What is this obsession with music? Why have I preoccupied myself so much with it over the course of my life? It’s not that I don’t have other interests, but it all circles back to music, and meaning in sound.
I was running these thoughts past Bradford one evening and he said the most clear-headed thing about it: Mark, it’s not a bad way to spend your life.
Connie Crothers and Birgitta Flick — This is toward the end of the long day of music, probably 9:30, so the crowd has thinned out — November 16, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber (you can see George McMullen and Virg Dzurinko sitting)(George played with Connie next)
George McMullen with Carol Liebowitz — November 16, 2o14 — Talk about 6-degrees of separation! I know George from Los Angeles, mostly because we’re both close friends with the great tenor player Bill Plake, SO, when I heard him introduce himself over our dinner plates, I thought to myself How many trombonists could there be named George McMullen, so I asked Are you from Los Angeles and he said Yes, that he’d just moved to Riverdale three weeks ago — So, I introduced myself — it turns out Carol met him on a train: “Coming home from a session in Brooklyn on Halloween night… We were in a crowded subway car with many costumed partygoers, and struck up a conversation…” [email from CL 22dec2o14] — photo by Mark Weber
Connie Crothers and Charley Krachy — November 16, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber — Charley lives north of the city in Garrison NY, I asked him about drive times: “I can make midtown Manhattan in about an hour & five minutes from Garrison as long as its not during rush hour. Williamsburg is another matter, one has to go to lower Manhattan and over the Manhattan bridge or go over the Tribourough bridge & take the BQE ….either way two hours……”
We don’t see a whole lot of Connie during her loft concerts because she’s usually in the kitchen cooking —- Here she is with her neighbor, Birdie, who helps CC at these events, a fellow yogi (we’re always sharing yoga concepts when I’m around) — November 16, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber
Lorenzo Sanguedolce and Quincy — November 16, 2014 — photo by Mark Weber
THE EXISTENCE OF THE 4th DIMENSION ON THURSDAY
The evening before my early-morning flight to NYC Virg Dzurinko writes an email asking if I might consider reading a few poems during her set at Connie’s loft on Sunday approaching ——-
I jumped at the opportunity and responded that we’ll have a conference once I get into town ——–
I have a dinner engagement with Sheila Jordan soon as I can bus from LaGuardia to her place on 18th Street ——
We sit up and talk in a little restaurant on 8th Avenue for hours —-
The next morning I walk back down to her apartment to take a photo of the exterior where she has lived in the city since 1964 —–
I got down there (I was lodging on 23rd between 8th & 9th just around the corner) and damn’d if I hadn’t forgot my light meter, so I trek back to my hotel, grab the meter and get back out the door, times-a-wasting and the city awaits ——-
I turn the corner off 23rd to head down 8th and run right into Virg Dzurinko! 30 million people on Manhattan and I run into Virg Dzurinko, one of the great pianists in jazzdom!
So, we have a laugh, and realize we need to have our conference, which proves that our subconscious had scheduled this appointment and didn’t bother to inform us, we merely blindly walk through life completely unaware of what we’re doing half the time!
A mere five seconds in either direction and we would have missed each other, maybe less: three seconds!
So, we discuss the upcoming performance routine takes about ten minutes, chat about sundry other things and continue on our ways, to where?
We haven’t a clue.
1:15pm — Virg Dzurinko — November 13, 2o14 — 23rd & Eighth Avenue — photo by Mark Weber
Mark Gabriele and Carol Liebowitz — November 16, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber — visit Carol’s website for a couple sound samples of these two playing 4-handed piano together
I only became familiar with Carol’s playing in the late 90s via some CDs CC sent me —— since that time I have caught her live maybe ten(?) times and it has always registered in the category of: Spellbound. Carol plays with such soul and devotion that a person has to realize there is something very deep in music for her — I love her in solo piano and I love her ensemble playing and I am also thankful she helps me get around the city, because I can get lost very fast.
