Summer Recap

*Dusts keyboard off*

Well, my return to the blog at the beginning of August turned into my return at the beginning September. It’s been a great couple of months filled with music and travel, and it was far busier than I had anticipated. (And I expected a lot.)

This year’s study abroad program was another success, course-wise. Classroom business aside, I saw some great music while abroad. I saw Umberto Giordano’s Andrea Chénier again, this time with an even better cast. I also saw the world premiere of Detlev Glanert‘s Solaris. Until this year I was unfamiliar with his music, but I must say I’m fond of both his style and that opera specifically. (I’d like to cover my thoughts on that work more in depth at another time.) Both of those performances were part of the world-renowned Bregenzer Festspiele.

While in Europe, I also trekked to Montreux, Switzerland to attend an evening of jaw-dropping performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival. I’d never been, and fortunately the weekend I went included a great lineup: James Carter Organ Trio, Spectrum Road, and Neneh Cherry & The Thing. I initially planned to see Spectrum Road and Tricky share a double-bill, but Tricky backed out last minute and the other two bands served as replacements — it was better than the original lineup!) I’m a long-time Carter devotee, as has been described on this blog a time or two (MTH-V here), so seeing him for the seventh (?) time was a lovely surprise. Especially with his organ trio, he knows how to get the audience to its feet within just a couple minutes. (A couple choruses into his first solo, the audience was going nuts.) Spectrum Road – the fusion supergroup tribute to Tony Williams made up of John Medeski, Jack Bruce, Cindy Blackman Santana, and Vernon Reid – was ear- and mind-blowing. (It’s why I never travel without my earplugs.) They performed what I considered to be a near perfect blend of hard rock and jazz. It was the epitome of fusion. And if that wasn’t enough, John McLaughlin joined the band for the final two numbers. (!!!) The recent collaboration between Neneh Cherry and The Thing closed the show (and cleared the hall of those attendees with weak constitutions). They showcased a sublime blend of the avant-garde, spoken word, and groove. It was Pharoah Sanders meets trip-hop. I couldn’t get enough.

The last month has been busy with getting back into the groove, including a fun gig with The Fencemen just a couple days after I returned home. I don’t usually plug my dates and projects on here, but I figure every now and then can’t really hurt…

Recording-wise, White Gold Scorpio‘s new album Halloween Island is now available for free download until the official release on 10.31.12. WGS is a Brooklyn-based “noir”-rock project I’ve had the pleasure of contributing some tracks to. You can find me on two songs: “Scare You Like I Do” and “Throw Myself at You.” I really dig the album and encourage you to check it out.

Furthermore, Matt Borghi and I are wrapping up a full-length album for Teag & PK, our longtime collaboration, and we couldn’t be more proud. All of the recording, etc., is complete and we’re now just dealing with the logistics, prose, and visuals. I’ll discuss it more when it’s ready for release. It’s a series of ambient improvisations, and we think it’s some of the best stuff we’ve recorded in that regard. We can’t wait to share it with everyone!

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