Strange and Beautiful: A Celebration of the Music of John Lurie, The Lounge Lizards and Marvin Pontiac @ The Town Hall Strange and Beautiful: A Celebration of the Music of John Lurie, The Lounge Lizards and Marvin Pontiac @ The Town Hall

with John Zorn, Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), John Medeski, Evan Lurie, Anton Fier (The Feelies), Billy Martin, Michael Blake, Calvin Weston & many more

Sat September 27th, 2014


Main Space

Minimum Age: All Ages

Doors Open: 7:00PM

Show Time: 8:00PM

Event Ticket: $30 / $35 / $40

event description event description

Strange & Beautiful: A Celebration of the Music of John Lurie, The Lounge Lizards and Marvin Pontiac will feature a star-studded litany of guests including John Zorn, Flea (of Red Hot Chili Peppers), John Medeski(performing sextet renditions of Lounge Lizards music), Evan Lurie, Billy Martin, Michael Blake, Calvin Weston, Steven Bernstein, Curtis Fowlkes, Mauro Refosco, Doug Wieselman, Smokey Hormel, Tony Scherr, Jesse Harris, Sofia Rei, Jane Scarpantoni, Kenny Wolleson, EJ Rodriguez, Tony Garnier, Bryan Carrott, Shanir Blumenkranz, Todd Clouser, and many more* to be announced in the coming weeks. This night will be a knockout evening that is sure to be one of the most memorable nights of music in New York this fall.
*please note that artist line-up is subject to change
As part of Strange and Beautiful: The Music and Art of John Lurie festival
$40 Orchestra / Loge
$35 Balcony
$30 Rear Balcony
**Limited student rush tickets will be available at the door for $20**
Interview with John Lurie on

**THIS EVENT WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE TOWN HALL: 123 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036**

the artists the artists






Strange and Beautiful: A Celebration of the Music of John Lurie, The Lounge Lizards and Marvin Pontiac @ The Town Hall

John Zorn

Drawing upon his experience in classical, jazz, rock, hardcore punk, klezmer, film, cartoon, popular, world and improvised music, John Zorn has created a controversial and influential body of work that often defies academic categories. He has earned great respect within his own community and beyond by going his own way without compromise, developing a large network of supporters world wide, often in unexpected places. Born in 1953 and raised in New York City, Zorn has been a central figure in the Downtown Scene since 1975, incorporating a wide variety of creative musicians into various compositional formats. He is an indefatigable worker and highly prolific: he has composed 6 string quartets, vocal music, chamber music, operas, symphonic and dance works, has released over 100 cds under his own name, has led and written music for dozens of bands (Naked City, The Dreamers, Moonchild, Painkiller), scored over 50 films, and written over 600 tunes for his popular Masada project. His work is diverse and remarkably eclectic and draws inspiration from Art, Literature, Film, Theatre, Philosophy, Alchemy and Mysticism as well as Music.
In addition to his composing, recording and performing Zorn is a firm believer in community and a tireless champion of experimental music, film, art, poetry and theatre, organizing festivals, recordings and concerts, and helping to establish venues and opportunities for performance. He founded the Tzadik label in 1995 (which has released over 700 recordings of new and adventurous music); runs the East Village performance space The Stone (which has presented over 5000 concerts and 60 musical workshops since 2005) and has edited and published six volumes of musician’s writings under the title ARCANA. Honors include the Cultural Achievement Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and the William Schuman Prize for composition from Columbia University. He was inducted into the Long Island Hall of Fame by Lou Reed in 2010 and is a MacArthur Fellow.
Tzadik online

Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers)

John Medeski

Keyboard master John Medeski thrives on the unpredictable, a trait that has kept his work with the trailblazing trio Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW) fresh and surprising for more than twenty years. With A Different Time, his first solo piano project, Medeski once again takes his sound in a completely unexpected direction – unexpected even to him.

“I had a more eclectic record in mind,” Medeski says. “I wanted to put out something that would be more representative of what my live solo concerts are like.”

Instead, A Different Time (out April 9 – the first release on Sony Classical’s newly-revived OKeh Records imprint) is a far more introspective, meditative collection than fans of MMW’s lively, groove-driven music might expect. Consisting mostly of Medeski’s own compositions and improvisations, with a familiar spiritual and a Willie Nelson song added into the mix, the album presents a different side of Medeski’s prodigious artistry, one which he was initially reluctant to display.

