Sunday, March 25, 2012

Improvised Sax-Skronk Wonderland: Darren Williams comes home

The Sorrow and the Pity by Femke van Delft, not to be reused without permission

Various Vancouverites seem to be fleeing the city these days for cities where culture is more appreciated, rents are cheaper, and jobs are plentiful, but saxophonist Darren Williams (Vancouver's skinny white answer to Albert Ayler, member of Fake Jazz favourites The Sorrow and The Pity, and semi-regular Eugene Chadbourne collaborator - featured on Eugene's recent album, Stop Snoring) means no censure on our city by having relocated to Kelowna. It's "completely due to my wife getting a much better job with BC Interior Health," he explains via email. "We've finally entered the Vancouver housing market, albeit by way of Kelowna. It is my plan to make monthly trips to Vancouver to play shows and remain active (at least somewhat) in the East Van music scene while hopefully setting something up in the Okanagan and getting back out to Calgary to play the odd concert."

Good to know! ...and in fact, the next week will see Darren in town for several gigs. On March 30th , he and V. Vecker will "each do a solo set (not at the same time) then a collaborative set," entitled "Saxophone Intercourse." Special guest will be Fist Full O'Snacks, the solo music project of one Robyn Jacob, which Darren describes as being a "minimalist-ish song project with lovely incessant piano." That takes place at Thor's Palace, 339 East 13th Avenue; it's "part of the Do Improvise Yourself music series as curated by wonder drummer Kevin Romain."

Darren on the left, with Robots on Fire featuring Mats Gustafsson at the Cobalt; photo by Femke van Delft, not to be reused without permission

March 31st will see Darren at The Prophouse Cafe: 1636 Venables (1 block off Commercial) with "abstract synth quartet" Spectrum Interview, featuring Lee Hutzulak, David Leith, Frederick Brummer, and Toby Carroll; sounds can be heard here, here, and here. After that, Darren tells me, "there will be a duo with Torsten Muller and I locking horns" - though presumably Torsten's horn will be an upright bass, as usual (I think Darren is being figurative).
Darren working the swirl with Eugene Chadbourne, photo by Femke van Delft, not to be reused without permission

Finally, on April 1st, Vancouverites have a chance to see The Sorrow And The Pity, who gig a fair bit less often in town than they once did, but will be playing the Astoria (769 E. Hastings) as part of Black Light Sundays. I'm planning on sprinting back and forth between the Astoria and the Waldorf so I can catch BOTH Damo Suzuki with Von Bingen and this duo, whom I haven't seen in something like three years. Darren reports that "for that night there was talk of performing 'Friday the 13th' as a means of acknowledging April Fool's...  Perhaps we might dust off the old cover of 'Self Pity'..?  I don't know.  As I am sometimes as surprised as the audience by what Dave brings to the table I leave the making of any 'special plans' and quotes to him." Mr. Bastard, the other member of the Sorrow and the Pity, did not report back, however, so I will leave readers drooling for a "Self-Pity" cover that might not ever happen. (Perhaps a special verse could be worked in to encompass the Hanson Brothers' controversial decision to play the post-Cobalt Cobalt?).

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