After a week in NYC, I’m settled, and ready to write.
First order of business.
Not after being in NYC for four days, I got my ass handed to me at a jam. Hopefully none of you saw it on the feed.
Friday I went to Smalls to check out Jeremy Pelt and Kevin Hays’ new group, which is as of now untitled. It also featured the up and coming(VERY up and coming) Linda Oh on bass, and one of my favourite drummers, Rodney Green.
The music was a veritable potpourri, with a little bit of modal, little bit of free, little bit of 5, little bit of bop, little bit of four bar gospel vamps. Everyone played great, and I had a hell of a time keeping track of where one was. Maybe it was Rodney and Linda screwing with me, maybe it was because I had a long work day, we’ll never know. All I know is that it was great.
After that, I decided to stick around for Lawrence Leathers’ band. Little did I know, one of my favourite NYC pianists and new mentor type person Aaron Diehl was actually in charge of the set, getting ready for his trip to London, England.
He was really tired, he sometimes couldn’t even finish ideas or call tunes in time because he was fading fast, but then the downbeat happened and you couldn’t notice a thing. Immaculate feel, light touch, and some acrobatics that you couldn’t scoff at. Mostly standards, arranged in Aaron’s classy and interesting way. On bass was Paul Sikivie, who I told you about in my Matt Wilson post.
So after that was over, Aaron announced my name to begin the jam. So my first jam living in NYC, I had to follow Kevin Hays and Aaron Diehl(winner of the Cole Porter Piano competition, if my word isn’t good enough for you), with fantastic pianist and Smalls club owner Spike Wilner looking on. I was cool with it, until a New York jam session tenor player(Ba-Dum Chick, as Jacob Sacks said) rolled up and called a tune I don’t know(which will remain nameless, as I damn well know it now…) at a tempo that I can’t play(which will remain nameful, 320 or so). Needless to say, totally prepared tenor player and fantastic professiodnal drummer kicked my ass out the door. Afterwords I basically ran with my tail between my legs, exchanged pleasantries with Aaron (“Are you sure you don’t want to stay man? You can jump on again later…”) and Spike(“Call me about a lesson”) and ran home.
Learned the tune in six keys, shed it at 300 for an hour and called it a morning.
Living the dream right? How else could my first session have happened?
So this is the kind of thing you’ll hear from me almost daily. If you are a lay person, send a message if you don’t understand a term. And don’t lie to me, I know who all the jazz musicians reading this blog are.
Look for a juicy one on the weekend. I’ve been invited to a piano hang at Ethan Iverson’s studio. So like. No big deal.
*Brushes shoulders off*
Seriously though, I’m terrified. I thought only drummers did this.
“Hi Martin. I’m thinking of getting together with a few pianists 1-3:30 at my studio in Brooklyn Thursday. You free then?” –Ethan Iverson
PS: Ethan, if you’re reading this, I’m really honored and excited.