"Is that a ball I see?" Those were my initial words when Eric and I first saw the photos from the night we played The Tunnel. But I'm getting ahead of myself...let's start from the beginning.
With ambibat I was always looking for interesting people to play with. I noticed an ad in the New York Press from a percussionist so I gave him a call and he came down to one of our practices. Howie – that's the dude's name – brought some kind of Asian percussive instrument with him and we jammed. He was a little strange, but then again, people who play this type of music tend to be a little strange.
At the end of the practice he asked if we'd be interested in playing a gig he had lined up at The Tunnel? For some reason Chris (our bass player) wasn't available but Blaise, Eric and I were up for it. The Tunnel was basically a dance club in NYC, but we'd be playing the mezzanine for a party hosted by Baird Jones (gossip reporter/celebrity art collector/club promoter). Baird was showing off his collection of Cheryl Tiegs artwork and we were to be the musical backdrop. I had no idea Cheryl Tiegs was an "artist"? (Unfortunately, the person who took the photos below didn't take any shots of the artwork.)
Howie left his Asian percussive instrument at home opting for his electronic drums – it was a dance club after all and this thing had all the techno rave sounds going on. The club had a weird mixture a club kids, old men and transvestites, and Howie was sporting some short-shorts...hence the ball shot. Howie also invited a trumpet player named Takia who was pretty cool. The five of us played for about three hours to a steady stream of club goers. After the show Howie was overly touchy-feely and sweaty and weirded us out. Never heard from him again.
During one of our breaks from our performance some dude handed me his card and told me he owned ESP Records. ESP-Disk was an influential record label in the 60's and 70's for the free-jazz movement. Sun Ra, Pharaoh Sanders, Ornette Coleman, and Albert Ayler all released records through ESP. When I got home I looked up the guys name and he is in fact the owner of ESP. But for some reason I never called him. I guess I felt that ESP had seen it's day...but I should've called anyway.
Here's a recording I taped on my mini-tape recorder the night of The Tunnel, plus the jam at Prince Studios with Howie...
[DOWNLOAD] Baird Jones Presents the Artwork of Cheryl Tiegs @ The Tunnel, NYC 9/26/97
01- Tunnel 01
02- Tunnel 02
03- Tunnel 03
04- ambibat @ Prince Studios with Howie (Sept. 1997)