I’ve been familiar with the music of Joe Doria for about five years now. He’s a masterful Hammond organ player–his bass runs are as complex as anything a dedicated jazz bassist could do, and he does them while throwing out some nice treble chord sprays and runs with his right hand. And such a classic sound: that Hammond vibrato is like the first toe dip into a swimming pool on a warm summer day.
Anyway, he often plays with a guitarist named Ari Zucker, who I’d never seen until last night. Think jazz standards that start to go horribly awry about 2/3ds of the way through, turning into psychedelic washes and dissonant half-step progressions, then eventually veer back to familiar ground, leaving you wondering what the hell you just heard. This kind of music gets a bad rap among some music fans, “jazz for hippies” and so on, but there’s nothing wrong with solid musicianship and creative interpretation. It’ll be around long after the three-chords-and-a-gun bands from New York and Scandanavia and Detroit.
They played at the Sea Monster, which is a really weird place to see music–it’s a long, dark, skinny bar done up in a sort of glowing green, and the band plays right in the middle–there’s nowhere to stand or sit directly in front of them, you have to sit off to either end of the bar. It reminds me of those little streetside bars you see in Asian backpacker haunts. But they give generous pours and play great music on the house system before and between sets (Fela Kuti, Band of Gypsies) so I like it.