Gigs, dance, art

February 27th, 2009: Drew Gress – Ralph Alessi – Tim Berne – Tom Rainey – Craig Taborn


There were a few other interesting gigs at the same time, but there’s not all that much that would keep me from hearing Tom Rainey. Even though I don’t like the pricey venue much, and the consistent dissing I heard from musicians isn’t improving that any. But hey, there was not just Tom Rainey, but also Tim Berne and Craig Taborn, so that’s three fourth of Science Friction — and I loved their performance last year — and I didn’t have to know the other members of 7 Black Butterflies firsthand to trust that they’re just as good. Which proved right, of course.

Drew Gress was the leader, and even though I sure would have liked more free elements in the music, it had beautiful moments, especially some times when they would all play together but quite different things, an intricate mesh with no compromise, a whole made stronger by the power of its components. Sometimes it was a little too pretty for my taste, but it also had a rougher side, and the sheer range was a definite plus.

As musicians, there’s no question they’re all excellent. That was especially obvious when three would stop and one would go on for a while with Tom Rainey — an arrangement I didn’t mind one bit. But I think it was most impressive when they played all together, because I could usually track each one’s path, but often didn’t lest I miss the forest for the trees.

That said, Tom Rainey was clearly my favorite in the band, no surprise here as he’s just as clearly my favorite drummer right now. The sheer range of what he did was impressive, and I heard him do other things before, so it wasn’t a full display of his ability. Quiet or loud, fast or slower, easily flowing or rougher, he seems able to do everything, and to change smoothly or abrutly at will. It was tempting to focus laser-like on his play, but that would have been missing another side as part of what I like about him is that what he does meshes so well with what the others are doing. I guess that’s more the case with people he’s familiar with, and tonight looked like one such occasion.


March 2, 2009 - Posted by | Music | , , , , ,

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