Posts Tagged ‘Abraxas’

Live With Felix Pastorius & The Social Experiment

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Greetings, 

As the title would suggest, I’ve recently been video taped by photographer Max R Sequeira at a recent gig at Zinc Bar with Felix and the gang, (Chris Ward on Sax and William Tatge on Keys). Almost the entire set was captured (with the exception of one full tune and most of ‘Jazz Crimes,’ but still having about 100min of footage is pretty sweet, no? One caveat: I accidentally set the camera too low when placing it, so you rarely see my face in the video, just a lot of handwork, which is probably more beneficially anyhow.

The show took place on Jan 27th, 2014 and shown in the video are my Bosphorus Turk Series Special Dry Ride (modeled after my Zildjian 21″ Special Dry Ride, but with a more pronounced bell), 14″ Turk hats and my 20″ Special3 Ride (by the hi hat). Also using my Noble & Cooley snare with 24-strand brass Custom Pro set from Puresound, (Evans G1 on top, Hazy Resonant on the bottom.) That’s it for the gear count, now on to the video!

Winter Jazz Fest, APAP, & NAMM

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Greetings,

It is my hope that all of you have rung in the new year with a blast! For me, it has been somewhat of a shaky start personally, but Musically speaking, I could not be happier. It is in this, and with gladness and espresso, that I bring you this update, albeit somewhat late, as to the goings-on these days in the life of the (real) Kenny G. As one could gather from the title, I will be involved in this weekend’s NYC Winter Jazz Festival, the 10th one, to be exact. Abraxas will be performing tonight at NYC’s Subculture, going on at 1:30am with a pretty killer lineup! Everyone is currently prepping the music and going through the parts to ensure that we do our best tonight. I’m drinking espresso, to ensure that I have sufficient chutzpah for tonight.

Along with this, Dapp Theory, thought not making an appearance this year at NYCWJF, will be quite busy performing on Sunday at this year’s APAP conference. These shows happen to be open to the public, so if you would like to stop by the Hilton Hotel (by Carnergie Hall), Harlem Suite on the 4th floor, you can catch us playing a bunch of new material from our upcoming album! Yes, it’s almost done and will be coming out shortly. Couldn’t be happier as this is my first record with the band that I’ve been admiring since 2004. Address and times are listed in my Itinerary for your perusal. 😉

In the last little bit of news, I’m happy to announce that I will be attending this year’s NAMM show in Anaheim, CA! This the first time I’ve ever been to this event, and I excited to see what goes on in what I would call, “The Candyland of Music Gear (and other such nerdy things).” Many friends and colleagues will also be in attendance, and there’s a good chance that you can catch me hanging out at the Bosphorus booth checking out Ari Hoenig’s new ‘Lyric’ series. If you happen to be in attendance, feel free to hit me up and we can hang for a bit! There’s a slight chance that myself and a few other close friends will do a few impromptu performances, so stay tuned for that as well!

That’s all I can write for now, but I hope to see you all either this weekend, very soon, or in the upcoming Abraxas EU tour! Till then, be well and peace to you all. May 2014 be Our year!

cheers,

keny

Post-Secret Chiefs 3, Pre-Psycho Magia

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Greetings,

Seemingly, I’ve begun a new habit of updating this site once every blue moon, but I do believe it is now time for said moon to shine. Quite a bit has taken place for me personally since last I wrote a column in the News section of this site, but I assure you, it has all been quite pleasant and uplifting, gratifying really, to say the least. After the conclusion of what I would consider to have been an incredibly successful and utterly exhilarating tour with Secret Chiefs 3, and also realizing that my drum tracks actually made it on to Book of Souls Folio A, for which I had No idea I would get to be a part of, I returned to New York feeling recharged and reinvigorated, honored and overjoyed and ready to come home and focus back on my music, both for my solo projects and with all the new upcoming Resolution 15 music that is now rising to the surface (after a very tumultuous year for the band). What was also in the works is something that has now nearly come to fruition and I’m very happy to begin to announce Some details about what has transpired, post SC3 tour.

