Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Josh Allen/Mark Pino Duo-Luna's Cafe, Sacramento CA; 7/16/18

Playing music of any sort with Josh Allen has been a literally decades long aspiration of mine. I first became aware of him in the mid-aughts, having seen and heard his incredible tenor saxophone playing at various BART stations around Oakland along with venues such as Stork Club and 21 Grand. Josh has always blown me away. Such powerful and sublime sounds, holy moly. At some point last year, we got together and played, and have done so intermittently from that point onward. A few months ago, we talked about maybe setting up a gig, and I promptly contacted Lob in Sacramento to see about getting a gig at Luna's Cafe for the Nebraska Mondays series. Thankfully, Lob set us up.
We managed to get a nice number of rehearsals in, which is very important. Josh's attitude about rehearsing, essentially "practice your instrument or shut up", is VERY inspiring to me, and I am very happy to get in line with it. This aspect is so important, and it's great to be reminded of that.
After a relaxed trip up I-80, we hit Luna's in plenty of time, and were able to set up and get accommodated at a good pace. Our 45 minute set started off with a pretty energetic pace, and I felt as though I was able to get over the jitters of playing out pretty quickly. Things stayed up energy-wise, but we also managed to get some subtle interplay going. I seemed to be focused on playing what felt like little micro pieces within the longer improvised arcs, with lots of quick stops and syncopation with Josh's melodic and harmonic lines. Especially enjoyable and inspiring were the parts during which brushes and mallets fused with Josh's sounds. The whole set had what to me felt like a very dynamic movement: we played together within the improvised matrices that we set up. What a fantastic feeling!
The people in attendance gave really positive feedback, and seemed pretty inspired by our sounds. Who could ask for more!
A few days later, and I'm still buzzing. Many thanks to Josh for taking the time to make some music with me, and thanks to Lob and Art Luna for the booking. Hopefully more of these duo shows with Mr. Allen will be forthcoming.

Below: Josh Allen and Mark Pino playing improvised music (photo by Lob, thanks Lob!)

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