Monday, July 23, 2007

This Weekend in Review: Jazz at the BMA, J Roddy Walston and The Business at Artscape

This weekend, Kristen and I had a fun (and music)-filled time. Saturday night was jazz in the sculpture garden at the Baltimore Museum of Art. We hadn't been to the BMA since a jazz performance from last year (maybe the year before) that was rained out, so with the wonderful weekend weather, we were able to hang out in the garden and listen to Dave Valentin along with Bill O'Connell and their Latin-flavored jazz project. Kristen's opinion of jazz is far lower than mine, as I love to listen to live jazz. A good performance (what I caught of it, as it was a more casual, conversational affair), with virtuosic flute performance and a smokin' show that would have had people dancing if they weren't so stuffy at the BMA. Not being well-versed in the language of jazz (I know what I like when I hear it, that's about it) I can only say that there was a flute solo that I swear came right out of "Locomotive Breath" by Jethro Tull. It came in following a Coltrane cover, so if anyone else heard that, please tell me so I know I'm not crazy. I'd love to check out the Lafayette Gilchrist performance on August 11.

More in line with my vocabulary, and my ear, was Artscape on Saturday afternoon. We missed Salim's set with The Music Lovers and Wendel Patrick, just catching Team Salim (hey, Salim, there's the name for your street team. . .you heard it here first!) as they were packing up shop and heading out. Maybe I'll have better luck and catch the set this Friday when the group opens up for Talib Kweli at Sonar.

A big highlight of Artscape for me was meeting up with my old friend Nicole (from high school!) and hanging out for the afternoon. I even got a 2-for-1 bonus when another friend, Jaime, called and I got to chat with her for a few minutes. These old friends go back to the halcyon days of Rehoboth as a teenager, and it really is special to catch up. I can only say that I wish (1) I had stayed better in touch, and (2) circumstances hadn't led me to make certain judgment calls that caused me to alienate myself from those friends. Friends of your childhood are the first, and sometimes only, 'real' friends you will ever have. Hopefully it won't be another five years before we all talk again!

So, after the all-important re-introductions, we traipsed around Mount Royal Avenue, finding ourselves in Langsdale Auditorium for a set by Kate Porter & Russel Kotcher, performing "classically tuned improvisations". Pretty interesting, very challenging, but just as I was thinking how awesome the violin (Kotcher) is, Nicole pointed out that she wants to learn to play, which is awesome. I forgot to mention Murder By Death to her, and their awesome electric cellist.

The key part of the afternoon for Kristen and I was the J-Roddy Walston and The Business (read a review of their latest, Hail Mega Boys) set, which kicked off at 5 (just in time for us to catch before the BMA). As scandalous as it is, we hadn't seen the boys live yet, though we've been rocking the album for a while now. Zach's stage presence is absolute insanity. This dude shreds the bass and is more intense in his flailing, headbanging, and singing than any bassist I have ever laid eyes upon. And I go to a lot of metal shows. It was a scene of awe and splendor, really. And no, that doesn't mean I have a crush. He just looked so freakin' cool on stage. In fact, that's what I loved most about the band. Rod, Billy, Steve, Zach, these cats are rock and roll, for real. It is rare that I see someone else who loves original Budweiser as much as I do, and can still rock so hard after what looked like at least six of 'em (and that's just during the set). This late afternoon/early evening crowd was kind of a downer, no dance party in effect, and a modest audience, but the set was on fire. Apparently no one got the joke about "Nineteen Ought Four" being Rod's "love song to Baltimore". Seriously, guys, let's get a podcast together. That set rocked my socks!

Kristen and I left after J-Roddy's set, but Nicole stayed for Lupe Fiasco . . . maybe she'll leave a comment and let us all know how that set was!

And now is a good time to reiterate how awesome Kristen is, and how much I appreciate her support of what I'm doing here on AGT and over at SEN Baltimore. Tonight, I was out doing an interview until about 10, and I'll be doing another interview tomorrow, and it's just so wonderful that she's so supportive in not getting angry when I put so much time into this stuff. She understands and appreciates my love for music, and it's just proof positive that she is the best thing that's ever happened to me! Thanks, Kristen!


scott said...

I didn't know you liked Jazz. I personally have no idea why people like Jazz but I'm convinced it's because I'm wicked retarded or something. Yes Kristen is the best thing that has ever happened to you.

Kristen said...

Why thank you.
J. Roddy and the Business were amazing at Art Scape!!! Where does all that energy come from? I'd like to tap into it a bit. I can't wait to see more shows in the future.
True, jazz isn't my favorite, but the band's Latin vibe certainly helped jazz things up for me (sorry, that was corny). The wine and good company helped as well!