Saturday, August 31, 2019

FTW, 8.30.2019

Besides receiving some recent attention from Texas Monthly for curator Linda Little's art protesting the separation of migrant families at our southern border, the plucky Grackle Art Gallery has been the locus of some interesting musical activity.

Guitarist Kavin Allenson has been hosting an invitational "Straw Drawing Improv Jam," usually the third Thursday of the month, featuring a cast of characters that includes, but is not limited to, trombonist James Hall, bassist Mark Hyde, Warr guitarist Mark Cook (99 Names of God, Liquid Sound Company), laptop wizard Darryl Wood (Bubble Force, Confusatron), and guitarists Joe Blair, Darrin Kobetich (Agita, Blackland River Devils), and your humble chronicler o' events. Not everything works, but at its best, the music burbles like a psychedelic stew, occasionally attaining heights of Crimsonoid grandeur.

This weekend, local prog guitar cult hero Bill Pohl (The Underground Railraod) is back from his new home in Colorado, where he plays solo and trio gigs when he isn't holding down the second guitar chair in Thinking Plague. On his last couple of visits, Bill played Allan Holdsworth tribute sets with a couple of fiery youngsters, but this time, he has something quieter and more subtle up his sleeve. In the more intimate setting of the Grackle, it's easier to hear the rich chords and varied pick attacks he uses to create orchestral textures with looper and delay pedals. His rhythmic rapport with bassist Sam Damask (Grand Commander) and hand percussionist Craig Shropshire (whose radio show on KERA-FM was a formative influence on scads of DFW underground musos) is also noteworthy. Bill remains a preternaturally fleet-fingered soloist, but Saturday's set emphasized atmosphere and groove to create a modal music of the spheres. When he launched into Miles' "It's About That Time" and followed it with Trane's "Naima," my month was made. He'll be back at the Grackle tonight with Shropshire and percussion eminence Eddie Dunlap. You owe it to yourself not to miss this.


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