… the Show.

My brain is still trying to gather together the flashes of last night’s gig. 

Got into the city relatively quick and easily. Parking/load-in/soundcheck all went smoothly. We hit the stage promptly (I love starting on time when I’m playing – I loathe the wait beforehand and like to get every second of playing I can).

Dennis had his recent acquisition from Ben Crowe of Crimson Guitars – a gorgeous Les Paul-style guitar with all the bells and whistles (Roland hex pickup, sustainer circuit, Khaler trem, etc.). Ben has made guitars for Robert Fripp and this one bears a striking resemblance to his, which bear a striking resemblance to the Fernandes LPs that were made for Robert and Adrian Belew (one of which is sitting in my studio right now).

As someone who plays improvised music regularly I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with musicians whose taste and abilities are such that I can just walk onstage and feel comfortable that I’m part of a pretty good team – from Regional Science Fair, through the collaboration with Cyrus Chestnut, Su Lian Tan and Keith Watts up to this little trio. When it’s all clicking, the audience vanishes and the only people in the room are the ones communicating to each other with sound. It’s actually pretty difficult for me to suddenly be back in a crowded room at the end of the set. The applause does help smooth the transition, though. 8^{)}

The true revelation of the evening was not how well we worked together – that was almost a given when you consider what brought us together – but the V-Drums.  V-Drums are Roland’s most recent forray into electronic drums but they do so much more.  Not only do the sound great but you can program notes for bass paterns and assign them to different triggers.  For example, you can program it so that every time you hit the high hat the next note in whatever series you program will play.  This was really liberating because suddely the bass part was no longer my sole responsibility as Mike could take over and I could do more complex playing on the trebble side of the stick.  Also when the person playing the kick drum is triggering the bass notes wth the same movement the band sounds pretty darn tight.

I can never tell if what the audience heard was any good (the downside of having supportive friends- they clap when you suck, too). But the general indication was that it was at least palletable if not earth-shaking. Good to see some faces I haven’t seen in a while – Karl Ward, one of my friends from the band Ninth Street Mission, Daniel Reyes Llinas (another participant in the Guitar Craft course I met Dennis at and co-composer of En La Corte Del Rey Hamburgesa) and Tony Geballe (guitarist/composer/teacher extraordinaire). As a Stick player I’m glad I didn’t know Tony was there until after the set – he’s played in several bands with Trey Gunn (a big influence on my playing) and had just finished recording sessions with Tony Levin (a big influence on anyone who plays a Stick). He had some nice things to say, especially that it didn’t sound like a “first gig”. Mike’s response was, “It’s not – I’ve played before.”

I’m extremely curious to hear the recording of the show. More on that soon, I hope.
 

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