“I really can’t thank you enough for getting me out of that mess, so I grant you your every wish. That’s the least I could do.” (Debbie Harry. Downtown 81)
In New York dreams really do come true. On Thursday 31st January 2013, I had the upmost pleasure of inviting James Chance (accompanied by Robert Aaron) to join me in playing some Big Sexy Music at Le Carrousel (206 Lounge, Sullivan Street in New York City). Yes life in New York can often feel like a dreamscape, especially when you find yourself sharing the stage with one of the cities most legendary underground punk jazz musical icons.
James Chance instantly became one of my favorite musicians when I discovered his down right dirty funk / punk / jazz music in the movie Downtown 81 when I arrived fresh off the boat from Australia in 2003. At the time I was completely obsessed with Jean-Michel Basquiat and the romanticized nostalgia for the artistic lifestyle he seemed to embody – hence the reason I watched the movie in the first place. I was on the edge of my seat, electrically charged when “Sax Maniac” came on screen. I wanted to experience “that” New York. I wanted to live in the New York that this movie incarnated, but at the time I thought it was surely over, dead, gone. Little did I know that when you make a wish on the ever receptive New York wind that it’s likely to manifest. And as fortune had it a few nights later I met the musical virtuoso Robert Aaron in a now forgotten crimson basement, playing the coolest music I had ever heard. Robert and I both frequented the same cafe “Cake-O” on Mulberry street (which moonlighted as an after hours voodoo music making spot) and when he asked me if I was interested in seeing a gig he was doing two nights later with “James Chance and the Contortions” my fate was sealed. Destiny took me in her arms and lead me to here and now.
Fast forward ten years to the 206 Lounge, Le Carrousel series and here I am making some Big Sexy Music with my idol James Chance and his special guest my old neighborhood buddy, Robert Aaron. After accompanying me on some sweet and vicious tunes James Chance played a truly sublime set of beautiful jazz songs, both his own and covers such as the majestic “let’s get lost” by Chet Baker. It was like being privy to the very sacred history of musical tales, told in the most stunning arrangements and always with the very distinct signature of James’ unique musical voice. It was a privilege and an honor to be a part of! James is also featured on the new album “EZ Does It” coming out soon!