the process of creating, and learning

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Helen Gillet (Photo by Elsa Hahne, and copped from this article in offBeat)

Cellist Helen Gillet is making a CD with wonderful saxophonist Tim Green, and drummer Doug Garrison, who is one of New Orleans most under-recognized great musicians. There are two ways you can be a part of the making of this CD.

The CD is being recorded as a live studio concert, with an audience. This will be Friday March 5th, at 9 PM at Piety Street Recording Studio in New Orleans. It is like a gig, except your applause will be part of the CD (and your cover/donation/whatever-you-pay-upon-entrance will help fund the thing).

Helen is also using Kickstarter to help raise money to fund the recording. It is a cool concept. Different donation levels get different goodies, including credit on the CD, and one of a kind handmade art from Helen. Check out all the details here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/helengillet/running-of-the-bells-improvised-cello-led-recordi-0

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JAQ & the kids (Photo by Jacqui Sandor)

About a week ago, I had the pleasure of taking my quartet to do a clinic/performance at the Saturday Music School, at the University of New Orleans. Ray Moore, Jesse Morrow, Paul Thibodeaux, and I played a few tunes, and talked about improvisation. Then we got about 15 of the students to join us for some abstract improvisation games. We all had a great time, and the young musicians showed no inhibitions about getting up and making sounds. The UNO Saturday Music School has a good group of dedicated instructors, and a fabulous bunch of young people that seem to be very into learning music in an open-minded and diversified way. The future looks bright.

good advice for self promoters

A Basic Question Answered :: offBeat :: Louisiana and New Orleans Online Music Resource:

“Why do some bands get attention and others don’t? One of the simplest things those who feel shunned can do is have a print quality photo (a jpg that’s 300 dpi and shot by at least a semi-pro) that can be easily found online.”

Alex Rawls (editor of offBeat) offers some good advice for musicians looking for press coverage.

Of course, I thought that they covered me because they liked the music, come to find out it was just because I had usable photos on my website. Oh well, any press is good press.

Help the kids swing

My step-son plays trumpet in the jazz band at Fontainblue High School. They have been invited to participate in the Swing Central High School Jazz Band Competition and Workshop that is part of the Savannah Music Festival. Swing Central allows them to work with artist/clinicians like Marcus Roberts, Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Printup and others. As part of their invitation, Wycliffe Gordon is coming to Mandeville to work with the band, and while he is here he will do a public master class and clinic, and a concert with the FHS Jazz band. As part of the concert, he will also play a set as a quartet with Fred Sanders (piano), Roland Guerin (bass), and Troy Davis (drums).

The concert is March 4 and is going to help raise the money the band needs to pay for transportation and lodging on their trip. Besides ticket sales, the band is also seeking individual patrons and corporate sponsors. The estimated cost of the transportation, food and lodging for the trip is $11,000, but the chance for 15-18 year old aspiring musicians to hang out with world class players is priceless.

All of the information is at the band’s website, and I’ll post direct links to the patron form and concert poster below.

Concert poster

Patron form

If you feel moved to help out, or are in the area and can attend the concert, the students will greatly appreciate your support.

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Louis Moholo @ Zeitgeist in New Orleans on Sat 2/13 @ 9PM

I now present, in its entirety, Andy “Scatterjazz” Durta’s announcement of a great show that will happen this Saturday night (2/13) in New Orleans.

…as David Baker, the bebop teacher from Indiana, used to shout to his classes:

” PEOPLE !!!!! ”

