Life in New Orleans is never not exciting, but even amid this rich cultural landscape, I feel blessed to be in an oasis of creative activity! Recent developments continue to lead me in the direction of greater artistic expression, deepening articulation, and an increased sense of purpose and direction. I want to thank my friends in the bands WAIL Watchers, Monomyth, Moon Germs, the Standard Deviations, and further unnamed projects which have been in the works. It is such a gift to be working with so many people who earn my respect and admiration daily, not only with the work that they do but also with their conduct as human beings.
WAIL Watchers is a project I've been working on with experimental guitarist and pedal designer Eric Stuart, a gifted mind with the inclination towards the avant-garde. Our duets have been odysseys into the world of pure sound itself, moving between the raging infernos of Rashied Ali's saxophone/drums duos (Coltrane's Interstellar Space and Duo Exchange with Frank Lowe being some primary inspiration) to rich soundscapes tinged with hints at Native American Peyote drumming and with a healthy dose of avant-punk to even things out. Recent appearances include Gasa Gasa with Nude Tayne, multiple shows at the Circle Bar including a special night with Marc Williams, Simon Berz and Rob Cambre, and the Calamity Noise Series.
Monomyth is another experimental project collaborated between myself, David Bode (Doombalaya, One Love Brass Band), Cyrus Nabipoor (Noruz, Sexual Thunder, Doombalaya), and Amina Scott (Next Generation Jazz Orchestra). Our style could be roughly described as improvisation-heavy chamber music, with conceptual pieces taking on the very small (the lives of ants) to the very large (racism and violence in America). We are very proud to have been able to perform at Open Ears Music Series at the Blue Nile, as well as the Dragon's Den, Gasa Gasa and Hi-Ho Lounge.
Moon Germs is definitely the most badass jazz fusion band west of Canal Street! We perform an enormous repertoire of music ranging from sweet jazz ballads to heavy funk fusion songs such as Herbie Hancock's Actual Proof. Saxophone virtuoso Alexander Geddes brings an endless supply of energy for extended performances that have run for up to five hours. We are joined by Nord warrior Andrew Yanovski and the unfrettable bassist/time wizard Nick Benoit in our standard lineup. For the past 6 months, we have held a residency at the Roosevelt Hotel Bar every Friday and Saturday from 8-11pm, but in addition besides private events, we are also preparing to move into the House of Blues' Voodoo Garden for a series of dates in January 2016.
Laura Dyer and I have been working together for over a year now with her eclectic mix of jazz and popular song styles known as the Standard Deviations. Guitarist Alex D'Önofrio (Bernard Purdie, Jojo Mayer) and bassist Jonathan Solomon (Kumasi, Plum Magnetic) round out the quartet, which recorded its debut EP in September, currently awaiting release.
Lastly, I want to mention my own band, currently performing as Vexed Perspective! I'm so thankful for Mssrs. Geddes and D'Önofrio, bassist Ben Fox, and pianist Andrew McGowan, who have been continuing to take this year-plus old project forward. Our sound lies somewhere between the dreamy ethereal sound of Kenny Wheeler and Wayne Shorter and the heavenly spiritual cries of John Coltrane's final quartet works. We were overjoyed to record in the studio with the additional help of Cyrus on flugelhorn and trumpet, Chris Alford on guitar, Erin Demastes on piano, Peter Gustafson on trombone and the wonderful voice of Arséne DeLay at Bad Storm Studio where we performed a live cut of an extensive arrangement of Kenny Wheeler's song "Heyoke" last Thursday. Recent performances include Open Ears, the Dragon's Den, and Live Oak Cafe, and we are looking forward to negotiations with Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse.
Feel free to peruse the pictures and enjoy!