The most fertile ground for music lies within the Manhattan Island and its boroughs. Forever it seems, the most renowned and influential spirits and movements in music have grown here. Those who live here or the ones who open a paper to see what is happening may be overwhelmed by the infinite possibilities. All crafts of art and musicianship are available to anyone who is looking to take them in and enjoy them. Creation is constant.
Now a youthful alliance of musicians is beginning their own sound movement here. A communal voice articulated through precise instrumentalism, pioneering a unique approach to their musical upbringing. Together they are planting seeds for the next stage of development, uniting in creative vocalization of harmonic brilliance yearning for further expansion and discovery. They are scattered about the concrete jungle, but now one can unearth the virtuosity and fire for yourselves. Do not sleep.
Flipping the intelligent break dubspot is Samadhi, fulfilling all sensory appetites with instrumental-transcendental bliss. This project features Dp Holmes on guitar along with his head-bop brother Stu Brooks on the electric bass, Joe Tomino on drums, Peter Stoltzman on a vast array of synths and keyboards, and Rich Stein playing all that is to be played on the percussion. Adjoining five brethren, each their own integral element in the formation, musical commune working, living, exploring together for some good years now while putting things together in the unassuming and often under appreciated musical hotbed of Allston, Massachusetts. Shedding hard as students at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, these cats elevated the music a bit, feeling a much different vibe than most of the jazz and classical enthusiasts tend to concentrate upon themselves.
Some of the first to really delve into the books of the break, drum 'n bass, hip-hop and house DJ's with accuracy, creativity, and abilities the likes of the Headhunters, Holmes, Brooks and Tomino get the house up as the straight dope rhythm section of Actual Proof. Keyboard philosopher Peter Stoltzman, formerly of Kudu, is a designer of brilliant soundscapes, capable of creating feelings lying both in the dark and the light over the tight movements of the music feeling the heavy beat as often as it feels serenity. As a student of the rhythm, percussionist supreme Rich Stein has furthered worldly instrumentation. His Berklee studies carried him to Africa to join with the masters and he has created through those lessons amazing ability. His Senior Thesis featured his lessons in world rhythm embracing the future as he wrote and directed a three-part composition for a 7-piece drum troupe accompanied by friends, DJ Seishi and the Actual Proof vocalist, with LTJ Bukem and MC Conrad collaborator Mark Holmes. The composition entitled “Drum N Bass” was, as quoted by Rich’s professors and mentors, one of the most fantastic things they had ever witnessed at this school, which I may remind you, is one of the top in the world. Combining these ingredients with these minds, the focus and cohesion between them creates a succulent atmosphere of iridescent bliss succumbing to the forceful drive of the heavy rhythms.
Samadhi has been continuing their almost bi-monthly gigs at the Lower East lounge Barrio (99 between Ludlow & Stanton) and have shows scheduled on March 21st and in April on the 11th and the 18th (don’t sleep). Each show is based on improvisation with a few written parts, leaving it all up to the feel of the moment maintaining the purity of their being.
Fashioning experience through invention is the mantra of Loop Dreams guitarist Justin Bologino who, up a little further north on I-95, has formed his own hybrid coalition of musicians working it as Learned Evolution. The Mad Sonic Scientist features some local Allston players in this project as well as recruiting some of the nastier fellas on the scene today as actors in the reaction. With all emanating from the mind, the music of Learned Evolution reflects human emotion with sincerity; tempos at constant flux, energy at a roaring pace and suddenly absence of sound, except for the subtle phrasing of a static loop. Each performance generates differently as the members of the project for that particular evening each brings their own uniqueness, feelings and sound into the experience. Actual Proof and Samadhi bassist Stu Brooks and drummer Joe Russo brought much dub life and smooth breaks into the setting. At their next performance on March 24th at the Mercury Lounge in NYC (along with Actual Proof, the Jazz Farmers and Next Tribe) Miracle Orchestra bass phenomenon Garret Sayers will be dropping it along with Moonraker keyboardist Shaolun, living on a parallel but ultimately differentiating itself from the former experience. One can be sure to infiltrate the inners of the mind through the Evolutionary workings of the dynamic vibrationalists.
Roots of the tree ever-expanding, creating beauty and sensational rhythm allowing us the spoils, the vibrance of B-3 organist Marco Benvento and propulsion of drummer extraordinaire Joe Russo have been tearing roof off of the The Knitting Factory's tap bar room every Thursday night, for free. Without a doubt one the best unspoken but soon to be widely verbalized happenings in the Manhattan world, the organ-drum duo is straight power and fluidity, a heavy force and at times wholly warm. Both individuals are superbly skilled as players and listeners, a principal widely evident in regards to all these groups in creation of their inventions, their abilities allow a constant engagement of the audience as they embark upon the vast lineage of musical movements. The hard and abrasive drum 'n bass, smooth organ boogaloo groove, and back in the cut funky breaking are all combined. The duo’s innovative brilliance has brought them to rework some classic folk and incense & peppermints songs of the past into sensational, upbeat soul numbers. I mean come on, you get all that and it’s free, Every Thursday.
As it has been said many times, Guitarist Wayne Krantz is doing it as it should be done. Consistent in traveling through galaxies of sound and wonder, Krantz, along with sonic hedonist Tim Lefebvre and rudimentary genius/percussive landscaper Keith Carlock, are taking it to new levels, as it has been said. Each Thursday night 55 Bar session catches new heights and toys with the senses because you know you are hearing it and you can see it happening in front of you (if you get a good seat), but pragmatism does not apply. As it has been said before, this is an experience that one must undertake if you seek to explore and challenge yourself. The music says it all so I will say no more. Call the 55-Bar or check Wayne Krantz for details.
A common thread of harmonic and rhythmatic indulgence unites these individuals, each group and their respective members, Krantz, Lefebvre and Carlock who are on their own plane, are conjoined through their feelings and how they are applying them to the music. Samadhi and Actual Proof, Learned Evolution, and the Benevento/Russo duo are all in this together. They have come from their lands of schooling to play and rediscover and invent. One notices that each project, being its own bright entity taking part in its own movement, is a construct blending the same musicians. Their genius is creating a new scene within the rooms of NYC, each rooted in its own distinction but all together speaking in one voice. The tree is planted in fertile ground, the roots are strong and it is growing in New York City. May we eat its fruit.
JamBase NYC Correspondent
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