Opportunity knocked for the Pantet in the form of a gig at 51 Main in Middlebury on May 9th. It was billed as “and Evening of Animation and Music” and the first set was spent accompanying short animated films from Heimo’s Studio Art I students. As our part was entirely improvised there were varying degrees of efficacy in our accompaniment. It was a lot of fun, though. We then played two sets that were made up of composed pieces, small-group improvisations and full-group improvisations accompanying some of Heimo’s own animations. Again, a lot of fun. The evening was also a good exercise in focusing on both charts and working within a constantly evolving soundscape. The place was packed (a lot of friends of the animators and the lure of $5 margaritas). 51 Main was not designed with performance in mind and is a pretty tough room as far as sound goes. I will have to consult the recording to see what it sounded like from somewhere other than my stool.
So, things have been slowly ramping-up for my return to active duty. Over the last few months Radio Underground has shaken off the dust and put down roots in another doomed nitespot (The Purple Moon Pub in Waitsfield – now closed apparently), I have started working with a new ensemble (Kareem Kahlifa’s Pantet) and am readying to leap back into the Guitar Circle universe.
First the RU: had a really good evening playing at the Purple Moon. Bedard was taking his new kit for a spin and this was the first gig with my baritone guitar added to the arsenal (growl!). The small-ish crowd seemed to really enjoy the noise. I was told afterward one patron was saying he was positive I was somebody famous but he couldn’t figure out who I was. Heck, there are times when I can’t figure out who I am. In other RU news, I am continuing to work on mixes for the Live at Nectar’s collection. In my overabundance of free time (he wrote sarcastically).
I have also been playing Stick in Kareem Kahlifa’s Pantet. The band features KK on guitar, Heimo Wallner on trumpet and vocals, Ron Rost on Hammond, Moog, various other keys, drums and percussion, Deborah Felmeth on acoustic piano and vocals, and Kane Mathis on Oud and drums. Described as “a group that combines elements of the jazz tradition with rock, classical, avant-garde, and world music”, or as I described it, “Arabic Space Jazz”. We are playing charts by Kareem as well as stuff by Abdullah Ibrahim and Franz Schubert. In the words of Heimo, “if you think that sounds weird wait ’till you hear it”. It’s been a great experience so far and having to read music again has been a good pointed stick.
The big news is that on the horizon is a short Northeastern tour with the Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists. More details to follow.