Archives for posts with tag: Milford Graves Full Mantis

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

We’re off this week, but if you missed last week’s show with trumpeter Eddie Henderson, head on over to our archives, where you can hear that and nearly a decade of previous shows.

Drummer  Lenny White is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club with George Colligan’s Trio on November 20.

Bassist Christian McBride is at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem for a talk on November 20.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smalls on November 21.

Trombonist/seashellist Steve Turre is at Smoke for a McCoy Tyner tribute from November 23-25.

Pianist Marc Cary’s at Mezzrow with Ron Blake on November 29 and his Harlem Sessions series continues with late Saturday night sets at Smoke on November 24 and December 1.

Guitarist John Scofield leads a quartet at the Blue Note from November 27 to December 2.

Finally, Guitarist Mary Halvorson is at the Jazz Gallery with Gabriel Zucker on November 28.

Tubist Joe Daley is at Terra Blues with Hazmat Modine on on December 1 and 15.

Vocalist Catherine Russell is at Jazz Forum Arts in Tarrytown NY on November 30 and December 1.

Saxophonist Pharoah Sanders is at Birdland from December 4-8.

Jake Meginsky’s documentary film Milford Graves Full Mantis will be shown at BAM on December 5. See our review for more details on the film.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday November 25. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

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Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Lehman College. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

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bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

We’re off the air this week, but if you missed last week’s show with Nana Camille Yarbrough, head on over to our archives where you can hear that and nearly a decade of previous shows.

Before we get to our listings, a quick reminder that WBAI Radio has a mini Summer Fund Drive and needs your help. Subscribing to the station as a sustaining member with a recurring small monthly pledge is particularly helpful. It’s quick and easy and you can stop payments at any time. Details are at WBAI’s pledge page. We’d especially appreciate pledges in the name of our show. None of it goes to us and we don’t get paid to be on-air; it’s for listener-supported radio in New York and streaming worldwide. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

Jake Maginsky’s documentary film Milford Graves: Full Mantis is held over at Metrograph in Manhattan until August 2 (and possibly longer…). See our review of the film and our show devoted to it for more details.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smoke in a continuing Monday night series on July 30 and August 6.

Guitarist Nels Cline is at with Double Double Trouble on July 25.

Pianist Marc Cary’s Harlem Sessions returns as a Saturday night series with late sets at Smoke on July August 4 and 11.

Saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin is at Dizzy’s Club on July 30, playing John Coltrane’s music.

Blues vocalist Alexis P. Suter is at City Winery on August 1.

Pianist Vijay Iyer and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane are at the Jazz Gallery on August 2.

Pianist Billy Childs leads a quartet at the Jazz Standard from August 2-5.

Saxophonist TK Blue is at the amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park on August 3 for a free outdoor performance as part of the Jazzmobile series.

Drummer T.S. Monk leads a sextet at Jazz Forum Arts in Tarrytown NY on August 3-4.

Drummer Will Calhoun is at The Space in Westbury LI with Living Coloür on August 4.

Bassist Christian McBride is at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club with Jazz House Kids on August 6 for a concert and pre-show talk.

Finally, The Sun Ra Arkestra led by saxophonist Marshall Allen returns to Earth on August 8 at Lincoln Center’s Outdoors Festival to perform a free outdoor score to the classic Space is the Place film.

Saxophonist Jane Bunnett and Maqueque are at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club from August 8-9.

Drummer Bobby Sanabria leads the Multiverse Big Band at Lincoln Center’s Outdoors Festival in Damrosch Park on August 10 in a free outdoor concert of his West Side Story Reimagined.

At the Montclair Jazz Festival on August 11, bassist Christian McBride leads Inside Straight and saxophonist Oliver Lake, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Andrew Cyrille appear as TRIO3. McBride and Lake will also lead separate Jazz storytime sessions for children at the festival.

Guitarist Mary Halvorson is at the Jazz gallery on August 11 with Tomas Fujiwara and at The Stone‘s new space at The New School on August 14 with fellow guitarist Julian Lage.

Saxophonist Kenny Garrett is at the Blue Note from August 13-16.

Drummer Lenny White is at Birdland with guitarist Mike Stern’s Miles Davis tribute from August 14-18.

Trombonist Craig Harris is at the amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park on August 17 for a free outdoor performance as part of the Jazzmobile series.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday August 5. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Lehman College and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

Words by Hank Williams | Press still from Milford Graves Full Mantis

“This is a family house” Milford Graves says describing his house, which is down the street from the South Jamaica Houses in Queens, New York where he grew up. The house differs from everything else one might find on the block by the amount of decoration on the exterior—which supplies a hint that the man who lives inside isn’t your average resident.

in fact, “average” seemingly doesn’t apply to any aspects of the subject of Jake Maginsky’s documentary film of an innovative, yet somewhat unheralded percussionist.