“In all honesty, it was a little scary to put this out because it’s so meditative and contemplative,” Medeski admits. “I know it’s not what anybody’s expecting, but it’s a side of me that exists. It’s really raw and open, stripped of all hipness. But it’s made me a little less afraid to just drop into the moment and play what’s coming to me as opposed to something that I know will work, something that I know is cool, something that I know will have a certain effect. The whole point is to get lost in the music.”

Not just a first for Medeski, A Different Time also marks the return of the historic OKeh label, once home for such jazz pioneers as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, King Oliver, and Sidney Bechet. Sony Classical has revived the label as an outlet for new jazz releases by artists like Medeski, Bill Frisell, David Sanborn, and Bob James, among others to be announced. “At this point,” Medeski says, “after everything that’s gone on in the music business, it’s exciting that Sony has come around to releasing new creative music again. I like the energy of being part of something new.”

While he’s become better known for a more buoyant, organ-centric approach that melds free-wheeling jazz with jam band eclecticism, Medeski says that sitting alone at a piano feels natural, returning him to his earliest experiences at the keyboard. “I grew up playing piano my whole life,” he says, “so it feels like home to me.” He began playing more solo concerts in recent years, and decided it was time to document that aspect of his playing.

The album was recorded at Waterfront Studios, producer Henry Hirsch’s recording studio built within a 19th-century church in New York’s scenic Hudson Valley. For his solo debut, Medeski wanted to aim for a sound quality that approached his personal “Holy Grail,” the recordings that classical pianist Arthur Rubinstein made for RCA Records. Hirsch shared his admiration for those sessions, so Medeski spent several days recording on Waterfront’s nine-foot Steinway piano.

But Hirsch also encouraged Medeski to try the studio’s other piano, a 1924 Gaveau – a French piano made in a pre-modern style, akin to Chopin’s preferred model, the Pleyel. The instrument, as it turned out, was a revelation and made a profound impact on the music that came to be A Different Time.

“The Gaveau required a very delicate, controlled touch,” Medeski explains. “It is much harder to get a good sound out of it than it is on a regular piano. You have to use a lot of control; touch makes a huge difference and when you play delicately you can get a lot of nuance and really make this instrument sing. I tried a lot of things that had never worked for me before, and when I went back and listened to all of the recordings, that stuff stuck out as the most unique.”

The entirety of A Different Time was recorded on the Gaveau, with minimal electronics in order to capture the instrument’s full dynamic range. The sessions were undertaken late at night, when outside noise was at a minimum and a more crepuscular mood settled over the church. As Medeski writes in his liner notes, he hopes that listeners approach the album in the same atmosphere, at a time “when social responsibilities are over, when the political questions of the day have been dealt with, when all gossip has come to an end, when all needs and wants have been put to momentary rest, when all plans have been made, when you are tired of words, and you are ready to yield to the sounds of these simple contemplations for the Gaveau.”

The album begins with the title track, a stark “spontaneous composition” improvised by Medeski at the Gaveau. The name has several connotations, evoking that night-time ambience but also harkening back to a time when records occupied a listener’s full attention, before the multifarious distractions of the modern world. “There was a time when people used to sit down and listen to music, when it wasn’t just the soundtrack to your life,” Medeski says. “I remember sitting in a room with a group of people, experiencing music together, at a time when we as human beings really got lost in the sound.”

A Different Time offers a sustained opportunity to become lost in Medeski’s deeply personal sound, presenting an intensely focused experience of keen emotional virtuosity. The selection ranges from the tender Willie Nelson ballad “I’m Falling in Love Again,” a piece which Medeski has long wanted to record and which finally found its best expression through the Gaveau; to “His Eye Is On the Sparrow,” a traditional spiritual that Medeski approaches with a lush reverence.

“Ran” is another tune for which Medeski has long sought the proper context, the album’s sole through-composed piece. The wistful “Otis,” which closes the album, was originally recorded on Notes From the Underground, MMW’s 1992 debut album. The sing-song “Waiting at the Gate” dates back even further, to a musical Medeski wrote in his teens. “It’s just a little tune that I wrote when I was a kid and never played for anybody,” Medeski laughs. “Ever.”

The heart-breakingly gorgeous “Luz Marina” was written for Mama Kia, the founder of an orphanage in Peru who passed away in 2010. Luz Marina was the name of her first adopted child, who died at a tender age. Medeski sought to depict Mama Kia’s inspirational and generous spirit through the piece. The final two pieces are both improvisations: “Graveyard Fields,” which shares the deceptively morbid name of a bucolic area in North Carolina, and the darkly tinged “Lacrima,” more aptly named for the Italian word for “tear.”

