LIKE FREE JAZZRecorded
at ABC No Rio, NYC, 3/15/2009
This music was performed as part of a benefit organized by saxophonist Blaise
Siwula. For at least a decade, Blaise has run C.O.M.A. (Citizens Ontological
Music Agenda), a weekly series of improvised music, at ABC No Rio. Once a year,
he sets aside an evening to present a marathon concert featuring a horde of
improvisers. The proceeds benefit ABC, which against all odds continues to exist
as an important grass roots arts center on New York's Lower East Side.
benefit was held on Sunday, March 15, 2009. As usual, he booked scores of musicians,
running them on- and off-stage one act after another with his usual unflappable
geniality (he also played a wonderful set himself, in the company of a very
fine tabla player whose name unfortunately escapes me).
and I have a long-running musical relationship. He's played in my bands for
the last five or six years, and lately we've been playing together as a duo.
He booked this performance and asked me to join him, which I was very happy
Since there were
so many musicians playing this night, each set was very condensed. As it happens,
ours was more condensed than it needed to be, but the music flowed naturally,
and ultimately ended exactly when and where it was supposed to. I was quite
pleased with the form and structure of our totally improvised performance. Later,
upon listening to the recording, it struck me as a microcosm of a larger, full-length
set-a tiny, ten-minute crystallization. Recorded on a small portable digital
recorder, the sound quality is not ideal, but it's plenty good enough. And anyway,
it's in the spirit of a dirt-under-yer-fingernails aesthetic that I especially
prize when it comes to jazz.
When Steven Koenig
hipped me to this site and asked me if I had anything I'd like to contribute,
I immediately thought of this recording. Francois and I made it thinking we'd
be the only ones to ever hear it. A lack of specific import attached to its
creation undoubtedly contributed to the relaxed but intense, anything-goes air
that suffuses the music. In that spirit, we didn't edit anything out. The recording
presents the performance in its entirety, from the moment we took the stage
to its end, with Blaise preparing to announce the next group. It was a wonderful
ten minutes for us and we're happy to have the chance to share it here.
Chris Kelsey, 3/25/2009