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Archive for September, 2010

So, Julia and I saw The Bad Plus last week at L’Astral, Montreal’s new Jazz Fest sanctioned “jazz club”.  First off, two non-musical issues.

Issue #1:  Fake “Jazz Club Smoke”

See that shit?  That’s FAKE SMOKE!  FAKE SMOKE!  Listen guys, if you want “Jazz Club Atmosphere Smoke” you’ll have to repeal that indoor smoking ban and let us jazzbos get back to tending to our lung cancer cells ’cause this is just mind-bogglingly nauseating.  It’s a desperate attempt to make this terrible, terrible space seem more like a stereotyped “jazz club.”  It was painful and immediately put me ill at ease.

Issue #2:  Local Beer Selection

These are the local beers you have available?  Quebec has some of the finest brewery’s in North America and NONE of them are served at L’Astral?  This sickening Molson Only menu decidedly stinks.  In fact, it almost pissed me off as much the fake smoke and we didn’t get drinks at all, not even water.  L’Astral is, in my opinion, the worst venue I have ever been to.  Our corporate overlords can try all they want to seem hip but their attempts at humanity are painful to witness and detract from one’s enjoyment of the performance one has come to see.

So, needless to say the evening started out on some bad notes.  Fortunately The Bad Plus always play great and soon the forced atmosphere and barren menu melted into the background.  I also had the foresight to bring a camera along to shoot some video and caught the first six tunes.  The guys started off with a movement from Stravinsky’s Apollon Musagete:

Dave King’s percussion adds a really nice rhythmic dimension to this piece and I’ve always felt that Stravinsky never used enough percussion in even his orchestral works.  Now, I love Igor but when are you guys gonna’ do some Charles Ives?  Maybe bust out some Housatonic at Stockbridge?  Think about it.

Up next was a tune from the new album Never Stop, King’s My Friend Metatron:

I’m getting some notes of Geddy Lee at around 0:50 but the finish is all King.

Next is the classic Reid Anderson composition Rhinoceros Is My Profession:

2:49 to 2:55? Yes.

Then another one of Dave King’s feel-good-tune-of-the-years, Super America:

I’m loving the Bb.

What followed were two of the highlights of the night for me. First is Ethan Iverson’s tune Guilty:

Ethan’s intro, Reid’s solo, everything King did, it was just perfect. This was, I thought, their best performance as a group that night and the way they landed in some deep blues was just fantastic. My other highlight was King’s Thrift Store Jewelry:


Swear to god, I could listen to Dave King play drums ALL NIGHT and his solo here was great, full of surprises within the framework of the composition.

Unfortunately my camera didn’t have enough juice to get more and I missed Ornette Coleman’s Law Years and the encores.

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Thomas Dyani-Akiru, percussionist extraordinaire who’s currently on tour with Shakira.  He bought a Wahl clipper (I work at the Centre du Rasoir).  Nice guy.  And he knew Don Cherry!  And his step-dad was Johnny Dyani!  Yet another brush with greatness.

Here he is in action:

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