Gig Archives: 2018

(Disclaimer: this may be incomplete or inaccurate)

Friday, January 19th, 2018
with MoeTar:
So there's this annual show the Oakland Symphony puts together - a "live playlist" curated by somebody famous outside the usual music circles, in this case W. Kamau Bell. While the Jazz Mafia gang handled most of the "rock/jazz band backing the orchestra" duties, MoeTar got to play our version of Nina Simone's "I'm Feeling Good" arranged for a zillion instruments. It rocked. The crowd loved it (and all the other amazing performances, of course). What a wonderful night of good vibes, and I last minute joined in for the final tune: "Sowing the Seeds of Love" by Tears for Fears - me and Colin playing halves of his split keyboard. I got the wurli half.
Thursday, April 12th, 2018
Another big John Zorn's Masada event at Symphony Space in NYC! We played material from the upcoming Malkhut album, which we did before but this time in far better form now that we recorded and know the parts. Also featured this evening was Zion80 and Cyro Baptista's Banquet of the Spirits. I was in Rick Wakeman mode, playing two stacks midi controllers, a grand piano, and taking some solos on Brian's wurli. Good thing I got off book for the gig. Plus some extra bonus fun times hanging out in the upper east side of Manhattan leading up to the show. Previously it's been all about the Bronx, Brooklyn, and the LES for the past decade.
Sunday, August 5th, 2018
Went to Lisbon, Portugal to play our Malkhut set (i.e. the latest Masada tunes written by John Zorn, arranged by Trey, performed/recorded by us) as part of the big Jazz em Agosto festival! My first time in the country, and Jenya came along, so we made a vacation of it and did toursity things and caught many of the other amazing festival sets during the week. Of course, Lisbon was having one of their worst heat waves in history at this exact stretch of time. For several days in a row it got up to 110 degrees (44 Celsius). And by the way these were outdoor gigs. We closed out the entire festival, and by that time the temperature dropped to about 105 during soundcheck, and a nice, cool 95 by the time we started playing. Huge props to the generous stage crew who backlined a grand piano, a wurli, and two midi controllers so I didn't have to schlep anything from the states except my laptop and UR22 (which crapped out in the heat so I ended up using the headphone jack from the laptop and it was fine).
Sunday, September 2nd, 2018
Since the festival in Portugal was so much fun, why not do a smaller version of it in San Francisco? There were many amazing John Zorn related sets over the course of 4 days at the Chapel. We had the "headlinging" spot in the second show on the second night. The whole evening was insane. Improvs with Zorn, Patton, Lombardo, Grohowski, Hollenberg, and Medeski, which then morphed into a proper Simulacrum set. That was first show. Then it was Cleric and us doing our Beriah material. Bit of a tight squeeze on the stage - and so I set up my rig to be three stacked keyboards right in front of me. Pretty nerdy! This was a very good evening, including Mission tacos for dinner.
Saturday, November 3rd, 2018
The first of 6 shows during this European "Stone Tour" with various bands in that particular NYC jazz scene performing Zorn/Masada material. Once again it would be the current Masada seven-piece for these gigs (me, Trey, Kenny, Ches, Jason, Shanir, Eyvind). Each gig was a backline adventure, but always worked out okay. My demands were high but largely venues complied. Blame Trey's crazy arrangements which require me quickly jumping between 10 different sounds including full piano and a wurlitzer electric piano and a zillion virtual synths! Anyway, we flew in on the 2nd, which gave me time to recover from epic travel and soak in the first town: Sarajevo. Explored the old town a lot, walked up a hill to view the whole city, wandered through cemeteries choked with people who died around 1995. About 30 people from this Stone scene were in town and we watched each other's shows which were part of the annual Jazz Fest Sarajevo and kept ended up at the same felafel place and hanging at the hotel lobby brunch.
Monday, November 5th, 2018
It was a fiasco getting 23 musicians (and gear) on the plane from Sarajevo to Vienna. But we did it. In Vienna the lot of us took over 4 nights at the venue Porgy & Bess. Secret Chiefs 3 played on the 5th, which included a joint encore jam with Zion80. And once again had a day off around the gig to explore the town. Guess what? Vienna is really nice!
Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
Secret Chiefs 3 was basically on our own at this point, but still down Zorn's Masada material for the rest of the gigs. We got a van ride down to Ljubljana - the only town on this trip that I've been to before. Happy to walk around the old town again, and eat lots of burek. Had a good gig at Cankarjev Dom and then hurried out afterward as fast as we could as the restaurants all close by 9pm - one grudgingly stayed open late for us.
Thursday, November 8th, 2018
And then flew to Amsterdam and got a van to 's-Hertogenbosch otherwise known as Den Bosch. Once again, lovely little european city with an old town. Also had time to check out the Bosch museum. Performed at this large art/food/music complex Willem Twee. The most challenging of the backline adventures but it worked out (second midi controller obtained at last minute, and I used my mini key controller for the piano parts - glad I brought it). The most "rock show" gig and probably my best Bezriel solo of the tour - I enjoyed digging into some notes that were way out of tune on the wurli. of the tour.
Friday, November 9th, 2018
Another van ride, this time to Ghent. Also a really lovely city! Stayed right in the heart of the old town by the big cathedral. Got an amazing lamb tajine for lunch which I think I'm still digesting 8 days later as I write this up. Good gig at this fancier venue: Handelsbeurs. Loved the creepy Lynch-ian mood music played in the lounge afterwards while drinking tasty beers.
Saturday, November 10th, 2018
And finally wrapped up the tour with another van ride to Groningen. This was part of a "jazz and beyond" festival called the RockIt festival. Long ride, so we went straight to the gig which was at 4pm in the afternoon. I had no time to explore the city (though I tried for a minute before realizing I was missing free lunch and then got locked out of the venue until somebody came up and let me in. Best backline of the tour for me, but rushed soundcheck. Since he was in the region and had the night off Steve swung by and hung out for the show and dinner afterward. So one last little party before heading home. Lobby call was 2am because everybody had super early flights out of Amsterdam. I didn't, but went along with the plan. I did somehow manage to sleep like 5 hours solid until the 2am call, so I was fine. Just had to wait in the Amsterdam airport for 6 hours before my flight. Which is exactly how that Mumble & Peg tour ended in 1999! I feared the short layover in Chicago given the customs song and dance, but made my next flight no problem. However, California was on fire when I landed back home and choked with smoke. Jenya and I basically fled to Portland immediately upon my return.

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