FOOD, the experimental pairing of Iain Ballamy on saxophones & electronics and
Thomas Strønen on drums & electronics, have a sound nestled so gently between their jazz roots and their explorations in sound. For the better part of two decades, this pair have made music that doesn't just hold your hand as it leaps into the deep end, it wraps you in a warm blanket as it embraces you before falling off the cliff. When one usually tries to delve into experimental music, it can be overwhelming acquiring the aural taste for the cacophonous. However, these two make music that certainly isn't typical but still maintains a sense of melody and harmony that never scares the listener off. It works surprisingly well. The pair have been recording on the ECM label for quite some time and are preparing to release their upcoming 8th album on the label to follow up their 2012 release, Mercurial Balm. To get folks excited about it, the duo are preparing to tour the US and Canada starting this week (with a show at Austin's The North Door next Wednesday, the 21 presented by Epistrophy Arts).
I didn't get the chance to go to the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference or the Winter Jazz Fest that ran concurrently in New York. I've never even been to New York (I know, I know), so I really do relish any time superbros Felix Pastorius and Chris Ward get together and record any of their sets in any context from any of their shows in the jazz mecca. This time around, bassist Pastorius with his group Social Experiment featuring Ward on saxophone, William Tatge on keys, and Devin Collins on drums performed a blazing set at Lucille's Grill at BB King's this past Saturday, January 10th in the midst of this annual conference and festival perfect storm hitting the city, captured the audio of said set, and posted it to SoundCloud today. Listen to the 45 minute set after the jump (dig the crowd murmur!) and perhaps you may gain an appreciation and hunger for this group as fraction as strong as mine.
I moved into a new place last week, so I've been a little out of sorts getting things together in the house and getting settled enough to focus fully on finding the newness. Nevertheless, the show goes on, the stacks show promise, and Vijay Iyer's coming to town this weekend. Oh, and I managed to fit something in from Black Messiah.
The Line-Up for 9 January 2015
Coming after Jose James' recent albums, While You Were Sleeping, No Beginning, No End, and Black Magic, with explorations into rock, electronic, R&B, soul, and funk in addition to his jazz roots, James' new project Yesterday I Had The Blues might seem like a departure. In fact, he's returning to those jazz roots here - check out James' versions of some John Coltrane tunes from an earlier unreleased EP. On Yesterday I Had The Blues, James' vocals will be backed by Jason Moran on keys, John Patitucci on bass, and Eric Harland on drums (!) as they put together their interpretations of some tunes associated with Billie Holiday. The album will be released in spring of 2015. In the meantime, check out a trailer for the upcoming album and a full concert of James doing this material with a different band after the jump and start getting excited. (Be sure to stick around in this concert until about 1:16 or so, when James does a powerful looping pedal-assisted solo version of "Strange Fruit".)
NYC Winter Jazzfest is on, and one of the shows you wish you could catch (assuming that you, like me, won’t be in NYC to catch the shows in person) is being billed as Blue Note Now. Robert Glasper trio, Kendrick Scott Oracle, and Jose James, tonight (January 8) at Le Poisson Rouge… but thanks to the magic of the internet, you can (and probably should) tune in to a live video stream of the set. Tune in below, starting at 8pm eastern, or head over to Le Poisson Rouge's streaming page to catch it there.
UPDATE: This evening's stream has been inexplicably cancelled.