Much has happened in the two months between my last blog post and now: a trip to Cuba, the ever-distracting enticements of New York City, and my decision to clean up the piles of clutter around my desk.
Whenever appropriate or possible, I also provide a link so you might enjoy hearing the person play along with seeing a photograph.
|Blind Guitarist, Los Angeles, CA, Hollywood Farmer’s Market, 2006|
|Dan, Manhattan, NY, Tonic, 2004|
|Matthias, Manhattan, NY, Tonic, 2004|
Matthias Bossi became the drummer for SGM in 2004, the band’s fifth year. These two photographs were taken at SGM‘s show of March 2, 2004 at Tonic, a major venue for avant-garde music in New York until it succumbed to gentrification in 2007.
|Rion, Manhattan, NY, MATA, 2009|
I photographed double bassist, Rion Wentworth, at one of the events sponsored by MATA, which stands for Music at the Anthology. Founded by Philip Glass and two members of his touring ensemble, composer and vocalist Lisa Bielawa and pianist and composer Eleonor Sandresky, MATA promotes the work of young composers. It took its name from the fact that its first venue for presenting new work was the Anthology Film Archives.
|Adam, Manhattan, NY, Rockefeller University, 2015|
This and the two following photographs are of the members of Trio Solisti, which has been called “the most exciting piano trio in America,” and a trio that, in the words of critic Terry Teachout, has “succeeded the Beaux Arts Trio as the outstanding chamber music ensemble of its kind.”
The pianist is Adam Neiman, and I would recommend his web site to everyone for elegance and the clarity of its layout. It also offers listeners six sample audios and six sample videos of his performances.
|Maria, Manhattan, NY, Rockefeller University, 2015|
|Alexis, Manhattan, NY, Rockefeller University, 2015|
My thanks to the Trio for allowing me to spend a few minutes taking these photographs as they rehearsed in the hour prior to their performance. That performance was part of the Tri-Noon Recitals offered free to the public at Rockefeller University.
|Sunset Serenade, Manhattan, NY, Bryant Park, 2014|
The string quintet seen playing here is Sybarite5. As their web site states, they play an eclectic repertoire “from Mozart to Radiohead.” This promotional video offers a good introduction to the group and its playing. The event, New Music in Bryant Park, is promoted by Chamber Music America in conjunction with the Department of Parks.
|Brass on the Shuttle, Manhattan, NY, Grand Central Subway Station, 2015|
|Colin, Manhattan, NY, Washington Square Park, 2015|
As you can see, a bit of snow on the ground deters him not. You can watch Colin (and his heterogeneous audience) in warmer circumstances here, playing Philip Glass‘ Metamorphosis 2 (4:40), and here, playing Clair de Lune by Debussy (3:33).
The following four photographs, taken during a rehearsal of Necessary Monsters by Carla Kihlstedt and Rafael Oses, capture three of the seven musicians who performed this staged song cycle in Chicago. Three years later, it was recast and performed (with a new director) at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center.
The photographs below are simply four portraits, hardly related to Necessary Monsters, since–on stage–each musician was costumed and transformed into a specific being (monster). The best introduction to Necessary Monsters is this trailer produced by the Yerba Buena Center (15:35), and it shows clips from the actual performance.
Here is a video of the earlier, Chicago, version of Necessary Monsters (21:12) as staged.
|Carla, Chicago, IL, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2008|
|Theresa, Chicago, IL, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2008|
|Freddi on the National Steel, Chicago, IL, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2008|
|Freddi, Chicago, IL, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2008|
Freddi Price has carved out a wide niche for himself as a multi-instrumental musician; as a stage performer, whether in regular theater, cabaret or puppet theater; and as a stage designer and constructor. I caught him here during rehearsal for the Chicago version of Necessary Monsters.
