Do you know about Make Music New York? For the past seven years, on the day of the summer solstice, usually June 21, Make Music New York has organized live music all over the city, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
On Friday, June 21, 2013, Make Music New York returns, and more than 650 music groups and individual artists will perform at more than 300 venues throughout the five boroughs.
As a city-dweller and pedestrian, in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, and in the East Village and Lower East Side and Lower Manhattan and elsewhere, I have seen heard some cool music ensembles and and fun bands and individual artists that I would not have seen otherwise. All kinds of music on the sidewalks that day, and in the parks, in public gardens and on corners and plazas -- ethnic music of all kinds, jazz, classical, experimental, avant garde, folk music, rock and roll, pop music, soul and R&B.
This year, as part of Make Music New York, I will perform two solo sets of moody and bouncy [...]
Any music is new if you never heard it before. And more good music has been recorded than one person can hear in a lifetime. So there's no reason for anyone to listen to lousy music.
By "lousy" I mean whatever is derivative, watered-down, phony or done for cynical reasons or just plain lazy. Incompetence can be charming, as long as the person is really trying and is sincere and pure at heart. You wouldn't want the Shaggs to play any better than they do.
Lately, however, I have a high regard for competence, for artists who know what they are doing. Here is some recent listening, of some people who most definitively know what they are doing:
Mary Lou Williams, "Zodiac Suite," from 1945. A deep understanding and exploration of harmony, unafraid of dissonance, not far from more abstract Duke Ellington. Twelve miniatures, just piano, upright bass and drums, poorly recorded, a wartime pressing. But the poor sound quality, even for 1945, adds to the mystery. The pieces speed up and slow down [...]
Save the date: Saturday, March 30, Mitra Sumara performs at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., New York, as part of the seventh annual Persian New Year Celebration. Also on the bill will be Rana Farhan, playing Persian jazz and blues, and Vatan, who will play Persian country music. Mitra Sumara will bring its own strong blend of Persian psychedelic funk from pre-revolutionary Iran -- Persian pop from the 1960s and '70s.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m., and Mitra Sumara will take the stage at 8:30.
This will be a rocking way to ring in Nowrooz. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. So act now, and we'll see you then!
Random notes -- or not so random. Some people can let down their defenses and preconceptions and just start spinning out musical notes with abandon. Stream of consciousness, first thought best thought, let it all out. I have tried all that, and maybe I'm just too square. Or it just sounds like a baby crying. Maybe some primal scream would be good. Maybe I'm too complacent...
Anyway, what's new? Work -- actually play, since it feel like play, although some work is involved -- continues on the next "album." Forget the scare-quotes. It will be an album. For this I am grateful to the powers that be for enabling me to do this. And my thanks to the people who are helping me. You know who you are.
What else? Last Saturday night, Amy and I went to see John Cale perform his "Paris 1919" album at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, along with a rock band and chamber orchestra. Mellifluous violin and cello sounds spiked with abrasive rock. And Cale the Welshman singing out in fine form.
Other listening: [...]
See video of Mitra Sumara performing at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15, 2012!
(The image above is not the link -- please click here to see the video!)
Thanks to the Kennedy Center for hosting a performance of Mitra Sumara last Thursday. Please go to the above link to see high-quality video of the entire performance.
Also, thanks to the Tropicalia club, also in D.C., for having us to play two smoking sets of Persian psychedelic funk and shimmy-shimmy.
Learn more about Mitra Sumara here and here. You’ll be glad you did!