perhaps the gig of the spring (besides last Sunday’s game!) and beyond is
THIS SATURDAY. FEB. 13th at ZEITGEIST (1618 Oretha Castle Haley) at 9:00pm.
Yes it is a ridiculously busy day and night. Yes you can and should, nay must, slide it in between Endymion and the M.O.M.S. ball and the Superhero ball and whatever else is on your plate.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, it is one night only, there was no choice in dates, and it will never happen again….and I NEED your attendance and support !!!
————————————————————————
**** South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo
w/ Dennis Gonzalez’ Yells at Eels
(award-winning mind-blowing music from Dallas and around the world)…
with special guest Tim Green…
@ Zeitgeist— Saturday Feb. 13th —- 9:00pm sharp. ****
——————————————————————-
Louis Moholo (actually, Louis Moholo-Moholo) is one of the major figures of South African music and international creative music of the last half-century… a pivotal figure in the ‘Township Jive’ scene of Cape Town, South Africa in late 50′s and early 60s, he was a youthful contemporary and collaborator of such folks as Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela… He was the leader of the great exodus of jazz stars to London from South Africa during apartheid in 1964, when the pressures against being a mixed-race jazz group (eg: the legendary Blue Notes) in Cape Town became too great to bear… he (along with the rest of the Blue Notes– Dudu Pokwana, Chris McGregor, Mongezi Feza…) became the anchor of the tremendously fruitful axis of South Africa-British free-swing that produced such groups as Assagai, The Brotherhood of Breath, Isipingo, Dedication Orchestra, Vive La Black, etc…. also a regular collaborator with English jazz-prog groups like Soft Machine, and all the major figures of the English scenes such as Evan Parker, Keith Tippett, Elton Dean, Lol Coxhill, Maggie Nichols, Phil Minton… and other major improvisers like Peter Brotzmann, Misha Mengelberg, David Murray, William Parker… as well as the great Cecil Taylor and a 30 year working relationship with our own Kidd Jordan… and everyone else under that sort of sun… his music is creative and open yet always deeply rooted in the South African swing.. not unlike some of our great creative drummers in New Orleans who, no matter how out they might go, are also rooted in parade and street beats… Louis Moholo has never been to New Orleans, and it is likely that he never will be again.. he is now over 70 years old and once again living in South Africa after 40 years absence…he will be in New Orleans just over 12 hours, before he flies to Dallas to board a flight back to his homeland… Do come make him welcome, and support this sort if undertaking if ever there is a chance for you to so!!!

———————- and his collaborators for the evening???—————–

Dennis Gonzalez, who is no slouch himself in the world of sound art….. Dennis is one of the most in-demand and beautiful trumpeters in international creative music… A master soloist, composer and bandleader, in the mid 70s he founded the “Dallas Association for Avant-Garde and Neo-Impressionistic Music,” and has been touring the world regularly as a performer and teacher since that time, recording over 40 albums on nearly a dozen top labels for new music spread across the planet. In addition to his longstanding mash-ups with players uch as Henry Grimes, Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman, Nels Cline, Louis Moholo…. he has also had a three-decades long recording and performing party with New Orleans’ masters Kidd Jordan, Clyde Kerr, Jr., Alvin Fielder, and Tim Green… He also has some tenebrous ties to Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe, but that was before my time here and you will have to ask someone else to explain…. his group Yells at Eels also consists of his sons, Stefan (percusions) and Aaron (bass) Gonzalez (who were here last spring with the award-winning Portuguese group “Humanization 4-tet”)…and as Tim Green told me when i asked him for a quote last year before their visit.. “Those kids are AWESOME”
——————————

this is a ridiculously special event… the timing is not ideal, in midst of carnival and Endymion night.. but there was no other option.

anyone interested in jazz, edgy jazz, South Africa, African music as a whole, music made in the quest for freedom beyond the sound barrier, or just master artists, would be witnessing a unique and deeply special concert…

please let me know if i can clarify any further…. Louis Moholo has been in the U.S. to play a very few concerts with a group led by outstanding Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad, and then a show in Dallas with “Yells at Eels”, then this show in New Orleans, then he flies home to South Africa… a master of this level is rare to have come through… in fact, there are three true masters here for this event, and two budding ones… i do hope you can come!! as always, your host rene at the Zeitgeist will have funky international snacks and beverages for your consumption. SPREAD THE WORD!!!!
cheers, andy durta.. www.scatterjazz.com

Bindu Tour diary – installation 6

Today we arrived in Chiasso, Switzerland. We spent the last two days in Mira Italy, which is near Venice. Mira seems to be less internet friendly, so except for a couple of expensive iPhone email checks I was offline.

We played in a cool small theater in Mira for a concert that was put on by Veneto Jazz. They are very nice people, who treated us very well, and put on a good show.

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Sound check in Mira

We arrived in Mira the night before our show, so some of us took some time Friday morning to go to Venice. It was rainy, and the off season, so it wasn’t too crowded. Venice is a trip. It is an odd little confusing city in so many ways. It is also quite fascinating. We stopped in a wine shop as part of Jeb’s continuing search for a very specific grappa, and the shop owner was playing Frank Rosolino on the sound system. We did find S. Marco without too much trouble, and got back in time to catch our train. It was a rainy but fun time in Venice.

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Today we drove to Chiasso, and played the last show of the tour at the Chiasso Jazz Festival. It was a pretty electric show. We all had that end of tour energy happening, and it came out in a great way.

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The view from our hotel sidewalk in Chiasso

This tour has been a real treat, both musically and personally. This band is a great bunch of people, and they are each top notch, world class musicians as well. The food has been excellent almost all the way around, and Ludmilla (our manager and agent) and Matteo (our driver and man who makes things happen) have been the best.

