31 August 2002 - I'm sitting in the Lewis music library of MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It's been a very windy day, and I felt, as I walked across the Harvard Bridge from Boston, that I could've been blown into the Charles River.
Last night I saw the Yoko Miwa Trio (Yoko Miwa -kybd; Scott Goulding -drums; Yusuke Ishihara -bass) with singer, Kim Araiza (nee Rodrigues). This was at the Marche Caveau wine bar in the Prudential Mall in Boston.
The performers were doing jazz standards, and everything seemed pretty smooth and tight. With some chianti and fume blanc down the hatch, I was feeling no pain and bobbing with the seamless sounds.
I could sit as close as I wanted, snapped some shots and was able to talk to band members after their sets. I learned such things as:
- the group has a new cd (the 2nd one) coming out, soon. They've got a Japanese label (Tokuma), who's already put out the first cd in Japan. For publishing in the States, they are talking to a small US label.
- in Japan, Yoko studied jazz with Makoto Ozone's father. She came to Boston, 5 years ago, to further her studies at Berklee.
- Kim remembers saxophonist Rudresh ("Rudy") Mahathappa from her days at Berklee. She is originally from Bombay (a.k.a. Mumbai)
- Scott told me about an older fellow, a local sax player who hosts frequent (almost daily?) jam sessions at his home. It seems that's a mandatory stop for visiting musicians to sit in... He also mentioned that for some strange reason, a few jazz musicians from Boston and elsewhere have been moving to Pennsylvania (Scranton and other places west of Philly).
3 Sep - I spent some time this afternoon at the Asian American Resource Workshop in Boston's Chinatown. Met Janet Gee and Eun-Joung Lee (exec. dir.). Eun-Joung showed me a a book of interviews of local AA visual and performing artists, done by a student at Milton Academy. (That seems to be one of those New England boarding schools.) I was particularly interested in reading interviews of singer/songwriters Kevin So and Melissa Li.
Also phoned another singer/songwriter Francis Kim, to catch up with his affairs. He's working on a new album, with a bass player and drummer. He told me he's been listening to lots of Noam Weinstein, Elvis Costello, and Meghan Tooey (sp?).
21 Sep - DJ Trio, Hirshhorn Museum, Ring aud.
22 Sep - Emm Gryner, Iota, Arlington
23 Sep - DC APA film festival fundraise, Velvet Lounge... Girl @ the bus stop, Tina Pamintuan, The Speaks, Inquilab
28 Sep - Swarthmore College, AA Jazz festival... Susie Ibarra Trio and Jon Jang, Francis Wong, Tatsu Aoki, members of Melody of China
30 Oct - I arrived in Germany, today. Flew into the Frankfurt airport and took a train northwards from there to the small city of Wuppertal. This evening I attended a long concert concert featuring the premiere of a new work by Berlin-based Dieter Eichmann, who I had met in Baltimore back in the spring. His piece was for chamber orchestra and (improvised) saxophone. The soloist was Peter Brötzmann.
The piece was not easy for me to digest given my jet lag and lack of sleep. What made it worse was a bad mix -- the saxophonist tended to blow away the orchestra. I couldn't hear the violins; it was like watching a silent movie.
Curiously, the musicians performed the piece a second time, after an intermission. Unfortunately, the unbalanced sound was still a problem and the long concert was trying my endurance. I admit to snoozing through large portions of the piece, and managed to wake up for the finale.
Interestingly, the piece was based on something by the noted linguist and leftist, Noam Chomsky. [When I get around to translating the composer's explanation, I'll mention it here.]
About 2.5 hours earlier, the concert had started off with a local workshop big band conducted by an out-of-town professor. They played mostly covers, and had a harmonious sound. It was great to hear, and would've been better, if the tempos were faster. But given they were a workshop band...
2 Nov - Heute bin ich in Essen.
3 Nov - I arrived in Köln (Cologne, for you non-German readers) and visited the annual Art Köln show. It's one of the fanciest exhibitions for art dealers from around the world. I spent hours there, and did not cover more than 3/5's of it. (The show took up 2 floors.)
Of relevance to this site were several spots for German radio, West Deutche Rundfunk and Deutschland Radio. These are government supported broadcasting services that have arts programs.
Meanwhile, I came across some art pieces that one could call "constructions" that emitted lights, sounds, and/or movement. One was identified as a "klang object". Another as an audio kinetic installation.
One of the Korean dealers had some pieces by Byun Chong-Gon. They were violins that had different pictures and text painted on them. They all had small photos of the late composer, Isang Yun, who'd lived in Germany. (One reason for living here was his politics being contrary to the South Korean government.)
Later on, I stopped by a magazine and newspaper store in the main train station and saw an Asian face on the cover of a Netherlands' gossip magayine, Prive´. He and this white woman were holding each other and the headline read, "Het drama achter hun scheiding! Marion´s eigen verhaaf. 'Leven met Wibi was ondraaglijk!'" *
I'm not sure who this Marion is, but aparently she's on a first name basis with Prive´ (or they with her). She must be more famous than him, even though he's identified as a concert pianist.
It's interesting to note that she looks older than him, even though his age is given in the text as 32 and her age as 29. (It would be interesting to compare other AM/WF couples and visual differences in their perceived ages, if any.)
[*weeks later, I've managed this partial translation of the headline: The drama behind their divorce! Marion's own -?verhaaf?-. 'Life with Wibi was unbearable!']
5 Nov - visit Deutsche Welle, the German shortwave radio broadcast and get a chance to meet with some members of the English language service... observe a news program...
Later in the evening, I head to a tiny jazz club in Leverkusen (home to chemical/pharmaceutical giant, Bayer) to see avant garde pianist Aki Takase perform with bass clarinetist, Rudi Mahall.
8 Nov - When I arrive at the Frankfurt youth hostel, I hear bhangra (!) coming from the loudspeakers in the lobby. (I'm told it's probably station 100.1 FM)