A Busy Start to March

The good news is that I got a chance to go to Barcelona and took it.

The bad news is that I missed these shows while I was gone: Surplus 1980 and ReCardiacs Fly; Craig Taborn, Amy X. Neuburg and Pamela Z at Other Minds; Other Minds in general; Emily Hay visiting from L.A.; Lotte Anker visiting from Europe; a couple of rare Tin Hat group appearances; Miya Masaoka (another rare in-town appearance) in a show that also included Lisa Mezzacappa’s new strings band; the ROVA Saxophone Quartet performing with a guitar quartet; The Residents’ anniversary show at Bimbos; and Chris Potter, whose new ECM album is quite compelling. In Barcelona also missed a chance to see Spanish pianist Agusti Fernandez, due to evening work commitments.

Sure, there’s no way I would have seen all those shows, since many of them conflicted. Chris Potter probably would have been outa luck, going up against The Residents. I’m just complaining on principle.

Meanwhile, it’s a really busy week of music coming up, with too many things to mention. I’ll list a few, but I’m unfairly leaving out so much — take a look at Bayimproviser.com to see what I mean.

  • William Parker is in town at the end of the week, starting Friday, March 8, doing a lot at Stanford’s Bing Hall and a Sunday afternoon performance at San Francisco’s Center for New Music. The latter is a solo show followed by a set from Lisa Mezzacappa’s Bait & Switch.
  • Mills College is running its annual Signal Flow series (concerts of new works by students) starting Thursday, March 7 through the weekend.
  • Great lineup for the Monday, March 4 installment of monthly jazz at The Makeout Room (San Francisco):  Karl Evangelista’s Ai Ai, Dave Slusser’s new quartet, and Aram Shelton’s Ton Trio II.
  • Larry Ochs has some new composing for quintet that debuts on Friday, March 8 at the Center for New Music; he’ll have trumpeter Nate Wooley in his band, who’s also appearing Weds. March 6 at Berkeley Arts Festival.

I didn’t get a chance to do any serious record shopping in Barcelona, but luckily, there are four CD stores along Calle dels Tallers [Street of Workshops, in Catalan, I think].  Mostly, they specialize in American/British rock — i.e., they look just like CD stores here, but with a lot more metal and a lot of classic rock. Revolver Records had a section set aside for Spanish and Catalonian bands, so that’s where I concentrated my time. Using the principle of judging a CD by its cover, I picked up some poppy, mellow electronica from a Catalan trio called Lasers and an indie rock album from a Spanish indie-pop band that looks like it’s been around for a while, Los Planetas. Pretty happy with both of them, but I’m hoping to dig a little deeper if I ever make it back.