The fact that he didn’t try out the Gaveau until he thought he’d already gotten a full album in the can took a considerable amount of pressure off of Medeski’s shoulders, opening him up to the more naked, vulnerable sound of the album.

“I was just playing music,” he says. It was just about dealing with the instrument and the room and making the music that felt good. I just got lost in the sound, and that’s really the ultimate goal anytime you sit down to play.”

Anton Fier (The Feelies)

Drummer and producer Anton Fier was best known as the leader — and sole constant member — of the all-star downtown New York City band the Golden Palominos. Born June 20, 1956 in Cleveland, Ohio, Fier first made his mark as the drummer on the Feelies’ seminal 1980 debut Crazy Rhythms. After leaving the group, he joined the punk-jazz unit the Lounge Lizards before returning home to Cleveland, where he was recruited by the legendary new wave band Pere Ubu for the album Song of the Bailing Man. After exiting Ubu, Fier again relocated to New York, where he founded the first Golden Palominos lineup in 1981, issuing the group’s self-titled debut LP two years later. While the project remained Fier’s primary focus in the years to follow, he also drummed on a wide range of albums from artists including Herbie Hancock, John Zorn, Yoko Ono, Bob Mould and Laurie Anderson; additionally, he produced sessions for performers like Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, the Grapes of Wrath and Joe Henry. In 1994, Fier issued his proper solo debut, Dreamspeed. (via All Music)
photo credit: Laura Levine

Billy Martin

Above all else, Billy Martin believes in the power of unguarded expression to capture glimpses of the truth – sometimes only fleetingly, sometimes for extended, intoxicating stretches. He pursues the ecstatic and the insightful from a variety of vantage points: as a drummer and percussionist, as a composer, as a filmmaker, sculptor, visual artist, and even as a carpenter. To varying degrees, each endeavor is marked by Martin’s dearly held belief that unfettered improvisation and an honest commitment to the moment at hand can bring about new levels of understanding, new perspectives, new sonic textures, and a more profound emotional impact. “In any circumstance, any medium,” he reflects, “you need to be sincere with yourself and with your audience. This is who you are, and you’ve got to be trying as hard as you can to create something for the situation that’s new and fresh. There are going to be some mistakes, it may not be perfect, but you’ve got to be willing to take that chance at any given moment.” (read more at: Billy Martin official site)