2 Foot Yard was started by Carla Kihlstedt as a form of investigation into song-writing as a solo project. That provided its name: a (back) yard, but one only large enough to be occupied by two feet. Then, again, her intentions were to write pop songs, but what emerged was too quirky to ever approximate “pop.”
Thus, as she once stated, the title’s other play on words refers to “a mis-matched measurement.” So, a collaborative being by nature, Carla called on two other musical friends of kindred spirit to form a trio and transform 2 Foot Yard into a composer’s collective for song.
The three principals are pictured below, each in two photographs taken during a performance at Le Poisson Rouge. The last photograph, Colin & Johnny, shows two other musical friends who joined 2 Foot Yard for this particular performance.
|Carla I, Manhattan, NY, Le Poisson Rouge, 2009|
|Carla II, Manhattan, NY, Le Poisson Rouge, 2009|
|Marika, Manhattan, NY, Le Poisson Rouge, 2009|
|Shahzad & Marika, Manhattan, NY, Le Poisson Rouge, 2009|
Here, in Soliloquy by Carla Kihlstedt (5:12), Marika gives her instrument’s low register a real workout, and here, in another contemporary piece performed at Music Unlimited 24 in Wels, Austria (8:41), Marika combines cello and voice.
|Shahzad I, Manhattan, NY, Le Poisson Rouge, 2009|
|Shahzad II, Manhattan, NY, Le Poisson Rouge, 2009|
|Colin & Johnny, Manhattan, NY, Le Poisson Rouge, 2009|
On the right is Russian-born violinist, Johnny Gandelsman, who moved to the United States in 1995 and lives in Brooklyn. For a special treat, watch and listen here to Gandelsman, as he plays the Bach Chaconne on a borrowed baroque violin with gut strings (13:18).
|Brass Sextet–Prow Half, Manhattan, NY, Central Park, Harlem Meer, 2015|
|Stop Shopping Choir, Manhattan, NY, Joe’s Pub|
Reverend Billy is a performance artist turned social activist. I don’t picture him here, because I chose a visual statement that captures a musical moment over something more documentary. But here you may see Billy in a quieter moment, blessing the unborn child of one of the choir members (2:58).
For an indication of the energy that accompanies Billy and the Choir, open this link to see them perform The End of the World at Joe’s Pub (2:51).
|Alex on Calle Ocho, Miami, FL, La Esquina de la Fama|
Unfortunately, the CD I got from him won’t allow me to select a track (or maybe it is I who is computer challenged), and searches turn up nothing on him. Were I able, I would have played Aye Mama, Qué Pasó?, in which Alex does some pretty great whistling near the end of the track.
Below are four photographs taken (in waning light) at a private, outdoor wedding ceremony in Connecticut, as guests made informal music during the reception. One guest, as you will see, is a living legend of the musical world.
|Carla, Redding, CT, Private Wedding Celebration, 2007|
|Willie & Carla, Redding, CT, Private Wedding Celebration, 2007|
|Willie & Daniel, Redding, CT, Private Wedding Celebration, 2007|
|Mickey, Redding, CT, Private Wedding Celebration, 2007|
This is Mickey Raphael, Willie’s harmonica player for the past forty-three years. This is the guy I keep wanting to step front stage for more than ten seconds and give us a dose of those great, bluesy chords of his; but he steps back, like the consummate musician he is, conscious of keeping everything in balance. I love this guy.
Here is Mickey talking about aspects of his years with Willie (4:21).
It goes without saying, I love Willie as well. So, let’s end with two of his many classics, Whiskey River (3:37) and On the Road Again (3:06). Damn, that man sure knows how to make music…and, yes, you’ll hear lots of Mickey in the background.
|Jim, Lancaster, PA, Lancaster Square|
|Zeena, Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada, 2008|
Here is Zeena playing a wild, improvised solo on electronic harp at Le Poisson Rouge in 2013. (26:08)
|Trio with 2 Instruments, Woods Hole, MA, 2014|
|The Next Generation, Viggo & Jen, Chilmark, MA|