I had the great privilege of spending this past week in Asheville, North Carolina playing, recording and generally sharing good times with the always incredible Tashi Dorji. I cannot overstate the level of spiritual satisfaction I experienced on this trip. Tashi and I have only known each other a short while but it often feels like we’re old friends, both personally and musically. I will be patient but I must admit I’m very excited to (eventually) share these recordings with the listening public!
I am pleased to extend an enormous thank you to Tashi, Patrick Kukucka (recording engineer extraordinaire – check out Hi Z lo z), Meredith, Effie, Mille and little Jetsun, Rae, Thom Nguyen, Jamie Hepler, Ross from Villages and the great people of Asheville for their kindness, support and accommodation…and excellent food. A positive, healthy head space is vastly important to me, especially while traveling and trying to tap into creative potential (finding the “magic”), and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Thank you!
Good times at Black Mountain.
Live shot from the Lazy Diamond in Asheville. Photo by Thom Nguyen.
Notes on a napkin from an audience member regarding my solo set in Asheville. Putting “knee healer” on my resume.
MANAS (Tashi & Thom) has a new double cassette out on New Body Tapes, as well as a forthcoming LP on Feeding Tube and another tape on Körper / Lieb. Do yourself a favor and check out what they’re doing. Free rock of a very high order…
Open Sex duo photo at the Back Door in Bloomington by Craig Bell.
Additionally, I had the pleasure of playing with John Dawson as Open Sex at Mutant Fest II yesterday in Bloomington. Unfortunately I didn’t get to attend most of the day but I was stoked to catch killer sets from Timmy’s Organism and The Gizmos. Thanks to Meagz and Alex for having us along…what a week…!
Here’s a live clip from the show (also by Craig Bell):
I’ve added a few new shows to the LIVE page including a duo gig w/ Keith Jost on Friday, July 24th opening for Chicago’s Tim Daisy and NYC’s Daniel Levin. Also of note, I will be returning to Chicago on Sunday, October 25th to reconvene with Mars Williams, Peter Maunu and Kent Kessler as The Mars Williams Quartet. Our recordings from our debut performance at Experimental Sound Studio will be streaming imminently…
Lastly, Lech and Open Sex both have cassette releases on the horizon. Keep an ear to the ground for ’em…
I had a killer time in Chicago on Monday trading blows with the always-incredible Mars Williams, and it was a sheer pleasure meeting and playing with the excellent Peter Maunu and Kent Kessler. Huge thanks to Mars, everyone at Experimental Sound Studio, Tim Daisy and Ken Vandermark for their support and enthusiasm. I can’t wait until the next round…above and below are some choice photos by Dan Mohr. Thanks Dan!
Additionally, the Lech gig at MSG was also a very cool time (as always – thanks Derek), and last night’s all-solos gig with my longtime homie Pete Fosco and new homie Kate Wakefield was a lot of fun as well. A very big thank you to all of you who support me with your eyes and ears on a regular basis – it means a lot!
Next up – duo LP recording and a gig in Asheville with the inimitable Tashi Dorji! Stoked to witness his free-rock duo Manas with Thom Nguyen as well…
This is my first update in a little while and I’m really excited about this one: announcing the debut of the Mars Williams Quartet! From Mars’ website:
“A new quartet organized by Chicago based multi-reedist and composer Mars Williams, featuring Peter Maunu on guitar and pedals, veteran Chicago bassist Kent Kessler and Bloomington, IN-based drummer Tyler Damon. This brand new ensemble makes it’s debut performance at OPTION for what is sure to be two sets of fantastic open ended improvisations.”
For those unfamiliar with Mars’ work, here’s a slice of his stunning résumé:
“Mars Williams is an open-minded musician, composer and educator who commutes easily between free jazz, funk, hip-hop and rock, Mars has played and recorded with The Psychedelic Furs, Billy Idol, Massacre, Fred Frith, Bill Laswell, Ministry, Power Station, Die Warzau, The Waitresses, Kiki Dee, Pete Cosey, Billy Squier, DJ Logic, Wayne Kramer, John Scoffield, Charlie Hunter, Kurt Elling, Swollen Monkeys, Mike Clark, Jerry Garcia, Naked Raygun, Friendly Fires, The Untouchables, Blow Monkeys and virtually every leading figure of Chicago’s and New York City’s “downtown” scene.
John Zorn credits Mars as “one of the true saxophone players–someone who takes pleasure in the sheer act of blowing the horn. This tremendous enthusiasm is an essential part of his sound, and it comes through each note every time he plays. Whatever the situation, Mars plays exciting music. In many ways he has succeeded in redefining what versatility means to the modern saxophone player.”
Hope to see you out there on the 22nd!
I’ve got some announcements I’m very excited about! First of all…
…I will be joining the incredible guitarist TASHI DORJI (Asheville, NC via Bhutan) on March 31st in Lexington, KY and April 1st in Lafayette, IN. He will be on tour in support of his upcoming LP on Bathetic records entitled “Appa.” If you’re in or near Lexington or Lafayette, please come say hello! Check out the LIVE page for more info on the shows…
Darin Gray / Mars Williams / Tyler Damon trio. Photo by Eric Hall
…my great friend and bassist extraordinaire DARIN GRAY and I planned a handful of dates in early May to spread the word about our upcoming duo release on my label, YOKE. As always, more information on the shows can be found on the LIVE page. Darin and I will also be joining MARS WILLIAMS (Psychedelic Furs, NRG Ensemble, The Waitresses, et al) for the first time since our debut trio performance in Summer of 2013 at the St. Louis Art Museum (see above photo) on Monday, June 22nd in Chicago at the illustrious Experimental Sound Studio. More details on this tour as the dates approach…
Below is a little promo write-up on the mini-tour and release:
“Tyler Damon (drums/percussion) and Darin Gray (electric bass/percussion) are hitting the road this Spring in support of their debut release, “Oninbo.” Upon first meeting in 2012, the duo began developing a rapport over several live dates in the American Midwest, eventually culminating in their first recording session in the Autumn of 2014. The result is “Oninbo,” a recording that has, perhaps unintentionally, evoked an abstract narrative of the ‘Implacable Man’ trope, conjuring feelings of foreboding doom, exhausting intensity, and eerie calm via electro-acoustic free-improvisation and an aggregate of disparate personal influences. This drums/percussion and bass duo is the latest of several such collaborations for Darin, having performed for many years as one half of On Fillmore with Glenn Kotche and one half of Chikamorachi with Chris Corsano. However, Damon and Gray confidently stand apart with their eyes toward the future…”