Benefits as unique musical events

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking part in a benefit concert for Marva Wright. Marva is a New Orleans singer who has suffered from two strokes recently, and is still early in the recovery process. Regardless of the state of one’s health insurance, when a musician can’t work she/he doesn’t have income, so these sorts of benefits are very common. There was a nice crowd there yesterday, and hopefully much money was raised to help Marva and her family get through this time.

In addition to the philanthropic aspects of these events, they are also times when communities of musicians gather, which can lead to some unique musical happenings. George Porter Jr and the Runnin Pardners serves as the house band, and we (or parts of our band) backed many of the performers. There were many highlights, I got (bad camera phone) pictures of a couple.

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Herman Ernest (Dr. John’s drummer who is recently recovering from cancer surgery) was there and it was great to see and ear him. Someone else was playing bass at this point, but Porter couldn’t stay away so he joined Herman on cymbal.

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I’ve played the Meters classic “Just Kissed My Baby” with George many times, but never with Kirk Joseph on sousaphone and George singing. Ivan Neville played organ and sang parts of the lead too.

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“Hey Pocky Way” with Cyril Neville on drumset and Porter on bass is about as cool a New Orleans music experience as one can get.

It was quite an afternoon.

Free slightly dog damaged copy of Pluto Junkyard

One of our dogs (I am pretty sure I know which one) got a hold of a copy of the new Lucky 7s CD Pluto Junkyard, and chewed a bit of the corner. The disc should still work fine as a music delivery device, and the package is now a one of a kind. I’ll send it for free to the first person to email the mailing address to which they would like the slightly chewed CD to be mailed, to me at jeff (at) scratchmybrain (dot) com.

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Nice new reviews

A couple of nice reviews of some of my recent recordings have just been published.

Jay Collins’ review of Similar in the Opposite Way appears in the Oct/Nov/Dec 2009 issue of Cadence.

New Orleans-based trombonist Jeff Albert is one of that city’s creative music scene’s leading lights, a feat for a locale that seems a far cry from improv hotbeds found elsewhere. Though he has worked with some of the region’s legends, as well as a host of various collaborators and stylistic orbits, his interests appear to lie squarely within the improvisational Jazz domain. To wit, Albert has a particularly strong connection to Chicago, with Albert’s excellent Nolo/Chi town project, the Lucky 7s, with fellow bone player, Jeb Bishop, speaking to such impressions of the “New Orleans/Chicago continuum.” This inside/outside fence-straddling also inspires Albert’s quartet on Similar in the Opposite Way, his second release from this ensemble.

The ten cuts heard here, played marvelously by Albert in the company of his front-line foil (alto saxophonist Ray Moore) along-side the rhythm pairing of bassist Tommy Sciple and drummer Dave Cappello, provide a glimpse into Albert’s compositional mindset, one that mixes jazz snappers, improv sparks, funky grooves, all with an undercurrent of Blues. As for the record’s most approachable numbers, a speedy swing vamp of the title track eases the program in, while the jagged march of “9th Ward Trotsky” offers a glimpse into the simpatico relationship between Albert and Moore, and “Bag Full of Poboys” presents the album’s most jovial moments due to its earthy strut. Speaking of pulse, the Sciple-Cappello team is charismatic throughout, with a propulsive wing locked down on “Folk Song” and the resilient beat on the closer, “Rooskie Cyclist.”

The band also exudes enthusiasm when taking improvisatory leaps. A restless sentiment inspires “I Was Just Looking For My Pants” that trapezes between jagged jaunts to airy whispers, with all members adding their individualist charms, while rhythmic complexity marks the scrappy “Chalk and Chocolate” and the joyously jittery “Morph My Cheese.” With Albert’s capacious compositional foundation drawing upon multiple influences, an intriguing front line interplay and stalwart rhythmic crunch, Similar in the Opposite Way presents superlative creative music.