Tomorrow is a super long travel day to get home, but hopefully my arrival in New Orleans will be accompanied by jubilant cheering Saints fans.

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linguine with frutti de mare

Bindu Tour diary – installation 5 – off stage adventures

We returned to Milan yesterday afternoon. Due to an odd confluence of circumstance, we have a couple of nights off, and our management is based in Milan, so it is easiest to stay here. So far that has worked out great.

When we got back to town, Jeb commented that we should see what was playing at La Scala, and maybe catch an opera on one of our two nights here. We soon found out that Ludmilla does some work with La Scala, and pretty soon we had in our hands 5 tickets to see that night’s performance of Don Giovanni. We hopped in a cab and headed to the theater.

The theater itself is an amazing spectacle, even before the performance starts. It was packed full. We were in the last row at the very top of the house. Most of the folks in the second gallery with us seemed to be very into the music. It wasn’t a social event, it was a musical event. The crowd was pretty diverse in terms of age. I would venture to say that half of the people near us were under 50, and I saw at least a dozen teenagers.

The production was quite minimal in terms of sets and costumes. The stage was gray with only three large black movable rectangular dividers as sets. The cast were all clad in either white or black, except for the statue, who was, of course, silver/gray. The musical performances were excellent. I think a good time was had by all.

Today we had a band photo shoot. It was in a photographer’s studio. First we did some shots of the six of us without instruments. That can be a bit awkward, but we survived. As soon as she told us to get out instruments, it turned into something of a jam, so that was great. After the shooting was done, some pizza was delivered to the studio and we ate quickly before heading off to see the Last Supper.

Our hotel is right across the street from the church where Leonardo painted the Last Supper. They only let a few people at a time in to see it, and there are all sorts odd holding containers you have to pass through to get to the room where it is. They take the preservation of the painting very seriously, which is good now, I guess, because one wall and the roof of the building was blown off in World War II. Seeing the painting in its setting is pretty impressive. Leonardo had this amazing way of making the image part of the room, or maybe the room became part of the image.

After the Last Supper, Jeb and I went shopping. He was looking for a specific brand of grappa, and I was looking for gift(s) for my wife. He still hasn’t found the mystery grappa (well, the grappa isn’t a mystery, where to buy that brand of grappa is the mystery). I did find a gift for Jennifer, and when we walked into the store, one of the ladies looked at us and told us she was at our concert on Sunday. Pretty cool.

Bindu Tour diary – installment 4

We had a great gig in Padova last night. The crowd was quite enthusiastic, and demanded 2 encores. They have quite a concert series here, as you can see by the two previous shows.

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After the show was another great Italian meal.

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The onion gnochi was great.

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Today we travel back to Milan, with a night off tonight. Tomorrow is a photo shoot of some sort. I am curious about this.

Bindu Tour diary – installation #3

When we left Paris on Saturday, I was feeling a bit out of balance. My stomach was a little upset, I just generally felt funky (the bad kind of funky). We flew to Milan, got to the hotel, and had a big dinner with the promoter scheduled for that evening. I laid down to see if some sleep would help. I soon realized that I had some sort of 24 hour virus. I’ll spare you the gory details, and just say that I missed the great dinner and conversation on Saturday, while laying in bed sore and feverish.

Our show in Milan was at 11am on Sunday. It seemed like an odd time to me, but apparently it works here. The show was sold out, and people crowded the stage for autographs after. I think the music went well, but it was 11 am and I was still not back to 100%.

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Jeb and Napoleon towards the end of the autograph frenzy.

The promoter gave us a great lunch at the hotel after the gig. These Italians can eat, and they do it quite well. Jeb had a great line in the dressing room before the concert. He filled his cup from a somewhat generic looking coffee thermos and said, “wow, they just don’t know how to make bad coffee in Italy.” The lunch was good and huge. My body still wasn’t quite ready to eat it all, but I had tastes and it was great, especially the saffron risotto in a parmesan cheese shell.

I slept the rest of the afternoon, and was finally feeling completely like myself again by 9pm or so. Jeb and I went for a longish walk, and I finally got to see some of Milan. We ended up walking by La Scala, which was cool.

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The statue of Leonardo in the square opposite La Scala Opera.

The part of Milan that we walked in has a great cool old city vibe, although there seemed to be a few too many McDonalds.

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I wonder if Milanese folks that are visiting New Orleans or Chicago say things like, “why would we eat at McDonalds here, we can do that at home.”