Words from the wise

Yesterday I had the pleasure of playing on a Luther Kent recording session, that was all Wardell Querzergue arrangements. Wardell arranged a large percentage of the classic New Orleans stuff.

Wardell (to band): “That’s definitely the right mood you’re putting in there. Now put some right notes in there too and we’ll have it.”

Pros and Cons of home mixing

With the leaps in technology, it is now possible to have everything needed to mix and master a CD in your home studio/office. This can be a real benefit to the cash strapped artist, or those of us that are making music that doesn’t have a huge commercial base. We can really take our time, and revisit mixes days or weeks later without incurring additional costs.

The downside is that sometimes you might get interrupted by your kids telling you that the cat threw up on the couch and Jessica accidentally sat in it.

Weekend in NY

I was in NY for a portion of the Vision Festival last weekend. I don’t really have the time nor inclination to write a blow by blow review of what I heard, although there are plenty of those out there. I do want to mention a few things though.

One of the biggest things I learned was about the tenacity of music lovers. The venue was very warm and pretty uncomfortable and it was still packed pretty much every moment I was there. From the stage Joelle Leandre said it felt like a sauna, and she was probably being polite. It was really freakin’ hot in there. They also had those really crappy plastic folding chairs. They might not be too bad for smallish people, but they are very uncomfortable for us larger folks. The fact that anyone was sitting packed like sardines in these conditions listening to anything is amazing to me, but we were all there wanting to hear what was being offered. If it is any consolation, I caught some of the New Languages Festival around the corner at the Living Theater, and their a/c was less than effective as well, and they had the same crappy chairs.

On to the music…

The Gebhard Ullmann/Steve Swell 4tet was a good show. It was nice to hear Barry Altschul live, and Hill Greene sounded great. Steve is a great trombone player, a really nice cat, and a great supporter of other musicians. I try to hear him whenever possible.

I really enjoyed observing the process of Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quintet. Watching him wave stuff in and out, and watching the players sometimes do what he appeared to be asking.

I caught some of Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society over at New Languages and they sounded great. Very dynamic performance of excellent material. Both of those aspects are hard tricks to pull off with a large ensemble.

I was looking forward to hearing the Matthew Shipp Trio with Joe Morris and Whit Dickey, and they didn’t disappoint.

George Lewis and Joelle Leandre were probably the highlight of the weekend for me. I knew George Lewis was bad, but he is way badder than I anticipated. The communication and playful interaction between Lewis and Leandre was great. They reminded us all that it is ok to laugh during a “serious free jazz” show, and that is an important thing to remember.

The weekend also included good cheap Chinese food, cannoli, and a trip to MOMA, along with seeing some friends I don’t get to see too often, and making a few new ones as well. Not a bad way to spend a couple of days.

How should one respond?

Is there a Miss Manners for jazz artist etiquette?

Last night, one of the New Orleans scene regulars told me that she had been listening to my CD recently and enjoying it. I said, “thank you.” She continued, telling me that she had burned a copy for her father in Vancouver and he loved it too.

What instinctively came out of my mouth was, “thanks, I’m glad he digs it.” I wanted to say, “you know I only charge $10 for them at the gigs, and this stuff doesn’t just appear for free, you could have bought him a copy, or hit iTunes, or even eMusic, and I would have gotten a little something to go towards paying this one off, or making the next one.” The rant continued much longer in my brain.

I have lots of free stuff on jeffalbert.com. I get the free thing, I understand that it is good to have people hear you. Is it too much to expect people to actually pay for the stuff that is for sale, or at least not tell you to your face that they are burning it and giving it away?

Recent listening

I have been listening to quite a bit of new (to me) music lately, but don’t really have time to write about much (or any) of it, so I am going to rock it as a shout out post. I scored most of this stuff on eMusic, so a search there should yield sound sample and purchasing opportunities. I have been listening to and enjoying these things:


4 Corners 4 Corners (Clean Feed)


Dennis Gonzalez NY Quartet Dance of the Soothsayer’s Tounge (Clean Feed)


Fieldwork, featuring Vijay Iyer, Stebe Lehman & Tyshawn Sorry Door (Pi)


Empty Cage Quartet Stratospheric (Clean Feed)


Fred Anderson & Hamid Drake From the River to the Ocean (Thrill Jockey)


Jason Adasiewicz Rolldown (482 Music)


Steve Lehman On Meaning (Pi)


Steve Lehman Quartet Manifold (Clean Feed)