L-R: My dad, David Byrne, Jherek, Calder, me
2012 is off to an AMAZING start! My 8 year-old son (Calder) and I just returned from a week-long trip to New York City for a musical adventure made possible by my ultra-talented brother Jherek.
Jherek, a multi-instrumentalist (whose main instrument is bass), composer, arranger and producer has just put the finishing touches on his upcoming album Composed which features a diverse lineup of guest vocalists including old friends like Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls to legendary musical impresarios like Caetano Veloso and David Byrne. As a way to celebrate the accomplishment and get some attention for Jherek’s amazing work, David Byrne hooked my brother up with the producers of the Ecstatic Music Festival at the Kaufman Center in NYC for a live performance of the album, start to finish.
Rehearsal at Merkin Hall, Kaufman Center, NYC
A photo of Jherek taken by Calder.
Calder hitching an elevator ride to rehearsal with his idols (other than the Beatles).
The concert featured most of the same vocalists as the album (it was too expensive to get Mr. Veloso here from Brazil) along with the Wordless Music Orchestra (NYC) and a gaggle of cohorts from Seattle. The percussion section included Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), Seattle’s Paul Kikuchi, my very own dad, me, and… Calder! That’s right, Calder played NYC with Jherek and David Byrne at 8 years old! Sure, it was for only one gong hit, but boy was it worth the cost of bringing him across the country!
The concert was a huge hit, completely sold out and, extremely well-received. The promoters had done a fantastic job ahead of time and there was extensive preview coverage in Time Out New York, New York Magazine, and on WQXR including interviews and live streaming of the concert.
That's me on the far left, Jherek poking out to the right of David, and Steven Reker in the track jacket amongst players from the Wordless Orchestra.
Take a listen to the entire archived recording of the show here:
But, back to that bucket list mentioned in the title of this post… you see, Jherek and I were basically raised on David Byrne’s music. Sure, there was some Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and Beatles thrown in, as well as a bunch of bizarre music my dad was into. About 8 years ago, Mr. Byrne was playing a show that the company I worked for was producing and I took Jherek. The next day he and I left on a two week-long tour with The Dead Science and brought David’s latest CD along in the car. I remember driving in a hot, un-air conditioned car through the California valley to Merced for a show out on a rice paddy (really!). I said to Jherek, “you know, if I could just play back-up for David Byrne on one song, one time in my life, I could continue my musical career a success.” Jherek replied with a drawn-out “totally.” Well, consider my goal met, and as a bonus, I got to play TWO songs with him. I may have been one of 4 drummers onstage alongside 50 other musicians, but consider me fulfilled!
Calder being interviewed for a documentary about Jherek.
Calder getting an excused absence note for school from David Byrne.