Two songs by the newly renamed Bells Atlas (formerly search-engine-unoptimized Bells). Porto Franco Files and Bells Atlas made three videos last year. We’re hoping to finish editing them soon. In the meantime, enjoy, and follow them on some social media or other.
9 days and 1,100 to go for Erik Jekabson’s album Kickstarter
Anti-Mass is an awesome album by trumpeter and composer Erik Jekabson. It’s already recorded, and now Erik needs help in getting it out to the world. The fundraiser goal is $6,000, and it’s almost there, but unless Erik raises the entire amount by the deadline, he won’t receive anything. Help him out. The album features playing by Dayna Stephens (tenor sax), Smith Dobson V (drums), John Wiitala (bass), Charith Premawardhana (viola) and Mads Tolling (violin).
Here’s a track from the album.
Tango Workshops with Tomas Howlin and Shorey Myers
This weekend one of my favorite tango teachers and my fiancé’s dance partner Tomas Howlin is teaching a series of workshops. Check out the Facebook event for more information. Most workshops are for dancers with at least some experience. He will also be teaching a class on tango and meditation that is completely beginner-friendly. Send me a message or leave a comment if you’d like more info.
The MOSt DEFinitive event this week is the San Francisco OFFSIDE festival organized by friends of Porto Franco music blogger and booker Laura Maguire and guitarist Alex Pinto. The festival runs from Thursday to Saturday night. Here’s the complete lineup.
THURSDAY MAY 24 – “EXCURSIONS”
El Valenciano, 1153 Valencia Street, San Francisco
We kick off with three ensembles that share mastery of traditional techniques coupled with fearless commitment to exploring innovative territories.
LISA MEZZACAPPA’S BAIT & SWITCH
Lisa Mezzacappa, acoustic bass
Aaron Bennett, saxophones
John Finkbeiner, electric guitar
Vijay Anderson, drums
Dave Rempis, saxophone
Larry Ochs, saxophone
Darren Johnston, trumpet
THESE ARE OUR HOURS
Aram Shelton, alto saxophone
Theo Padouvas, trumpet
Mark Clifford, vibraphone
Kim Cass, bass
Sam Ospovat, drums
FRIDAY MAY 25 – ”ONWARD”
50 Mason Social House, 50 Mason Street, San Francisco
The second night takes a decidedly contemporary look at straight-ahead jazz and presents three Bay Area composers and their respective trios.
ALEX PINTO TRIO
Alex Pinto, guitar
Scott Brown, bass
Shaun Lowecki, drums
ERIK JEKABSON TRIO
Erik Jekabson, trumpet
Peter Barshay, bass
Greg Wyser-Pratt, drums
MARCUS SHELBY TRIO
Marcus Shelby, bass
Joe Warner, piano
Tiffany Austin (Martin), vocals
SATURDAY MAY 26 – ”JUNCTION”
Viracocha, 998 Valencia Street, San Francisco
The festival closes with an evening of genre-expanding music that intersects jazz in distinctive ways.
Mike Boo, turntable, sampler
Pu22le Abalo, mpc, modular synth
Asonic Ragaton Garcia, sampler, synth
Mike Reed, drums
Marcus Stephens, saxophone/electronics
KLAXON MUTANT JAZZ ALL STARS
Henry Hung, trumpet
Kasey Knudsen, saxophone
Eric Garland, drums
George Ban-Weiss, bass
Colin Hogan, keyboard
David Boyce, saxophone
David Ewell, bass
Hamir Atwal (special guest), drums
Wed. May 23 Gaucho at Amnesia (info)
Sun. May 27 HowellDevine at Revolution Cafe (info)
Mon. May 28 Classical Revolution at Revolution Cafe (info)
Mon. May 28 Mike Olmos hosts a jam session at the Union Room (info)
The news this week are sparse but exciting. Last week our album Earthbound by CopperWire: Meklit Hadero, Gabriel Teodros and Burntface moved from #5 to #4 on college hip hop radio nationwide. After a fantastic release show Meklit left for East Africa on a scouting trip for The Nile Project and we are beginning to prepare for her next album – a duet with Quinn Deveaux to come out in September 2012.
This is a busy week for shows. I’d like to highlight four: one tonight in Oakland with Oakland Active Orchestra and Marco Eneidi, and three on Friday in the Mission: photography show at our gallery, Patrick Cress’ Telepathy 10th Anniversary at Viracocha, and The Nice Guy Trio’s Freedom Songs at Community Music Center with David Phillips and Rumen Sali Shopov.
