Ben Opie – saxophone
Paul Thompson – bass
Dave Throckmorton – drums
My reality over the past month or so has been, and continues to be, completely and utterly turned upside down. I feel like a hole has been torn in my basic understanding of everything. Never in my 37 years on this planet have I felt so fearful, uncertain, angry, and disgusted. This blog was never intended to discuss anything political whatsoever but it now completely permeates our reality whether we want it to or not. I’m currently split between taking the all-in activist route and the total opposite, which would be turn it off and to completely escape and mentally remove myself from this current mess as much as possible. FUCK.
With that being said, it is now more comforting than ever to be in a place and around people who see the world in a similar way or at least in a way that involves some sort of sanity or integrity. And what is even better than that is to be in a place with these kind of people experiencing something absolutely beautiful, imaginative, and unique. Saturday night was one of these precious moments.
Thoth Trio, a band covered pretty heavily on this blog, was the musical guest for this month’s edition of Second Saturdays, which is a monthly event hosted by Pittsburgh’s The Pillow Project. The Pillow Project describes themselves as being “all about creating and investigating new ideas in a post-jazz improvisation and challenging how dance and performance is experienced“. These “happenings” are held in a great loft space called The Space Upstairs above Construction Junction in Point Breeze. I’d been to one of these a couple of years ago, so I had an idea of what it was all about. The space and the event have a sort of 1960’s, artsy, counterculture, beatnik, hidden/secret/forbidden kind of vibe with people hanging out on couches, bar stools, on the floor, wherever. Basically, as the music starts, or sometimes even half way into a piece, dancers will appear in the center of the large room seemingly from nowhere to interact spontaneously with the music and with each other creating a truly unique experience. Personally, being as though Thoth is my favorite band in town, I was there for the music. But the dancers, undeniably, add a certain whimsy to the whole thing, especially when dancing in front a huge projection of falling snow.
Thoth Trio has the ability to go from a ferociously blazing sax solo to almost complete silence to a deep drum and bass groove (and anywhere in between and back again!) extremely effortlessly, so their music fit into the vibe of this event really really well. The video above is a clip from Thoth’s own “Carbon 60” from their second set, which was a request by guitarist Josh Wulff. Wulff is part of a another project entitled Sound/Unsound Trio with Ben Opie and Throck. Ben had mentioned that they have a release on the way. We here at Jazz Orbits will be eagerly awaiting that one.