Michael Blake

Ever since striking out on his own Michael Blake has established himself as a leading voice in contemporary music. The Canadian born saxophonist/composer has made New York City his home for over 25 years where he consistently makes music that bristles with originality and vision. He has recorded with countless other musicians, scored music for TV and film and performed in the worlds finest concert halls and jazz clubs. The influential tenor and soprano saxophonist also lends his talents to projects led by master musicians including Ben Allison, Henry Butler, Erik Friedlander, Enrico Rava, Sam Blaser and Steven Bernstein. Last year Michael received Chamber Music America’s 2013 New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Michael recently premiered the work entitled Contrasts in Individualism: Reinterpreting the Innovations of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young with his band World Time Zone in NYC. He was also commissioned by the Vancouver creative music organization Barking Sphinx to compose a work about the 1914 tragedy based on a socio-political struggle that resulted in the loss of life for Indian passengers aboard the ill-fated freighter Kamagata Maru. Michael will premiere the piece this summer at The Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
Michael has produced 10 CD’s as a leader, each album highlighting his talents for arranging and conceiving new material. This year Blake’s steadfast output continues with the upcoming debut of his new work Contrasts in Individualism. His 2012 release In the Grand Scheme of Things (Songlines Records) – an electro-acoustic program of originals inspired by the cycle of life that binds us all – showcases Blake’s Vancouver group the Variety Hour with mastermind keyboardist Chris Gestrin at the MOOG synthesizer. The same year Union Square (Abeat) a trio album with bassist Ben Allison and drummer Rudy Royston demonstrate Blake’s affection for both pre-bop nuance and post modernism. Michael’s 2010 CD Hellbent is from a live performance and highlights the saxophonist’s fearless improvising along side the ferocious drumming of Philly free-funkster Calvin Weston and Tuba virtuoso Marcus Rojas. Delving further into unexplored territory is Control This (Clean Feed), an engaging free-jazz duo album with the tirelessly creative Danish drummer Kresten Osgood. His 1997 debut CD, Kingdom of Champa (Intuition) is often referred to as a masterpiece. Produced by the legendary Teo Macero, it is an empathetic musical travelogue of Vietnam featuring a brilliant cast of NY players. The follow-up album Drift (Intuition) was chosen by Jazzthing Magazine’s Critics Pick as Best CD of 2000. Right Before Your Very Ears (Clean Feed) is an off-the-cuff improvised album for Trio featuring drummer Jeff Ballard. Elevated (Knitting Factory Works) would be a traditional quartet album but for Scott Harding’s ingenious production. With a cunning and young rhythm section urging him on, his Copenhagen based group Blake Tartare produced both Blake Tartare and More Like Us (Stunt Records). Two subsequent albums include forays into new waters and highlight Blake’s writing for percussion and strings: 2007’s Amor de Cosmos (Songlines) and 2008’s The World Awakes/A Tribute to Lucky Thompson (Stunt Records).
His tenure with John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards lasted from 1990-2000 and includes numerous record dates, TV appearances, a live concert film from Berlin, and film soundtracks such as the Grammy nominated score for Get Shorty. During this period he was also a Composer in Residence in the Jazz Composers Collective, a nonprofit, musician-run organization dedicated to presenting original works. Another important group he co-lead was the instrumental rock band Slow Poke. Along with David Tronzo on slide guitar, producer/bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen, Slow Poke produced two albums: Slow Poke at Home (Palmetto) and Redemption (Intuition).
Michael is a respected teacher and has conducted workshops and classes in the US, Canada, Europe, Brazil and Asia. He is on faculty at the Fondazione Siena Jazz Summer Workshop (2009-present) and teaches part time at New York University. Known for his warmth, patience, and enthusiasm Michael shares personal anecdotes, opinions, humor and more for all to read on his blog
Among the many artists he has recorded and performed with are Ben Allison, Hamid Drake, Oliver Lake, Nicole Mitchell, Kenny Werner, Greg Osby, Eric Harland, Steve Cardenas, Matt Wilson, Frank Kimbrough, Ted Nash, Steven Bernstein, Ben Perowsky, George Colligan, Grachon Moncour III, Medeski Martin and Wood, Ray Lamontagne, Enrico Rava, Stefano Bollani, Jeff Ballard, Larry Grenadier, Giovanni Guidi, Gianluca Patrella, Thomas Morgan, Gerald Cleaver, Mark Helias, Mario Pavone, Tommaso Cappellato, Bill Ware, Groove Collective, The Gil Evans Orchestra, Kamikaze Ground Crew, Jack McDuff, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Ben E. King, Chubby Checker, Neil Sedaka, Dione, Natalie Cole, Martha and Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave and Pinetop Perkins. He has worked with such luminary producers as Teo Macero, Tricky, Prince Paul, Hal Wilner and Sir Coxsone Dodd.
Michael Blake official site

Calvin Weston

G Calvin Weston was born June 6, 1959 in Philadelphia, PA. He became interested in drums at the age of 6, when he (and his neighbors) discovered his talent for rhythm as he beat on every car on the block. He lived in North Philadelphia where he saw musicians like Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five and James Brown at the Uptown Theatre. Seeing his attention focused on the drummers, his Father bought him a small set. In high school Calvin learned to read music and played second snare in the drum ensemble. He co-founded the group Bad Influence which played in cabarets and clubs around Philadelphia.
At 17, Calvin joined Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time Band, with bass player Jamalaadean Tacuma, his close friend from Philly, which toured extensively in North America and Europe. After recording four albums with Prime Time, Calvin went on to play and record with guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer, until he joined John Luries Lounge Lizards in 1990.
During the late ’90s Calvin recorded and toured with Billy Martin of Medeski Martin and Wood, Tricky, Eyvind Kang, Derek Baily, Mark Ribot, and James Carter. He also played on several movie soundtracks including “Get Shorty.” For his latest project, Calvin Weston’s Big Tree, Calvin explores the many musical influences of his career as band leader and composer.
He also has a new band with world guitarist, Vernon Reid and bass player, Jamalaadean Tacuma and formed the group freeformfunkyfreqs and there new CD Urban Mythology Volume 1. He also plays with Jean-Paul Bourelly and Melvin Gibbs in the band called Gypsys Reloaded, that toured in March of 2008 and recorded a live CD at the Bimhuis. G. Calvin Weston has played on many recordings including Asmodeus: Book Of Angels Volume 7 with Marc Ribot, Trevor Dunn, and John Zorn.
Calvin Weston on Facebook
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