Monthly Archives: March 2016

Ron Wasserman builds his big-band dreams on a classical bass

Ron Wasserman, front left, with the New York Jazzharmonic. (Mihyun Kang)

Ron Wasserman, front left, with the New York Jazzharmonic. (Photo by Mihyun Kang)

This article was first published on NyackNewsandViews.com. GO HERE to read it in its original form.

By Steven P. Marsh

Ron Wasserman fell in love with the seductive syncopations and improvisations of jazz as a young musician, but the relationship faded and he abandoned tiny, smoky jazz clubs in favor of the New York State Theater in 1988, when he landed a permanent job playing double bass in the New York City Ballet Orchestra.

Nearly three decades later, sparks are flying again between the 54-year-old musician and his youthful obsession: He started a 17-piece big band, the New York Jazzharmonic, last year, and is presenting its next concert, featuring famed violinist Lara St. John and tango artist J.P. Jofre, this Sunday at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in Manhattan.

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LA pop genius Jon Brion making rare New York solo appearamnce

Jon Brion

Jon Brion builds a song at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City, Oct. 3, 2011. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Jon Brion, the Glen Ridge, New Jersey, -born pop genius, has been based in Los Angeles for many years and rarely performs anywhere else — sticking mostly to the legendary club Largo.

But Brion, who’s worked with important musicians and filmmakers including Fiona Apple, Elliott Smith, Robyn Hitchcock, Judd Apatow, Aimee Mann, Of Montreal, Best Coast, and Paul Thomas Anderson — makes the trek back East every to put on a show once in awhile.

This year is one of those times.

Jon Brion on guitar

Jon Brion builds a song at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City, Oct. 3, 2011. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

He was at the Brooklyn Academy of Music opera house on Saturday night, joining the Wordless Music Orchestra as it performed his original score to accompany a big-screen presentation of the 2002 Anderson film “Punch-Drunk Love,” which stars Adam Sandler and Emily Watson. (He’s also written scores for “Magnolia,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and last year’s Amy Schumer vehicle, “Trainwreck.”)

He sat in the rear, practically under the screen and pretty far out of view, but took a big bow at the end.

I bemoaned the fact that he was such a small part of the fantastic evening. But seeing and hearing him at all was better than being deprived of his massive talents altogether.

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Shearwater shows David Bowie some love in Brooklyn

Jonathan Meiburg and Shearwater at Brooklyn's Rough Trade on March 16, 2016. (© 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Jonathan Meiburg and Shearwater at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade on March 16, 2016. (© 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Jonathan Meiburg the lead singer and head honcho of the crew of talented hired guns that call themselves Shearwater these days (or Johnny & the Meiburgs, as one former member dubbed the band) have been playing songs from David Bowie’s 19979 album “Lodger” lately while touring then new album, “Jet Plane and Oxbow.”

On Tuesday night, the band put those 10 songs together and played them in album order at Rough Trade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“This is the first time we’ve played them together in order,” he told a small but enthusiastic crowd — which included Okkervil River frontman and onetime Meiburg bandmate Will Sheff. Continue reading

Jamie Block and Caroline Doctorow: Longtime friends forge musical partnership at Union Arts Center Saturday

Caroline Doctorow and Jamie Block

Caroline Doctorow and Jamie Block

Caroline Doctorow considers herself a classic folksinger.

Jamie Block‘s a product of the Anti-Folk revolution.

You might not think they’d have a lot in common, but if you want to find out how these two artists manage to walk their separate paths without losing sight of each other, check them out in a rare Rockland County concert appearance at Sparkill’s Union Arts Center on Saturday, March 19.

What you’re likely find is that it’s a natural pairing — they’ve been friends and mutual admirers for a quarter century

The pair spent a little time with Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? the other day to talk about their friendship , Doctorow begins recounting how she met Block.

“I think I met Jamie when,” she began, only to be interrupted off by Block — as he had warned he probably would wind up doing.

IF YOU GO

What: Caroline Doctorow and Jamie Block in concert

When: 8 p.m., Saturday, March 19

Where: Union Arts Center, 2 Union Ave., Sparkill, New York

Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door. GO HERE TO BUY ONLINE. More info at info@unionartscenter.com or 845-359-0258

Interview continues after the jump. Continue reading

First-time novelist Jessica Tom finds the way to Hollywood’s heart is through its stomach, too

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Novelist Jessica Tom on the cover of the Life & Style section of the March 10, 2016, issue of The Journal News

Jessica Tom, a Brooklyn-based writer and foodie who grew up in the Hudson Valley town of Pleasantville, is a skilled writer, but her provocatively titled debut novel, “Food Whore,” has benefited from a large dose of good luck, too.

It took the Yale-trained writer five years of hard works to get her first novel published. But the luck kicked in even before the book came out. She was lucky to get a bonus that most novelists — first-timers and veterans alike —  can only dream of: Hollywood’s DreamWorks studio bought an option on her New York City-centric tale of food and intrigue.

I had a chance to chat with Tom about growing up in Westchester County and the process of writing “Food Whore,” in an interview published Thursday in The Journal News.

GO HERE to read the full interview on lohud.com.

 

‘The Little Prince’ makes USA Today

Mark Osborne on USAT Life Cover 20160303.jpg

I’m not given to bragging here, but I have to share the news that my feature for The Journal News/lohud.com got picked up by USA Today. It made the Life hompage. Check it out by going here.