About 5 months ago, myself and the guys in Masada, Book of Angels, Volume 19: Abraxas (or “BoA:19” or “Abraxas,” for short), were chosen to be part of a new project. John Zorn had approached Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, leader and guide of Abraxas, to record a brand new album of music that John had written in memorium for philosopher Giordano Bruno, entitled “Metem Psycho Magia.” He specifically wanted the line up of Abraxas to record this brand new set of non-Masada/Book of Angels music, and instead of it being a songbook, was more of a realized composition. The difference this time being that we would be rehearsing, performing, and recording along side our illustrious composer, as opposed to creating the arrangements and everything ourselves and getting the ‘OK’ from the composer. For all of us, the process began as soon as we received the written scores as homework immediately ensued for all four of us. Trying as best to figure out How to approach the music, what ideas we had work or didn’t work, what we felt needed to happen, How to “interpret” each piece became a new challenge, especially considering our individual touring schedules. All this effort and time lead up to a series of long and focused rehearsals, followed several shows that took place at The Stone in Alphabet City. We started with one night full of our ‘BoA:19′ material, followed 2 nights for the premier of “Metem PychoMagia.”

The performances were Rough at best. The band, as a whole and individually, were struggling to find the voice of each piece, as well as the overall spirit of what PyschoMagia” meant. Needless to say, we went into Laswell’s studio feeling pretty defeated, but somehow, John was able to pull the fire and ‘magic’ out of all of us and to be honest, I think the end result will blow what we did with BoA:19 out of the box! The entire album went from Lackluster to Psychotic, all thanks in part to the artistry of everyone involved, as well as the dedication and leadership of Zorn. This being my first ever in the studio with John, I have to say it was a dream come true. I remember listening to recordings of Naked City and Cobra as a kid and being frightened, as well as intrigued, by what I was hearing: Most people simply didn’t make music like this in Miami and I considered Dolphy and Shostakovich to be the extent of what I thought of as “peculiar.” (This was also around the first time I discovered Mr. Bungle, whom I heard first). But to share the studio with a hero was an earth shattering experience and it’s one that I’ll Never forget. Thankfully, there is auditory proof of what we did and the result of all of our hard work and collaboration. For the first time in a long time, I am proud of music that I got to be a part of, and more so, my performance of said music. (AKA, I actually for once Like what I played!)

In the upcoming weeks, I will be able to report some exciting news about this as the details continue to be sussed out, but let’s just say that it will entail a brand new album to be released sometime early next year, a performance at the upcoming Winter Jazz Festival, as well as a tour of the EU in early 2014!

Though this year is drawing close to an end, I have to say that I’m beyond excited as to what 2014 bring musically (not so much environmentally) and I look forward to the day when I will be able to share a slew of exciting new music for all of you! As always, thank you for taking the time to read this diatribe and till next time, be well and see you soon.

 

Cheers,

Kenny

Join Me On Facebook

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Greetings,
I know it’s been a while, but as you can imagine, it’s been quite hectic post Secret Chiefs 3’s North America Tour and Stone Residency, but I’m writing to let everyone know that I’ve created a facebook artist page, for those of you into the whole social media thing. I’ll be posting daily on this page in order to better communicate with fans. Feel free to add me on there and as always, I hope that you are in good spirits.

Cheers,

Kenny

Post Secret Chiefs 3 Tour and December 2012

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Greetings All,

I’ve begun to write this from a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan, though I’m sure I won’t finish this writing here. By the sheer fact that I’m updating this site, you can safely surmise that I’ve returned from the Secret Chiefs 3 tour of Europe. That is, of course, if the title wasn’t enough of a give away for you. Myself and Toby Driver arrived Tuesday afternoon to a thankfully not-so-crowded JFK International Airport, only to take what would have been the most roundabout and costly way to either of our Brooklyn homes via a very frustrated cabbie. (He spent a good chunk of time in traffic riffing at some chick on the phone). But that’s the beauty of living in a major metropolitan city, and though breakfast in Paris’ red light district was no where near as gross as you’re thinking (more like a park slope brunch, but at a restaurant called Twinkie; I shit you not), there’s No place like home!

