Monday, November 5, 2007


New York at Night

In the June edition of No Strings Attached E News my article on The Tribeca Film Festival touched on some of the exciting events and encounters I had while in New York. One of my experiences was a very special evening I spent with a musician/college friend, Greg Cohen.

Greg Cohen, a bass player and composer, plays with Lou Reed, John Zorn, Laurie Anderson and Tom Waits. He has played with the Rolling Stones and collaborated on arrangements for the films “ Fried Green Tomatoes” and “ Ed Wood”. Greg hails from Los Angeles and has been living on the east coast for a number of years while performing all over the world. We attended CalArts together ( California Institute of the Arts) and have been in touch over the past several years.
On premier night for “Postcards from Tora Bora”,(see last months article on the Tribeca Film Festival) Greg had a concert at Columbia University honoring John Zorn who received the very prestigious William Schuman Award.
Due to the screening, I was unable to attend this concert. Fortunately, the next opportunity presented itself the following Monday night at the Café Carlyle where Greg played with Woody Allen and the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band
The Café Carlyle, located in the Carlyle Hotel on the upper eastside of Manhattan, has an elegant and charming atmosphere and is a perfect setting for intimate live music. Woody Allen is an accomplished clarinetist and the band players are exceptional musicians. The band that night included Woody Allen, Eddy Davis, Greg Cohen, Patrick Carmichael, Jerry Zigmont,and Conal Fowkes

New Orleans Jazz is very entertaining, upbeat and lyrical music. I thoroughly enjoyed the music and seeing Woody Allen in such a personal setting.

After the concert I suggested to Greg that we go out for a bite. He said there was an opening of the new David Bowie concert club in New York and that Lou Reed, who was performing for the event, had added Greg to the VIP list to get into the club. We decided to try our luck and see if I could be added to that “ VIP” list. As Greg was packing up his double bass I took pictures of the band and collected a few autographs.

We left the Carlyle and caught a cab to The Highline Ballroom located n the Meatpacking District. The doorman made it possible for two VIP passes and we were in!

The Highline Ballroom was brimming with people. The Ballroom is a 700 capacity concert venue with a large stage. We weaved our way up to the VIP area and watched a sensational performance. Lou Reed played with his band and John Zorn joined in at the latter part of the concert. With Lou Reed’s band fused with John Zorn’s saxophone playing the evening’s musical offerings escalated beyond expectation.

Lou Reed's, , “ Walk on the Wild Side” is renowned and his music with the Velvet Underground is legendary. John Zorn is largely known among musicians, filmmakers and within the New York music scene. He has been a leading figure in American music composition. His bands include “ “Naked City” and “ Masada”. YouTube carries an extraordinary video, which I highly recommend viewing, called “The Masada Trio” featuring Greg Cohen on bass. In the video you will also see John Zorn seated and listening to the players.
Among Zorn’s exceptional CD’s are his famous “ Film Works” series.

After the concert Laurie Anderson ushered the VIPs backstage. Laurie Anderson is also a leading performer /composer in the music and art world. I have been her fan since the release of her album “ Rocket Science” in the 80’s. Lou Reed has been married to Laurie Anderson for several years.

Greg and I headed backstage and congratulated Lou Reed, John Zorn and Band members on a great concert. Backstage had more recognizable celebrities from New York;s music and television scene including Paul Schafer from the Late Show.

This was a spectacular evening and completely unexpected.

Nan Avant

Nan Avant is a film composer living in Seattle and writes for an online publication:
No Strings Attached E-News

1 comment:

Jerry Z said...

Thanks for the writeup. Greg is a great musician and a great friend.
Jerry Zigmont
trombonist - Woody Allen Jazz Band