Once Upon a Time in New Jersey

Tomorrow night (Nov 21st) is the debut of the collaboration between myself and Stone Document, the duo of Dennis Tirch (guitar and electronics) and Mike Roze (V-drums). The plan is to do a quick set of entirely improvised music at a club on the Lower East Side called “Fat Baby”.

But first – some history:

Dennis and I met in 2005 at a Guitar Craft course (check my links) in New Jersey. We hit it off immediately as we had very similar musical backgrounds and almost identical musical tastes. And so commenced the almost unstoppable stream of prog rock nerd-speak. We played together a lot that course and even collaborated (with Daniel Reyes, Scott English, Adam Handler and I’m a total putz if I forgot anyone) on a piece. We were charged with the task of working in small groups and composing a piece to be performed the next day. Over the course of 2 hours we put together “En la Corte del Rey Hamburgessa” (trans – “In the Court of the Burger King”), the title a tongue-in-cheek homage to King Crimson’s debut album. It turned out to be one of the most effortless and rewarding music-making experiences in my life. We all brought something different to the table and all meshed together really well. And then of course the performance the next day in front of a bunch of Crafties and Robert Fripp (the driving force of the afforementioned King Crimson) was one of the top 5 musical experiences in my life. Oh, and the title did get a laugh.

So since then Dennis and I have kept in touch and did the usual “we gotta do something together one of these days” dance. The distance between us (me in Vermont, him in New Jersey) did seem a bit of a hurdle. Then, after hanging out with him in early October when I was in NYC for the Audio Engineering Society conference an idea presented itself. I was going to be down in the NJ with the family for Thanksgiving so why not do a small informal coffee house type gig of improvising? The wheels were set in motion and in no time Dennis had secured a venue and enlisted his collaborator, drummer Mike Roze. DT and MR were finishing up the work on their Stone Document CD (which I was lucky enough to contribute to) so worlds seemed to be colliding quite nicely.

This then snowballed into a club date that was to be the release party for the Stone Document CD. A club in SoHo. A considerable step up from a coffee house in Northern New Jersey. A challenge and an opportunity. At the same time it transpired that the family was not headed to New Jersey after all and so I was suddenly really traveling just for the gig, though there was the perk of getting to stay and spend a little time with some of the family in New Jersey.

And so I hit the road.

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