California Tour – Pt 2 – Oakland & SF

So I got back from LA on a Saturday night, and had a long rehearsal with Tiny Lights on Sunday for our show on tuesday night at the Hotel Utah. But, before that was Monday where I had to work, and then do a two hour practice before a show in Oakland at 21 Grand of three duos – Paper Legs, Sudden Oak from SF, and my new duo with Weasel Walter. I wrote 4 pieces for alto saxophone & drums and bass clarinet and drums and we’ve had a number of rehearsals for this material which is definitely more complicated than my standard writing. Though harmonically simple – in keeping with the instrumentation – the variations and complications are mainly rhythmic, with changing time signatures and a need for exact counting for the two parts to line up the right way. All of the pieces start and end with written material that is related but non-repeating, and the improvising in most is highly related to what is written. We balanced the set with three improvisations that were succinct but active and varying. We’ll definitely be working on this material more in the future. Sudden Oak are based in SF and are a guitar & sax player, both going through delay and overdrive pedals, creating a loud drone of sound that filled up 21 Grand.

The next night Tiny Lights (with Ben Bracken and Jacob Danziger) played at Hotel Utah in San Francisco. Our first show in a while and possibly our last for awhile as Jake will be moving back to Ann Arbor this summer. We were joined by Ben’s roommate Max, who, in addition to being able to pitch in on multiple instruments (upright bass, glockenspiel & guitar) is a woodworker, has a good handle on audio recording and is an all around nice fellow. We played six songs all together for a set and shared the bill with Lulacruza and Efft. Hotel Utah is a nice and strange place to play – one of the oldest bars in the city, predating the 1906 earthquake, the sound man is actually pretty talented, but doesn’t let it on while you’re setting up – not really a talker… Lulacruza’s set sounded great – I had to leave before Efft’s show – sorry y’all – it looked like they had added a horn section though!
Playing with Tiny Lights is always nice – if only we could manage to play together more than once every 4 months or so it’d be that much better…