San Francisco Offside Festival and UnderCover
There are also two big events coming up later in May organized by a few friends and featuring a ton of local talent:
San Francisco Offside Festival organized by presenter, blogger and local jazz superfan Laura Maguire and guitarist Alex Pinto. Over the three nights of May 24-26 the festival features trios led by Erik Jekabson, Marcus Shelby and Alex Pinto, Lisa Mezzacappa’s Bait and Switch, Rempis/Ochs/Johnston trio, These Are Our Hours group with Aram Shelton, Theo Padouvas, Mark Clifford, Kim Cass and Sam Ospovat, The Supplicants and a few other groups. Check out the full lineup on their website and follow the festival on Facebook.
On May 19th UnderCover does its 4th show and album. This time they pay a tribute to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid with Cornelius Boots as guest music director. More info on their site.
More info about this week’s shows:
Tue. Marco Eneidi and Oakland Active Orchestra at Uptown in Oakland. Free. (more info)
Wed. Gaucho at Amnesia – great old-time jazz, swing dancing, and beer (more info)
Fri. 10th Anniversary of Patrick Cress’ Telepathy at Viracocha (more info)
Fri. Freedom Songs by The Nice Guy Trio with David Phillips and Rumen Sali Shopov (more info)
Fri. Ehxibition of 20 Portraits photographic series and a book by Mikhail Lemkhin at Porto Franco Art Parlor (more info)
Our April releases play like a tongue-in-cheek testament to our vision of complete disregard for genre boundaries: we are proud present our first hip hop and first klezmer albums: CopperWire’s Earthbound and the gonifs’ self-titled debut. They share more than the record label – eclectic jazz trumpeter Darren Johnston plays on both. Continue reading
It’s Friday afternoon and I’m wondering what to do when a text message arrives. “Tonight,” it reads, “GET EXPLODED.” Welcome to Mark Matos…
The tingle I get every time I go to see one of his live show comes from his all-out commitment to his art. For Mark Matos, a.k.a Trans Van Santos, music isn’t something used to pass time while stuck in traffic, it’s not a collection of pretty noises and it isn’t even just music. It’s the spiritual connection of a community. It’s transformation. It’s the rhythmic breathing of life itself. Continue reading
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This past week my time’s been occupied with accounting, and my mind with the figuring out my own plans for the next few years. SFSU accepted me to finish my masters in math next year (I dropped out 3 years ago to start Porto Franco). It’s time to start reviewing my abstract algebra and stats. I’m also applying to business schools in the fall. I’m curious about possibilities with an MBA in arts-related fields. If you’ve got any thoughts or advice, drop me a line.
Switchboard Festival is this Sunday
This is hands down the biggest thing this week with 13 bands performing in 8 hours at Brava Theater. Our artists Mercury Falls and Ramon & Jessica are playing along with many others I’m a big fan of. I’ll try to check out Beep! and Dominique Leone’s take on Stravinsky’s Les Noces and anything else I happen to catch.
Mark Matos & Os Beaches release Coyote and the Crosser
Their previous album Words of the Knife was one of Porto Franco’s first projects. It was fun, we learned a lot working on it. We wish Os Beaches all the best. Check out the record and my blog post about it here. You can purchase it for any price you name directly from the band.
CopperWire submits iPhone app to Apple Store and books release tour
Meklit, Gabriel and Ellias have been busy. Ellias’s company AppSynth Media just finished the first promo app for the project. It should be available through the iPhone app store on April 1, and there are iPad and Android versions in the works. I got a chance to play with it after the Meklit Hadero/Lizz Wright show, and it’s awesome.
The trio also booked a last minute release tour with shows in New York, Detroit, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Check them out here.
Mark Growden and Mercury Falls are in town
The formerly local artists now rarely play in the Bay Area. Mark moved to New Orleans last summer, and Mercury Falls’ drummer Tim Bulkley lives in Brooklyn. Check out their shows below.
