This is the kind of thing you can do with arts funding: Gather friends from a couple of continents, swing through a set of summer festivals on both U.S. coasts, and take the time to get the band into the studio.
That’s how Didier Petit is spending the last half of June. His East-West Collective, mixing European jazz/improv music with Asian traditional instruments (partial roster: Larry Ochs on sax, Miya Masaoka on koto), is coming to America for the Vision Festival in New York and the Vancouver Jazz Festival.
In between, the band was supposed to play at Yoshi’s yesterday (Tuesday, June 18). That show was canceled; in its place, the quintet will play at San Francisco’s Center for New Music tonight (Weds., June 19) at 8:00 p.m.
It’s possibly the only chance to ever see the multinational band playing together, unless you’re in Vancouver. The band’s current tour is funded by the French American Jazz Exchange, a bit of fortune that doesn’t come along every day. And the members are busy enough that getting them together is like an alignment of the planets. They’ll document their existence by recording a CD while during their Bay Area stay.
You can sample East-West’s work via the video below. DJ Larry Blood on radio KUSP included them in his recent playlists as well; here’s the June 11 show, which is still available for hearing on the KUSP site as of this writing.