The October 2009 issue of Relix features this review of the Lucky 7s Pluto Junkyard:

The 60′s era spirits of Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch and Archie Shepp’s group with Bobby Hutcherson permeate the Lucky 7s Pluto Junkyard. The links to those stellar jazz references are a certain looseness mixed with an urge to swing, as well as the omnipresence of the vibraphone. Trombonist Jeff Albert, straight out of New Orleans by way of Chicago, leads his septet through a variety of moods, from energetic “#6″ to somber and the unexpected “Pluto Junkyard” and “Ash.” As with the previous Farragut, Pluto Junkyard mixes elements of traditional jazz counterpoint with a free-jazz spirit, similar to Dolphy or Shepp, but more so on the traditional side. Albert creates a fresh, small orchestra vibe similar to Dave Holland’s recent quintets with help from fellow trombonist Jeb Bishop, cornetist Josh berman, tenorist Keefe Jackson, bassit Matthew Golombisky, drummer Quin Kirchner, and especially vibist Jason Adasiewicz.

Note: The Lucky 7s are actually co-led by Jeff Albert and Jeb Bishop, I am not sure why the review mis-represented that.

Ben Allison invites us to play along

Bassist, composer, and great musician Ben Allison has a new CD out. I haven’t heard it yet, but it is on my “to get” list. I have several of his older recordings and they are uniformly great.

He is taking one of the more interesting angles in web 2.x promotion, by inviting his audience to cover, remix, or make a video with his music. Watch his intro below, or hit the youtube page for more info.

WED. OCT. 14–GEORGE BRUMAT SCHOLARSHIP BENEFIT @ SNUG HARBOR 8 & 10 PM

Screening at 8pm of “New Orleans Music Renaissance“ documentary film followed at 10pm by a live performance of Ed Petersen & the Ultimate Test
Admission is $15.00
More Information at UNO Music Dept 280-6039 or New Orleans Jazz Celebration 309-5299

“October 14th marks the fourth anniversary of the reopening of Snug Harbor in the wake Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing federal flood. It was an important moment, not only an act of resilience, but in a way an act of defiance. The feeling of those days is perhaps best expressed by a photograph (attached) of the late George Brumat, Snug Harbor’s former owner and guiding spirit. He’s standing in front of the club wearing a ball cap and a blue t-shirt. Behind him, strung up just inside the plate glass window, is a piece of poster board with a message written in broad tipped felt marker, a message of resilience and defiance: “Fear Not Brothers and Sisters…’Jazz City’ Will Swing Again….Peace! ‘Snug Harbor.’” For many of the folks who never left, as well as those among us who came back to New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of “The Thing,” the photograph was iconic and its message became a mantra. George died in July of 2007. But the message lives on.

To celebrate not only the anniversary of Snug’s post-K re-opening, but also serving as a benefit for the Jazz Scholarship Fund set up at the University of New Orleans in George’s honor, we have a very special evening. First, at 8pm there will be a screening of “New Orleans Music Renaissance,” a documentary film on the post-Katrina music community in which George is featured. The film, by French film maker Virgile Beddok, is generously offered through the New Orleans Film Festival.

At 10pm, Ed Petersen & the Ultimate Test, the first band to play the Snug Harbor after Katrina, October 14, 2005 will take the stage. The Test includes Steve Masakowski on guitar, Don Vappie on bass & Ricky Sebastian on drums. Come help us celebrate the undeniable fact that Jazz City is swinging again…with a vengeance*.

* If you can’t make it on the 14th but feel compelled to help preserve the memory and legacy of Snug Harbor’s founder by giving a little something to the George Brumat Jazz Scholarship at the University of New Orleans you can send a check made out to the U.N.O Foundation, noting the Brumat Scholarship in the memo line to this address.

U.N.O. Department of Music
2000 Lakeshore Drive
New Orleans, LA 70184″

Jazz: The Music of Unemployment: Doing what scares you

Jazz: The Music of Unemployment: Doing what scares you

While not a fan of the blog link me too thing, I am about to do just that. Click the above link and read what Durkin has to say about the “why” of what we do. It answered some questions that I have asked myself.

It’s a protest, really. A piece of performance art. An existential gesture of radical self-determination. The physical evocation of an alternate reality. A demonstration that even under the worst circumstances, it’s important to hold your ground.