Friday, December 22, 2006

Zappa plays Zappa in Dallas

I'm presently listening to Frank Zappa's, "One Size Fits All". I'm feeling pensive, as I think about what we all lost when Frank passed away.

This was probably spurred on by my trip to Dallas this weekend. For over 3 hours this past Saturday, I was lucky enough to witness a true musical spectacle.

Dweezil Zappa was in Dallas with 7 other amazing musicians including Zappa alumnus, Napolean Murphy Brock for the Zappa plays Zappa tour. By his own admission, after a years practice, Dweezil had only managed to learn 40 songs from his prolific father's 70 plus albums of material. One can only hope that Dweezil follows through with his promise of more material and tours!!!!!

All I can say, is WOW. I'm willing to say this may have been the best 8 musicians I've ever seen on stage together at one time. Then the number miraculously swelled to 10 as they were joined by both Terry Bozzio, and Steve Vai.

For me, this show can only be described as an Eargasm! Of course, the Muffin Research Center is alive and well

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Al DiMeola @ the UT Cactus Club

I love this venue and have seen numerous shows here.

Al DiMeola was in town with a 5 piece (keys, bass, drums, percussion and of course guitar). After seeing how long the lines can be, I got to this show early and was able to get a front row seat.

From this vantage point, I was able to see what is undoubtedly one of the fastest left hands in the business. Unfortunately for me, I had just recently seen McCoy Tyner (which set a standard for improvisation) and I have probably listened to too much of Al's era material in my younger days (Tour de Force stuff with Jan Hammer).

Bottom Line: It was one of those shows where I was dazzled by the technique but underwhelmed by the music. The band was tight, but it was a pale imitation of the band with the Hammer, Gadd and Jackson line-up. The new songs and compositions just didn't do it for me.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Real McCoy

McCoy Tyner (one of my idols) played the Hogg Auditorium at UT on this night.

Prior to moving to TX in '93, I used to go see McCoy's trio play several times a year. The shows were usually at one of two venues, Sweet Basil in NYC or at the Towne Crier in Brewster, NY. My memory is probably failing me now, but typically he was accompanied by Louis Hays and Avery Sharpe. Obviously, I went to the show with certain expectations after waiting over 13 yeras.

The show this evening, featured a septet. (Piano, trumpet, alto, trombone, tenor, bass and drums). The horn players with the exception of Steve Turre on trombone, were all fairly young. Good and solid, but obviously still searching for their voices. McCoy seemed to be mentoring some of them in manner reminiscent of the way that Miles did with his bands, in his final years.

McCoy himself was great, he still has it. I am worried now however, that his health may be failing. I've already made a mental note to try and catch him as often as possible in the future. The show is part of an anniversary tour commemorating Impulse records, and included songs exclusively from their catalog. Their rendition of Coltrane's Impressions was fantastic. I was disappointed however, that although they played several Duke Ellington songs, Caravan was not one of them. (Seemed like it would have been the perfect septet piece).

The highlight of the night was the rhythm section, Eric Gravatt on drums and Charnett Moffett on bass. Eric reminded me of Elvin Jones, 'nuff said. Moffett stole the show (which may explain why he didn't solo until the later in the evening. Moffett clearly plays acoustic and electric bass, and plays both well. He has this unique way of back integrating electric bass finger technique on the upright. All I can say is "it was a sight to behold." And, it was done in a way that the musicianship was not compromised.

Bottom Line: Can't wait to see McCoy again in the near future and I will probably be on the lookout for Charnette Moffett.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Adrian Belew Power Trio

I saw Adrian Belew at the UT Cactus Cafe. He was accompanied by the Power Trio consisting of brother and sister pair, Eric and Julie Slick (both graduates of Paul Green's School of Rock).

Great intimate venue that holds no more than about 75 people. The band played a mix of Belew's solo material and then finished up the night was a set of King Crimson songs including Thela Hun Ginjeet, Dinosaur, TOAPP, and others.

Since this show was in Austin, King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto was in the audience. He didn't get up on stage however.

Great show for Belew and Krim fans.