(I know this is a little slow in coming, but I got home from NYC in time to start apartment hunting, which ate my life this week. But it's over for now, I think)
I never know quite what to expect in a visit to New York anymore. I'd like to hear from others in who used to be New Yorkers, but are no longer, but I think it's a very different experience than a tourist or a rookie who's looking to move there. There's the excitement of being THERE, but also the nostalgia that comes with visiting any old haunt, and the feeling of being an anachronism- they put that THERE? (Case in point, the newish shiny Chase building at Cooper Union, and the scaffolding and red brick where CB's used to be.) I actually enjoyed this trip more, partially because I don't have any plans to live there again soon, and I don't feel quite so attached to any particular idea of New York. It's nice to come, and nice to leave again.
That said, some highlights. I stayed with old, old friend Tim Kiah, who as I write this is on his way to Europe on tour with Roy Nathanson's new project, a 4-star in Downbeat project no less. (Side note, if you had asked anyone who knew us as teens who of the five NYC-bound musicians at my high school who would stick, I guarantee Tim would've been #4 at best. We're all gone, and he's still there; goes to show you.) We had a great time catching up, and enjoying his great new apartment in Brooklyn. I also sat in with Citigrass, the "urban bluegrass band" he anchors. The "urban" part is covering tunes by Def Leppard, the Pointer Sisters, and Sisquo in a bluegrass style. I took an extended alto solo on the "Thong Song", trading 4s with the fiddle player. Even after eight months on the boat, that ranks as the most absurd musical experience I've had all year. That said, they all play great, and the music, food and company was a lot of fun.
Sunday night it was off to Park Slope to catch James Carney at his own Konceptions series at Bar 4, tonight in trio with Dan Weiss and Chris Lightcap. The bar itself is a nice, cozy place with good beers on tap and a little stage in front. (It also hosts a monday night series run by old friend and up and coming guitar player Mike Gamble.) I am an enormous fan of Jim's compositions, and he is a great pianist, facile and smart, so the gig was a pleasure. I think, though, I am a jinx on Jim; every time I go to one of his gigs, I seem to be one of six people or so, and last night was no exception, sadly.
Other highlights included the Union Square Farmers Market, which even so late in the season was teeming with people and great food, a visit with relatives I haven't seen in several years, and my first trip to Jikvamukti Yoga (that gets its own post later). Side note: Union Square has become yoga central in New York, with both Jivamukti and Prana Yoga, featuring Baptiste protege now rival Rolf Gates, Om Yoga, and a few other wmaller entries within eight blocks of each other. No lack of down dogs...
For those interested, the playlist for the journey was:
Ngyuen Le: Dancing on the Tiger's Tail (this one will get it's own post)
The Police: Message in a Box
Telephon Tel Aviv: Map of What is Effortless
Johnny Cash: American V: A Hundred Highways (via Tim)
Bill Frisell: Further East, Further West
Booker Little: Booker Little & Max Roach