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Sunday, January 8, 2012

New York New York. So nice they named it twice.

Just got back from New York. Man what a great city. I have been there many times before this and lived and studied there but every time seems almost like the first. The culture in that city is staggering. Went to see the stage production of "War Horse" which was playing at the Beaumont Theatre in Lincoln Centre. What a fantastic show. If you get a chance definitely go to see it. You won't be disappointed. I know it's coming to Toronto in February.

Got to see some great music. Caught Mike Stern at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village. I have seen Stern in this little tiny bar before many times but always a great time. What a guitar player! This time he had Beyonce's drummer Kim Thompson who just plays great and Francois Moutin on bass. Those three were just smokin'. Stern was playing with a slide on one tune which is really new for him. Sounded great and knowing him he practised hours with it. He's known as a practise junkie which is a nice change from his older endeavours as just a junkie. I ran into a friend and fellow guitar player from Toronto named Ted Quinlan at the 55 Bar. Small world. If you get a chance to hear Ted it's worth it. He plays great!

Went to see trumpeter Tom Harrell at the Jazz Standard. He was leading an 8 piece band which was made up of Danny Grissett on piano, Wayne Escoferry on tenor and soprano sax, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, drummer Johnathan Blake as well as violinist Meg Okura, cellist Rubin Kodheli and Dan Block on flute. It was a great hybrid of modern classical and jazz. Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky meets modern jazz. Great writing by Harrell and his playing was brilliant as always. Tom Harrell suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, a severe mental illness that causes him to hear voices. He is on heavy medication to enable him to function which makes his musical brilliance even more astonishing. If you haven't heard Tom Harrell definitely go out and buy a CD. He's also coming to Toronto on March 16th performing at the Glenn Gould Studio in the CBC building.

I also visited an incredible guitar store called Rudy's Music Soho which is a new store and is a sister store to the Rudy's Music Stop on 48th st. This Soho store is stunning to say the least. I played a PRS acoustic and it was incredible. I didn't know Paul Read Smith even made acoustics but he does in small quantities and they are beautiful. Price tag of $10,500.00 it should be pretty nice. 

New term starting up at the Toronto Film School which will be a busy one. I teach music to film and Pro Tools there. Also have a recording session on Weds. which should be fun.

That's all for now.
My recordings are available on i-Tunes under "sean bray" if interested.

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