A year or so ago I briefly exchanged e-mails with Weasel Walter about possibly doing a live improv set for WFMU on one of his whirlwind trips through NYC. I have long been a fan of the Flying Luttenbachers and also many of the other more aggresive "punk" "rock" projects he's been a part of including XRBRX, Burmese, To Live and Shave in LA 2, etc.
For the past few years Weasel's musical involvement has been strictly in full-on improvisational settings with a who's-who of collaborators in the Bay Area like Damon Smith, Nels Cline, Vinny Golia, Henry Kaiser, and in NYC with bassist Reuben Radding and trumpeter Nate Wooley. So when our esteemed music director Brian Turner wrote me to say that Weasel was interested in doing something at the station on his next trip through town, I jumped at the chance and left it up to Weasel as to who he wanted to invite along. I could not have been more ecstatic with his selections--Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Peter Evans (trumpet)--two artists who have played on my show in the past, and are both on my shortlist of the finest instrumentalists/improvisors/composers working in music in '09.
I expected a serious improv tussle from three total pros (at one point I asked Weasel if he needed a music stand and he just giggled!), but what I didn't expect was the pure sense of camaraderie and common vision that is evident from the first note. After all, these three seldom play together as a group and this was their first meeting on this trip (there is a multi-camera DVD coming of one of their gigs, as well as an extremely limited CD-R of a handful of performances from last year, both on ugExplode). After the set they embarked on a week of shows in Europe and I can hardly imagine the type of transcendence and lucidity they must have achieved by the end of the week, considering where they started on this night. Thanks to Weasel for setting this up and to Mary and Peter for killing it! Special thanks to Jason Sigal for coming through in the clutch and engineering.
These tracks are also streaming/downloadable from the FMA, as is a track from Weasel Walter & Mary Halvorson's duo release, Opulence. There are also two releases with Peter Evans & Weasel Walter available from Weasel's ugExplode label (Oculus Ex Abyssus duo LP and Evans/Fei/Smith Walter CD-R), and I recommend them both without reservation, as well as the Mary Halvorson Trio release Dragon's Head, and The Peter Evans Quartet. And speaking of the FMA, both Mary's set and Peter's set from past episodes of the Long Rally are available there as well. And, in case that wasn't enough, check out the new solo trumpet double CD from Peter Evans, Nature/Culture, on Evan Parker's Psi label. Whew! More photos after the jump.
The live audio in this post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-