Graves, probably best known for his role in the free/avant garde jazz scene, has put his stamp on a lot of things since his emergence in the early 1960s. Since his transition from Latin Jazz and conga drums to the drum kit (Graves found more acceptance and work playing the drum kit), Graves played with some key players, most notably saxophonist Albert Ayler. Although Graves missed playing with saxophone legend John Coltrane, he had a connection of sorts when he played at the latter’s funeral as part of Ayler’s band. Graves also suggested in a 2016 interview that he was behind Coltrane’s show at Harlem’s Olatunji Cultural Center, known as one of Coltrane’s last appearances before his death. An unofficial recording of which was later released posthumously.

When Graves turned to teaching, he poured the same passion into that as he did into his playing as he shaped a legion of students during his tenure at Bennington College. Jake Meginsky was one such student—though an informal one—he got a job at Bennington in order to meet Graves and convinced him to take him on as a student. Meginsky originally started recording Graves as a learning aid and began amassing a lot of footage. This is the base of the current film, though supplemented with extensive footage from Graves’s own collection.

One gets a skeletal biography from Full Mantis. It’s a deliberate choice and not necessarily a bad one. Meginsky instead chose to create a portrait of the artist via a view into his philosophy of the world, teaching, and approach to music. It works spectacularly well, especially considering that this is Meginsky’s first effort as a filmmaker.

The film centers Graves’s words and music and does an impressive job of highlighting his profundity (a word I don’t use lightly) in many areas and his enticing personality.

The other complicating factor in a project like this is Graves’s unorthodox approach to nearly everything he tackles. Actually, to say that Graves is an unorthodox teacher or musician would be a gross understatement. It would be accurate, though, to point out that Graves may be one of the most radical musicians one could ever encounter in the most literal sense of the word: he tries to get to the actual root of the issue–no matter what it is–for the solution to any kind of problem or challenge.

Full Mantis offers documentary evidence of Graves’s approach of going directly to the source in two key areas: martial arts and his understanding of musical time.

“Well, I started reading books,” Graves says about his martial arts training. Frustrated at the inability to achieve some of the lessons offered in Chinatown because there were limits placed on what non-Asian students could be taught, Graves decided to take lessons in his own hands, eventually settling on closely watching the insect the Praying Mantis after hearing that some of the movements were based on them. “I went to the source,” he says. He bought a few mantises and let them loose, observing their movements. “I just got the full mantis,” says Graves with a mischievous grin, noting that some interpreters or teachers might be hindered in various ways by their own physical or mental limitations. Graves wanted none of that.

The film next jumps to Graves’ musings on heart rate and musical time, noting that heart rate constantly varies in healthy people, which provided another breakthrough that led him to eschew the conventional metronome developing musicians use for keeping time.

Graves began closely studying medicine and human anatomy, haunting the medical textbook section in the former Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue. The next revelation came from a medical recording of human heart sounds he found there.

Graves, thinking that the heartbeats would be regular, was taken aback at the percussive patterns he heard. He eventually developed a software to translate the patterns from measured heart rates into music. He began taking the heart rate of everyone who enters his house and anyone he musically collaborates with: “I want to see how you’re vibrating inside,” Graves says. “How is your body oscillating?”

“Swing, it means, man, I want to live to the next day,” Graves explains, using the metaphor of someone crossing a busy street and dodging traffic as a way to explain the complex interactions involved in playing Jazz.

Watching a clip of Graves drumming all of a sudden makes the seemingly haphazard, disparate approach make perfect sense. Elements of his mantis-influenced movements are discernible as is his biologically-oriented approach to musical time signatures. Magically, concepts that seem impenetrable become clear.

Graves’s approach is also incredibly analytical, as would be expected for someone who bought his own EKG machine to track heart functions in an effort to better understand his own body and the bodies of those he interacts with to translate the information into a musical response that will connect with a particular audience on a vibrational level.

Maginsky shows a true example in a performance Graves does in Japan for a group of students in a gymnasium. Graves is surrounded by children dancing, jumping, and reacting in various ways; some even touch the drums or play the cymbals themselves while Graves, totally unfazed, keeps on playing, seemingly pleased with the results.

“We have to have some relevant vibrations,” Graves says, noting that the planet is changing all the time and that musicians should be in tune with that.

In a talk session after one of the New York screenings, Meginsky revealed that “ultimately the film was a labor of love” that just kept gaining momentum over time. Meginsky studied sound, healing, and music with Graves and that helped him structure the film and wrangle the disparate elements into place. “I wanted to see if I could structure the film in a way that had the same sort of energy transfer that Graves incorporates into his own performances.”

Given that charge, it succeeds on all levels. Graves smiled at the screening. His student has indeed learned his lessons well.

91 Minutes. 2018. Words and music by Milford Graves. Directed by Jake Meginsky. Playing at Metrograph Theater in New York and in select locations nationwide.

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Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter and Lehman Colleges and The City College of New York.

