Starting out as a fledgling nightclub in a music city like San Francisco is no easy feat. Robert Levy and Adam Bergeron, owners of the new nightclub 12 Galaxies, have learned this by jumping into the deep end with both feet first. The challenge? To present unique and popular shows to an audience that is almost spoiled with options. One of their answers to that challenge is the introduction of "The 12 Galaxies Sessions," a collaborative artist collective that brings together eclectic musicians for a night of improvisational grooves. The 12 Galaxies Sessions #1 is this Friday, April 9th.
"It's not a new idea," says Robert Levy of 12 Galaxies, "it goes back to the days of Blue Note Jazz and even further, but it's a concept I've always loved. Carlos Washington of Giant People fame was the inspiration of it all. He called me up to talk about projects, musicians to collaborate with, shows we could present, and the first Session was born out of those conversations."
Carlos' first thought for a rhythm section was Garaj Mahal's Alan Hertz. Once those two were on board, others followed. Alan brought on a couple of longtime friends, Garaj Mahal's Eric Levy on keys and former Zero bassist Liam Hanrahan. Carlos recruited Cecil "P-Nut" Daniels to fill out the horn section, and guitarists Brian Jordan (Karl Denson's Tiny Universe) and Dan Leibowitz (Animal Liberation Orchestra) completed the ensemble.
This monster lineup will rehearse throughout the week for this one time only event. "That's the beauty of a collaboration like this," Robert comments, "you know as an audience member, and as a musician, that it's a one time event. Something unique and special for everyone."
The venue is a perfect space for a collaboration of this caliber. Only two months old, this 6000 square foot, two-story club has hosted bands such as local favorites Tea Leaf Green and New Monsoon, and national acts such as The Benevento Russo Duo, Banyan and Shanti Groove. There sound system is state of the art, and their stage creates a very intimate relationship between artist and audience.
Making the event even more unique will be the opening act, a hip-hop band called Genus Pro, which has been exploding on the Oregon hip-hop scene. "Combining hip-hop with a jam event like this was also Carlos' idea," says Robert, "challenging genres and combining things to find their common root is something Carlos Washington has always been about."
The 12 Galaxies Sessions continue on May 10th. "Sessions #2 will have Jessica Lurie, Will Bernard, Scott Amendola, and a bunch of others we are still talking with," continues Robert, "I'm not going to say it's easy bringing all these musicians together, but the musical rewards will make it worth every effort."
The 12 Galaxies Sessions #1, April 9th, 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance at www.virtuous.com, $15 at the door. 12 Galaxies is located at 2565 Mission St. Between 21st and 22nd in San Francisco. For more information visit www.12galaxies.com.
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