Tuesday, February 20, 2007

frozen apples

Aren't nearly as tasty...

I think there are two kinds of ex-New Yorkers, a band I now count myself among. There are those that still enter the city ga-ga eyed, and continue to be swept away by its inherent scale and romance of the place. Then there are those who wax nostalgic about how it was when they lived there, and how much worse it is now. (It’s not limited by age; I hear folks my age saying things like I played (The Knitting Factory, Bar 54, Wetlands, Bradley’s, insert club here) when it MEANT something to play there. In other words, they put their old New York game face on whenever they go to visit. I try to avoid either extreme when I visit. That, and the extreme cold does tend to harden one's opinions, and this weekend was damn cold.

That said, I can’t help noticing…

Maybe it’s just because of the holiday weekend, bet the subway stops are cleaner than I remember then, and the trains even slower and more infrequent.

Speaking of Bar 54 (the one by the Letterman show), it closed. Damn, another venue gone.

By coincidence I ended up spending some time at the new plaza at Columbus Circle, or whatever they call it. What a facility, especially when I think about walking by the decrepit old armory that was there for years. Whatever you think about Jazz at Lincoln Center, the physical space and venues are spectacular, and the view is great. However, when I walk into the mall and Miles playing “Autumn Leaves” is coming at me, loud, in unusually high fidelity, I can’t help but feel like I’m being force fed.

I barely recognized the Village Voice by looking at it, or by its quality. I though the lead article- about the sexual (mis)adventures of a 31-year old man with developmental disabilities had no business being a lead article based on either quality of writing or subject matter. I had heard about all the cutbacks and generally bad editorial decisions being made, but hadn’t seen it myself. Yikes. The Boston Phoenix might be a better paper right now, something that was unfathomable five years ago. (I said might.)

I paid my first visit to Union Hall, a new-ish (to me, anyway) bar/performance space/bocce court in Park Slope. Yup, indoor bocce. Very, very hipster, but it still managed to be pretty hip. (Anywhere with Chimay on tap can’t be all bad)

In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty burned out on hipster.

By good luck David Ryshpen and I happened to be in the same neighborhood, and hit the early part of the jam session at Cleopatra’s Needle. It was my first time hearing Dave play live- we were both on Cruise Ship X, but not at the same time- and even in this somewhat limiting setting his imagination and command are evident. He auditioned at NEC, and I’m hoping we can pull him into Boston for a couple of years. I say limiting because at one point of the session the pianist was 6, and the drummer 13. And both of them acquitted themselves nicely. Not ready for a record contract, but certainly competent and musical well beyond any reasonable expectations of your average kid. I seem to hear this more and more often, and wonder what it means for this music in the future. Perhaps I’ll fold that into a forthcoming IAJE rant.

In the meantime, the home front beckons. Notable additions to the local gigs of note list include Monika Heidenman and band at Ryles tonight (oops), Sofia Kousivitkis and band at Ryles Saturday evening, Alarm Will Sound playing Colin Naracrow at the Gardiner on , and The Bad Plus at the MFA on Sunday afternoon. If I’m lucky I’ll make half.

1 comment:

Ryshpan said...

Thanks for the kind words, Pat. It was nice to hang out, albeit briefly, before I got sucked into the vortex of the jam.

I talked to that 13 year old drummer, and he's far more knowledgeable about current happenings in jazz than I was at his age - if I remember correctly I had just discovered Monk and Oliver Nelson.