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About Anderson/Easley Project
The Anderson/Easley Project
By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr
The Anderson/Easley Project at the Jazz Factory
This intriguing group consists of former Louisville Orchestra bassist Dave Anderson (now Principal Bass with the LPO in New Orleans) and pedal steel guitarist Dave Easley, with drumming by Steve Tidwell. While steel guitar is not usually associated with jazz, Easley demonstrated both proficiency and inventiveness in a program of mostly original material. Anderson’s arco intro to the opening number of the second set (sorry, I didn’t hear a title announced) led into a spacey pedal steel segment reminiscent at times of Jerry Garcia’s experimental playing on the instrument on his first, self-titled solo album. Anderson also opened the second piece, “Blues for Frank” with an arco introduction, before switching to pizzicato during the ensemble playing; Jaco Pastorius’ “Teen Town” was cleverly woven onto this song as well. Other highlights included “12-Tone Hip Bop,” dedicated to Charlie Parker and Arnold Schoenberg. Overall, this was a delightful evening of provocative and highly enjoyable music; bring `em back, Ken!
Anderson/Easley Live New Orleans Reviews:
“Anderson’s speed on the bass was mind-boggling. Easley was his usual genius self, and the other guys played their parts well as they went along for the ride … “Giving Up,” with Easley showing off his high-pitched Paul Simon-like vocals over a Reggae sound and beat. The song was upbeat and encapsulated the sound of being lost at sea but having hope.”
“…Easley loved his atmospherics. Anderson created some by using his bow to simulate a flute or Indian sound if he moved it fast enough. His repetitive bass lines also helped the tripped out feeling…”
“The feeling Easley created: haunted lost light soldier in deep night riding waves into or out of hope. That’s when it’s slow-paced, but:
#1: The band burned a Blues with the energy of Hendrix.
#2: They got into a hillbilly romp, dance and skip. Somehow, Easley made his twang the sound of unrest, rage and revolution.” Dave Easley won the Offbeat Magazine award for ”best other” instrument (pedal steel guitar) in 1997 and was chosen by New Orleans Magazine as a New Orleans Jazz All Star in 2003.
Among the Bands Dave Easley plays or has played in are The Heartfacts, 3 Now 4, The Brian Blade Fellowship (in which he recorded under Daniel Lanois and played a duet with Joni Mitchel), Coco Robicheaux, Shannon McAlly and The Anderson/Easley Project.
A few of the people Easley has had the honor of performing onstage with are world renowned sarod player, Ashish Khan, sacred steelers, the Cambell Brothers, members of the String Cheese Incident, the Grey Boy Allstars and Tiny Universe, jazz violinist virtuoso, George Mason, and Dr. John.
Alternatives (Gulf Coast): Easley belongs to the Orphic line of musical artists who report to society in music from the subterranean and sub-rational lode of the unconcious whose music is intuitive, ecstatic and oracular.” – Judy Beck
Downbeat Magazine: …new, effective voice…” (referring to Easley in their review of Brian Blade Fellowship’s eponymous release.)
The New York Times: “…one of the crucial elements that give his (Briad Blade’s) records a swelling texture and a warm, major-key Americana: the pedal steel guitarist, Dave Easley…” – Ben Ratliff
“A very necessary development, that’s what you’ve happened on. I am delighted to be acquainted with you and your style.” – Dave Chamberlain – D. J. WRFG, Atlanta
…one of the freshest and most essential voices in instrumental music today. Easley soars, shifts and flows, forming elegant patterns passing from sphere to shining sphere. – Michael Dominici, OffBeat Magazine
The lyric of “Honeysuckle” sounds like it was written over a long weekend by Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. The verses have that driving polysyllabic roll of Dylan’s Subteranean Homesick period but with Simon’s gentler delivery. – Dennis Formento, Beatlicks (Memphis)
…Just when you think you have his role pegged, however, he breaks into a blistering solo, with all the passion and facility you’d expect of a great jazz player… – Spike Perkins
…the best, most refreshing “unknown band” I’ve heard of in a long, long time… – Relix Magazine
…gently haunting vocal style. – Spike Perkins, OffBeat Magazine
…the solos from pedal steel player Dave Easley are again transcendent. – John Duffy, All Music Guide (from review of Brian Blade’s album, Perceptual.)
Offbeat Magazine 1997 Best of the Beat Award: Best New Progressive Jazz Band went to 3 Now 3.
Gambit Magazine Big Easy Awards: Best Emerging Artist went to 3 Now 3.
MP3.com #1 song Sarah De La Mer (Psychedelic) during June 1999
MP3.com #5 song Magic Ball (Reggae) during June 1999
Informal Comentary by Some Prominent Figures in the New Orleans Music Scene:
“It’s astonishing, really. Beautiful. I can’t believe I didn’t hear your band sooner.” – Christina Diettinger
“Is the ‘Icicle Man’ Dave Easley?” – Coco Robicheaux and John Magnie
(independantly and unbeknownst to each other.)
“…many tremendous gifts to give the listener…stories that leave one thinking…very involved stories and poems, intertwined with serious musical content, yet all the songs are very accessible. Another gift is that I’ve listened to this record three times in its entirety, and I’ve found some other tidbit I missed on the last listen… This is a CD I’ll listen to again and again.” – Tim Green (Sax for Peter Gabriel, Bruce Hornsby, Daniel Lanois, Cyril Neville, 3 Now 4, etc.)