11:20am — Room 411 — my base of operations during my Autumn in New York sojourn — November 14, 2o14 — Leo House on 23rd between Eighth & Ninth Avenues, wonderful place, with a quiet breakfast buffet that filled me up with eggs & bacon & hash browns & toast & corned beef hash & yogurt & peaches, pears, orange juice, tea, quiche, blueberry muffins, pancakes, and apples —- after such a breakfast I would go sit in the reading room for contemplation (it’s a Catholic “hostelry for travelers”) with window views of lower Manhattan and just sit and pore over books
11:45am Self portrait with meat grinder door handles — TMS The Meatball Shop, 299 Ninth Avenue (between 22nd & 23rd) — it was very cold — November 14, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber with Fujica ST-701 with 50mm lens & Tri-X 35mm
12:08 Noon — 14th Street & 8th Avenue — November 14, 2014 — photo by Mark Weber
12:45 noon Union Square — November 14, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber
12:45 Noon — Union Square & OKeh Studios (1927) at 11 Union Square West — all kinds of crazy stuff was recorded up there (top floor) most notably Bix & Tram “Singing the Blues,” “Trumbology,” and even Bix solo piano “In a Mist,” and Duke Ellington’s immortal “East St Louis Toodle-OO” and “Black and Tan Fantasy,” the Dorseys, Pee Wee Russell, the California Ramblers, Bubber Miley, Luis Russell Orchestra, and possibly even Ethel Waters, and on March 5, 1929 the legendary “Knockin’ a Jug” with Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Eddie Lang, Joe Sullivan, Happy Caldwell, and Kaiser Marshall on drums who is the late Eddie Marshall’s grandfather of whom played along Live with this track on my radio show a half dozen years ago, essentially playing with his grandfather whom he never knew — I sit and think of space-time and the fact that before 1870 that building was not there and that that recording studio was just air — and a hundred years before that it loomed over a Dutchman’s cabbage patch, and another two hundred years before that a Mannahattan had followed a deer up along the path that eventually became Broadway — but, in 1927 some young guys were in a room suspended in space at those particular spatial coordinates, even as our solar system moves through the universe expanding and spiraling, while up in that space these guys created mythical and classic music out of cobbled together songs and tidbits free as bees —- There is a design to all this, but we cannot know what it is, it comes to us as fate, and we only stop to listen for a little while, add our own coalescences and then catch a bus —- Alas, I am on foot and I need leave these reveries on the park bench — 14th Street is the southern border of Union Square where I catch Broadway and walk south a few blocks to Strand bookstore where I hope to find a copy of Bede’s HISTORIA ECCLESIASTICA GENTIS ANGLORUM (731) or even the recently published rendering of Cotton Vitellius A-15 (Beowulf) by JRRT.
Me & Sheila Jordan in a little restaurant around the corner from her apartment — The Dish, 201 Eighth Avenue (between 20th & 21st) —- First thing off the plane I called Sheila and told her that I’ll never be able to get from LaGuardia to her place in time for our dinner engagement at 6 — No problem, she had a radio interview to do at 7:30 and I could come after that — And when I got to her place, her roommate Jay Clayton was in the midst of one of her Scat Labs and I got to watch 6 or 7 scatters do their stuff on “What Is This Thing” and Sheila even joined in in spots! It was tremendous — November 12, 2o14 — photo by our waiter, under my direction (these youngsters know nothing about antique cameras!)
BENEFIT CONCERT FOR BONNIE GARCIA
- Connie Crothers, Richard Tabnik, Roger Mancuso, Ken Filiano with poet Mark Weber
- Carol Liebowitz / Adam Caine Duo
- Virg Dzurinko
- Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet
Open jam session to follow performances. Sunday November 16th, from 3:00 to 10:00. Connie’s loft, 475 Kent Avenue, #410 • Brooklyn NY | 718-302-4377 | Minimum donation $20
Painter and improvising musician Bonnie Garcia is the definition of life energy. Thirty years ago, while living in New York and studying piano with Connie Crothers, Bonnie was diagnosed with cancer and given three to six months to live. Rather than give in to despair, she decided to fight. And from that moment until today, Bonnie has had only one goal — to live every minute of her life as fully as possible and express that life through her art. Against all odds, and in addition to holding down all sorts of jobs to support herself, Bonnie has continued to paint and study music for the past three decades, all the while battling an increasingly devastating illness. And through it all, she has never once complained or asked for sympathy. She is an astonishing human being and an inspiration to all who know her.
In Bonnie’s own words:
The serious health challenges I have had forced me to live in the moment … This moment-to-moment living spills over into my painting and allows me to discover for myself, and help others discover, feelings we didn’t know we had, thereby opening ourselves up to a deeper understanding of life.
This concert, with a jam session to follow, is being held to raise money to help Bonnie with her medical expenses, which is why we are asking for a minimum donation of $20. And of course, anything above that amount will be greatly appreciated. (If you cannot attend the concert but wish to make a donation, you can send a check made out to Bonnie Garcia. Please mail checks to Connie Crothers, 475 Kent Avenue, #410, Brooklyn, New York 11249.)
There will also be a raffle, with tickets costing $5 each. The lucky winner will take home a basket filled with CDs, a good bottle of wine, and various other treats.
Performances will start roughly on the hour, beginning at 3:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Feel free to add to your donation by bringing along some food or beverages. To read more of Bonnie’s words and see examples of her paintings: http://edgeart.org/bgarcia