Please join us on Sunday December 6 for the supremely talented Michael Blake who returns to the parlor with an all-star group of friends.
Michael Blake and Friends
Michael Blake – Saxophone
Steven Bernstein – Trumpet
Marcus Rojas – Tuba
Ben Perowsky – Drums
Sunday 6 December, Doors at 2:30 PM, concert begins at 3:00 PM sharp.
For over three decades the saxophonist and composer Michael Blake has managed to stun both critics and audiences alike. His live performances are consistently exciting and unbridled (New York Jazz Record Best Performances of 2014) and his recordings harness that energy into fully realized albums that resonate with personality. Known for his robust tone on tenor and pure soprano sound, Michael is frequently touted by critics as one the most original saxophonists of his generation. His latest CD Tiddy Boom (Sunnyside), a hard swinging homage to tenor titans Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young continues a legacy of rave reviews.
Born in Montreal, Canada and raised in Vancouver, Blake has made New York City his home for over 25 years where he makes music that bristles with originality and vision. As a composer his creative output is constantly in flux, shifting in approach and empathetic for each new program he designs. In 2013 Michael received Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Grant for which he wrote the music for Tiddy Boom. Last year he was commissioned by the Vancouver organization Barking Sphinx to compose a suite commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Canada’s 1914 Kamagata Maru Tragedy. In early 2015 he received a funding from The Canada Council for the Arts to record this music for Songlines Records.
Steven Bernstein is a trumpeter/slide trumpeter, bandleader, arranger, and composer who lives outside of musical convention. He has released four critically acclaimed CDs; Diaspora Soul, Diaspora Blues (featuring the Sam Rivers trio), Diaspora Hollywood, and Diaspora Suite. All four are on John Zorn’s Tzadik label.
His band Sexmob has been together since 1995 touring the world, winning numerous awards, and has had their music featured on MTV, Saturday Night Live and NPR. Sexotica, recorded for Thirsty Ear’s Blue series, was nominated for a Grammy in 2006. Their most recent CD, Sex Mob Plays Fellini was released in 2013.
His nine-piece ensemble, the Millennial Territory Orchestra, has released two CDs, MTO Vol 1 and We Are MTO. Their latest CD, MTO Plays Sly, features Bernie Worrell, Vernon Reid, Antony, Martha Wainwright, Dean Bowman, Sandra St. Victor and Shilpa Ray. MTO was formed in 1999 for a series of Midnight shows at Tonic, and spent a year and a half long residency at the Jazz Standard. Bernstein also arranged and co-produced Baby Loves Jazz, featuring vocalists Sharon Jones and Babi Floyd, along with keyboard master John Medeski. The CD is available on Verve records.
Bernstein’s newest project is Butler/Bernstein & the Hot 9, a collaboration with the brilliant New Orleans pianist Henry Butler. Their debut recording, Viper Drag, was released in May 2014 on the new Impulse! record label.
Bernstein was the musical director for I’m Your Man, a documentary on Leonard Cohen that focuses on a tribute concert held at the Sydney Opera house, released by Lions Gate films in spring 2006. He was the musical director for the live sequences in the 2009 Bill Withers documentary Still Bill. Other DVDreleases include Solos, originally a Canadian Television program featuring solo performances by musicians including Andrew Hill, Joe Lovano, and John Scofield, as well as Lou Reed’s Berlin (directed by Julian Schnabel) and Levon Helm Ramble at The Ryman. Bernstein was also the subject of a feature entitled “Creative Spaces” on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and was interviewed by Terry Gross onNPR in 2002.
Since November 2004 Bernstein has been a member of the Levon Helm band, playing at the Midnight Rambles in Levon’s home in Woodstock. Bernstein wrote horn arrangements for Levon Helm’s Grammy winning 2009 recording Electric Dirt and 2011’s Ramble at the Ryman, as well as Bill Frissel’s Grammy winning 2004 recording Unspeakable. Other arranging credits include Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, Marianne Faithfull, Elton John, and Marvin Pontiac.
In 1992, musical iconoclast Hal Willner produced the eponymous debut CD by Spanish Fly, a cooperative trio with Bernstein, slide guitarist Dave Tronzo and tubaist Marcus Rojas, and they have been collaborating ever since.
Bernstein has worked as musical director on many Hal Willner projects, including tributes to Leonard Cohen, Doc Pomus, Nino Rota, Shel Silverstein and Harold Arlen, and created the music for Robert Altman’s film Kansas City. He was also the musical director for the touring version of the Kansas City band, which included David “Fathead” Newman, Henry Butler, Don Byron, James Carter, Christian McBride, and Nicholas Payton.
During his 10 years as a member of John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards he arranged the music for Get Shorty, Clay Pigeons, Fishing With John and many more film, television and commercial projects with Mr. Lurie.
For composer/Foetus mastermind Jim Thirwell, Bernstein arranged Steroid Maximus to be performed live by a 21 piece ensemble.
