Musaics goes live.
Jeremy Sole's MUSAICS debut gig - opening for the BUDOS BAND | live @ The Getty Museum (7/19/08)

[from the Getty website]:
"For the first time as a full 9-piece ensemble, DJ Jeremy Sole presents his culture-clashing recording project he calls "Musaics". Sampling drum loops from vintage world music records and layering original compositions, JEREMY SOLE'S MUSAICS juxtaposes elements of Afrobeat, Cumbia, Highlife, Jazz, Dub and experimental beats. For this project, Sole pulls together his dream team of musicians, who also perform and record with Ray Barretto, Dr. Dre, The Lions, The Pharcyde, Build An Ark, Madlib, Wayne Shorter, Quantic, Connie Price & The Keystones, The daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra and many more.

As well as hosting his weekly show on 89.9 KCRW, Sole is also the Co-Founder and resident DJ of Afro Funke', the "weekly Afro-boogie ritual" that draws hundreds of devotees to the Zanzibar nightclub every Thursday. Join us in celebrating music as a singular global language, where each culture's native rhythms are merely slang - different accents of the same mother tongue."

Boy, was this a moment of truth for me! I've been working on music for years - some with other musicians, some just my MPC, Rhodes, Guitar and a loft filled with dusty, funky records. But when I got the call from the Getty asking if I would put "my band" together for their Summer Sessions concert, I really had to step up. I told her that my band is mainly a recording project, in that all the members are serious session players and are always on tour with one of their many projects. Todd Simon, being such a good friend, supporter, and believer in the future of Musaics said "You can do this! You been ready for this for a long time, and you know all the players are down".  Being a long-time fan of Todd's work (Quantic, Antibalas, Madlib, The Lions...), when he told me to jump in, I jumped. Then began the madness of musician-turn-project manager, calling my dream team of musicians with fingers-crossed that they'll be in town for the gig. Scheduling rehearsal times for cats of this caliber is heavy (5 of the players who joined me on stage left THAT NIGHT to be the back up band for Big Daddy Kane's tour).

The one thing I had no experience with was being a band-leader, but a few friends of mine need to be acknowledged for their guidance and encouragement: Carlos Nino is a big inspiration to me, always has been since I first moved to LA and realized he produced some of the live events I was most excited about. Build An Ark, Ammoncontact and Carlos' other outlets are all beautiful manifestations of his likeness - riding that fine line between complex and minimal, progressive and classic, head music and body music (and heart music). Carlos' guidance in choosing which players would best fit my vision, and tips on running a session were priceless. J-Boogie is another lifer in my book, good friend and the perfect person for advice seeing that he has a similar approach to running a band as the DJ and beat-maker. Honored to have friends like you guys, thanks again.

I need to express my utter amazement and honor toward these eight players, who braved my visual and abstract explanations of melody and tone to perfectly birth my vision of every tune (with only one rehearsal!) Even more praise to everyone who came out to support. You helped make that one hour in July 2008 a cornerstone in the foundation of Musaics as a living, breathing and evolving entity.

JEREMY SOLE - Turntables, Guitar, MPC2000
TODD SIMON - trumpet, flugelhorn
JAMES KING - flute, sax, baritone sax
TRACEY WANNOMAE - bass clarinet, flute, oboe
DAN UBICK - guitar
DAN HASTIE - Rhodes, Moog, Farfisa organ
ALAN LIGHTNER - percussion

"Invocation" - pieced together with samples from "Martin Cohen Loves Latin Percussion" (Sabu Martinez), orchestra tunings and vocal samples.

"Untitled Skalypso Jam" - Featured Alan Lightner on pan drums, and man did he command attention! Based on a skanky loop I sampled from a rare calypso version of Summertime. I was humming the horn line to the guys 5 minutes before showtime, and they hit it like they've been playing it for years. For a little groove I made the night before the gig, this ended up being my favorite moment.

"Bumbo" - A cover of a Moondog tune,  the blind composer, cosmologist, poet, inventor and Norse God look-a-like who spent 20 years living on the corner of 6th Street in New York City, playing the compositions he wrote on the instruments he invented. This tune was, like many of his, originally written for drums and reeds only, and led by the baritone saxophone. I flipped his syncopated percussion arrangement into a grimy Dancehall pattern, and Ubick added a growling Moog bass. Since Moondog always wrote in Rounds, James held down the original baritone line while we kept the rest of the song undulating in the tension and release of the original melody.

"untitled afro-house jam" - This one started with a tympani drumloop, rising out of a vocal Free-Jazz interlude from Earth, Wind & Fire's "Energy". A fast 4-on-the-floor Afrobeat pattern, all I had written beforehand was Ethan's bassline, and the drumbeats of course. The guys really stepped up on this one. We started the groove and the horns wrote their parts right there on stage.

"Serenade" - A minor Blues piece I wrote for acoustic guitar years ago. This was my first time performing it with other players (and for such a big audience!) Miguel wrote a gorgeous, introspective arrangement for it. It truly came off like the peaceful exhale of a tune that I had hoped. A setting pace for the setting sun, and the middle of our set. Being the only song not driven by my beats, Alan guided us with cajon and tamborine (at the same time). Solos by Miguel on Viola, Tracey on bass clarinet, James on flute and Hastie on Rhodes.

"Minor Montuno Bump" (feat. Brian Haas) - One of my oldest friends and mentors, Brian Haas is the genius pianist from the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Brian, on a short road trip through California, drove in and arrived minutes before I called him on stage - impeccable timing as usual. I wrote this on Rhodes originally, and knew it was just frenetic and eerie enough for Brian to really take it somewhere wild. The energy was strong in this one, with solos by Miguel and Tracey before Brian, and Alan jumping from percussion to pan drums.

"Guero Salsero" - A modern dancefloor take on an old African Salsa tune by Africando. I rearranged the horns on some hard drumbeats, sampling vocal ad-libs from old Roberto Roena and Sabu Martinez records. Halfway through, the drums, keys and bass switch into a typical Salsa pattern. James really killed it with an authentically folkloric flute solo and Todd, as usual, knocked it out the park on Trumpet.

"A No Name Tune" - a little outro, introduce-the-band kind of number I made from sampling Hugh Masekela... the kind of major Blues that you'd imagine hearing Cannonball Adderley or Eddie Harris riff on.

Dan Hastie - ivory tickler / knob twiddler

Tracey (front) needs only one glance at the charts to master it.
Miguel (back) tuning his viola and tapping into the universe.

Todd Simon - horndawg.

Dan Ubick (back: Hastie)

(L to R) James "Saxophonista" King & Tracey Wannomae.

Alan Lightner - anything you can slap, hit, tap and smack (in a good way)

Working out the parts until, literally, the last second before showtime.

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