Archive for August 2010
For a lot of jazz people the night out in the West Village ends at Fat Cat. It’s actually pretty good meeting place. And the pool is kind of addicting, once you start.
I heard the jam session opening band Stacy Dillard- Sax, Ryan Berg – Bass, Greg Magnano – guitar, Jeremy “Bean” Clemons – Drums. I thought it was actually really good, I liked the bass player and the guitar player played some killing rhythm guitar! 😀
Originally, the two weeks were supposed to be with Joe Lovano, but he couldn’t make it, so there were even two tenor players to fill in for him – Mark Turner and Tony Malaby. It was rather experimental, and it actually sounded kind of serious to me, as soul searching.
It was really great to visit the Vanguard again… Even though now that they accept credit cards it’s somehow different 🙂
Went to hear Peter Bernstein’s solo guitar gig @ Smalls, which he has been doing pretty regularly for about a year or so. He played some great tunes – Pannonica (Monk), Who Can I Turn To, Angel Eyes, Cabin In the Sky (by Vernon Duke), Wise One (John Coltrane), What Is This Thing Called Love, Autumn In New York. It was interesting to listen to, intellectually, the way he treated the harmonies and melodies while being deeply rooted in jazz tradition. The emphasis seemed to be more on chords and harmonies, not so much about groove.
Just amazing summertime event (on its 11th season) on Brooklyn Bridge waterfront, at pier 1. Every Thursday @ sunset they screen a movie (FREE), with an amazing view on Manhattan as the background… It looks just unreal 🙂 Most people come early and pack a picnic for this. I went to see Blues Brothers, 1980 classic with musical acts by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway, Chaka Khan, James Brown… And the weather was just perfect.
Went there to hear Ben Allison @ 11 PM. The guy at the door said they would play @ 12:30 instead. So we thought we could wait that long, since we had already made the trip there so we had a drink listening to the DJ. Which was actually pretty cool at first, but as time went by it got more and more tiring when it stayed within the same tempo and a similar beat for 45 minutes. How much are people supposed the able to take in loud noise (I was glad to have my ear plugs) before listening to live music, anyway? When the band still hadn’t started playing at 1 AM we wanted to leave and get our money back. The door man (who actually had a really negative vibe from the start), when we asked for the money back, said, “What makes you so special that you can’t wait?” And, “I told you, they start between 12:30 and 1 AM. Maybe you didn’t hear, maybe you didn’t listen maybe you had your own thing in your head“. I’m very sure what I heard when I went in there. Whatever their policy is with not refunding the cover that’s one thing but there is no need to get abusive like that, it made me feel REALLY bad. I know very well that bands start late sometimes, things happen, but the attitude was just rude. The manager didn’t want to confront me about this either and from the couple of sentences she did say she didn’t seem to communicate that much better, just that “Everybody else is waiting, you can go if you want“. I was really disappointed with the place.
Actually this wasn’t the first time things don’t go as announced at Nublu, several other times there have been unpleasant changes in the bands playing, so I almost expect that nothing is for sure with them. So far I still thought of Nublu in a rather positive way but after this I definitely don’t feel like going back there… I guess the place would be recommended for people who just want to get wasted but no more.
We got there just in time for the second set, and the place was packed. So we were recommended by the staff to have a seat in the other room, from where you could actually hear pretty well, without paying the cover. It turned out to be quite a clever idea. I like Bar Next Door, they generally have very good service and great booking so it’s always a pleasure to go see (or only hear) music there. I could also recommend their walnut pie :D.
Mike Moreno on guitar, Joe Martin on bass, Kendrick Scott on drums. They played Herbie Hancock’s I Have A Dream, Joe Zawinul’s In a Silent Way, Joe Henderson’s Isotope, Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life and Sam Rivers’ Cyclic Episode, a tune that seems to be growing really popular in NYC recently. I think Mike Moreno now has a more a fluid and legato sound with the Marchione guitar. And Mike is at the moment one of my favorite guitar players, anyway. I was happy to hear this particular trio lineup, Kendrick Scott and Joe Martin sounded great as well.
Recently, I’ve been exploring different yoga studios in New York, with guest membership passes. So far I’ve been to Pure Yoga (West Side), Exhale (East Side), Bikram Yoga NYC (West Side & East Side), Golden Bridge Yoga (Nolita), Integral Yoga NYC, Jivamukti Yoga School (Union Square), Yoga Works (Lincoln Center), World Yoga Center, Sankalpah Yoga, Go Yoga (Williamsburg) 1-4 times each.
The general trend seems to be vinyasa yoga and sun salutation cycle based yoga classes, circulating around the great Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog pose. I also tried Bikram yoga, which was an interesting experience, but in my opinion doesn’t have so much to do with the yoga tradition (it was anyway invented quite recently, in America). I’m not sure why working out in the heated room (around 100 Fahrenheit) would be that beneficial for the body anyway. They say it adds the cardio aspect to doing the poses, but in my opinion yoga just isn’t about cardio. But I liked it in a way, still.
First, some criticism: most of the yoga classes here seem to be somehow really remotely connected to yoga, the actual tradition and philosophy. It’s very accurately focused on the details of the poses and very little about how to do them, as, what state of mind – in my opinion there should be a sense of ease
and joy and liberation, combined with embracing your limits. But it often looks that people are struggling to make it look better, rather than feel better. Another thing I found funny was the trend to use music for the practice – some places even had hip hop for this. The music is nice sometimes, but generally it just gives the mind something to be occupied with, rather than the actual experience of the poses. And most of all, so many teachers just can’t stop talking… 🙂 But that’s all generalization, it actually doesn’t completely apply to all of those studios at all.
Almost all the studios had their strenghts and weaknesses. Some had really great facilities such steam rooms and so forth, some didn’t even have a shower or a changing/locker room. Some had a more spiritual focus to the class, some were totally about pushing the body for a full workout in an almost gloomy mood. I kind of enjoyed the variety anyway, but if I’d have a membership somewhere then I’d probably pick one of those:
Jivamukti Yoga School (somehow a nice balance of things, and good energetic practice, even though their Union Sq location really had lousy dressing rooms and just one shower…), Golden Bridge Yoga (for Kundalini), Pure Yoga (great facilities), Integral Yoga (has the silence and mindfulness), Sankalpah Yoga (for the most interesting set of exercises and inspiring poses. Also, the owner and founder of the club, Isaac, is really interesting guy, I wasn’t sure if everybody would like that much hands-on guidance as he was giving, but I guess it actually worked for getting into the poses… 🙂 )