The CapFest LowDown
Hello Trio Lovers!!
It’s jessicabunny, your new & official TTOZ blogger, checking in to give you the in-person low down on this year’s first annual Capricorn Music Fest. As you may have seen, I threw some photos of the event up right away to give everyone a peek at how awesome things were. But, I took about 500 pictures, Rachel Z. and I figured it would be fun to give everyone a more in-depth look at our day of music together.
First of all, it was a blast. The gathering took place at Klavierhaus in Manhattan, a retailer of beautiful pianos that also happens to be a burgeoning music venue.
Rachel Z. played a delicious Fazioli Grand Piano that was, in her own words, buttery, rich, perfectly equalized and with pure tone across the whole harmonic spectrum. So yeah, of course she sounded really good and we send a special thanks to Fazioli Pianoforti for that. We in the Trio family would also like to send some special love out to Jeff and Nick at Klavierhaus for being so gracious and hospitable to all of the musicians and guests as we came together to rock out and dig one another.
Now, let’s talk music…
Mino Cinelu makes such subtle and swirling sounds!!!
The event opened with Mino Cinelu doing a little solo guitar & Korg Wavedrum action to warm the floor (the link goes to the page for the new Wavedrum but Mino and Will played with an older version during CapFest) . I don’t know how familiar you all are with Mino but I’ll have you know, first that he’s a big sweetheart and secondly, that he cut his teeth as a musician years ago with greats like Miles Davis (yes, Miles Davis) and Weather Report. And, as we all know, our Omar Hakim put in quite a bit of time with Weather Report as well, so we’re starting to get a picture of the Trio’s family tree and how it came to be…Of course the Capricorn Festival is about music, yes!! But it’s also about family…
I have some more Mino shots down below, that was just a little teaser. After Mino got us started, the Trio hit the stage and got us into the groove with Angry Chair.
I love this shot of Solomon and Omar during Angry Chair because you can see some of the understate organization that exists and in fact MUST exist between members of a band for the sound to be succint. The idea is that however many voices or instruments play together, they create one sound and, no matter what the talent in the group, if they members aren’t communicating with each other, the sound will not come together. But, as you can plainly see, The Trio of OZ speaks that silent jazz jive, telepathic groove tricks and whatnot.
One song later when The Trio branches over into a cover of Coldplay’s Lost, the men have pulled back into a more personal and thoughtful space to urge the music on.
I feel like a National Geographic Voiceover. “And now we see the Omar stick bearing species approach the solo.”
Here is a little of the sacred space between the bass and the piano, the subtle communications between Our Lady of the Piano, Ms. Rachel Z. and our bass messiah, Solomon R. Dorsey The First and Only. While we were going through these photos, Rachel Z. described the bass as the mother’s milk, the support and the cradle for the all of the ivory tickling that she uses to guide and adorn the Trio’s sound.
And then there’s that frisky genius, our dear Omar…
Watching this guy on the drums is liking watching a cat with a ball of string. You can tell when Omar is at the kit that he’s tapped into something deep and magical, and instinctive musicatlity, massaging our ear space with his virtuosic percussive interactions.
Did you guys know that our Omar was a little wunderkind?? Omar’s father, Hassan Hakim, played trombone with the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands. When Dear Omar was but a wee and precious 10 years old, he was featured in his father’s band. Our Omar is true to this game but certainly not new to it.
He’s a little older now (I think he’s turning 21 this year, but he’s very mature for his age) but when I watch and listen, I can still feel that giddy kid all tickled with excitement to make some noise.
Ahh, and here is Solomon working with the bow on Bizarre Love Triangle, one of my favorite tracks, which closed out the Trio’s first trip to the stage for CapFest 2013…
And I managed to catch Rachel Z. in extreme concentration mode toward the end of her solo…but she still looks relaxed! The pros know just how to make it all look so easy.
Mino Cinelu and Will Calhoun took the stage after the Trio finished their premiere set and here we get to see the one and only Rachel Z. in a whole new light, as a fan!!! Mino started his set out with a few vocal tracks where he accompanied himself on electric guitar.
Then he got back into the WaveDrum groove and, of course, blew our minds some more with the smoothness and subtlety of his…jazz? I call it that because it was jazzy but I must say, Mino transcends genres for sure. There’s some rock going on, some funk, some folk…a nice little mixed bag of intriguing and saturated sounds.
I don’t like to use flash when I shoot events because it tends to make people look kinda fat and shiny, which nobody likes. The other perk of shooting without a flash is that often you can see movement; that motion blur in Mino’s hands is no joke. He was going in, all the way.