For all intents and purposes, the SC3 tour was a huge success and incredible amount of fun was had by all. It’s somewhat strange that it is all over now and everyone is back to their “regular routines” considering how intensely this band tours. Everyday there’s a new show, possibly in a different country, but never really a day off (with the exception of one day where the gig fell through), constant load in, setup, soundcheck, show, break down, load out, rinse & repeat. After a while, it becomes hypnotic; The lack of sleep coupled with the constant lifting and moving into fully rocked-out shows, then back to reality and manuel labor,  it soon becomes a physical and spiritual high. But after about 6 weeks, it’s nice to be able to come back to a place like New York and say, “Ah, back to normalcy!” I think for most people, calling NYC normal would be a rather strange leap in logic. Then again, I tend to favor strange leaps in logic.

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Fun Shows & An Old Video Found (It has a drum solo in it, ooh!)

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Greetings,

Here’s a clip of myself and good friend, pianist  Pablo Vergara, taking solos on the song Obeahman by composer and saxophonist Jorge Sylvester. This was taken in January of 2011 at the Baha’i Center in Manhattan as part of Mike Longo’s long running Tuesday Night Jazz Series. The group is called The A.C.E. Collective (Afro-Caribbean Experimental Collective, if you will) and is lead by Jorge Sylvester. Other members include bassist Donald Nicks, vocalist Nora McCarthy, and trumpeter Waldron ‘Mahdi’ Ricks. The Group will have a performance on Oct 18th at the Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY. I unfortunately will not be able to be apart of this, but they have a very special kick-ass guest to serve as my sub. It’s music that truly is worth hearing live.

This performance is a little something different than what you’re probably used to seeing me do, but I hope you enjoy it nevertheless.

In other news, Shanir Blumenkranz’s Abraxas-Masada Book 2 Volume 19 will be making another appearance on October 9th at The Stone at 10PM, preceded by Samuel Adams & Adrian Knight, followed by a performance of the Ze Luis Quartet on October 10th at Nublu at 930PM, opening for Forro In The Dark, and lastly, Dapp Theory will be performing on Friday October 12th at The Blue Note as part of the late night groove series. The doors for Friday are at midnight and the show starts at 12:30AM.

More news to follow, but right now I desperately need to get back to studying Secret Chiefs 3’s Ishraqiyun (This music is so, So awesome and so nuts, cannot wait to play this!)

Cheers,

Kenny

September 19th-22nd, Intensity!

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Greetings All,

Recently, I’ve posted a personal message to friends, family, and fans on my Facebook page. I’m truly excited about what’s coming up soon. In that spirit, on to the post…

This week will be an epic one: Starting on Wednesday, the Zé Luis Quartet will be playing at Nublu for the early set opening for Forro in the Dark, Then on Thursday, Felix Pastorius‘ Hipster Assassins will be playing the late set @The 55 Bar starting at 10. Then on Friday, HUNG will be performing at Dingbatz for Tim Martinez‘s birthday bash: HUNG at Dingbatz, then finally Abraxas will be opening for Consider The Source in NYC – A WORLD AFFAIR ft. Abraxas & Zetizen starting at 9PM. I hope to see any of you at any or all of these shows!

 

Cheers,

Kenny

Resolutions, Assassins, Theories, & Secrets

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Greetings,

In this moment I’m reminded of Louis CK when he said, “I really don’t know how to start shows…” I find the need to write to whomever will happen upon this writing, as well as to the loyal followers of my site, but I never know how to actually start the process of writing. I have always been much more of a reactionary person than a initiator, if you will. But then again, it would seem that I’ve already started, so here we go.

