Month: January 2005

Congrats, Jacob, on a Great Night of Music

Congrats, Jacob, on a Great Night of Music

Last night was the beginning of the Jacob Sacks New Music Series 2005. This series was inspired by Jacob’s 10 year anniversary of moving to New York City. This first concert’s performers were Jacob Garchik and Ben Gerstein on trombones, Thomas Morgan on bass, Dan Weiss on drums and Jacob Sacks on piano. It was a real thrill for me to watch this show. For one thing, Jacob Sacks hasn’t written any new music in almost 4 years and I was looking forward to what was going to be presented. Also, to get to hear all these great musicians play together and hear Jacob play a Steinway grand piano is a beautiful thing. Jacob has spent the past month conceptualizing and composing music for this concert and I was not disappointed by the results.

Ben and Jacob Garchik are two of the finest trombonists in the city. They are not only virtuosic players but they both have distinct and unique voices on their instrument. It was a pleasure to hear them perform together, especially in the second set when they were featured on Jacob Sacks’ composition “Trombone March” which was a Stravinsky inspired piece. A memorable solo in the last tune of the first set, “From the Record Vault”, came from Ben Gerstein, who played a “burst at the seams” solo.

Dan is always creative and powerful in every musical situation I have seen him in and Thomas played a beautiful opening to the piece, “B.L.O.P.” (Bass Line Opening Piece-for the lack of a title). Thomas chooses the most interesting rhythms and notes on the bass and his musical sensitivity is moving. Thomas’ artistry and musicality is so deep that I don’t think it would matter what instrument he played but, that the genius would always be heard.

Jacob’s compositions was the vehicle for all this creativity and it was wonderful to hear this spontaneous, interactive music. Jacob of course played beautifully and I am always mesmorized when I hear him play. His sound and touch on the piano is heavenly. The piano itself was alright in sound but Jacob can make any piano sound good even if the pianos haven’t been touched in decades.(I have witnessed this in the past).

Overall, I have to say that Jacob Sacks’ opening night in his new music series was a success. I encourage all who love creative music to come and check out Jacob whenever you can. You can always come to What’s Cooking? for updates on Jacob Sacks’ New Music Series 2005 and other performances which he is involved in. You will not be disappointed.

Anyone in Peekskill?

Anyone in Peekskill?

Tonight I will be performing with Rob Garcia’s Sangha, a septet lead by the drummer (Rob Garcia). The others playing tonight are; Jacob Sacks (piano), Anat Cohen (clarinet), Adam Kolker (tenor and soprano sax and alto flute), David Phelps (guitar) and your truly on vocals.

We are playing at One Station Plaza in Peekskill, New York at 9:00pm. All the music are originals from Rob and everyone in the band are great players. I’ve never played with David Phelps and Anat Cohen but they sounded great at rehearsal so I look forward to hearing them play tonight. Rob writes nice melodies more in the pop vain within a jazz context. The music is a bit more arranged than what I’m use to but still nice. If anyones free tonight and close to Peekskill, come on up, we’d love to see ya!

The Nightmare of a Carob

The Nightmare of a Carob

Well, it has been a rough start to the weekend. On Thursday I discovered that I must be allergic to carobs. I was rehearsing with the Rob Garcia’s band, Sangha, for a gig we have today (I’ll post that in a bit), and we had a snack break and I was offered a carob covered almond. I took about 5 and then in about 10 minutes I got a raging migraine! Now I have had food induced migraines before but never so suddenly or so intense. As I walked home from the rehearsal, I became worse. By the time an hour went by I was in fetal position praying for the nausea to pass. Well….it didn’t and from 4:30pm till about midnight I was worshipping the porcelain god with projectile velocity (nice right?). In my experience, nothing is worse than you wanting to rip your guts out and having an ice pick through the forehead. Once that was over I could finally lie in bed without wishing I was dead! The migraine raged on but at least I wasn’t throwing up anymore.
Friday was tough because I was recovering from an eventful evening and I had a 3 hour recording session that afternoon and I was attending the Jacob Sacks New Music Series that evening (review of the show in another posting coming soon). The recording was a bit tough but it went well all things considered.
I’m back on solid food now (thank god!) and getting ready for the Sangha gig tonight.

Just thinking the word “carob” makes me gag and if I never see another carob again in my life it will be too soon.

I’m for REAL chocolate, all the way!!

Where the hell did the sun go?!?

Where the hell did the sun go?!?

Ok, I believe that I am a patient person but, all this rain, gray clouds and general darkness is really starting to get to me. We had one sunny day in I don’t know how long and I’m just starting to get pissed off! Yes, I know, how can you be pissed at something you can’t control? Well, just because I can’t control it doesn’t mean I can’t be resentful. For any of you who might suffer a mild (or strong) case of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I feel your pain. It’s hard enough to deal with the winter darkness but to not see the sun at all for days! @%$#^%!!!!%($(@!!! (that’s what I say!)

Of course, during these times I will comfort myself with some great little drinks like Belgium Hot Chocolate with milk (so yummy, unless your’e lactose intolerant) and some organic loose leaf teas that I have been discovering. White tea is my new flavor of the month. It’s mild and has less caffine that green tea, which is nice if I want to have some tea in the evening.

Getting back to Belgium Hot Chocolate. I take a small chunk of Belgium chocolate with some milk (maybe a half a cup at first) and put it in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, use a metal bowl over a pot of water. Whisk the milk and chocolate until chocolate is melted, then add more milk. I’ve never tried this recipe with water but see what happens. If you like to add a spirit in the hot chocolate, you could add bourbon or some liquer like Irish Cream or Kaluha. Grab your cup and sit by a happy light!