What Mino is doing in these shots, for all the laypeople in the audience (like myself) is making a background track of bass and percussive sounds with the WaveDrum, recording & looping it and then playing guitar and singing over it. So at this point, he’s a one man band, accompanying himself!! Working with distortion pedals and knobs while performing a creative piece is a complicated mash up that requires a heavy dose of artistic and technical skill, it’s not easy but the results are certainly awesome. He carried that approach over as Will Calhoun joined him on stage with gorgeous, humming wooden flute sounds and his own Korg WaveDrum. Two WaveDrums, two extremely talented musicians and friends and a flute, I’m telling you, the set was hypnotizing and wonderful.
I wrote about telepathy and contact, communication between band members up there when I was going on about The Trio, you see the same kind of magic happening between Mino and Will, they speak to each other with their sounds and make a single poetry for the senses…music is all about coming together & feeling, yeah?
Will Calhoun, known well by many for his time spent working with Living Color, known well by me for his work with Jaco Pastorious, who I ADORE, is a drummer according to his wikipedia page, a flautist according to the fact that he played the flute at CapFest with Mino and also happens to be a bourgeoning vocalist. He let the audience know that this, his performance with Mino Cinelu at The Capricorn Music Festival 2013, was his first time singing and playing an original composition for a live audience. Pardon me if I think that’s a big deal. From what I hear, Mino is big on fostering musicians out of their comfort zone, away from the instruments and ways they’re used and into new spaces. In this family, we like taking care of each other, helping one another to grow. awww…
This shot isn’t for sentimentality’s sake, I just happen to really like the triangle…
By the time Mino and Will finished up, the audience was soft and warm from the tunes and wine, the place was full up and the Trio pulled back in to put some stank on things. Maybe you can’t tell by the photos but they’re about to dig into their cover of Depeche Mode’s It’s No Good, which progresses softly and relies on Omar’s paddling to keep the movement going steady.
The shot above is, in my opinion, one of the best of the event. Okay, fine! I admit it, I have a bias because I’ve been friends with Solomon for a long time. But it’s not just that, he’s just plucked the string there and is letting that sound float out over us and himself, he’s taking a moment while the tone settles. It’s a lovely little moment and I’m glad I caught it, *blogger/photography pats self on the back.*
Rachel and the band get all introspective for Sour Girl and the mood of the whole scene shifts, she lifts us up and they carry us away.
The Trio finished this set, which was their last for the day, with I Will Possess Your Heart. It got us all into an eerie, lovey, awesome and spooky space. Yes! And then we took a much needed schmoozing break…
When we came back from out schmooze break, all full of wine and cheeses and conversations, it was well time for Rachel Eckroth and her band to burst onto the scene, and I do mean BURST, this woman brought some serious mojo to the CapFest stage. She started her set with Future (follow the link to the video), a track that shows both the clarity of Rachel’s voice and the gravity of her songwriting; the lyrics are meaningful and the tickling harmonies are beautiful. As our Rachel Z. puts it, Rachel E. knows how to “burst out and burn on the piano.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Rachel E. and the band followed up with Bitter My Heart and I must say thatis a personal favorite of mine, a track that crawls into your soul like your sketchy sexy ex-crawls into your bed on certain lonely nights…not that I know anything about that.
Rachel’s band regularly features Chris Parrello on guitar, David Cutler on bass, Jerome Jennings on drums and Jesse Fischer on keys but, for CapFest, we had the lucky addition of Shirazette Tinnin rocking out (and I do mean ROCKING OUT!!) on percussions.
Rachel E. finished her first set with Gold and Sunrise (click here to head to Rachel’s site and catch a snippet of Sunrise) and when I looked at the audience, I could tell that the minds of everyone there had been very gently but also very firmly and completely blown. Rachel Z. even caught some feelings about Rachel E.’s playing and songwriting; she said to me “There are feelings in her songs that actually mean something.” I think that’s a pretty good way to put it. Rachel Eckroth has some major mojo.
