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    Finito at BC’11, deluge of photos in 3, 2…


    2011 - 11.14

    Just caught the late night jam session at the treehouse at Bear Creek and almost ready to turn in.  The last 2 days have been an utter onslaught of funk.  I was intending to blog more as we watched the music, but there was just way too much awesome to really tear my eyes/ears off of.

    Lots of opinions and pics over the next weeks!

    And the beat goes onnnnn


    2011 - 11.12

    Bear Creek continues to deliver! Just finished watching the new mastersounds, who were in excellent form.  Guest appearances by Robert Walter, Skerik, Roosevelt from the lee boys and more.  Pete’s bass playing was fast and furious tonight, and Simon played those drums with aplomb. 

    Highlights of yesterday were Orgone, who put on the best show I’ve seen from them yet (I’ve seen them 4x), Soulive, and Medeski, who threw it down pretty funky.  Sometimes Medeski can get too avant/abstract for my tastes, but not last night!  Awesome set.

    Galactic had some nice crowd pleasing moments, and Stanton Moore never seems to disappoint, although their sax player still just doesn’t cut through to me.

    Eric Krazno and Chapter 2 tore it apart this morning, including an incredible rendition of the Beatles “Get Back” which culminated in a half-tempo swingin version of the refrain.  That was a treat.  Anxious to listen back to the recordings on that and tonights mastersounds.

    And there’s still more.  Egads!

    Houston, we have landed


    2011 - 11.11

    First show of Bear Creek: Dr. Lonnie Smith.  B3 black magic!  His guitar player is Jonathan Kreisberg!  Sweeeeeeeeet

    Also, the purple hat stage is outdoors this year!  Big improvement, sound-wise from last year.

    Much more to come

    As I fly off to catch the funk, some fly beats from the underground to get it groovin


    2011 - 11.11

    We were riding the subway in NYC when we pulled up to the West 4th street stop and there was this kickass drumming going on when the doors slid open. I listened for a split second and then said to my brother & girlfriend, hey let’s get off for a minute and check this out. My bro was like … YEAH!

    So we step on to the platform and I pull out my admittedly huge camera and the dudes kinda trailed off. They looked at me and said ‘hey we gots to get paid or else we can’t play!’ So I dropped some jazz millions in the collection bucket and told them to keep it rolling.

    True story.


     

    Countdown to the FUNK!


    2011 - 11.10

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

    Bear Creek is imminently upon us! I cannot wait to scope out what badassery it has in store this go-round. I’ve rented some extra camera gear and the emails have been flyin’ fast and furious this week to set up some interviews with musicians. I’ll be chatting improvisational wizardry with Eric Krazno of Soulive fame, riffing with Sam Kinninger about horn lines, and maybe chatting with Karl Denson and/or Robert Walter as well. HOT. DOG. The anticipation and excitement cannot be overstated.

    Those interviews will be filmed so stay tuned in the coming weeks for some heady video of people who know their music.

    Awesomeness guaranteed.

    Only ONE more week until Bear Creek!


    2011 - 11.03

    Oh man. I am fired. Up. Fired up for the FUNK.

    Fired up for the press access, fired up over maybe getting to meet some of these musicians backstage, fired up to take a boatload of pictures, and fired up for the music festival atmosphere.

    As a recap, check out this post with the discussion of Soulive’s performance last year.  AWWW GIT IT!

    Bear Creek: Plan your attack!


    2011 - 10.22

    Looks like they’ve posted up the hour-by-hour schedule for Bear Creek 2011. And man, it’s a doozy. I’m not sure when I will have a chance to breathe with that much funky music filling up the air. Both the blessing and the curse of a fest like this is that jeez, there is just SO-MUCH-AWESOME occuring all at the same time that there is simply no way one can catch it all. I see several spots on the timetable with some agonizing choices–for instance Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe is playing at the same time as Medeski, Martin, and Wood. Ahhh! What do I do?!?

    Here’s a silly MS paint synopsis of how my day will go on Saturday:

    I get to do WHAT?!


    2011 - 10.16

    Okay, not gonna lie: extra-large size awesome news struck on Friday and I’m totally not able to play it cool about this.

    The most excellent people at Madison House Publicity have helped me obtain a media pass and photo credentials for the 2011 Bear Creek Music Festival.

    Just gonna sit back and absorb that one for a minute…

    Ah yes, that’s ah, well, you might say that it’s, um, geez, what can you say about that??  It’s gonna be flippin amazing.

    In the coming weeks I’ll be adding several posts leading up to the festival, and then once I’m there, I intend to upload photos and do a little live-blogging as the fest unfolds.  Then for (many?) weeks afterward there will be a steady stream of photos and other coverage.  I’m not even sure what all that will entail yet.  Being the ambitious guy I am, I intend to try to make the most of it.

    So consider this like a tiny preface to a novel that you’re about to read (and see and listen to!) on here.  It’s going to go deep into the artistry of funk music, like I’ve only scratched the surface of before.  This is something I’m terrifically excited about.  For serious.

    Album Art Feature: BT Express “Do It ‘Til You’re Satisfied”


    2011 - 09.29

    A totally bomb album that I only discovered this summer, BT Express with “Do It ‘Til You’re Satisfied”

     

    Open up to the inside and check out this badass picture of these guys! The eponymous track of this album can be heard as the second tune in my previously posted Cactus Vinyl Funk Mix. This is some smokin hot 70’s funk right here!

