Tonight, Secret Society is thrilled to present a double-bill at Littlefield (622 Degraw in Brooklyn) with the great bassist-composer Ben Allison. Showtime is 8 PM, tickets available here or at the door.
You have all heard Ben's awesome new release, Action-Refraction, I hope? Wherein the prolific composer (and Jazz Composer's Collective founder) turns his attention to other people's music -- in this case, songs by PJ Harvey, Donny Hathaway, the Carpenters, et al? It's a tremendous album, my favorite new jazz release this year, and it's currently streaming on demand from Ben's website, so y'all really need to get right on that "play" button.
I've previously lamented the lack of double-bills in the jazz concert culture, because as an audience member, there is nothing I like better than a nice live music pairing. For instance, I don't know how many of you caught the Todd Sickafoose/Mary Halvorson two-hander at LPR last week, but those of you who made it know that it was freaking awesome -- Todd's band was open-hearted and transfixing, and Mary's band was jagged and mysterious. There should be more of that kind of thing. So, even though we always lose a ton of money doing them, Secret Society has tried to make double-bills happen whenever possible. In fact, our last hit at Littlefiled was actually a full-on triple-header, as we were joined by Richmond, VA's Fight The Big Bull, and Steve Bernstein's Sly Stone project. (In which Ben was playing bass... and so a seed was planted, and now here we are.)
There's an excellent interview with Ben Allison up on JazzTimes, wherein he says many things I want to co-sign, but most especially and emphatically, this:
For me, writing simple music is riskier than writing complex music, because musicians sometimes think that making music more complex is going to make it more interesting. To a certain extent, that’s true. But I’m fascinated by really simple melodies that you want to hear more than once. How does John Lennon write a three-chord tune and 35 years later, I’m still interested to hear it? I don’t know.
When I leave a concert, I leave in one of two ways. One, I leave saying, “Wow, that guy played some stuff I could never play.” Or I leave feeling emotionally inspired. At the end of the day, I prefer the second one. If I’m listening to a piece of music and the only thing I’m trying to do is figure out the time signature, it doesn’t sustain my interest.
As for Secret Society, we'll be playing music old and new, including the Manhattan New Music Project-commisioned "Sift," and, in what is still a rare move for us, a work by a guest composer. In this case, it's David T. Little's "Conspiracy Theory," which we first unleashed at our Ecstatic Music Festival show earlier this year.
Also: this will also be Secret Society's last NYC performance before our BAM Next Wave Festival show in November. Be seeing you soon, I hope.