Posts Tagged ‘Jazz’

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

Hipster Assassins, Now Vs Now, & Edit Bunker

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Now Vs Now, Hipster Assassins, Edit Bunker

 

I’m Incredibly excited (and kinda nervous-who wouldn’t be playing next to Zach Danziger and Mark Guiliana?!)- but this will be an excellent show to see on a Monday! July 8th, just three days from now, you will hear some of the finest Jazz/Rock/Fusion/Electronica/World/Anything/Everything that NYC has to offer. This is not to be missed by any means and the ticket price is ridiculous for something of this magnitude. We will also be playing a couple of Brand New Tunes, so you definitely don’t want to miss this!

I will see many of you New Yorker’s there!

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

One Band, One Song, Two Weeks At The Zinc Bar (Same Hair, Sorry)

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

For your viewing pleasure, Felix Pastorius’ Hipster Assassins performing Butter Biscuit, from April 23rd, 2012 and April 30th, 2012. Feel free to comment and leave me with your thoughts as I’m always curious as to how people perceive this music.

Enjoy,

Kenny

The Update! April 23rd, 2012

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Greetings,

I know it’s been quite a while since the last post but a lot has taken place since then, so hunker down and brace yourself, and I will do my best to not drag this on too long!

I’m sure as some of you can see, Resolution 15 was Successful in it’s kickstarter campaign! To those of you who supported this effort, you have my humblest thanks. I’ve been slated to start recording the drum tracks at the end of this month with Stacy O’Dell at Spin Studios. It will be my first time recording in Greenpoint, but I’m sure the end result will be quite epic.

In keeping with recording news, I have recently received a mastered copy of Shanir Blumenkranz’s upcoming album for his new group, ABRAXAS, featuring the music of John Zorn’s Book of Angels! It’s been a huge honor to be part of this project and I have to say, it was quite fun playing blast beats, bayons, funk, weird sounds, and all the added Moroccan vibes to this music. Look for the album to come out sometime later this year in leu of our upcoming performance at the Marciac Music Festival! (more…)

Live Recording of the Felix Pastorius Group/55 Bar Gig!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Greetings,

I hope this message finds you all in good spirits.  I’m writing to let all of you know that I’ve recently posted new material on my Soundcloud profile, including some live clips of my recent performance at the 55 Bar with The Felix Pastorius Group, aka, The Hipster Assassins.  There are a couple of tracks online as well as previews of some upcoming music that I’m writing for Resolution15’s upcoming full length album.  For now, here’s a sample of what you can expect from my Soundcloud page:

 

In other news, Resolution15 has begun to divulge the history of the band itself in our latest video on YouTube:

Thanks again for visiting my site.  I look forward to seeing you at any of my upcoming shows (conveniently listed in my Itinerary).  Until next time, be well.

 

Kenny

Firewind, Arsis, Resolution15, Pastorius, Padron, and Slet bubeníků

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Greetings All,

As per usual, I hope this message finds you in the best of spirits. I’m writing to let you know of some upcoming events that are worth checking out. The First of them being my upcoming show with long time friend, Richard Padron, at our usual haunt, Nublu. We play this Sunday at 930PM-11pm, so for those of you who love experimental Cuban Jazz, this best of it that you will hear, and as always, featuring Jim Robertson on Bass. (For those of you who may not have been following Nublu’s legal woes, the location of the new Nublu is 1st Ave between 1st and 2nd street. It’s in the lower club located directly underneath Lucky Chengs and next to Ortiz Family Funeral Home. Gotta love New York…)

On Monday, keeping up with our regular schedule, Felix PastoriousHipster Assassins will be Performing at Zinc Bar , as well as the following monday (Oct 10th), with both shows starting at 930PM. (Have you also noticed that most of my weekly, bi weekly, and monthly gigs All start at 930PM?!).

