Hexual Ceiling

The first few tracks released from singer-songwriter Caroline Getz and band members Grant Hiura (keys) and Nate Charnas (bass) are absolutely stunning. Filled with soul and jazz-y love, each track is warm with the timbre of Getz’s voice and complemented beautifully by virtuosic and interesting keyboard work from Hiura and cool bass lines from Charnas.

“Winter is Warm,” “Own Desires,” and “Eliana” showcase different singing styles from Getz, and each track feels distinct from the other while all being equally beautiful (although “Own Desires” may be my personal favorite off the ep). “Still of Night” artfully closes the ep with slow drawn out notes and emotional high notes sung by Getz. Subtle and beautiful accompaniment from Hiura and Charnas lets the vocals shine through.

Hexual Ceiling performed not too long ago at a NODAPL / ACLU benefit show Rare Candy organized. Live, Getz’s vocal performance was extremely impressive and no less virtuosic than on the recordings, and Hiura’s masterful work on the keys was even more apparent. Hexual Ceiling was magnetic and the whole crowd was drawn in close by the warm music and Getz’s friendly presence.

Your New Wednesday Morning Routine

Hi lovely people! I have some very exciting news to share with you. Starting on the 25th of this month I will be spinning sweet sweet jazz tunes for you from 5-8:20am every other Wednesday. Tune in to WKCR at 89.9FM New York or online at wkcr.org. To be clear I’ll be spinning from 5-8am EASTERN time. So to all my Californians (likely most off you reading this) I’ll be programming from 2-5:20am. Please don’t be awake at such an hour on my account, but perhaps if you find yourself sleepless and up late or awake early you can tune in. I’m really looking forward to gracing the airwaves with exciting and beautiful jazz music, and I hope you’ll tune in to witness it!

Concert Review: Marc Ribot and Ceramic Dog at The Stone

So I’m interning for WKCR (89.9FM New York or online at wkcr.com) Columbia’s PREMIER radio station and also the first FM station (kinda). It’s wonderful. Good people and great music and a legitimate commitment to noncommercial and alternative broadcasting. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying learning  and listening.

I’m interning for jazz and new music. The jazz department is really top notch but also maybe a little pretentious. The new music department is very kind and weird and wonderful. During one new music listening session a senior department member put on Ceramic Dog’s album Party Intellectuals, and it was so cool. I’d enjoyed Ribot’s guitar playing many a time before (mostly with Ribot y Los Cubanos), but I’d never heard it quite like that. Ches Smith’s wild drumming and the wonderfully emo and weird vocals brought it all home for me.

Sunday I went with some new music department people to see Ceramic Dog at The Stone, John Zorn’s space devoted wholly to experimental music. The Stone is a magical place that was enthusiastically introduced to me by KCR folks the minute I announced my intention to pursue new music. It was as cool as promised.

The show was wild. I was thoroughly engrossed by Ribot’s ingenious playing and Ches Smith’s absurd energy. The vocals they did were also pretty cool. Some creepy whispered vocals done by Ribot were notable. Ches Smith though was conceivably my favorite part of the show. His drumming was unlike most drumming I’d seen / heard before just for its sheer constant energy. Also that fucking bass . . .

Chick Corea and Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Sunday night I saw Chick Corea play with Gonzalo Rubalcaba at Blue Note jazz club in Greenwich Village. Chick is doing a residency at Blue Note for his 75th birthday party from October 19 thru December 11 which is incredible. Blue Note has even been advertising his residency as “The Greatest Jazz Birthday Party Ever.” I was skeptical of this branding, but it really was the greatest jazz birthday party ever, complete with Chick’s friends and wife, Gayle Moran, in the audience. The audience was also very into it–vocal and loud at the right times.

I don’t think there are two more fun pianists than Chick Corea and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Chick is just WILD. He’s a favorite of my mother who knows far more about jazz than me, but this does mean that I’ve been exposed to some cool stuff thanks to her. She and my dad have seen Chick a few times before together, and my mom has seen him play with a host of incredible musicians (including Herbie Hancock, Bela Fleck and Bobbie McFerrin to name a few). They were both still extremely impressed by his performance with Rubalcaba on Sunday. The two piano gods played a few loosely planned pieces but primarily improvised and jammed together. However, what was perhaps unplanned fell together into beautifully organized and composed pieces. Chick and Rubalcaba communicated with each other impeccably and filled each other’s silences flawlessly. It was pretty magical hearing the two grand pianos together, played by such incredible pianists. It often sounded like one four armed virtuoso was playing not two separate musical minds. It was also a beautiful sight, the two huge, shining black pianos on stage in the shape of a ying yang.

Some highlights of the night were Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire coming onstage to sing with Chick, “A Spanish Song” (not to be confused with “Spain”), and Gayle Moran coming onstage to sing 500 Miles High (he played 500 Miles High!!!). The crowd also broke into “Happy Birthday” for Chick which was very lovely.

It was a wonderful night! Listen to some Chick Corea and revel in his crazy, unique, out-of-control playing.

Diego El Cigala at SFJAZZ

El Cigala has had many transformations. He is always of course the Sinatra of flamenco and a shining star of Spain, but he has in the past been all flamenco, more jazz, and now he is trying a flamenco salsa mix with a largely Cuban band.

This evening I went with my family to see him with his current band at SFJAZZ. The band was lively and so was Cigala. They interacted with joy and excitement and all seemed to be in awe of each other. Cigala, throughout the show, craned his head to smile at his brilliant band members. They exuded energy and it rubbed off on the audience who itched to dance to the upbeat salsa/jazz/flameno medley. Many did get up and dance in the aisles something I doubt happens often at SFJAZZ which is a bit formal for its own good.

Cigala played a lively and long set. His voice rang clear and strong, echoing throughout the theatre with the immense power and emotion one can only hope for in flamenco. It was pretty remarkable. He sang some traditional Spanish and salsa songs which wooed a crowd full of Spanish speakers (it also tested my own Spanish which as it turns out is not as rusty as I thought). Cigala also was quite the charismatic character. He smiled and laughed at the audience often gesturing at women in the crowd. He really reminded me of the professors I had while living in Spain.

His band did likely steal the show though. Especially notable was his pianist, Jaime “Yumitos”Calabuch, who impressed the crowd. He exuded confidence with each note and had truly exceptional timing. Also notable were the two trombonists Richard Stella Prieto and Leo Aguirre Ocampo. The color and feel of the trombone in the salsa pieces was really unlike anything I’d heard before. So enjoyable.

It was a lovely evening full of remarkable music with my extraordinary family I’m lucky to have in my pretty city I’m lucky to call home.

People Like You

My iTunes is being really crazy and not working lately, so I’ve just been listening to stuff on bandcamp which is actually nice because I’ve found some cool new things. This band from Boston is so cool. It’s very The World Is A Beautiful Place-y  obviously but is super post-jazz too. Broken World Media is an incredible label, and I’m so happy they’ve got these guys. If you don’t already follow BWM and their bands you must start doing so.

But really listen to this album it’s incredible.