One of many cool aspects of the two recent NYC Fred Frith’s Gravity Band shows was that both nights’ opening bands were comprised of Gravity Band members. Opening the second night’s show was the Dominique Leone Band, led by Dominique Leone (vocals and keys) and featuring Ava Mendoza (guitar heroine), Jason Hoopes (bass), Aaron Novik (bass clarinet) and Jordan Glenn (drums).
Leone’s playfully complex music was well-suited for this particular opening slot. The majority of the night’s pieces fused Reich- (and Magma)-like repetition with open-vowel scatting, Jason Hoopes’ full-fretboard bass calisthenics and Ava Mendoza’s potent guitar riffing and soloing which called to mind Deep Purple, Sonny Sharrock and the Magic Band in equal measure. Jordan Glenn played with a fast, light (and sometimes furious) touch, keeping perfect time and filling space beautifully.
I’ve lamented, previously, the shameful and irrational lack of bass clarinet in rock music, and Aaron Novik brought tremendous punch, punctuation, and timbral character to the group’s low end.
A series of images from the show can be found here but, as always, a video says a thousand pictures. So here’s the DLB performing UB313, perhaps/presumably named after Eris (née Xena), the Kuiper Belt denizen whose name will be familiar to anyone who has followed with any rigor the tragic (if rational) demotion of Pluto from beloved outlier planet to discarded dwarfen detritus:
[Youtube appears to default to 360p, so be sure to click on the little ‘gear’ icon in the lower right-hand corner of the video and select the highest resolution that your computer will accommodate happily]