Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bridge of Crows-Spice Monkey, Oakland CA; 3/16/15

You just have to hand it to the crew at VAMP! in Oakland: they're developing quite a cool scene for improvised music over by Lake Merritt!
Bridge of Crows were collectively happy to get a chance to play at Spice Monkey as part of their Monday Night Avant Jazz and Experimental Noise series, and to be joined by Bob Marsh and Gretchen Jude.
Often when I play with Mika's groups, I get a feeling as if I'm playing some ancient, undiscovered music. Primal music, I guess, and last night featured many of those feelings for me. Additionally, I'm constantly amazed by the lock that Eli and Mika have with each other. I realize that they're father and son, but they play together like brothers.
At one point, Mika got down to some serious strumming that pretty much stopped everyone in the band; it was as if he'd set his tones for STUN!
I was happy to get to play a full forty five minutes, two pieces that were roughly sketched beforehand in rehearsal and emails. On the first piece, I started out with the Handsonic, but found myself somewhat unable to hear its sounds from the pa, so I switched to snare drum; I pretty much stayed with brushes and snare drum for the remainder of the set. When one pairs their options down, the questions arise: what to do? how to do it? how to maximize it?, and these certainly arose in my mind as we played. It felt satisfying to be able to try to coax a lot of sounds from a minimal set up! Hopefully these sounds meshed well with the rest of the group.
As usual, Eat the Sun were great. Their quietly intense improvisations are recommended!
Many thanks to all involved for a fun evening, and many thanks to those that came out and listened.

Below: setting up the Bridge

Above: snare drum, Handsonic, Bob Marsh setting up
Below: Special guest Gretchen Jude!
Below: rough recording, courtesy of Mika Pontecorvo

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