In the world of Metal, Resolution 15 has a couple of events worth checking out. starting with Wednesday, Oct 5th, The members of Resolution 15 will be hanging out at Trash Bar to support many of our dear friends, and we may even make a little noise, but that remains to be seen. Let’s just say for now, that any R15 fans who aren’t there will be kinda sad they didn’t swing through. We will be selling tickets for our upcoming show on October 12th at the Gramercy Theatre as we open up for Firewind and Arsis! This will be our biggest show to date, and needless to say, we are completely excited to share the stage with some serious badasses. We will be playing some new music from our Svaha Sessions, as well as some popular tunes off of our second studio release, Satyagraha. For those of you who are interested in getting tickets for the R15 show, you can either comment here or reach out to me via facebook, or via Skype (my handle is Kengro82), or if you have my cell phone or email you can reach out to me there. Or, you can find the band on our facebook page and reach out to us there for tickets. From what i understand, if you buy tickets through us (the band), the tickets are $19, but if you get them online its 20-something dollars and the day of its $36, so you may want to reach out to me first ;).

Lastly, I will be once again returning to Czech Rep. to participate in the annual Slet bubeníků 2011 tour, starting on Oct 16th-Oct 30th. The last time I went on this tour, it was a very refreshing and life changing experience and I’m so excited to see some old friends from the tour again. For those of you who, perhaps, don’t live in Praha, here are some clips of our last concert at the Divaldo Archa Theatre in Prague from last year’s concert:

 

slet bubeníků 2010

Divaldo Archa 2010

 

Here’s also my drum solo/feature from the tour, aptly titled Sweet 15. And, for your drumming enjoyment (I hope :D), here’s another video that i’ve recently posted on youtube, its a pretty quick video, just a portion of a drum solo during a Dapp Theory gig at 55 bar from early this summer.

Thank you for taking the time to read this long-as-hell post, but I hope that it keeps you informed and I hope to see you either in nYc at any of these upcoming shows or in CZ in two weeks!

Cheers,

Kenny

 


				

Gira Colombia & Under The Microscope

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Greetings All,

May this message find you in a place of peace of mind, or at the very least, positive transition! It’s been some weeks since I’ve written to you, but my absence from the online world has not been for naught. I’ve been pretty busy with a brand new production lead by Grammy Award winning producer and arranger Victor “Papo” Ortiz for the upcoming Iglesia Casa De Alabanza album. For those of you who may not be aware of this church, it was founded by my Grandfather, Apostle Bobby Cruz (of the Richie Ray y Bobby Cruz fame). I won’t go into a full history of the church,  but I will say that within the christian community, ICA has been a powerhouse of music, especially within the Latin Christian world, with my grandfather rewriting or rearranging with Richie Ray many of their classic songs, transforming them from  secular songs to  religious-oriented materials. But getting back to the point…

What started out for me as merely being hired as a session player for a few tracks on the album, has lead me to becoming part of the production aspect of the album, with the responsibility of writing/arranging/producing a song for the album in more of a Funk/Gospel vein. So far, the experience has been quite rewarding. We tracked the drums at Hit Factory Studios in Miami, Florida, in the same room that my father once tracked drums in when I was a little kid, Which was an honor in and of itself. Next, we recorded the rest of the song in New York City’s Premier Studios in Times Square, with good friend and studio virtuoso Ryan Kelly at the helm (Click Here for the “Humble” version of his clientele). Later in September, I’ll be flying to Nashville to produce the singers for the song, another event that I’m quite looking forward to. The album is expected to be done by early Fall, so stay tuned for more information on that.

In other news, Resolution 15 is getting ready to release another chapter of our Svaha Sessions, so check us out on Facebook and Twitter for release times, or, if you’re a true audiophile, hit us up on our Soundcloud page. Also in metal news, the music video that I performed in for I.N.C. is now live and streaming for your viewing pleasure! Check out myself and Sam Roon from Hung rocking out from a rooftop in Brooklyn!

Lastly, I will be returning to Colombia this year with my good friend and tremendous guitarist Greg Diamond. This year we will be performing in Bogota, Manizales, and Barranquilla, throughout the first week of September, with a few more dates to come so stay tuned for that as well!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming show or hearing from you via email or facebook!

Cheers,

Kenny