Thu. Mark Growden at Brick & Mortar Music Hall (more info)
Thu. Mercury Falls at Revolution Cafe (more info)
Fri. Kally Price at Bravado Cafe (formerly Pascucci) (more info)
Sat. Jamaican legend Ken Parker at Rockit Room (more info)
Sat. Wolf Larsen album release at Swedish American feat. Wolf & Crow (more info)
Sun. Switchboard festival 2-10pm at Brava Theater with an amazing lineup of Bay Area’s genre-defying artists. (more info)
Mon. Lisa Mezzacappa and Darren Johnston present Alex Pinto Trio, Ochs-Johnston-Robinson Trio and the Evan Francis Group at Project Make Out, Make-Out Room (more info)
Plus the weekly favorites:
This week Mark Matos & Os Beaches release their second record Coyote and the Crosser – a psychedelic mix of Brazilian tropicalia and American folk rock.
Our history with Mark Matos goes to the very beginnings of Porto Franco. The talks of recording his album Words of the Knife started even before we were incorporated in January 2009. For those sessions he put together a band with bassist Joe Lewis, drummer Aaron Kierbel, percussionist Dave Mihaly, guitarist Ben Reisdorph, multi-instrumentalist Matt Adams of the Blank Tapes and a few guest artists:Tom Heyman, Steve Sparapani and Kacey Johansing. Now, three years and several national tours later his collective has grown, and his music and contagious collaborative energy spawned a small movement. One of the most recent manifestations of this was the packed February residency at Amnesia that pulled in seemingly the entire Bay Area folk scene. That February madness was documented by photographer Karen Knoller (see them on Facebook).
Congratulations and best wishes to Mark and the Beaches. It was great to be with you for the beginning of the ride.
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I’m making our track of the week post a separate entity. We’ll post them in a couple of days.
It’s official. Adam Willumsen, who has been working with us for a year is moving to Portland at the end of the month. He sent you the CDs you bought, shot second camera, recorded and mixed sound on almost all of our videos, proofread our copy and did a ton of other things small and large around the office. This halves our work force. I can’t say we weren’t ready, but it is sad. It was great to have him. Wish him luck!
Until Adam leaves we are keeping a heavy shooting schedule with at least three more videos scheduled for this week. Coming soon: Beth Custer ensemble, Alsarah, Meklit, Sam Ospovat’s PIKI and, hopefully, more Nice Guy Trio.
I’m looking for help in our future video shoots. If you know your way around Pro Tools, Logic, or have a DSLR that shoots video, please send me a note.
Actual Jazz Series
Hosted by saxophonist Jacob Zimmerman and featuring rotating guest curators, this is one of the best regular jazz and improvised music shows around. It takes place from 5-7pm, so you can make it to another show the same evening, or call it an early night and head home. Last Sunday featured saxophonist and clarinetist Aram Shelton leading a quintet with Darren Johnston (tr), Mark Clifford (vibes), Atemu Aton (b), Alex Vittum (dr) playing the music from Dialogue – Bobby Hutcherson’s first album as leader. Next concert is curated by guitarist John Schott. More info at actualjazzseries.com
Actual Cafe’s BLAT (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Tomato) on wheat is great. The show is free, but please do tip the musicians.
Robert Glasper Experiment
There was just enough time to get from Actual Jazz to Brick & Mortar in San Francisco to see Adam Theis and Aaron Kierbel duo warming up the sold out room for Robert Glasper. My motivation to see the show was two-fold. I’d heard a few of Glasper’s trio recordings and liked them. I also wanted to see what the show by a jazz artist who managed to find mainstream appeal in 2012 sounded and looked like. Robert Glasper Experiment’s newest album Black Radio came out on Blue Note Records and landed the group on every major TV talk show, got them to #4 on US R&B chart and topped the jazz charts. They rocked 15 minute songs with long solos, tight technical grooves and crazy drum breaks. The band was fronted by saxophonist Casey Benjamin playing alto and soprano sax with a harmonizer effect and a keytar-controlled vocoder that gave the band a sound simultaneously futuristic, distant and warm. The songs were mostly originals, but here’s a version of Smells Like Teen Spirit that I particularly liked on the album.
A note about our friends (and show listing sort-of-competitors) at hearitlocal.com
HearItLocal started as a independent show listing in Minneapolis and a couple of years ago expanded to San Francisco. They built a platform that helps venues and artists have media-rich (with pictures/videos/sound) show listings with minimum setup and maintenance on their websites. Now they’re launching a crowdfunding show platform to help artists and venues fund shows, and help fans look for artists to book for private events. If you’re a musician, I highly recommend getting your profile up and running. Check them out at hearitlocal.com.