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

This week’s guest is Nana Camille Yarbrough. She has no immediate appearances, but we’ll let you know when she does.

Before we get to our listings, a quick reminder that WBAI Radio has a mini Summer Fund Drive and needs your help. Subscribing to the station as a sustaining member with a recurring small monthly pledge is particularly helpful. It’s quick and easy and you can stop payments at any time. Details are at WBAI’s pledge page. We’d especially appreciate pledges in the name of our show. None of it goes to us and we don’t get paid to be on-air; it’s for listener-supported radio in New York and streaming worldwide. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

Jake Maginsky’s documentary film Milford Graves: Full Mantis is held over at Metrograph in Manhattan until July 26. See our review of the film and our show devoted to it for more details.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smoke in a continuing Monday night series on July 23 and 30.

Guitarist Mary Halvorson is at the Village Vanguard with Thumbscrew from July 17-22.

Drummer Bobby Sanabria is at Co-Op City in The Bronx on July 24 a free outdoor concert as part of the Jazzmobile series.

Bassist Reggie Workman will be at Grant’s Tomb for a free outdoor concert on July 25 as part of the Jazzmobile series.

Guitarist Nels Cline is at The Stone with Double Double Trouble on July 25.

Vocalist Catherine Russell is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club from July 26-29.

Trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah leads the DIASPORA Ensemble at Harlem’s Greater Calvary Baptist Church on July 27.

Trumpeter Freddie Hendrix is at the Blue Note for a late set on July 27.

Pianist Marc Cary’s Harlem Sessions returns as a Saturday night series with late sets at Smoke on July 28 and August 4.

Saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin is at Dizzy’s Club on July 30, playing John Coltrane’s music.

Blues vocalist Alexis P. Suter is at City Winery on August 1.

Pianist Vijay Iyer and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane are at the Jazz Gallery on August 2.

Pianist Billy Childs leads a quartet at the Jazz Standard from August 2-5.

Saxophonist TK Blue is at the amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park on August 3 for a free outdoor performance as part of the Jazzmobile series.

Finally, The Sun Ra Arkestra led by saxophonist Marshall Allen returns to Earth on August 8 at Lincoln Center’s Outdoors Festival to perform a free outdoor score to the classic Space is the Place film.

Saxophonist Jane Bunnett and Maqueque are at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club from August 8-9.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday August 5. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Lehman College and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

bandstand_picPhoto Credit: Hank Williams

Welcome to Suga in My Bowl radio‘s weekly feature, On The Bandstand, where we collect upcoming NYC area shows from current and past Suga’ guests. We’re online weekly and on the air on NYC’s WBAI-FM radio alternate Sunday nights from 11 PM -1 AM. Keep up with us via Facebook, the blog here, or our main website, or Twitter and we’ll keep track of the schedule for you.

We’re off the air this week, but if you missed last week’s show with Jake Maginsky, director of the documentary film Milford Graves: Full Mantis and our interview with Graves himself, head on over to our archives, where it lives along with nearly a decade of past shows. The film is at Metrograph in Manhattan until July 19. And we have more listings for you this week.

Pianist Harold Mabern leads a trio at Smoke in a continuing Monday night series on July 16 and 23. He also leads a trio at Smalls on July 18.

Guitarist Mary Halvorson is at the Village Vanguard with Thumbscrew from July 17-22.

Percussionist Ray Mantilla is at Grant’s Tomb for a free outdoor concert on July 18 as part of the Jazzmobile series.

Pianist Marc Cary is at the Newark Museum for a free lunchtime performance on July 19 as part of their Jazz in the Garden series.

Drummer Bobby Sanabria is at Co-Op City in The Bronx on July 24 a free outdoor concert as part of the Jazzmobile series. He’ll also be at the Newark Museum for a free lunchtime performance on July 26 as part of their Jazz in the Garden series.

Pianist Barry Harris  is at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park for a free outdoor concert on July 20 as part of the Jazzmobile series.

Master Drummer Michael Carvin leads a trio at Zinc Bar on July 21.

Vocalist Dianne Reeves and saxophonist Jane Bunnett and Maqueque are both at the Caramoor Jazz Festival on July 21.

Pianist Marc Cary’s Harlem Sessions returns as a Saturday night series with late sets at Smoke on July 21 and 28.

Bassist Reggie Workman will be at Grant’s Tomb for a free outdoor concert on July 25 as part of the Jazzmobile series.

Vocalist Catherine Russell is at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club from July 26-29.

Saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin is at Dizzy’s Club on July 30, playing John Coltrane’s music.

Finally, pianist Vijay Iyer and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane are at the Jazz Gallery on August 2.

That’s all for now. Suga’ in My Bowl will be back on WBAI‘s airwaves on Sunday July 22. We’ll also have another edition of “On the Bandstand” online next Sunday with a fresh set of listings.

—-
Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Lehman College and The City College of New York. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot

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