Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Central Wisconsin, 2001

Back in the winter of 2000-2001, I was over in central Wisconsin, visiting family. My guitarist friend Peter Fee and I were playing at an open mic session at the since-demolished Witz End just outside Stevens Point, and he suddenly suggested that an "amazing tambourine player" he'd met might be persuaded to join us. Peter disappeared and reappeared fairly soon after with Ryan Biesack who, indeed, had an almost miraculous ability to make a tambourine (one with a skin) sound to my ears like a full drum kit plus tablas!

I got to know Ryan, and discovered that he had been a jazz drummer out on the west coast, had toured India on trains with a modern jazz trio, and then studied South Indian percussion. He's quite easily the best percussionist I have ever had the honour of playing with. Ryan introduced me to Vincent Miresse, a local percussionist (more Latin influenced) and didgeridoo player. Vinnie had travelled in Australia and Cuba, and was also an exceptional player. Over the following couple of months we played together quite a lot as an unnamed improvisational trio - at various local open mics, on the local University radio station WWSP 90FM, and with a local bellydance group at a variety of venues.

Very little of this got recorded, but enough to capture the flavour of what we were doing back then. I've finally got around to cleaning up and editting a tape of our radio appearance and a four-track tape (marred by distortion, etc.) from a set we did with the bellydancers in Shawano.

Ryan, more recently, in Poland   Vincent - painting by Joel Gwidt (www.joelgwidt.com)

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Vinnie can also be heard playing on a the recording made at the local yoga studio in the spring of 2002, involving me, a couple of local jazz players, and others:

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