I’m currently in the process of preparing for several upcoming ventures, one of those being the upcoming Dapp Theory performance at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival this Sunday, the 26th at 4PM in Tompkins Square Park. For me, this brings back memories of when I first joined Lonnie Plaxico’s group. It would also happen to be the first time Dapp Theory bassist Chris Tordini saw me perform, before we became good friends and band mates in several projects, including my old fusion group Hybrid. It’s been some years since I’ve performed at this festival, but considering how the years have gone and everything that has happened for me personally over the last several years, it truly feels like a homecoming. This is a good thing because the highschool I went to had ZERO sports teams, so no marching bands, no cheerleading squads, and certainly no homecomings. We played Mahler and Coltrane’s quartet music, so I think it was a much better trade off. In other news with Dapp Theory, we are making our final push with the Kickstarter campaign we started some time ago, raising funds in order to complete the album we’ve started working on. Having been an artist whom several times has had to record, release, and promote an album without management, label, investors, PR, or any industry consideration, I can tell you first hand that it is never easy when doing it alone, regardless of how long you’ve been in the “scene.” I do have to say that though I’m usually never happy with any of my recorded performances, I am happy with the musical repertoire on this album. It’s a much more eclectic mix of Jazz/World/MB than previous offerings, but still retains many of the concepts and elements that make Dapp Theory what it is. Then again, with 3 new players, one of which that plays the Armenian Duduk and another that plays Salsa and Death Metal, things can go to much different places. So, I would encourage any fan of Dapp Theory or any fan of mine or even the wayward cyber-traveler, If you feel lead, then feel free to donate a couple of bucks. Every dollar that goes into the campaign does really count for a lot. The album will then have the means to fly and considering the work myself and the rest of the band has put in over the last 6 years for this group, It would be lovely to finally have a physical offering for the world to hear.

As some of you may have noticed, if you’ve checked out my Itinerary, I will be doing a string of performances throughout Europe. Many of us tend to refer to this as a “Tour.” Well I am happy to make public that I will be performing with Trey Spruance’s Secret Chiefs 3 this year on their European Tour in the Fall. It’s something that came to fruition after the Abraxas Jazz In Marciac concert with Zorn’s Aleph Trio and Secret Chiefs 3. Ches Smith, drummer for SC3, Xiu Xiu, various Tim Berne projects, Mary Halvorson, Trevor Dunn, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dogs and slew of other ridiculous music, as well as Timba Harris, Violinist for SC3 and Estradasphere, thought it would be good to have me fill in for Ches on this upcoming tour. When they both asked me what I thought about it I was honestly kind of stunned. Getting the chance to see SC3 live and share the stage was one thing, but to perform some of Trey’s music is something else entirely. Disco Volante was a go-to point musically for myself and high school friend and badass guitarist Edwin Itoh: His old band, Zeno, used to cover Mr Bungle tunes in various shit-hole venues throughout South Florida, such as the ill-located Chuchill’s in Miami, Fl. Mr Bungle was truly a gateway band that lead me to many other interests and places musically. In a lot of ways, my performing with Abraxas, Resolution 15, Hung, Hipster Assassins, and Nevereven, as well as many other projects, would never have taken place because I still would have been a 70’s Fusion/60’s Jazz/40’s mambo/Classical geek all this time. Suffice it to say, to have the chance to play with SC3 is beyond an honor; it’s more like living a childhood fantasy. I’ll continue to write about and hopefully post more as the weeks follow, but for now, it’s time to learn the depths of this mountain of beautifully visceral music. Here’s something that it may sound like-

Abraxas, Aleph Trio, & Secret Chiefs 3 Live:

Lastly,  here’s a clip from the last Hipster Assassins hit from 55 Bar this past Thursday, August 23rd. It’s not the complete song, but it still has a bit of vibe on it, I think. Also, you get to see me drink and play at the same time. (Yes, it was one of those kind of shows, but not in a bad way). We played in front of a very dedicated and energetic crowd that night, who stuck around for TWO 90min sets. I call those people ‘Champions.’ All in all, it was a great night of music, which leads me to my last bit of news.

As some of you may already know, Resolution 15 bassist Jim Robertson has left the group to pursue other interests and musical endeavors. As you can imagine, it was a huge blow for the band, but thankfully all is passed on good terms. We were saddened to see him leave, but as the man he is, he completed the tracking for our upcoming full length in half a day. About 25mins worth of music that requires scores and pages of sheet music done in the time it takes to setup drums and mic them. It was utterly ridiculous and it’s truly a Badass parting gift! Since then, we’ve held several auditions for the new bassist, and some pretty badass bassists to boot, but we’ve found the missing link. Mike Bendy, member of the Hipster Assassins and The Bendy Effect, has taken over the reigns as our new bassist. Out of everyone we tried out, he literally brought the kind of musicianship, aggression, and fire that we need to be who we are. I’ve been very happy having him on board and I’m looking forward to unleashing him and all of the new R15 music upon the public very soon. More news on that will follow soon…

I believe that is all for now, save for maybe that clip from the 55 Bar I promised earlier. As always, thank you for reading and see you soon…

 

Cheers,

Kenny

New Video from Jazz In Marciac!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Greetings,

As some of you may have read in my last post, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to the south of France for the Jazz In Marciac festival with Shanir Blumekranz’s Abraxas, opening for John Zorn’s Aleph Trio and Secret Chiefs 3. For many stateside, this would have been an amazing treat to see. Well, for those of you who couldn’t be there with us, here’s an edited version of the entire concert, including one of the several encores we performed! I hope you enjoy this offering from Arte Live Web.

via John Zorn au festival Jazz in Marciac.

