While Radio Underground is on hiatus, in an effort to keep playing and not go bonkers, Arty and I have enlisted RU drummer Andrew Bedard and Bardela (R.I.P.) bassist Jeff Barrows to bring some of Arty’s newer songs to life. Originally conceived as a semi-autobiographical song cycle, Winooski Falls has also become the name of the band. The sound of the band can best be described as… well, it’s tough to describe. An Americana influenced singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar accompanied by a jazz drummer, jam band bass player and a prog rock guitarist and sonic weirdo. You try and describe it.
We rolled out the new sound at the Double E in Essex to a crowded room that danced, cheered and sang along. We had our sound guy and human security blanket Bennett there so the sound was tight and the pressure low. A pretty good night. I hope we can get back there soon.
If you looked at my bucket list, somewhere in the “Unrealistic Expectation” section, there is a short grouping of musicians I would love to play with. Among them is one Elliot Sharp. If that name is unfamiliar,take a few minutes now and Google him. I will wait.
Done? Good. Somehow the fates conspired move humanity in the direction to where my compadre Matthew Evan Taylor ends up teaching at the institution where my “day job” is and becomes an intermittent collaborator of mine in the Improvisatory Arts. He then brings his friend Elliott Sharp to teach a winter term class on improvisation/composition. Part of that course was the concluding concert where the class got to display some of the things they had learned. Part of that concert was a free improvisation by Elliott (clarinet), Matthew (saxophone), fellow musical adventurer Gahlord Dewald (upright bass) and yours truly (Stick and devices). Gahlord and I were invited as delegates from the local improvising music community.
Following that the class joined us on the stage with their instruments and Elliott lead the ensemble in a conducted improvisation. [from the interwebs: “Conducted improvisation is the act of providing a certain degree of instruction for improvisation to musicians in real time. Usually through various gestures.”]. Zappa did this a lot through the years and MY familiarity with approach came from him.
Both pieces were a blast to participate in and I thank E#, MET and the entire class of Composition Today for letting me tag along.
Bardela played the Rusty Nail Stage at Tres Amigos in Stowe. In spite of the fact that the crowd was small (apparently Friday nights of holiday weekends in ski towns are spent checking in to your hotel and then hitting the hay to be rested for the next day) it was a great night. It was universally one of the most positive experiences I’ve had as a gigging musician. The entire staff was friendly and supportive, the green room was unbelieveable, the food great, my rig was firing on all cylinders, and the sound guy paid attention. Worth every minute of the slow, snow-hampered drive to get there.