Jackie McLean On Mars (1980)

Somehow, I didn’t know about this short documentary on Jackie McLean, entitled Jackie McLean On Mars, until this past weekend.  Jackie was one of the greats and one of my all-time my favorite musicians, artists, performers.  Check it out!




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!

Thoth Trio – Space Exchange – 12.18.12 – Thunderbird Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA

Thoth Trio
Thunderbird Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA

Ben Opie – saxophone
Paul Thompson – bass
Dave Throckmorton – drums

This is another, and probably last, repost from my personal blog. I thought it was appropriate since I just posted about another sax/bass/drums trio.

Thoth Trio is quite possibly my favorite local jazz group and I feel fortunate every time I get to see them, especially when it is free like this night was.

Branford Marsalis Trio – Bloomington


Branford Marsalis Trio – Bloomington

1993 Sony/Columbia
Recorded Live on 9/23/91, University of Indiana Auditorium

Branford Marsalis – tenor & soprano saxophones
Robert Hurst – bass
Jeff “Tain” Watts – drums

I’ve been listening to this CD quite a bit over the last few days.  A thrift store was having a President’s Day sale on Monday and all music items were half off.  Their CD selection is not great, but this was there and it was only 50 cents.

I only really got into Branford Marsalis about a year ago.  I didn’t know much about him other than we has Wynton’s brother, he was the leader of the Tonight Show band for a few years in the 90’s, and he had played with the Dead a few times.  I guess I always sort of dismissed him as contemporary crap.  But as I started picking up a few of his albums, I found out I was wrong.  The dude can play.  And all of the releases I’ve heard so far are much more real and raw than I expected, which brings me back to Bloomington.

He is playing with a trio here with Robert Hurst on upright bass and Tain Watts on the kit.   They are all killing it for pretty much the entire disc.  I’m glad that this is not a larger ensemble here because it may has ruined the vibe.  There is alot of energy in this set.  It’s raw, the playing is exceptional all around, and there aren’t any sappy ballads or anything like that.  It also has a timeless quality that might not be there if there were guitar or keys.  Right before the last song, which I assume was the encore, a girl in the audience yells “DARK STAR!”.  Then Branford delivers by playing the first few notes.  This would have been an incredible show to be at.  The audience probably would have been quite diverse at this point in his career after starring in a Spike Lee movie and playing with Sting and the Dead.

Standout tracks for me are “Xavier’s Lair” and “Citizen Tain“.

Here’s a video of Branford’s trio from earlier that year.

Space Exchange – Erik Lawrence – 1.15.13 – Thunderbird Cafe, Pgh, PA

Erik Lawrence – sax
Paul Thompson – bass
Dave Throckmorton – drums

In the next few days I’ll be reposting a few things that I had posted on my other blog, venisonham, which is now private.

Space Exchange is a (mostly) jazz series that takes place every Tuesday night at the Thunderbird Cafe in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh, PA.  It consists of a core group of musicians that alternate weeks and come in to do whatever they want with their various projects.  The primary musicians involved are Ben Opie, Dave Throckmorton, Colter Harper, Chris Parker, and Matt Booth.  These shows are free and I try to make it out to as many as possible.

This night was billed as Erik Lawrence.  His rhythm section for the night consisted of Paul Thompson and Dave Throckmorton.  Between songs, Erik had mentioned that he had not played most, or any, of these songs with these guys before.  Before a few of the tunes, he would quickly go over the changes and stuff.  The results were pretty incredible, especially knowing that these songs have never been played by this particular group.  Lawrence’s most recent job was playing sax in the Levon Helm band.  He’s also involved with several other projects including one with Steven Bernstein of Sex Mob.