|January 10||Uncle: Myles Boisen and John Shiurba plus guests / Dan Plonsey with Myles Boisen|
|January 17||Open Stage|
|January 31 Mats Gustafsson, with Bruce Ackley, Jon Raskin George Cremaschi, Adam Lane, Gino Robair, and Garth Powell.|
|September 19 Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink (presented at Mills College)|
Uncle played five set-lets, one each with Tim Perkis, Carla Kihlstedt, Karen Stackpole, Scott Rosenberg, and me (Dan Plonsey); the last of which being after my (Plonsey's) set. Each mini-set had some fine moments, and each started with some of the floundering getting-used-to-each-other stuff that I find enjoyable. Most of Uncle Boisen and Uncle Shiurba's guitar work was fairly abstract, electric guitar with impliments and boxes, but every now and then one would play a sort of jazz solo, or a fast bass line or something for contrast.
My set was... Well, I played oboe all alone first, then added rhythm box and
later added Cleveland Plonsey and Mantra Ben-Ya'akova Plonsey on toys and vocals.
I felt that the studio recording (Understanding Human Behavio) was more varied
and at the same time more focussed - I was a bit nervous and distracted at Beanbender's,
as I often am: I feels like holding forth self-indulgently in front of people I've invited
to my place... a feeling I don't have when I'm invited elsewhere to play. With every person
who walked out during the set (not too many; but only about 30 were there to begin with),
I felt a pang, and a worry that what I was doing was more boring than playful. However,
some people seemed to enjoy it, and I did come up with a song I liked: "The Oboe has Got to
funky oboe show last sun...i've seen some odd (in the
best possible way, of course) things within those walls, but that just
may have taken the cake!
-- Dean Weinberg
Last night's show was really good,
definitely a highlight of the Beanbender's
series. What a tremendous way to close the room!
It's hard to pick out high points -- the only times
I was less than fully engaged were in a couple of
fairly aimless full-ensemble passages.
I especially liked Mats Gustafsson's solo, the
Bari duet [Gustafsson and Raskin], Robair and Powell's percussion duet
& the tenor, bass and drums trio that started with
a long sax solo.
-- Tom Duff
I'm in agreement with Tom; same highlights.
The Bennink/Mengelberg show was really well done, one strong, varied, quite
groovy set played in what i've always thought to be an under-utilised space,
the Mills concert hall. I hadn't previously seen either of them play live, so
I was quite amused by their interaction, and came away with the notion of
spending one's life doing what one truly loves makes for a state of grace
that is quite wonderful to see, and in their case, to hear. I understand that
the presenting orginisation lost about 400 dollars on the show, which may or
may not be worth bringing up....
-- Alan Brightbill I really thought they were the ultimate yin-yang duo, one guy barely managing to contain himself at the drum set, the other stoically seated, evincing no emotion except an occasional smile. Their styles meshed together well, and the solos were really fascinating and very diverse from each other. I am curious whether Han's theatrics would come across as sounding like they belonged to the texture if one only heard the concert rather than seeing it. I suspect there is a logic to it, and it sure sounded interesting to me. This was also the first time I heard Misha before and wow, he truly is an original player, with an eclectic range spanning from ragtime and stride to modern classical. It was a treat to see them both fully in the moments of creation onstage.
-- Scott Looney
Regarding the Mengelberg/Bennink show, to clarify the $$ loss, the fee was low by jazz industry standards, but when added to transportation, hotel, and hall rental (even getting half-price, Mills isn't cheap). And Scott must have meant 140-150 people, which was about the right number.
It was well worth it, we thought. I had a great time myself. Watching Misha keeping a wary eye on the bocci balls that Han was rolling around was a musical highlight. (Before the show, Misha asked whether it would be likely that he would run into any snakes, rattlesnakes in particular.)
All of Han's theatrics were so well integrated into the
musical aspect of the performance that it was impossible
to say if the music ever really left off and gave way
to theatre - the crashing around backstage, throwing a pipe
and playing a second piano; yelling to Misha to go out and play;
giant pieces of cardboard unexpectedly flying through the stage
doors as perfectly reasonable accompaniment to Misha's
dada-istically convoluted take on jazz. And I loved Han's
ability to keep such straight uncluttered time, eschewing
any post-Elvin polyrhythmic clutter, except for the occasional
outburst for which he offered apologies. All in all, a very
different concept of music, flying in the face of the
avant garde as much as the traditional.
i thought the bennik/mengleberg show could have used more mengleberg and
less han,neither one was as focused as the recordings i have with them. i
really enjoyed the show and stayed for both sets,but it seemed very weak
by their own standards. i have a lot of recordings were han is very
focused and musical, but both times i've seen him live he was goofing
off more than playing music!
great entertainment though,
-- Damon Smith
I found the Mengelberg/Bennink show utterly beguiling, even if Mengelberg seemed a bit tired. I understand he's had some health issues and perhaps it showed in his playing somewhat, but it just didn't matter. And Bennink "goofing off"? I concur with Sir Plonsey. The man's artistry is very much in destroying "avant" perceptions, not to mention the fact that he's one of the most HUMAN players I've ever seen. He exudes music from every pore. I found him as entrancing here as with Clusone Trio at ex-Beanbenders, and that was in a very different context.
And I was floored by their encore of "Epistrophy"...it was as if LAST
DATE was recorded last week.
-- Peter Conheim
To me, the most salient feature of Han's playing is the extreme virtuosity of its deliberately anti-virtuostic aesthetic. While everyone will agree that Han is one of the most virtuostic "drummers" (making use of something like a traditional "kit"), I doubt there is anyone else who can throw a pipe (or anything else for that matter) with such musicality.
Han likes to play and poke fun to be sure, but he's not goofing!. There are years of practice and application in those seemingly self-indulgent ploys.
Misha makes a great "straight man" to Han's comedic
theatrics, with his considerably "swinging" and quite self-consciously
undertstated pianism: a concurrence of anti-aesthetic aesthetic "purpose".
-- Henry Kuntz
Or: Return to main Beanbender's page" or to Upcoming Beanbender's concerts".