A Happy Note from Ben the Webmaster...
Midwest Chadfest 2002 was an
astounding success!! I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful time
was had by all these last four days around KC. It's taken me a day
to recover, after dropping Eugene at the airport yesterday, from the
immense vortex of energy created by the music of our Good Doctor and
his amazing cohorts in Malachy Papers and Mr Marcos V7! Everyone was
playing at top chops and every night unfolded in totally different
Malachy Papers have matured into
an amazing band. Both Tenor Saxophonist Mark Southerland and Bass
Sax/Bass Clarinetist Brad Hauser were blowing at ecstatic pitch.
Several times I thought Mark had left the planet during his
astonishing solos- not to mention his flights of 8-track Scratch.
Stand-up Bass player Johnny Hammil was simply awesome at tying down
the beat and creating bowed textures as well as taking the band in
new directions through his inventive percussive interplay with
Eugene's guitar. Percussionist Mike Dillon, fresh from a live tour
with Les Claypool's Frog Brigade was the crowning touch. The guy was
everywhere, moving seamlessly between Vibes and Drums and assorted
goodies. Thursday night, the guy behind me screamed 'YOU ROCK'!!' at
him all through the last part of the set- and yes, He DID!
From the first moments on
Thursday night in Lawrence, it was obvious something special was up.
Eugene started out with a solo Banjo bit and the crowded, noisy bar
immediately became quiet. After a couple of tunes he had 'em in his
hand and then the band came out... The place rollicked through jazz
standard and unstandard, careening into country, a floor stomping
'Redneck Mothers', and then rocketing full bore to a final
conclusion at 3:00 AM.
Friday night was at the Cup &
Saucer, a nice little bar in the River Market area of KC right
around the corner from my office. Again Eugene started solo but
quickly mutated into full Malachy FORCE. The place was packed-
people stood outside to listen. I didn't think it could get much
better than the night before, but I was wrong. These guys just blew
the doors down. For a group of folks that hadn't played together in
several years, with absolutely no practice or planning, THIS GROUP
OF PLAYERS WERE GREAT!! Eugene was amazing throughout! The night
featured an absolutely sublime 'Banjo-8 Track-Funk Thing' that
transcended a few dimensional barriers...
Anyway, Saturday it just kept
going. Davey's Uptown was packed. The buzz from the first two shows
was all over town. Eugene started with 'New New War' and a few solo
tunes, soon to be joined by the Malachys... Mike Dillon began a
Tabla beat and suggested a bit of 'Tabla-Banjo-8 Track-Funk' and off
they went. The transition from 3rd world astro-funk n' roll into the
thundering Jazz n' Country Malachy herd was a sound to behold.
Eugene was ON.
As if this wasn't enough, next
came Mr Marcos V7. Another project that Mark Southerland is involved
in, and one I had not seen previously. Suffice it to say, I was
impressed. Another great band, soon joined onstage by Eugene and the
Bass Sax of Brad Hauser. They brought the house down.
And then it was Sunday night at
YJ's Cafe. YJ's is a little bitty place with amazing food, amazing
coffee, and best of all amazing atmosphere. Host David Ford creates
the perfect ambiance in this 'Third World Cafe'. After we cleared
out the tables to make room the place filled right up. The street
was filled with folks who couldn't make it in. Luckily the sound
carried nicely. Eugene started off with a solo set on 6 & 12 string
guitars and Banjo and then was joined by local drummer Arnie Young
and Stand-up Bassist Jeff Harshbarger for a POWER TRIO performance
that left everyone breathless. I couldn't have hoped for a more
powerful conclusion to such a wonderful weekend of music.
Best of all, we have great DAT
tapes of the first three nights and, thanks to my wife Donna's
ingenious use of her micro cassette recorder, a serviceable copy of
the electric set at YJ's! You will see at least some of this stuff
out on House of Chadula soon! I want it ALL!!!
I can't thank everyone involved
enough for making this happen- to Mark Southerland for all his hard
work setting up the gigs and making sure the $'s were right, the
super-cool flyers and cards he scattered liberally about town to
promote the gigs, not to mention the mind blowing horn playing he
graced us with throughout. To Mike Dillon for helping with the plane
arrangements and cost ( Greensboro Greensboro Greensboro ) as well
as his feats of percussive mastery- and to both he and Brad Hauser
for making the trip up all the way from Austin for these dates. To
Chad Meise for his SUPERHUMAN work to get everything set just right
for each night, the sound just perfect, and great tapes of the shows
to boot! To David Ford for his graciousness, good food, and a great
place to hang and play. To my wonderful wife Donna for putting up
with me n' Eugene all week and keeping us fed. To Peregrine for the
incredible Moo-Cow. To Joe for Joe. To all of the other musicians
involved- I'm proud that we have this kind of talent in our little
burg. Kansas City Jazz is truly alive again in the talent and spirit
of these players.
I also want to thank the many
people who came out to support us. We even had one group of hard
core fans come all the way from Normal, Illinois for the show
Saturday night. Musician Frank Pahl, former cohort of Eugene ( his
band 'Only A Mother' backed up Eugene at one time) was in town for a
family affair and made a point of dropping in for Friday and
Saturday's gigs. A lot of new fans were exposed to the Chadula virus
And finally, most of all to
Eugene for bringing out the best in all he touched. I've seen Eugene
play many times through the years, but I don't know that I've ever
seen him so consistently ON and obviously pumped by the experience.
I only hope he feels as good about the week as the vibe he left
behind. When I went in to YJ's today for lunch they were STILL
talking about it.
...can't wait to hear the tapes!
Hope you'll join us for the next one!!!!
Ben the Webmaster