Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

What do you get when you cross a dramatically different folky blues vocal, with double bass, electric guitar, flute and drums? You get New York City based group Woodbine Falls. When I was living in NYC, the lead singer, Laura Kivlen, was my boss at the Italian gelato shop and the bass player was a very short-lived fling, so let’s just say I ended up at a few of their live shows playing around the city. I was impressed by the musicianship and virtuosity of the ensemble. These are all trained musicians and you can tell when you hear them; whether it be on their latest self titled EP or you’re at their next live show at Rockwood Music Hall on Groundhogs day 2013 at 4pm. Check out their very first music video “Chase the Blue” posted below. It is a trippy and beautifully bizarre lyric illustration.

If you want to see a beautiful female bass player “google image” Esperanza Spalding. If you want to hear a really great contemporary jazz bass player listen to Esperanza Spalding.

Last night, at the Village Vanguard, I saw the first truly inspiring famous bass player. I’ve heard many of the greats, but being that the bass is a male-dominated instrument, it was so refreshing to see and hear Esperanza Spalding, a female, play bass. Although, I play classical, it did not detract from seeing another female bassist who not only knew her way around the bass but looked so hip and cool doing it. Everyone stops me on the street with my bass and questions why such a “small girl” would pick such a “big instrument.” Hearing that over and over again gave me some sort of complex. Do people think I’m manly since I play this instrument? But Esperanza looked so feminine and beautiful playing her bass at the Vanguard last night, that I realized females playing the bass can be pretty cool and empowering.

My friend, who was squished in next to me in the crowded venue, can vouch for the fact that I excitedly said more than once “She makes me want to play bass right now.” [Side note: I named my bass Esperanza before I even knew about Esperanza Spalding!]

In 2011, she won a Grammy for Best New Artist. She has four solo albums out, but tours quite a bit. I highly recommend seeing her in person, as her stage presence is gushing with emotion and vivacity that can only be captured live.

Even though this record came out in 2010, it’s never too late to listen to good music. I just so happened to find this artist through some research on musicians from the Panama Canal.

Panamanian, Danilo Perez is considered one of the best contemporary pianists and jazz
composers of our age. He began his musical studies at age 3 and studied European Classical
Piano at the National Conservatory in Panama and later transferred to Berklee College of
Music to study jazz composition. Later, he became a professor at New England Conservatory
of music and currently heads the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. “He’s not afraid of anything,” Herbie Hancock once said about Perez. The newest album Perez has released is “based on the idea that whatever we do has an impact on the universe. The word ‘providence,’ for me, means standing up for the future of the next generation of our children.

His music is neat because it really is a fusion of his past and present. Listen/Buy “Providencia”

Galactic Panama

Two nights ago I saw Christian McBride at the Apple store…for free…AND I was in the first row. To say the least, it was a sick show. He’s a bass beast and his quartet, Inside Straight, was also fantastic.

Last night, I journeyed to Paris Blues (in the rain again) to hear The Tove Langhof quartet, which was equally pleasurable. You obviously missed out on that. Great news, though! Their November Tuesday nights are extended through the month of December. Don’t miss them! Paris Blues in Harlem, NYC–121st and Adam Clayton Powell at 9:30pm. Get there early and watch Soul Train on the flat screen. Between sets, listen to bartender, Gilda, sing-along to some R&B love songs off the Juke Box. (I hear there will be free food cooked by Gilda one Tuesday evening in late December. Stay tuned.)

Last night, I recorded the quartet +1 playing my namesake song “Stella By Starlight”…missed the clever piano intro, but you’ll get the gist.

Tove Langhof-tenor & soprano sax 
Matt Baker- piano 
Ray Cetta- bass 
Dorota Piotrowska- drums 
Randall Murray- trumpet

(keep in mind, I recorded this on my iPhone and it sounds better with headphones) STELLA BY STARLIGHT

Tove Langhof quartet is rounding out it’s November residency at Paris Blues on the corner of 121st and Adam Clayton Powell in Harlem, NYC. I saw them play last Tuesday night on a ridiculously rainy evening that made the music become evermore jazz age. Minus the “Dancing with the Stars” on the flatscreen propped behind the bassist, I pretended I was listening to the hot and cool of musicians in Harlem’s jazz heyday. Don’t let Paris Blues’ shabby interiors detract. You’ll be sure to have an unique experience that you’ll be glad you didn’t miss. No cover. But drop a few to feed the musicians. Drinks are strong and made by a Jamaican woman who has been working there for 10 years. You might even hear Thriller, Hot in Herre, or Who let the Dogs Out? while the musicians take a break between sets.

Come hear jazz standards by some great musicians. I’ll be there.
Next Tuesday, November 26th @ 9pm

Tove Langhof-tenor & soprano sax
Matt Baker- piano
Ray Cetta– bass
Dorota Piottrowska- drums
Randall (he wears a black beret!)- trumpet

recorded from my iPhone last Tuesday (the pop at :18 is me taking my headphones out):