Monday, August 1, 2016

Brandon Evans Large Ensemble-Gold Lion Arts, Sacramento CA; 7/31/16

I was saddened to have missed an opportunity to jam with Brandon Evans on KFJC last Friday, but work concerns had me begging off of that gig. Thankfully, I was asked to drum for a large ensemble that he and Rent Romus assembled for a workshop/recording session/public event at Gold Lion Arts in Sacramento.
After a quick ride up 80, we arrived to less than brutal heat, scarfed a quick dinner, and met up with the rest of the group, made up of some really fine players, mostly from the rich Sacramento music scene: Brandon Evans-saxophones, Ross Hammond-guitar, Rent Romus-reeds, Tony Passarell-saxophones, cornet, etc. Nathan Swedlow-bass, Clifford Childers-trombone, John Vaughn - saxophones, Collette McCaslin-trumpet, soprano saxophone, and myself. 
It was really exciting and fulfilling to play in this relatively big band. We played some of Brandon's Elliptical Axis charts, a Ghost Trance Music fragment, and a free form piece. Having seen the charts last Thursday, I was stoked to get another crack at them. The small familiarity made them that much more comprehensible!  It seemed to me that we got into some good Free Jazz moves, and our collective improvisation had the feel to me of a certain intimacy that can only occur late in the day on a Sunday. At times, Clifford played some really gutbucket trombone riffs, and I responded accordingly! The Ghost Trance piece, while not lasting nearly as long as Braxton's tend to go, rolled along for a thick fifteen or so minutes, with great blasts from CJ's trumpet and Ross's guitar. I had a gas syncing with Nathan's upright bass at times: our interplay was very satisfying. Hopefully he'll be involved with another Ruminations gig or recording at some point in the future. All that said, there just just really fine playing all around. I was honored to play with such esteemed company.
It's my hope that Brandon Evans returns to the SF Bay soon, and that I get to be involved with the music that he brings along. It's been great having him here!
Below: Brandon Evans Large Ensemble players prepare to deal

Above: Gold Lion Arts nice back line Gretsch drum kit, and beautiful art. What a great space!
Below: Evans and Pino selfie and a nice shot of a tree in the Odd Fellows Lawn of the cemetery across the street from Gold Lion Arts space

Below: Brandon Evans Large Ensemble in action; photo courtesy of Charles Smith, thanks, Charles!

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