Tuesday, August 22, 2006

DCIC with Greg Osby

It seems I've gotten a bit behind in the blogging dept... so I'm going to try and catch up with a few impressions about recent goings on. Unfortunately, the blog is now messed up: it's not in strict reverse chronological order. I should embrace this new freedom and enjoy the flexibility of posting things not necessarily in the order in which they actually occurred - after all, who gives a crap? But it just feels so wrong. Ok, I will suppress my bean counter nature and move on - out of order.

Back on August 5th, DCIC had the opportunity to perform with a very special guest: saxophonist Greg Osby. The show was a benefit for Alkem, and was held on the main stage at Warehouse Theater. Joe Lally opened, playing a whole bunch of new songs from his forthcoming album. For this performance, we had the full group: Ben Azzara (drums), Dan Barbiero (bass), me (guitar), and Mike Sebastian (tenor sax, and saxello) - plus the incredible Mr. Osby (alto sax).

Overall, things went really really well - better than I expected. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect, so I'm not sure what that means.

What I mean is: Greg Osby is a brilliant musician. He really "led the way." Every time he put the sax to his lips, he gave us such clear and rich material - it was easy to improvise with him. His ideas were so well put together that it felt like the group was generally following his lead - although (and here's where he really was impressive) he didn't take the spotlight. His performance was very much as part of the ensemble -- not "Greg Osby accompanied by DCIC." It was really a collective effort - but he's just a damn fine player and incredible talent.

We made up a "set list" before the show with 5 pieces... various duos and trios, plus some full group playing. What actually happened was a bit different - we played three pieces - but still managed to hit most of those duos and trios. Dan was really "on" that night, he delivered several nice solos and kept things moving through the whole set. Mike also rose to the occasion - I'm sure it was a difficult spot - playing sax next to such a highly accomplished artist - but that was a total non-issue. Mike's playing was very different, stylistically, and made a great counterpoint to Osby's playing.

We recorded the show, and it's been added to "The Vault." Over on the DCIC website, we've set things up now so instead of an overwhelming catalog of mp3's available for free download, there's an archive with a player built into the page. So now you can stream random tracks from "The Vault" for free right from your browser. If you'd like access to everything we've ever recorded it can be had for the price of whatever price you think it's worth - just make a donation to Improv Arts, and you get a passcode to access "The Vault" and download anything and everything... including everything we haven't recorded yet. So, this show is in there (and the recording sounds pretty good if I do say so myself).

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