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Carnegie Grind

Last night’s MAYWE concert at Carnegie was a super fun ride, and my sincere thanks to Robert Ambrose and Laura Moates Stanley and the whole ensemble, who shouted Avenue X to the heavens at the Isaac Stern Auditorium. Maestro Ambrose also programmed the gorgeous Dusk, which made the evening into a rare opportunity to hang with SB.

My Day with Bryant began earlier when we popped in on on the Bang on a Can Marathon down at the World Financial Center yesterday afternoon. It was the usual schmooze-o-thon, only this year with the unusual addition of an audience full of of babies. Apparently infants and toddlers really dig Ethyl. This is a hypothesis easily tested at home, and I’ll get right on it. In any case it seems clear that we’re all getting older, and those who go to these things are now procreating in order to make more little Cantaloupe CD-purchasers.

Getting stuck behind the President’s motorcade on West St. combined with a last-minute re-shuffling of program order meant we actually missed the two pieces we were most interested in hearing in our allotted time slot: the new Bill Frisell, in which our old friend Carrie Stinson was playing, and a new piece by Ted Hearn of whom I became a fan after enjoying scenes from his opera at this year’s City Opera Vox readings. Oh well. I heard they sounded great.

So in fact it turned out that the most intriguing piece for me that hour was a little ditty by Jeppe Just Christensen for five amplified coffee grinders. You’d think that would be easy fodder for The Snarky, and of course I was quite ready to, but instead I found myself totally enjoying it. Different amounts of beans made for different pitches, and the hocket-y (caffeinated!) rhythms were fun and unpredictable. And as the beans ground down the tones of the machines eased down, creating a natural denouement. It was actually sort of brilliant.

You can probably hear many of the Marathon pieces if you check out their summer season at MassMoCA up in North Adams, not far from The Newman Compound™. If you go, give a call and we’ll meet at the BrewHaha.

And while you’re surfing around all those amplified Downtown websites, open a new tab onto the aesthetic opposite that is It’s live and online, and full of nifty pictures of JC’s African Art collection.

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