CBGB's coming to an end and other news from Fay Victor


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July 29, 2005

To: Listings/Critics/Features From: JAZZ PROMO SERVICES Press Contact: JIM EIGO, [email protected]

dee pop presents The Final FREESTYLE JAZZ Show @ CBGB'S LOUNGE 313 BOWERY • 212-677-0455 FREE ADMISSION (PASS THE WORD) SUNDAY JULY 31 • 7pm Featuring: Susan Alcorn, Tatsuya Nakatani, Joe Giardullo, Audrey Chen, Daniel Carter, Dom Minasi, Roy Campbell, Hayes Greenfield, Daniel Levin, Ursel Schlicht, Matana Roberts, Reuben Radding, Louie Belogenis, Kevin Norton, Joe Morris, Bill McHenry, Andy Haas, Sabir Mateen, Cooper Moore, Henry Warner, Ken Filiano, Angie Sanchez, Steve Swell, Fay Victor, Dee Pop and probably a few others (performing short sets in various combinations through out the evening)

This is a special newsletter dedicated to the Freestyle Avant-Garde Events at CBGB's that is coming to a close and to it's curator, Dee Pop. Enjoy!

A One Man Show

“I plead insanity" says Dee Pop, when I asked him why he started his Freestyle Avant-Garde Events weekly series. It was set up as a place to have musicians solely for their musical contribution and without pressure point of money. “I love jazz and wanted to play the music. What's not a better way to see up close great musicians, meet some of them and EVEN get to play with them."

For the past 4 years, the Sunday evening series at CBGB's Downstairs Lounge featured music left of the dial - free, improvised, fractured, etc, and this coming Sunday will be the last. CBGB's Freestyle Avant-Garde Events is closing down and it's also full circle for Dee who has been affiliated with the venue for much longer. “I have been personally performing in the club for almost 30 years. I have a lot of history there. I've made a lot of friends there and consider them (and them reciprocally) as family" Dee says. So why is the series stopping? “Essentially because CBGB's as an entire entity may close completely in September."

Unfortunately this has been a trend in the Lower East Side of late. Venues such as the Tonic barely escaped closing down, The Issue Project Room changed course and moved to Brooklyn. The underground-granddaddy of them all, the club that gave groups like the Ramones and Blondie their start, may be singing its own swan song in light of rising rents and area gentrification. With Dee's long affiliation, it seems almost fitting that he ends it with running his own series after playing in numerous rock bands at the club for years.

And he plans on ending it with a bang. The grande finale will differ from the normal weekly format of 3-4 bands playing a one hour set. For a reasonable price at the door, listeners tuned into fresh, new sounds in the warm and dark atmosphere, amidst worn-out sofas, a long and sometimes lonely bar, and sound guys reading Hunter S. Thompson with earplugs in while the music is playing-and that was the point: the music playing on. Dee is happy to say that “while the series has had it's up and downs, pros & cons, it has maintained itself without any outside help and it has always had only the music itself to support it."

As you might have figured out by now, I asked Dee some questions because I wanted to talk about the series and about Dee. Although I never went as much as I would have liked, I (and many others) are grateful that the series was there and that there is someone so dedicated to offering musicians an option to do their “non-commercial" thing in NYC. I was touched by Dee's responses and by how straight-forward and open he was, and his willingness to share what the experience was like for him. Dee tirelessly promoted the series and worked hard to keep it going. With the sadness that surrounds it now, he feels it would be much worse if it folded because it could no longer support itself, which he made sure wasn't the case. “First of all, you have to have stamina and patience...things take time. There will always be slow periods. There will always be competition. You can never take anything for granted...It takes a lot of leg work to let a city like New York know your scene exists. There's a lot going on out there."

On July 31st, the last of the series will be held and it will embrace an evening of small sets comprising numerous artists who have played there over the years. Musicians such as Susan Alcorn, Tatsuya Nakatani, Joe Giardullo, Audrey Chen, Daniel Carter, Dom Minasi, Roy Campbell, Hayes Greenfield, Daniel Levin, Ursel Schlicht, Matana Roberts, Reuben Radding, Louie Belogenis, Kevin Norton, Joe Morris, Andy Haas, Sabir Mateen, Cooper Moore, Henry Warner, Ken Filiano, Angie Sanchez, Steve Swell, Dee Pop himself, and me. Please come down and hang out. The final evening is free and the music will be urgent as ever. As it usually is.

After the 31st, Dee plans on focusing on his own playing and projects. There are no immediate plans to start up anything new. “It is necessary to my existence that I play. And as the phrase goes 'necessity is the mother of invention'" he says. “I have tried to live my life with as much self expression and creativity as possibility. Life is really just one huge improv. And while I see the need for structure and form within anything, there is something strangely exhilarating about living in the moment and the immediate reaction."

Amen to that.

for more info, please go to www.cbgb.com

Also, I want to thank all of you who came down to the 55 Bar on July 15th - once again, it was a memorable evening. Thank you for sharing it us...and we'll be back at the 55 Bar on August 23rd with Anders Nilsson-guitar, Ken Filiano-bass and Michael TA Thompson-drums. We will be performing new original material on this evening.

The mood swing series continues on August 8th and the line-up will be Anders Nilsson on guitar and Hilliard “Hill" Greene on bass - come out and hang if you can.

Freddy's Bar and Backroom is located at 485 Dean Street between Flatbush and 6th Avenues. There is no cover. Transportation to Freddy's is excellent - you can take the 2/3 to Bergen Street (Freddy's is around the corner) or take any train going to Atlantic Avenue station (2,3,4,5,Q) or to Pacific Street (M,N,R,W). If you want more info, go to www.freddysbackroom.com. I'm looking forward to seeing you soon.

Cheers, Fay


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