If you missed…
Wed. Gaucho at Amnesia – Gypsy jazz from France and gut bucket jazz from Mississippi delta (free, weekly) (info)
Thu. Quinn Deveaux solo set at El Rio (info)
Thu. Porto Franco Free Thursdays at Yoshi’s Oakland with The Nice Guy Trio (info)
Thus. Jewish Music Festival presents: Bustan Quartet: Taiseer Elias, Zohar Fresco, Amir Milstein & Emmanuel Mann (info)
Fri. SFJazz presents: Lizz Wright and Meklit Hadero at Herbst Theater (info)
Fri. Karina Denike at Viracocha (info)
Sun. Seaweed Sway presents: Fox & Woman, Petoskey at Viracocha (info)
Sun. HowellDevine delta blues at Revolution Cafe (free, weekly) (info)
Sun. Jacob Zimmermans band Anteater hosts jam session at Bar 355 (Oakland) (info)
Mon. Mike Olmos residency and jam session at the Union Room (info)
Mon. Classical Revolution at Revolution Cafe (free, weekly) (info)
Thanks to MTV for sending this out to the world. The song features the trumpet wizardry of Darren Johnston. Wake up!
Stream the song on MTVhive.com
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Local track of the week.
Wolf is releasing her debut album on March 31st at Cafe DuNord. Also check out her cover of Billie Jean on vimeo.
Random track of the week.
Alsarah & The Nubatones. Meklit and Mina turned me on to her music last week. Looking forward to shooting a video with her next week. Things happen really fast sometimes.
Last week Adam and I got to join Foxtails Brigade, Riki Feldmann and Pomplamoose’s Jack Conte to produce a series of videos at the Studio Pomplamoose a few miles outside Santa Rosa. Jack had some good things to say about videos, promotion and YouTubers. If you haven’t heard of Pomplamoose, see this video on the left (a reharmonized indie pop cover of Beyonce’s hit 2 years ago). They invented the video song and in the process created their own business model. They make a living selling music without labels, managers or even playing live shows.
THIS WEEK’S NEWS
New and upcoming videos
Somehow this spring is getting completely booked up with video shoots. We just released this new one by accordionist Rob Reich. I’m editing two songs recorded by Kally Price on the same day. Pianist Michael Coleman and alto saxophonist Jacob Zimmerman graciously agreed to let me shoot their recording session last week. Now I’m getting ready to shoot more with Ramon and Jessica, a fantastic Sudanese-born and Brooklyn-based singer Alsarah, local band Janam, Beth Custer, Veretski Pass, Sam Ospovat and others.
In our artists’ world
CopperWire (Meklit Hadero, Burntface, Gabriel Teodros) are feverishly preparing for their release. Some time today MTV Hive is premiering the second track from their upcoming album. They’re finishing an iPhone app and planning their first tour.
I’m putting the finishing touches on the website for Meklit Hadero and Mina Girgis collaboration Nile Project.
Vijay Anderson’s fundraiser is looking for support
Drummer Vijay Anderson is working to raise money to get his Touch and Go Sextet to Europe for their first international festival. The players are Aaron Bennett, Ben Goldberg, Darren Johnston, Lisa Mezzacappa, Sheldon Brown and Vijay himself. Here’s the link to read more, listen to them play and donate. We’re rooting for them.
Tonight. Moe!kestra! and Mark Clifford’s quartet at the Uptown Nite Club (info)
Fri. Swarm Intelligence and Sam Ospovat’s PIKI (solo drumming) at Viracocha. the show falls under loosely defined new music genre. (info)
Sat. Kafana Balkan with Brass Menazeri and DJ Zeljko at Rickshaw Stop. SF’s best Balkan Brass party. (info)
Sun. Actual Jazz series curated by Aram Shelton. His ensemble features Darren Johnston, Mark Clifford, Atemu Aton and Sam Ospovat. They’ll perform music from Bobby Hutcherson’s album Dialogue. (info)
Wed. Gaucho (Gypsy and gut bucket jazz) plays their weekly Amnesia gig (info)
Thu. Gaucho is playing a late show at the lounge area of Yoshi’s Oakland.(info)
Sun. HowellDevine plays their weekly delta blues show at Revolution Cafe (info)
Mon. Classical Revolution at Revolution Cafe. Classical players have jam sessions too (info)