Outside Sources

Outside Sources

Tonight at Barbes, my friend, Michael Bates and his Outside Sources band will be performing at 8:00pm. Come and check it out. It’s a great band with some hot players!

The Sacks Series

The Sacks Series

On Friday, January 14th, my best friend and pianist extrodinaire, Jacob Sacks, will be performing the first concert of his 2005 music series. The other performers on this night are Ben Gerstein and Jacob Garchik (trombones), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Dan Weiss (the killin’ drummer I wrote about last week). Actually, everyone who will be performing at this concert is quite exceptional, and that’s not just my opinion. Ask most people who have heard of these guys and they will tell you that it’s not an exaggeration – they’re happennin’!

The band will perform original compositions from Jacob Sacks and there will be two sets, 7:30pm and 8:30pm. The location is the “Friend’s Seminary” 15 Rutherford Place, NYC, NY (15th St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave). You can take the L train to 3rd Ave. Admission is $10.00 and I will be there to meet and greet and sell tickets. These musicians are well on their way to being too busy to get together and play music in NYC regularly anymore (Dan is already booked to be on the road touring all the way up to June). So come on out, support live music, and see a really great show.

Awe Inspiring!

Awe Inspiring!

On Thursday night (January 6th) I went to the 55 Bar to hear Dan Weiss, my friend (and drummer for 4inObjects, the collective band we’re in) perform classical North Indian tabla compositions which he arranged for drum set. It was soooooo unbelieveable! It was more than 60 minutes of non-stop playing and each composition Dan performed became more intense as he played. The bar was packed! Some people were sitting on the floor and more than half of the audience were some of the heaviest musicians in the New York City jazz scene. Even more pop/public stars were in attendance (e.g. Norah Jones).

The thing that blew me away besides the phenomenal drumming was that Dan recited everything verbally before he performed it. This is the Indian tradition. When you start to learn Indian music you learn to sing it first before you even touch another instrument. His close friend and great guitarist Miles Okazaki played the lehara, a repeating melody. That job was not an easy one. Even though Miles was playing the same melody throughtout the whole performance (non-stop), the concentration it took to keep good time and not lose focus was outstanding.

What was wonderful about this performance was that alot of the audience members may not have known about his studies of Indian music. But now that he has performed this music on the drum set, I believe that he has brought his two musical worlds together and I think more people will definitely check him out in both musical situations. His dedication, focus and love for the music is inspiring to all artists.

The Birthday Hang

The Birthday Hang

Last night was Jacob’s (my best friend) birthday. We hung out at this great little restaurant in Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn called Cafe Luluc (214 Smith Street off the F train, Bergen station). This is one of Jacob’s regular eating joints. I have eaten there many times but I haven’t been there for a while and the menu has changed slightly. About 10 of us ate lots of yummy eats. I started with mussels with tomatoes and fennel in white wine sauce. Then my husband and I shared a “tornado style” salmon (the fish was a cylindar shape) with mashed sweet potatoe and swiss chard. The salmon was a perfect medium rare and the potatoes were creamy and sweet. I really enjoyed my meal and I think everyone else liked what they had. The menu at Cafe Luluc has something for everyone, fish, steak, chicken, pork, pasta, vegetarian, sandwiches and a burger too. The prices are fairly reasonable, anywhere between $8.00-$16.00 and they have a nice brunch also. Last night’s surprise delight was the hazelnut ice cream that was served with the molten chocolate cake. That was killin’! (the cake was good too). The staff at Cafe Luluc are very cool (we can be a bit of a rowdy bunch).
If you plan to go and check out this cafe make sure you bring enough cash because they don’t take plastic.

Holiday Obsessions

Holiday Obsessions

At this time, I have a mild obsession with the lengendary musician Billie Holiday. For any of those who don’t know her, she was one of the greatest jazz singers to ever exist. Being a jazz musician and vocalist, I can’t believe that I never really checked her out during my time at music school. It’s shameful almost. However, I am making up for lost time. It’s kind of cool. I feel like I’ve found this treasure and I’m looking at everything in the treasure box. Currently, I’m listening to the Columbia “The Legacy1933-1958” box set. It’s 3 discs with about 20 or more songs on each. It’s so cool to hear all those great musicians playing with Billie (Lester Young sounds so good!)

On a more studious note, I’ve been checking out how Billie Holiday phrases her melodies and I’m especially checking out her beat. She has the greatest time feel ever. It’s so laid back and the beat is so strong. My best friend and one of the great pianists in New York, Jacob Sacks says that one of the best things one can do to study and work on time and different time feels is to play the exact time feel as the artist while the recording is playing. I have done this type of study with other aritsts without actually intending to “study”. I would just be obsessed and listen to the recording hundreds of times and it just started to stick. But this time, I’m actually “studying” what Billie is doing. It’s super cool and it excites me to discover the amazing music that Billie Holiday created. I love listening to the music and I am constantly learning something new. Go and check out Billie Holiday. You won’t regret it!

Yeah Drums!

Yeah Drums!

This Thursday (01/06/05) at 7:00pm, my friend and drummer of 4inObjects (the band I play in) Dan Weiss will be playing at the 55 Bar. Dan will be playing drum set but playing traditional North Indian tabla compositions with guitarist Miles Okazaki. Dan is incredible! If you live in New York City and you are free that night, you should go and check it out. If you don’t know anything about North Indian music or if you don’t think that’s your vibe, then go see Dan play on another night (4inObjects will be playing in February so keep an eye out for a posting). But, if you’re curious, you should definitely take the time and check it out. The sheer skill that it takes to play the drums this way is unbelievable. It’s free and the 55 Bar is a cool hang. It is a listening bar so don’t go there expecting to be able to chat it up with friends because everyone will start hissing at you and don’t be surprised if someone just turns around and tells you to “shut the f**k up!”

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