Devin and Slade threw a killer party last night at my old house in South Austin. They invited me to play some music, so I called Shadd first, who quickly called Joe and Kris, who unfortunately was out of town.
Luckily Shadd and Jow agreed to throw down, which was a real treat for me since the three of us hadn't played together as a trio in many months. Joe recently got his baritone sax up and running, so there was a huge low end to the group. He also busted out his effects system for the first time in a long time. Shadd played a scaled down kit with ferocious precision.
My set-up included a gong, wind chimes, a lap steel guitar, melodica, the Korg microsynth and my old Roland Ep-3, the keyboard that went on most of my gigs with Shawn Nelson and the Ramblers from 2005 to 2006. I got this keyboard for free when 3 of them were donated to Brook Mays Music from a nearby school. Joe Faulhaber, Shaun Dickerson and I took all three apart, then reassembled two working boards.
Back to last night ... we started off with about 45 minutes of improv, beginning with a slow crescendo on the gong. After a single, slow, sustained drone in G, we riffed on some other tonal centers, including an uplifting Eb major progression. At one point there was an abrupt break in all three of our voices, which stuck me as very funny. Shea whispered something in my ear, and after a brief pause we shifted into a disjointed blues before settling on a funky Em / A7 groove. After that we paused to figure out which songs we still remembered. We pulled out a short setlist of:
First Steps of a Long Journey
The Lone Ranger
All four had some kind of improv at some point in the form. Don't remember exactly when Joe was on bari and when he was on tenor -- a testament to his natural ability to speak through whatever instrument he happens to be holding. Shadd's playing was a little restrained - who wants to flail their arms around when it's still 90 degrees after dark -- but to me felt very relaxed and focused. I think of myself as a very lucky person to be able to create musical experiments like the one we created last night.
Thank you so much to Devin, Slade, Shea, Shadd, Joe, Shawna, and everyone who put a dollar in the tip jar -- an unexpected bonus near the end of the night.
Thanks everybody who listened and hung out last night. We are planning to play again, with Kris, at another party this Saturday the 5th at Shea & my new house in NW Austin. Please call me if you need directions.