Live Up To Expectations Edition: 75 Dollar Bill, Erik Deutsch, Illhan Ersahin & More

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For whatever reasons, I don’t often highlight live albums in the Weekly RecommNeds, although I’ve been known to drop a can’t-miss release every once in a while. This year — this strange, strange year — though, a lot of artists have been reaching into their archives, old and new, to put out concert releases and there have been a bunch of great ones over the past six months, many as Bandcamp exclusives. This week, as a little change-up, I’m featuring a slew of these that might not be on your radar in quick hit fashion. Hopefully, a few of these catch your eyes and they can carry you over until live music becomes a regular part of our lives again. Enjoy!

75 Dollar Bill has done a nice job mining their recent archives with some regular drops on their Bandcamp site. Live at Tubby’s from an upstate “big band” show and Live at Café OTO from a UK show last winter are a perfect introduction to the duo’s one-of-a-kind, hypnotic drone sound.

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Keyboardist Erik Deutsch is always a treat to catch live, either leading his own band or in a supporting role. Live at LunAtico captures him fronting a killer groove machine in the tiny Brooklyn bar, one of those shows you tell was a frickin’ hoot. Stay to the end for the ridiculous Beatles cover.


Ilhan Ersahin might not be on your radar if you’re outside New York City and maybe not even if you are. When he’s not busy with his own club, Nublu, he’s often assembling some killer jam session. The multi-instrumentalist is fine form here on Wonderland (Spotify, Bandcamp) playing with friends on the terraces of some favorite spots in his native Istanbul. Loose, exotic funk, private concert style – great shit.

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You ever at a one-of-a-kind improv jam and think to yourself “I hope someone’s taping this?” Well, be thankful that someone had the tape rolling when the new-jam supergroup of Chris Forsyth, Dave Harrington, Spencer Zahn and Ryan Jewell played at the aforementioned Nublu in Manhattan back in the “beforetimes.” The recording, recently released as First Flight is a majestic psychedelic masterpiece of without-a-net playing. This one might be the live release of the year, a must-listen.


Sameer Gupta played with his Namaskar Trio at a Trenton jazz festival 10 years ago that lasted only that one year before folding. Thankfully the recordings (Bandcamp, Spotify) of that set are now available, because it’s an addictively groovy session of Indian rhythms and freewheeling electric piano. Highly recommended.

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For something a little different, check out AVL (Bandcamp, Spotify) a live recording from an Asheville concert featuring Mary Lattimore and Mac McCaughan. The harp and synthesizer weave together in mindbending geometries as they improvise with each other in what is clearly live music magic. Everything Lattimore does is positively spellbinding and this one is no different.


This one, called Axiom (Bandcamp, Spotify) from trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is great because, it’s a great show, knee-slap funky jazz with a band that gets it done, but also because it was recorded literally as the shit was going down. Scott was playing a week at the Blue Note in NYC that happened to be the week of March 10 – 15. The band and the music seem to be aware of the global shift that’s underway, but the mood is one of hope and positivity. An amazing snapshot in time!


And finally, a little folk magic from Joan Shelley. Typically she tours with Nathan Salsburg in duo form, absolutely mesmerizing to see them together. For this set, though, Live at the Bomhard, in her native Louisville, she’s got a full, kick ass Best Hands Band, and the fuller sound is so lush and warm on this recording (Bandcamp, Spotify), it’s sure to put a smile on your face … and hopefully stays there long enough until the next show. See you then.