I had a great but all-too-short East Coast tour last week. I joined my friends in The Just Desserts to play two dates in New York and two dates in Boston. On 11/19 we played a wonderful house concert in Pomona, NY at the Nagin House, then we did a fun show at Banjo Jim’s, a cool joint on E. 9th in the City.
While I was in NYC I got to see a fascinating exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design: The Global Africa Project. If you’re in NYC check it out; a very creative approach to exploring the influence of African aesthetics in world culture.
I also was able to catch an inspiring world music show at Alwan For The Arts on 12/21. Azerbaijani violinist Sabina Rakcheyeva, mixed western and eastern traditions, art and folk music. The sound was delicate but passionate, blending violin, piano, oud, bass, clarinet and percussion. Sabina and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh are both Julliard grads so there was a lot of western classical chops mixed with eastern micro-tonal phrasing, blends of Bach and Azerbaijani traditional melodies, middle eastern rhythms, and more. I got a lot of ideas for my own compositions. In fact, later that night, sitting in my sister’s hip little mid-town apartment, I wrote a piece with a 5/4 pulse that I copped from one of Sabina’s explorations. You can check out her music at www.sabinarakcheyeva.com. Also, she’s not hard on the eyes…
In Boston I played two art spaces, getting lost on the way to both. Boston driving is a never-ending adventure in time and space, as my parents will attest. Even though they have lived there the greater part of their lives, the winding streets, chaotic one-ways, dead-ends, do-not-enters, cul-de-sacs, random construction sites, and dangerously reckless drivers make it a new and curse-worthy experience every time.
But all that aside, we had a great time, and the last show, a party at heARTspace collective in Jamaica Plain, was a high-energy finish to the tour, with a receptive crowd in an acoustically warm performance space.
I’m glad my folks could hear The Just Desserts in that perfect setting.
Then an old-fashioned turkey day with family and it was time to head back to Austin. I was looking forward to an aggressive and invasive body search by the TSA (touch my junk, please!), but everyone was surprisingly mellow and unauthoritarian. Maybe it was lingering tryptophan from Thanksgiving, but the result was I made it back home without incident. Now on to December as the year rumbles to a close.