Long-form trance-y rhythmic jams, with a fun shambling edge, sounding like a cross between music from Africa's Sahel region crossed with a Tom Waits instrumental...
Favorite track: I'm Not Trying to Wake Up.
In classical minimalism there is the debt of influence to rock's chugging repetitions. 75 Dollar Bill pays the influence back, their endless loops looping like Philip Glass jamming with John Cale-era Velvet Underground. Add a penchant for West African harmonies and you have an album I will voluntarily drown myself in, again and again and again and again.
Favorite track: WZN#3 / verso.
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Record/Vinyl + Digital Album
At long last, we've got copies of our _Live at Tubby's_ double LP here on our Bandcamp page. Beautifully produced by the good folks at Grapefruit Record Club, it's a joy to hear this set on vinyl. It's been remastered and lightly edited for the format, but purchases of the LP include downloads of the full, unedited digital tracks. It's nice to see the cover art big too, as well as the new 60s Blue Note inspired back cover.
Includes unlimited streaming of Live at Tubby's
via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
At the beginning of March, just as the first signs of the COVID-19 pandemic were starting to appear in the Northeast, Rick and I did a short run of shows in Connecticut, Western Massachusetts, and the Hudson Valley. We ended the tour at Tubby’s in Kingston, NY, which turned out not only to be the last show of the tour, but our last show for the foreseeable future. Amherst College had completely shut down its campus within days of our concert there, and New York City’s infection rate started exploding shortly after we returned home. There’s a bittersweetness to these recordings in this context. People have lost their lives, their livelihoods--which is certainly true of many musicians and “gig workers” we know--and we’re often cut off from the ones we love. No one really knows how long it’ll be before live shows will be able to happen again. And while I’m heartened by all the ways that people are finding to stay connected and keep music alive online, listening to this recording really brings home all of the reasons that playing music with people that I love, in a room full of people who are vibing off that energy and projecting it back at us, is so important to me.
It was one of those gigs that had just the right balance of energy, atmosphere and that little bit of chaos required to allow everything to fall into place. It was our first time at Tubby’s, an unassuming little bar we’d been hearing nothing but good things about, one of those places where you can tell the owners are probably nice people because everyone that works there is a nice person too. It’s a warm, worn in spot that reminded me a lot of Troost, the tiny Greenpoint cafe where the band cut its teeth in its early days, only wider. With Kingston being so close to the city, and some of our friends and frequent collaborators now living in nearby Poughkeepsie, Rick and I had put out the call to see how many members of our “little big band” we could get to come join us for the show. A few couldn’t make it because of schedules or impractical distances (we missed you Barry, Talice and Andrew!), but we were able to assemble the septet with Sue, Jim, Karen, Cheryl, Steve, Rick and I that you hear here. Two percussionists, two guitarists, electric bass, saxophone and viola. We hadn’t rehearsed, but everybody knew the tunes and I like to think our lack of preparation lent a spontaneous, if occasionally ragged, charm to the proceedings. The gift of getting on the bandstand with lovely players like these.
With the majority of the tunes clocking in well past the 10 or even 20 minute mark, we were there to stretch out. The audience had a beautiful energy and as a friend of the band likes to say, the music “played itself”. Tapping out bell patterns during the verso section of WZN#3, while Karen and Cheryl took blistering viola and sax solos, with Sue’s relentless bass pulse and Steve’s modal flourishes driving hard over the dense thicket of polyrhythms Rick and Jim were creating beneath, are among my many fond memories of the night. It’s hard not knowing when this might possibly happen again, but it's nice to have recordings like this tide us over until then.
So thank you to Cory and everyone at Tubby's, Zoots for doing sound, Jen Powers and Matthew Rolin for playing a beautiful, meditative set between our’s, David Grimaldi for loaning Sue the bass, Dave Salzberg for giving Cheryl a ride to Catskill after the show, Jake Lyons for recording the show, and of course the band and extended 75 Dollar Bill family. Hope we can all do it again before too long.
released May 1, 2020
Rick Brown: plywood crate, percussion, funnel horns
Che Chen: guitars, violin (F&N, WZN#3/verso), cowbell (WZN#3/verso)
Sue Garner: bass guitar
Cheryl Kingan: alto and baritone saxophones
Steve Maing: guitar
Jim Pugliese: drums, cymbals, bells, shakers (he's hidden behind Karen in the photo)
Karen Waltuch: viola
March 7, 2020 at Tubby's in Kingston, NY.
Live sound by Zoots
Recording and photo by Jake Lyons
Editing, Mix and Cover Design by Che Chen
Mastering by Steve Silverstein
2xLP Vinyl by Grapefruit Record Club
Layout by Katie Von Schleicher
Additional art by Che Chen
Vinyl mastering and cutting by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering
Thanks to Ben Goldberg and Simon Joyner
75 Dollar Bill was formed in 2012 in NYC by Rick Brown and Che Chen. Played on a deeply resonant plywood crate, Brown’s
elemental rhythms are the foundation and foil for Chen’s ecstatic, modal guitar style. While Brown and Chen are always at the band’s core, they frequently draw on an extended family of players live and on record, from trios to “little big band” to 25-piece marching band....more