    Sweet, Sweet Funky HD Video


    2011 - 09.12

    Oh man. So in case you didn’t pick up on it, I like funky music a lot. On my recent trip to Wisconsin, I extended my stay so that I could catch a concert that, when I first heard about it, made me exclaim, “Wahaaaaaaaaat?!”

    It’s the jazzy funk organ trio WRD aka Walter, Roberts, & Deitch. For anyone keeping score, that’s Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds on guitar, Robert Walter of the Greyboy Allstars on B3 organ with basslines, and Adam Deitch of Lettuce and Pretty Lights on the drums. Holy. Crap. Let’s get right into the videos, taken from the Jazz in the Park concert series in Milwaukee Wisconsin on 8/18/11:

    While most people will just appreciate it at face value for what it is, I gotta say for those of us who follow the modern funk music scene, this trio is 1. a total dream-team and 2. a pretty fascinating confluence of different vibes from within the same overall scene. Adding to the interest is the fact that they embarked on a 5 date tour, with no future dates yet announced. So get it while it’s hot, and you best believe; it’s HOT!

    Let’s break down who’s who, and what they each add to the mix:

    On drums, Adam Deitch has put in a lot of time with Lettuce, bringing his really tight, on-tempo, in-your-face school of beats from New York City. He’s also played with jazz great John Scofield and acted as producer for some legit hip-hop albums from Talib Kweli and 50 Cent. His sound is hard, flashy, bombastic. The overpowering, explosive records from Lettuce owe a lot to Deitch’s style. He’s also a young guy! It’s pretty cool that the relatively older Roberts and Walter decided together that this would be the right guy for forming an organ trio.

    On the flip side of the spectrum we’ve got Robert Walter, a keys player who’s helped redefine the meaning of boogaloo for the modern generation. This cat hails from San Diego and now lives in New Orleans–sorry, Nawlins. He’s loose, and I mean that in all right ways. For many years he’s been a cornerstone of the Greyboy Allstars. He’s also played in a jillion other settings it seems like, from his own groups–the 20th Congress and the Super Heavy Organ trio–to the Stanton Moore Trio and gobs of other one-off delightful combinations of hip musicians. I saw him with Stanton Moore in New York about five years ago and it was a treat to hear him play basslines. Same deal here. In fact I sort of feel like he’s gotten better with them… or maybe he was just getting into it in Milwaukee and performed exceptionally well. In any event, this guy is a giant on the B3 organ, generally with a laid back feel, ahead of the beat, behind the beat, around the beat–and pours it on masterfully.

    Lastly, there’s Eddie Roberts from Leeds in the UK, who’s known for his main gig with The New Mastersounds. As with the others, he also has a mile-long list of side collaborations and projects. Eddie is the top chef when it comes to Deep Funk, serving up a signature stew of meaty rhythm guitar wah-comping, rippin’ solos seasoned with Wes Montgomery style harmonized licks, and an increasingly tasteful sense of when to escalate the energy level with his trademark bursts of quick-pickin’ or let the feeling simmer while he marinates with some soulful strummin’. Roberts typically eases into a performance, taking at least a few tunes to really get situated before he hits you with the secret sauce that makes you smile, but here with the WRD Trio, he came out swinging hard. I’ve seen him play at least ten different times now, and I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen him come out immediately so strong. A pleasure to watch! Out of all the guys playing funk guitar out there today, Roberts is the top of the heap, in my eyes.

    In their own ways, you can make a solid arguement that each of these three guys are at the forefront of their respective veins of today’s funk scene. It’s pretty exciting to see them teaming up like this, and you can tell both from the playing, and the facial interactions between them, that they’re having a good time!

    – – –

    To switch gears for a minute here, this was sort of the first major outing with my new T3i video DSLR, and it was a learning experience. Probably the most major thing I immediately took away from these videos was the importance of holding the camera steady. What seems like minor fumbling on the 3″ camera LCD I watch while filming, turns into jarring and distracting earthquakes on the 24″ LCD at home! Lesson learned!! I got a little wild with my quick zooms at times, which sometimes worked awesome (like right at the beginning of a solo), sometimes seem a bit kitschy but still cool (zooming in along with the beat), and sometimes overdone (too much ranch will ruin any salad).

    Note that anytime you can see the keys on Robert’s B3, I’m holding the camera up as high as I can over my head, with the T3i articulating screen pointed 90 degrees down so I can keep things in frame. Boom. There you go–paying extra for the T3i was justified afterall.

    Walking sideways and/or *slowly* moving the camera around on an otherwise steady shot turned out to be cool techniques that somewhat capture the excitement of “being there”, instead of the clinical feel of a documentary. I want to experiment more with those in the future. Rotating the camera to odd angles in order to fit as much interesting stuff into the frame as possible was also a good idea. Those shots that tightly frame Eddie’s head at the left and Adam’s drums on the right were cool. I want to try doing more of these so-called “Dutch Angles” in the future.

    I also learned that with 1080p at 24fps, it’s a waste of video footage to do any really fast pans, like the ones that sweep over the audience rapidly. With this framerate and quick camera movement, the subject just turns into mush. Finally, another big takeaway is that I need to improve my skills on quickly refocusing with the manual focus ring, specifically by always rotating it in the correct direction. If I want to be able to master moving between subjects and not having moments of blurriness (which can admittedly be sort of cool in limited amounts) I’ll need to develop some better ability for wrangling those rings more responsively! Maybe even DURING a pan between subjects…

    There’s room for improvement!