Jesse Fischer and the boys of Soul Cycle took to the stage next and…let me calm myself down a little…beacause…I THINK THESE BOYS ARE SO FRICKIN’ ADORABLE. Okay. I’m okay. Whew. If you take a trip over to Jesse’s website you can listen in on Tanqueray & Tonic, the first piece that the adorable boys whose cheeks I want to pinch played for the evening. Tanqueray & Tonic is what I file under the category of danceable baby-making music. It’s sexy, it’s fun, it floats and as it floats it carries you…next we got to hear Digital Savanna and Cyberphunk, which is my favorite of Soul Cycle’s tracks because the name says it all, it’s funky and bouncy and a little silly but it’s got this heavy, robotic descending bass magnetism going, makes visions of flash drives and tablets dance in my head. I have yet to listen to Cyberphunk and not find myself bobbing around in my chair…I’m actually listening to it right now on YouTube and, if you’d like, you can listen in too by clicking here.
Remember when I was geeking out about adorableness? Get ready, here it comes:
The Soul Cycle line-up features, of course, Jesse Fischer on keys, piano, kalimba (seen above) and vocoder, Godwin Louis on sax, Jean Caze on trumpet & flügelhorn, Solomon Dorsey on bass and Justin Tyson on drums. As you may have noticed, Jesse Fischer plays keys for Rachel Eckroth and Solomon Dorsey plays bass for The Trio and Soul Cycle. We all love each other too much to stay out of each other’s bands.
One of my favorite things about Jesse and Soul Cycle? I love brass instruments, oh they make me feel like I’m soaring!! The solos that Sean and Godwin took really put me on cloud nine. Oh, right, and they’re adorable, we can’t forget about that part.
If you can’t get enough of Jesse Fischer & Soul Cycle, firstly, know that you are not alone, your humble blogger is afflicted by the same urges, and secondly, check them out performing live at Drom last week by clicking here to travel to their SoundCloud page.
Oh no, I just realized I’m almost done! As I get close to the end of this post, I’m feeling the same sort of emotion I felt toward the end of CapFest, don’t end, more music, more friends, more family!! We all took another break where Rachel Z. thanked everyone for coming out to see and support the event. That weekend, there were several other huge venues hosting musicians and audiences, the fact that we were able to pull such a consistent crowd with our humble fête in a delicate piano house was a real accomplishment for The Trio of OZ family. We were and are all extremely grateful to each other, the audience, the Klavierhaus, the buttery sound of Fazioli Pianos, all of the tech people who got there well before I did and stayed to well after…did I miss anyone? You there! Person I missed! THANK YOU!!! A lot of hard work went into this gathering and the result was a full, whole and magical day.
Mino Cinelu and Will Calhoun took the stage again before the evening ended and fed us another mystical session of percussive ebbing and flowing with Will on the WaveDrum and Mino on the box cajon. This was my favorite set of theirs because everyone was all red in the cheeks and cuddly toward the end of the night and you can just see them vibing off each other and digging the scene….
After Mino and Will lulled us a bit, Rachel Eckroth gave us that last bit heat we’d need to make it home. Her last set featured Let Go, More Beautiful Than That & Dark and Dreamy, all of which bear an intense & emotive alt-rock stain that calls to mind the subtle poetry of Fiona Apple in tandem with the loud/soft dynamics of the Pixies. If you’re loving Rachel Eckroth, which you are, I can feel it, click ahead to Rachel’s EPK and YouTube account. She’s got a lot of wonder for you to enjoy.
Did you get enough pictures? I hope so. If not, here are two more, keyed together into a nice little gif ’cause I love gifs
Did you get enough links? ‘Cause I got those two:
Click on all of those links and ever other one in this post and I assure you that you will be happier in this life than you were before.
And, in case you, like me before I sent Jesse a Facebook message about it, do not know what a vocoder is, it’s a uh, voice thing that does this cool stuff…yeah, let’s cut and paste ’cause Jesse knows more about this kinda stuff than I do:
“Vocoder is a device that allows you to apply the diction from your voice to the melody of a keyboard, in short. So I can speak words into it and play the melody I want on a keyboard and it will combine the two sources of information to make it sound kind of like I’m singing, but not exactly.”
And, in case you, like me, read that and totally understood the words and stuff but were kinda like “huh?” check out this Soul Cycle track which features a vocoder, it’ll totally make you feel like a lightbulb just turned on in your head. My thoughts are actually brighter now, it’s cool.
Alright Trio Friends and Lovers, thank you so much for tuning in for the in-depth Capricorn Music Festival 2013 LowDown. I had fun giving it and I hope that you had fun on the receiving end. Stay tuned, I’ll be posting some more live music from this summer’s tour on SoundCloud over the next fews days.
Wishing you all the best from myself, Rachel Z., Omar Hakim, Solomon Dorsey and all of the extended Trio of OZ family, this is your humble jessicabunny signing off. Good luck and good night!!