Playlist: Feb. 27, 2009

(Update: You don’t need to know much French to appreciate the tour photos on Lê Quan Ninh‘s blog. He and Doneda had quite the day going from Berkeley to Stanford up to San Francisco — he’s posted pictures of all three cities and the belowmentioned sfSound event. Cool stuff.)

KZSU playlist for Friday, Feb. 27, 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Highlight: Lê Quan Ninh and Michel Doneda performing live!

le-quan-ninhAnd they were loud! I’d heard both of them in a variety of contexts, but maybe because I’d just been sampling the CD from The International Nothing, I was in the mind of expecting quiet, calm interplay. Nope.

Quan used a bass drum as a platform, creating sounds with an army of objects — a rolled-around pine cone, or the ends of drumsticks rubbed along the top, or a rock lightly scraped against the tuning pegs. He started the set by blowing viciously through a cymbal hole onto the drum surface, a big stormy sound.

Doneda got into some subtle long tones here and there but also used his saxes for brash, raspy declarations. A lot of listeners probably had trouble placing the saxophone amid the din. It was cool.

The first hour of the show was devoted to the sfSound Microfestival of New and Experimenal Music, a three-day set of shows that includes some visitors from Europe and from elsewhere in the U.S. It starts tonight, as noted here.

In addition to the live set, we played CDs from other artists at the festival, interspersed with Kyle Bruckmann explaining the whole concept. Doneda and Lê also talked about how they met up musically in communist Poland in 1986, noting that the cheesecake there was so much better than what one can find elsewhere. Doneda declared their second, shorter improv to be titled “Cheesecake Forever,” and so it was.

Continue reading “Playlist: Feb. 27, 2009”

Live Music Friday: Lê Quan Ninh, Michel Doneda

It looks like we’re on track to have Lê Quan Ninh (percussion) and Michel Doneda (sax) down to the station tomorrow, to play a set of what I’d assume would be improvised music.

We’ll try to get their live set started around 3:00 p.m., on KZSU at 90.1 FM in the Bay Area, or at

Both men are in town from France to participate in the sfSound Microfestival of new and experimental music, comprising mostly composed pieces but also some improvisation. Shows will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at OCD Dance Commons.

Check the sfSound site for details on those shows.

Marco’s Return


Marco Eneidi is back in town for one show, this Thursday, Feb. 26 at the Luggage Store Gallery. He’ll be playing solo saxophone for one set.

Eneidi was an integral part of the local scene, but he moved away to Vienna about four years ago, partly out of disillusionment with the musical opportunities in this country. His playing is like a springboard with a fast-forward button, carving out long chains of notes in a style often compared with Jimmy Lyons. Like Lyons, Eneidi’s resume includes some studying under Cecil Taylor.

“The way he attacks and resolves what he plays is always felt in a very passionate, almost crying way,” drummer Donald Robinson wrote in the liner notes to his 2000 album, Straight Lines Skewed.  “In ballads he is beautiful and strong, in large improvised music ensembles he cuts through with a clear, distinctive voice.”

I don’t know why Eneidi has just the one show scheduled (his MySpace calendar listed about a two-week stay here). I hope people — by which I mean me, especially — make the most of it by showing up.

Arbitrary snippets from the Eneidi catalogue:

* Marco Eneidi, William Parker, Donald Robinson — Cherry Box (Eremite) … An energetic trio outing and a nice showcase not just for Eneidi, but for Robinson’s drumming.

* Peter Brotzmann, Lisle Ellis, Macro Eneidi, Jackson Krall — Live at Spruce Street Forum (Botticelli) … nice loud stuff, recorded in 2002. The last CD so far on Eneidi’s own label, to my knowledge

* Glenn Spearman — Free Worlds (Black Saint) … A posthumous compilation featuring Bay Area tenor saxophonist Spearman, a close friend and musical partner of Eneidi’s, in a variety of contexts. Spearman died in 1998, and Eneidi organized a few memorial festivals in his honor. Spearman is on Wikipedia, but his impact on the local scene goes far beyond that bare-bones entry.

* Marco Eneidi, Lisle Ellis, Peter Valsamis — American Roadworks (CIMP) … This trio toured as Sound on Survival, and for this particular recording, they seemed to concentrate on a laid-back, bluesy style.  IIRC, it’s a chance to hear a different side of Eneidi.  Sound on Survival also recorded for Henceforth Records.

* Donald Robinson Trio — Straight Lines Skewed (CIMP) … As noted above.  Robinson’s drums team with Eneidi on sax and Lisle Ellis on bass.

Upcoming Shows: The Greenlief Five

Phillip Greenlief, at Bluesix with The Lost TrioYou don’t turn 50 every day (so I’m told). Phillip Greenlief is celebrating in fine fashion, with five shows starting with Valentine’s Day. Below, I’ve cut-and-pasted his show announcement and added some comments in italics. Happy birthday, Phillip!

concert #1 – an evening with the lost trio
phillip greenlief – tenor saxophone; dan seamans – bass; tom hassett – drums
saturday, february 14th (phillip’s birthday) 8:30 pm
@bluesix acoustic, 24th street (at treat street), san francisco, 94110

[For two decades, this trio’s been playing their mix of covers: standards, rock songs, country songs. They’ve got a great sound together.  Click at right for a full band picture taken at Bluesix.

Bluesix, by the way, is a Mission District housefront that hosts quite a range of interesting music. It’s the kind of place that makes you glad to live in a big city.]

concert #2 – improvised music at 1510
first set – michel doneda, tatsuya nakatani
second set – tom djll, michel doneda, phillip greenlief, scott looney, tatsuya nakitani
sunday, february 15, 8pm
@1510 performance space – 1510 8th street, west oakland 94607

[Doneda (sax) is in from France for a few concerts. Nakatani (percusssion) is on his way back to Japan and will be in the Bay Area for just this one night — listen to him here. Djll (trumpet) and Looney (piano/electronics?) are mainstays of the local scene.]

concert #3citta di vitti at improv hootenany
monday, february 16 9:30 pm
@the ivy room – san pablo street, just north of solano avenue, albany

[Jazz trio playing music inspired by the films of Michelangelo Antonioni.]

concert #4music for large ensemble [click for details]
compositions by greenlief for orchesperry, special guests, the cardew choir
tuesday, february 17, 10:30 pm
@the uptown – telegraph street@18th street, oakland

[Part of Weasel Walter‘s monthly Avant-Garde Tuesdays at this downtown rock club. It’s a free show! (Donation suggested.) Come out, see a sprawling 20-piece band of great local musicians — and help convince the Uptown that they’re doing a good thing by supporting this music.  With two opening sets, including a quartet with Weasel Walter.]

concert #5orchestra nostalgico plays nino rota
sunday, february 22 @9:30 pm
@amnesia, valencia street between 19th & 20th streets, san francisco 94110

[Amnesia’s a bar, but one with an affinity for jazz/world live music and the occasional out-of-left-field group, like the What Cheer? Brigade. Cool place; the music will fit the vibe, even if the band doesn’t fit the stage.]