very smooth and easy, setting up gear and getting amazing sounds with no fuss in very little time.  Brad was also a good influence for me in that he exudes a sense of calm and a tremendous confidence about everything he plays. Of course that is probably easier when you are the kind of genius/virtuoso that he is, but I found it quite remarkable nonetheless and a good lesson for me.  Our producer Bill Coon (also one of our city's finest guitarists), likewise puts out a calming and centered vibe.  Dave played amazingly well and seems to be able to generate a 'live' performance energy and enthusiasm in the studio.  I was grateful for that and hope I was able to connect with some of that energy.

Kerry is an old studio pro and that fact shone through on every take.  His playing was incredibly consistent and grooving as anyone could want. Evan really surprised me with his variety of approach from tune to tune and the wildness of his improvising.  It is kind of a cliche to talk about one of the Arntzen boys having a natural feeling for music (just about every member of the family going back to Grandpa Lloyd plays music)  but it is absolutely true.  Like Dave, he seems very at home in the studio despite his youth.

I'm really looking forward to the record coming out.  I deliberately didn't listen much to playbacks so as to be surprised when I hear the CD.  I'll keep you posted as to the release.

 Left is a cool picture that Kerry took and below is a shot of the band at the Cellar a couple of weeks ago (photo by Vincent Lim). Other studio shots from Kerry may be forthcoming....