Pianist Kathleen Supove seemed to relish the chance to play at the First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn Heights on Friday night. Speaking from the richly carved pulpit in between pieces by Louis Andriessen, Michael Gotanska and Alvin Curran, she claimed she was guilty of committing numerous sins: playing a toy piano, tossing rose petals in the aisle, wearing a provocative red bustier that matched her fire engine red hair. For all her transgressions, though, she more than made up for it with playing that was passionate and full of energy.
Supove saved her biggest sin for last: Jacob TV's "The Body of Your Dreams," which turns an infomercial about a stomach-exercising machine into a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the sucker proclivities of American culture. It was funny and dark, tough and transporting, with Supove nailing the spiky piano line which mimicked the commercial like a Mynah bird.
The concert was the second in a new monthly series called Music at First, hosted by First Presbyterian organist Wil Smith, a composer in his own right. The next concert on April 16 features cellist Jody Redhage with Fire in July; tickets available at the door. (More pics below.)
I wasn't previously familiar with Porter Records, but clearly this eclectic label based out of Orlando, FL (founded in 2005) has its finger on the pulse of NYC's experimental/improv scene, as evidenced by their two-night showcase at Issue Project Room this past week. There were three performances on Tuesday night, each with its own powerfully distinct vibe. Jeremiah Cymerman wrote a swirling piece for laptop and live string quartet (violin, viola, cello, bass) that seemed to push the players to the limits of their playing ability. Katherine Young's piece for violin, electric guitar, drums and her own bassoon bounced between rock, jazz and noise.
But, stealing the show was the extraordinary trumpeter Nate Wooley, who opted to play an improvised solo after losing the rest of his band for the night. With his flannel shirt and full beard, Wooley looked more like a lumberjack than a musician, but he held the room spellbound for nearly 20 minutes, using all sorts of unusual techniques - circular breathing, double plungers, toneless playing - to draw an astonishing array of colors from his instrument. It was violent, extreme and, in its way, as virtuosic as anything Miles every played. Assuming you knew how to listen. (More pics at the Fan Page.)
Grey Hoy (guitar and vocals), Dave Sharma (drums), Freddy's Backroom, 3/25/10.
The Piledrivers (David Moore, banjo, Jeff Ratner, bass, Sam Duffy, fiddle) 3/26/10.
More pics at the Fan Page