Now that I am back in the realm of the blog, I have taken the liberty to spend time offline getting my ever-transitioning life in order. As such, I have broken multiple rules by not posting more than a couple times so far. You’ll have to forgive me, I will get better as my new routine feels its way to the surface. As these boxes gradually unpack themselves and my new projects come to light, I will keep this space fresh with my musings and discoveries.
For those of you still wondering what the heck I’m doing with my days (hi, Mom), I’ll give you a brief rundown to catch you up to speed. You can expect further coverage on these topics here and through a handful of freelance gigs I’m pawing at.
The good news is that the flow of music information has not slowed down with my shift in focus. So many of you have been kind enough to send your warm wishes, inquiries, and general demands that I not disappear, I feel a sense of responsibility now to music lovers as well as musicians. Thanks for all the support and for keeping me on my game, and for making sure I know I’m not the only one obsessing over jazz and the jazz-inspired.
Pup fans are keeping me busy as the boys weave their way up the East Coast. The boys were in the studio at Jefferson Center in Roanoke this week with Jason Marsalis and the Muppet-friendly John Ellis. Very soon we will have three new Snarky tracks to use for our own devilish devices (let me know if you need suggestions). I’ve called them a Katamari of sound on more than one occasion, because no matter where they travel, they pick up the most talented musicians and region-specific vibe to add to their increasingly complex-yet-danceable dimensions. Tad Dickens was on hand in Roanoke to tell us how their show at Blue 5 went.
Mike and John also swung by WSLS-10 to talk to this Sweater Vest who had never heard of John Ellis (but I bet he would totally dig Puppet Mischief for its playful accessibility and cheerful use of the sousaphone). If you are in New Orleans this weekend, you can catch John and Jason at the Doublewide’s Puppet Mischief album release party on Saturday night at the Blue Nile. I won’t be back on Frenchman for a whole ‘nother week (mew hew, see you at Quarter Fest).
Come here to me, New York.
We had our first official Nica Presents show at the Green Elephant in Dallas featuring Michael Bellar and the As/Is Ensemble and Fort Worth’s Worcuzza. The whole idea behind these shows is to cross-pollinate Jazz heads from around the globe with our world-class local cats. Like many of my new favorites, I saw As/Is at Winter Jazz Fest and jumped at the chance to help put this show together. We had a packed house, and yes, it was mostly packed with an SMU frat party that I did have to regulate a bit when the crowd yelled at the stage (come to my shows and give my musicians your money, fine; but do not yell at them, thank you. It gives me a headache). Apparently the Brah didn’t feel the Rhodes was “spicy enough” to dance — some people just don’t know how to listen with their hips. What can I do? Overall, the night was a success. Musicians got paid, fans found something new to love, and I got to yell at a guy wearing boat shoes in public. We’ll be back at the Green Elephant on May 28th, go ahead and mark your calendar for some spicy Cajuns in Dallas that night (hint, hint).
Turns out those little stars I wished on in New York were packing quite a punch, because only days after the first Nica Presents, Alto Sax man Brian Girley informed me that he’s been playing with Ambrose Akinmusire and Taylor Eigsti and they have formed a thumping super Quintet along with Jason “JT” Thomas and Yuka Tadano! Now I’m presenting a two-night special in Denton featuring some of the most sought-after (and emerging) young jazz artists on the planet. I don’t even want to breathe when Ambrose plays because I want to be able to hear his breath fill every nook and valve it can reach until it wraps itself around my ears and pulls across my mind. Damn. That’s gonna be a good week.
And Taylor! I have never seen anyone play the piano with such pure joy — except for Shaun Martin, really (but that’s a dirty, move-yo-ass kind of joy). Taylor plays those keys with a such childlike exuberance, you can’t help but smile along. Maybe Grammy’s do make people happy. Everyone I know who has a couple under their belt whistles a cheerful tune — or maybe the Grammy’s are just another manifestation of these artists who clearly find purpose and fulfillment in play. All I know is I want to listen.
I do hope you can join us on April 20th and 21st in Denton. We will be resplendent in rare form.
As you can see, I’m not dicking around with this jazz business. When I said I’m gonna bring you the goods, I’m gonna bring you the Real Goods. I’ve taken over the stage at Cold Fusion once again, and my first order of business was to get Bernard Wright’s Trio back to Denton. Done and done. He’ll be playing with the fierce-yet-so-sweet-to-me Wes Stephenson (bass) and the ever-smooth John Caruth (drums) on April 6. Since I’ve relocated from Dallas, I’ve missed my Monday jaunts to see them at Pussy Cat Lounge — can’t have that! We’ll see you on Tuesday.