Peter Evans Septet – 4.11.17 – Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA

evans_spetet_1

Peter Evans – trumpet
Mazz Swift – violin
Sam Pluta – live electronics
Ron Stabinsky – piano, synth
Tom Blancarte – bass
Levy Lorenzo – percussion, live electronics
Jim Black – drums, electronics

Last evening, I went to check out trumpet player Peter Evans and his septet at the Warhol Museum.  I really like the small theater/auditorium there and I’ve seen a few pretty incredible sets over the past few years.  The set last night was another to add to the list.

The most intriguing and over-arching element throughout the whole set, to me, was the combination/mixing/blending/balance of acoustic instruments and electronics.  This was obvious from the very beginning of the continuous 50 minute set. Mazz Swift (violin) and Sam Pluta (electronics/modular synth/laptop) started together for at least a couple of minutes before any other members played a single note. It was like simultaneously looking into the past as well as at a version of the future as depicted in sci-fi movies.  I thought it was somewhat fitting that the bass player wore a Star Wars t-shirt.  Some of the sounds created by Pluta throughout the night definitely approached R2D2 territory.  And I mean that in the best way possible.  At certain points within the set, one side of the ensemble would sort of take over the other (electro vs. acoustic), but they would always come back to a beautiful and interesting blend.

I really dug this show.  It was one where I found myself closing my eyes and just absorbing the sound in the room and it felt really nice. I’m not always the best at describing music or musical performances in a very technical or even interesting way.  It’s really all inside my head and difficult to put into words.  But, I like shit like this that makes me think about things like good/evil, past/future, yin/yang, chaos/bliss, etc etc etc. There were two shows I wanted to attend this week but I could only pick one.  Since I’ve seen Charlie Hunter a bunch of times (playing Club Cafe on Saturday btw), I’m really happy I got to see something new and truly unique.

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Lina Allemano’s Titanium Riot – 5.12.15 – Thunderbird Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA

Lina Allemano – trumpet
Ryan Driver – analog synth
Rob Clutton – bass
Nick Fraser – drums

There’s this moment that occurs while attending live shows when I think, “This is why I’m alive. This is real life. This is why I work at a shitty job for 8 hours a day and spend 2 hours in a car in traffic etc etc. This is my reward.” This revelation hasn’t occurred at every show I’ve been to, but most.  And it typically exists purely in that moment. It’s not something I dwell on or really think about later. The whole world at that moment is right there in front of me.

Last week, at the Thunderbird Cafe, that moment came shortly after I arrived, bought a beer and found a nice portion of wall to lean against. It didn’t take long. Lina Allemano and her quartet make music that provokes thought. It’s not dance music. It’s not something I’d even nod my head to or tap along with my foot. It’s like a really interesting, delicate and unpredictable conversation of sorts. Standing there and listening was like watching fine art. I don’t seek out this type of music very often. It’s not something I normally put on the turntable at home or search for on Spotify for my aforementioned commutes.  But there’s something about watching this stuff live that is pretty enchanting.

I had hoped to stay to catch Ben Opie, who gave his monthly Space Exchange spot to Lina, sit in with the group on sax.  However, after a long set break and an even longer day of work, my body was telling me to get to bed.  Hopefully, Lina and one of her projects will come back through town again very soon.

Daniel Carter & The Moon – 10.30.13 – Thunderbird Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA

Daniel Carter – alto saxophone
Adam Caine – guitar
Federico Ughi – drums

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to spend writing about this show at the moment so I’ll keep it concise.  This was a very cool show.  More people should have attended it.  There were only about 16 or 17 people there.  Daniel Carter has been around since the 70’s and has played with a ton of people in the New York scene.  Sorry for the abrupt ending to the video.  My battery died and I’m actually surprised the video was even saved at all.  Enjoy!