I hope you enjoy the concert and as always, be well.

Cheers,

 

Kenny

Abraxas in Marciac, Being Folked Up, & a Midsummer’s Recap

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Greetings,

Given that it’s been quite some time since the last update, I bring you an-all encompassing update as to what has been going on over in my new homestead known as Brooklyn!

Later this week, Abraxas will be making it’s live debut here in NYC at John Zorn’s The Stone. Earlier this year John Zorn commissioned bassist Shanir Blumenkranz to record an album of selected pieces from Zorn’s  Book of Angels V. 19 repertoire, giving him free reign to record and produce the album as Shanir saw fit. The end result was something very primordial, tribal, and visceral. Featuring some amazing guitar work from Aram Bajakian (of Lou Reed) and cutting edge experimental guitarist Eyal Maoz. At times, taking from Classic Rock to Moroccan rhythms, Jewish mysticism and an atavistic approach to music, this is an album that I think any fan of music will enjoy. You’ll be able to grab a copy at our upcoming show at  The Stone this Friday, August 3rd or at Zorn’s website. This will be our prep show for the next one, a brief hit at the Jazz In Marciac festival, playing along with John Zorn’s Aleph Trio and Secret Chiefs 3! I’m super humbled and excited all at the same time to be sharing the stage with these insane musicians, as well as thrilled for this will be my first time in France and hopefully Without being detained at De Gaul International!

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect on the album:

This past July I had the opportunity to record with composer and long time colleague Daniel Bernard Roumain and North Carolina artist and activist Laurelyn Dossett for an upcoming album that we will be touring briefly later this year. The details on our live shows will follow as they come, but what I can say about the recording session was that it was an absolute joy to work with Laurelyn and many of her various musical partners and band mates. All incredible musicians as well as being incredibly chill and wonderful people to be around and talk with. Many a late night patio talk was had at the end of our 10-hour days in Asheville, NC, and could possibly be one of my personal high points of the summer. Recording at Echo Mountain Studios, is easily the next highlight of the summer thus far. If you ever have the chance to record an album, do yourself a favor and make it happen at this place. Incredible gear with incredible sounding rooms, super pro and courteous staff, and the in house musical gear is killer. There’s also a nice, crunchy coffee shop near by and the tech owns an instrument/amp repair shop down the road. It’s perfect.

In more recording news, I’ve had a chance to hear a bit of the upcoming Dapp Theory album we recorded this past April, and I think old school fans and newer Dapp fans alike will really enjoy this offering. Between and Andy’s compositions and musical direction coupled with Jimmy Haslip leadership and expertise in the producer’s chair, will make for a rather nice album from start to finish. We’ll be making some live appearances this summer, including a quick gig at Harlem’s Ginny’s as well as a set at this year’s Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. If you haven’t already, check out Andy’s music on the recently released documentary, The Captains, chronicling the personal lives and tribulations of All the Star Trek captains. It’s a must see for any Star Trek fan.

Resolution 15 is also just about finished with it’s newest album, the completion of Svaha. It has been a long time coming but I think our fans will be really pleased with the newer material and a fully realized album. We’ve already written enough new material to record the next two albums, so though we are eager to put that material out there, for you now you all can enjoy the entirety of this album. We should have physical copies fairly soon, along with a very special engagement that we will be letting the world know of in the upcoming months, so stay tuned either here or at Res15’s various media outlets.

As always, thank you for checking in with me and please stay tuned for more updates as they occur. I will have much to report in the upcoming months, as well as some project ideas I have in the works, both in videos and in released music. In the meantime, please enjoy this latest video from Hung’s show at Arena in Queens, NY and till next time, be well.

Kenny