Bernstein’s work as a composer includes the documentaries Keep the River On Your Right and Balloonhat, Nickelodeon’s hit TV show The Backyardigans (including an ANNIE nomination for his score to “International Super Spy”), live scores to silent Laurel & Hardy films, theatre scores for Mae West’s Sex and Trouble in Paradise, dance pieces for Alvin Ailey, Body Vox, the Donald Byrd Dance Company, the Flying Karamazov Brothers and the San Francisco Ballet, and commercial jingles.
Bernstein has played trumpet with a diverse group of artists including My Morning Jacket, Linda Ronstadt, David Murray, David Berger, Digable Planets, Sting, Medeski Martin and Wood, Courtney Love, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Don Byron and Mocean Worker.
“Phenomenal tubist Marcus Rojas” (Whitney Balliet, The New Yorker) is a native of New York City. Considered one of “the best all around tuba players in the world” (Harvey Pekar,Jazziz); among the diverse groups in which he has played are the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, American Symphony, American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New York Pops, EOS, Radio City Music Hall, Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, ensembles led by Gil Evans, George Russell, Jim Hall, Lionel Hampton, Dave Douglas, Wayne Shorter, David Byrne, and P.D.Q. Bach. He has also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Today Show, Saturday Night Live and The Grammys from New York City.
Marcus has played on over three hundred and fifty recordings, from CDs of his own groups (Spanish Fly and Les Miserables Brass Band) to Reggae stars Sly and Robbie and the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed and/or recorded with such diverse artists as Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Dawn Upshaw, Queen Latifah, Donnie Osmond, Sting, Dr. John, Harry Connick Jr., Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, They Might be Giants, Arto Linsday and Rosie O’Donell among others. He has recorded for every major film, television and record company in the United States as well as countless commercial jingles and over 60 film scores including Wolf, Interview with the Vampire, Mission to Mars, Muppet Christmas Carol, Ed Wood, You’ve Got Mail, The Spanish Prisoner, Fargo, Snake Eyes, Primary Colors,101 Dalmations, Shaft, S.W.A.T., American Splendor, Everything is Illuminated, Sleepless in Seattle, Sin Nombre and Across the Universe. He can be heard daily on Nick Jr’s. Oswald and the Backyardigans.
Marcus is an avid proponent of contemporary classical, improvised and chamber musics. He performs solo and as a soloist with orchestras and ensembles throughout the world. As a founding member of SingleTree, a trio of flute, tuba and marimba,Brass Bang, Spanish Fly with Steven Bernstein and David Tronzo and other groups he has written and commissioned many new works. He was a member of Henry Threadgill’s Very Very Circus and is currently a member of Dave Douglas’ Brass Ecstasy and Nomad, Michael Blake’s Hellbent and Musette Explosion. He has performed the premieres of composers LaMonte Young, Peter Zummo, Gunther Schuller, Ralph Shapey, Philip Johnston, Anne LeBaron, Tom McKinley, Daniel Pinkham, Benedict Mason, Peter Schickele and John Zorn. New music groups he performs with include Contuum, the SEM Ensemble, ICE, American Composers Orchestra and the Kamakazi Ground Crew. He has performed in every jazz and major concert venue in NY and almost every jazz festival in the US, Canada and Europe with many artists including Donny McCaslin, Tony Malaby, Wadada Leo Smith, Doug Weiselman, Peter Apfelbaum and others. He toured the US, Japan and Australia with Robert Wilson’s the Knee Plays.
One of the most accomplished drummers of his generation, Ben Perowsky’s notable career has placed him among a small vanguard of players able to move between jazz, experimental music and cutting edge pop and rock. Starting at a very young age, Ben has worked with list of artists that form a who’s who in the music world. A few are: jazz legend James Moody, pop songstress Rickie Lee Jones, R&B star Roy Ayers, Miles Davis’ sidemen Bob Berg, Mike Stern and later John Scofield, Elysian Fields, Joan as Policewoman, Uri Caine, Steven Bernstein, John Zorn, Michael Brecker, Don Byron, Dave Douglas, Walter Becker, John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, Lou Reed and Loudon Wainwright among others.
Ben has been prolific as a leader all the while, with many releases as producer including Lost Tribe records in ’92, ’93 and ‘98.
Ben Perowsky Trio ‘99 from which the title Segment was used for the movie Talegega Nights.
Camp Songs in 2003, John Zorn’s Tzadik label.
El Destructo: Volume I, 2006, El Destructo Records
Moodswing Orchestra, 2009, El Destructo Records/Red
Esopus Opus, 2009, Skirl records.
He also recently formed the band RedCred with Chris Speed, John Medeski and Larry Grenadier, played beats on the disco hit song “Blind” by Hercules and Love Affair, toured with Canadian popstars Tegan and Sara and continues to record and produce tracks with many artists while residing in NYC.