Since its outset, iconic trio The Bad Plus has dared to be different, challenging all preconceived notions of jazz. The band put that challenge to the test during the course of six shows at Blues Alley over the weekend, and Ari Strauss caught the early show on Sunday for some pictures.
Bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King formed jazz trio The Bad Plus in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with pianist Ethan Iverson in 2000. Ethan departed the trio after their 12th studio album, leading Reid and Dave to recruit pianist Orrin Evans. The revitalized group published a new album, Never Stop II, on Jan. 18. Now, the trio will perform at Blues Alley over three days — on Friday, March 9, Saturday, March 10, and Sunday, March 11 for two shows each day!
Imagine if David Bowie, alive and healthy today, were to hit the road for a tour. He would undoubtedly call up pianist Mike Garson and say, “All right, let’s assemble a band.”
The results of such an imagined scenario became joyous reality at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Saturday when Mike there assembled the world’s greatest Bowie band. Banded together to play many of the most powerful Bowie hits, the musicians gathered from across Bowie’s career read like a who’s who in a moonage daydream of a Bowie group — guitarist Earl Slick, guitarist Gerry Leonard, bassist Carmine Rojas, and the impeccable Mr. Garson.
To tell the story of David Bowie is to tell the story of the musicians he chose to play with him over his career spanning roughly 50 years. For at least 30 of those years, pianist Mike Garson sat next to Bowie in the studio and on the stage. Listeners perhaps first heard Mike in the fantastic piano on “Aladdin Sane” in 1973. Now, Mike is leading a team of musicians who performed shows with Bowie in a tribute concert called Celebrating David Bowie, and locally the show launches a North American tour at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Saturday, Feb. 10.
Mike played piano on at least 16 Bowie albums, beginning with Aladdin Sane and ending with A Reality Tour (live album). The Celebrating David Bowie show presents his vision of a concert by David today, including songs like “Ashes to Ashes, “Let’s Dance,” “Life on Mars,” “Fame,” “The Man Who Sold the World,” and more. Parklife DC caught up with Mike Garson to chat about the tour, the last time he saw David Bowie, and his plans for keeping David’s music alive.
In an interview with “The Idiot” many years ago, Terry Bozzio recalled how he came to audition for Frank Zappa in 1975 and approached the audition a bit differently than most drummers playing for Frank.
“The one thing I’d noticed was a lot of the drummers were sort of flaunting their chops,” Terry recalled. “I thought the least I could do was go up there and listen and try and play with the guy. So I did the best I could; sight-reading a very difficult piece, memorizing a very difficult piece, jamming with a very odd time signature — like 19 — and then playing a blues shuffle.”
Frank was impressed and Terry went on to work with him on 26 albums! But Terry got involved in many other projects as well, including the new wave outfit Missing Persons, most notably to us here at Parklife DC.
The legendary drummer does not keep still, always touring, always recording, and always innovating. In late 2015, Terry published the Terry Bozzio Composer Series via Ward Records in Japan, and this year, he launched “An Evening With Terry Bozzio” US tour. That tour comes to DC when Terry plays at The Hamilton Live on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Watch the hypnotic trailer for Terry’s “Composer Series Box Set” on YouTube:
The “Composer Series” contains 59 individual pieces of music with a painting by Terri in a booklet for each title, along with detailed liner notes for each piece, explaining the process and concept for each piece. On tour, Terry is taking an equally expansive approach.
“I’m looking forward to this extensive US tour in August to November 2016. I’ll have some new pieces to play on my big kit and hopefully some surprises for you in this new show,” Terry said in a press release.
What are you waiting for? Tickets are available online!
The Hamilton Live
Tuesday, Sept. 20
The Residents perform at the 9:30 Club on Friday, April 29, 2016. (Photo by Crystal Dunn – http://www.ladyvile.com)
Prior to their show at the 9:30 Club Friday night, I have previously seen The Residents perform live on only one other occasion. This was at the George Washington University Lisner Auditorium back in 1990, and it was for The King and Eye Tour.
I have been a longtime if sporadically engaged fan since the 1980s, having discovered the group through my interest of the Swiss band Yello. The Residents’ record label, Ralph Records, was the source of a lot of wonderfully strange music back in the early 1980s. In addition to the first two Yello LPs, their roster also included releases by Renaldo and the Loaf, Snakefinger, and Tuxedomoon.
The catalog insert inside of my copy of the “Claro Que Si” LP led me straight to Residents fandom. This was a period of near-fanatic record collecting for me, accompanied by some of the most memorable live performance that I have witnessed. It was in that same period of time that Lisner also hosted Laurie Anderson, The The, and an amazingly rare performance by David Sylvian. These were the kind of shows and the kind of creatively unbounded music I saw myself pursuing as I grew with the music scene — intricate, thought-provoking, cinematic, and ambitious. Seeing The Residents at the 9:30 Club this past weekend, a seated show that offered a cerebral experience, helped me reminisce about the heyday of “new music,” prior to grunge and hip hop’s reset of popular sensibility to digestible rock and roll idolatry.