Alternatives : Easley belongs to the Orphic line of musical artists who report to society in music from the subterranean and sub-rational lode of the unconscious whose music is intuitive, ecstatic and oracular…Easley writes intuitively, from Surrealist-style cues: dreams, alpha-state visions, automatic drawing. His experiences and readings steep in the unconscious to soak up their language and meaning… Easley’s non-linear approach yields consistently potent, telling lyrics:
‘The water came up high but didn’t knock the lions from the seawall.
Deep into the night angry dogs gave their call
For tender charges behind the gate,
Or ancient times still resplendent in their skulls.’
…Shuttling into the unconscious also enables wordplay, free association and Lewis Carroll inversions. From the Native American viewpoint, “the West was lost if the West was won.”…
…Reggae, rock, salsa, blues, folk, Middle Eastern, country and more weave their way into the Heartifacts’ modern jazz/psychedelic core – not for novelty, but for their intrinsic, if sometimes oblique, pertinence to the material. The setting for each poem seems to choose itself in an intuitive process that Easley “can’t explain.” Again, this non-conscious process has a multi-leveled effect…poignant in its beauty, truth and mystery… When genres are served straight, folklorically, they’re often coupled with decidedly non-traditional, even paradoxical, material…
…What makes the Heartifacts “Witch Doctors of the Soul”? From below consciousness, The Heartifacts bring unarguable visions that bond us; from before history, the pre-patriarchal imprint of social harmony; from around the world, regional and sub-cultural rhythms and sounds. Their medicine music shrieks, whispers, laments, caresses, warns celebrates and reveals. And makes you feel good. – Judy Beck
Dave Anderson a professional double bassist, joined the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans in September of 1996 after winning their Principal Bass audition. Prior to that appointment, he performed and recorded regularly with the Louisville Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, among others. Since 1994, he has served as Principal Bassist in the Britt Festival Orchestra in Oregon.
He has performed extensively with many diverse ensembles including, the Aspen Festival, Chautauqua (NY) Festival, Colorado Philharmonic (NRO), Colorado Music Festival, the LaSalle Quartet, and as a soloist with Richard Stoltzman, Gene Bertoncini, Nigel Kennedy, Bobby McFerrin, Doc Severinsen and many others. He has served as Bass Instructor for the Music School at Loyola University and also on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bassists (ISB) as bassist/composer.
Mr. Anderson began his pursuits in composition in 1984, recognizing that the solo repertoire for his instrument was limited. The influence of Frank Proto, one of his finest teachers, also led him to turn to involved composition. Since then, his published work has expanded to other solo instruments, as well as for chamber orchestras and small ensembles. He has published bass duets and quartets, including a bass quartet that was performed to acclaim at the Chamber Music Festival at Indiana University in 1993. Anderson won first prize in the 1995 Allen Ostrander International Trombone Composition Competition, sponsored by Ithaca college, for Elegy for Van, a work for solo bass trombone and brass choir, which he composed as a tribute to the late Lewis Van Haney, former trombonist with the New York Philharmonic. Several years ago, Anderson completed a concerto for Bass Trombone, commissioned by his father, Edwin Anderson, former bass trombonist with the Cleveland Orchestra. His Concerto for Double Bass, Strings & Harp, commissioned by Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Bassist Hal Robinson was premiered at the ISB Convention in June of 1997 and performed on the 1997-98 subscription series of the Philadelphia Orchestra season, Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting. His current work includes a second symphony, as well as several commissions.
Here is some of what the Press has said in Anderson’s past:
Review of Anderson’s Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola & Bass, Louisville Courier Journal music critic Andrew Adler wrote: “Anderson’s new work is splendidly fresh and provocative, ingenious in how it distributes material … the jazzy syncopations and ethnic flavorings reflect a diverse, expertly distilled inspiration. Thoroughly absorbed by yesterday’s performance, the piece offered sustained pleasure.”
Reviews of Anderson’s Bass Concerto:
Houston Chronicle music critic Charles Ward :
” … thoroughly appealing … his rich scoring of the orchestra and expansive solo melodies came from a composer exuberantly in love with music.”
Lesley Valdes, Philadelphia Inquirer:
” … a melodious work, whose moods cohere… the thoughtful, the nostalgic, the provocative. Ideas are fertile and cohesive.”
Thomas May, Washington Post:
“Anderson shows a gift for fashioning readily accessible music from unusual combinations of timbres.”
Also a prolific electric bassist, Anderson loves playing with an “all bass” (and drummer) band named Triple Bass. This group led by Anderson, performs original music of many genres including free jazz, funk, bop, minimalist and many wonderfully unique approaches to dynamics and expression. Anderson also plays with Algorhythm Method, and BIG SOUL, bands that fuse many different styles including hard rock, funk, blues, jazz, and New Orleans R & B.
Anderson has jammed with The Radiators, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Roy Pope, Darryl Brown, and many other great New Orleans musicians including a killer performance with guitarist Brian Stoltz of the Funky Meters as a main highlight of the French Quarter Festival 2002.
In 1984-85, Anderson played for and took lessons with the legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius in New York, who firmly encouraged the idea of being able to cross over between classical and jazz.
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