Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring News...

Downtown Music Gallery, New York City's last bastion for new music sales in the form of a walk in store selling CDs and vinyl, is helping me move some of my back-catalogue recordings. Specifically, you can get copies of "Quiet Music" and "Every So Often" at a good price while copies last. "Quiet Music" is a double CD package of music recorded while on tour in Europe in 2006 featuring an augmented version of the Eskelin/Parkins/Black band with Jessica Constable (voice) and Philippe Gelda (piano and organ). The music on this recording is so varied that it's difficult to choose samples or excerpts that give an idea of it's scope, so you'll just have to take my word on it. I only wish that I could have pursued this line-up further in performance. But I'm very happy that I was able to capture this quintet at the right moment. Check the Downtown Music Gallery listing for a further description and ordering instructions.

I mentioned "Every So Often" in a previous post. It's an improvised duo with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier. Here's Downtown Music Gallery's description and ordering page. Downtown Music Gallery offers tons of great music via mail order. Do yourself a favor and take a spin on their website. You won't be sorry…

hatOLOGY recordings (in the business of presenting cutting edge new music since 1975!) has just released "Non Sequiturs" by the group "Different But the Same" (David Liebman - tenor saxophone, Ellery Eskelin - tenor saxophone, Tony Marino - bass, Jim Black - drums). "Non Sequiturs" is the name of a suite that I wrote in 2009 commissioned by Chamber Music America and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. You can order a copy from Downtown Music Gallery (along with the titles mentioned above!) "Different But the Same" toured Europe last month touching down in Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany and The Netherlands. Future dates being planned, stay tuned.

Since returning I've had a rather quick succession of dates in and around town with Trio New York (thanks to drummer Rudy Royston for filling in while Gerald Cleaver was at the Village Vanguard)…clarinetist Ben Goldberg was in town from California to record a new project, more on that upon release but I will say that there is nothing quite like bass parts as played on the contra-alto clarinet…drummer Devin Gray is hard at work promoting his new recording "Dirigo Rataplan" (which means "leading from the beat"). Have a listen…Guitarist Terrence McManus is doing a series of concerts at the Brooklyn Conservatory…The Peabody Jazz Ensemble, a student group at Peabody Conservatory under the direction of bassist Michael Formanek recently presented a concert of music by Charles Mingus in commemoration of what would have the the legendary bassist and composer's 90th birthday. I was invited as a guest artist along with trumpeter Jack Walrath who played in Mingus' band during the 1970's. It was interesting to be in Baltimore (my home town) and speaking with folks about the jazz scene there, the old days and what's happening now. The issue of where the students can go to play outside of the school was one topic of discussion. In the late 70's when I was in Baltimore there were enough clubs still going to be able to go out most nights and find a place to sit in. Makes me wonder whether there could be a role for jazz programs across the country to facilitate regular opportunities for students to connect with their communities and the local players who may act as their mentors in jam sessions or other public presentations. Food for thought…


"Trio New York" (EE w/Gary Versace on organ and Gerald Cleaver on drums) will be doing some stateside work this summer including a performance at the Detroit Jazz Festival in September. Read about the line-up in the Detroit Free Press. I'll be making more noise about this as we get a bit closer.

Current reading:

Wait Until Dark - Jazz and the Underworld, 1880 - 1940 (by Ronald L. Morris). I've been searching for years to find a book about the relationship between the so called "underworld" and the music business, specifically jazz. It's not anything that folks wanted to talk about at the time nor has it been chronicled in any way that leaves us a clear picture of how the business worked in the early days. Suffice it to say that the music was in some measure sustained by certain types of non-musical activities on the part of folks with an interest in night clubs, especially during prohibition. Jazz was not welcomed by the public at large, and was in fact vilified in many ways. If not for this relationship things would certainly have progressed differently. I'm just getting into the book now and may have some additional thoughts after finishing it. However, along with the autobiography of pioneer bassist Pops Foster that I read some months back the picture of night life in key cities at this time is simply mind boggling. PS This book is very difficult to find. Fortunately I was able to borrow a copy from a colleague.


  1. Great information, Thanks!

  2. Sounds like an interesting book. Since you said it was hard to find, I checked the NYPL catalog and see that the Schomburg Center and the Performing Arts Library have copies. They're to use in the library only, and the Perf. Arts copy has to be requested from offsite.... Not sure if everyone is aware that there's currently a controversy happening right now about the future redesign of NYPL, which entails selling off the Mid-Manhattan Branch and the Science and Business Branch, and moving a hell of a lot of books OUT of the Main Library (Schwarzman) at Bryant Park and putting them off site. Lemme tell ya, the system of offsite books (they're stored in NJ) already stinks... takes days to get stuff... the new plan would just make it worse. So books like Jazz After Dark would be even less accessible.

    This is one of the most eloquent pleas I've read opposing the new plan...
    See also:

    Anyway, didn't mean to derail your topic, but just wanted to let you and jazz listeners know that books like these are in the libraries... but the NYPL bureaucrats want to make it harder to get them.

  3. Thanks Mark for sharing that information...