Jam Bands Unite For Vann Benefit
Phish bassist Mike Gordon, former God Street Wine guitarist/vocalist Lo Faber, keyboardist John Medeski, and avant-garde turntablist DJ Logic were among the musicians that gathered Sunday night at NewPhish bassist Mike Gordon, former God Street Wine guitarist/vocalist Lo Faber, keyboardist John Medeski, and avant-garde turntablist DJ Logic were among the musicians that gathered Sunday night at New York's B.B. King's Blues Club for the Jammin' for Salmon: A Celebration of Life and Music benefit. Pulled together in less than a week, the event, an East Coast equivalent to several recent Colorado-based shows, was conceived to raise money for Leftover Salmon banjoist and founding member Mark Vann, who was recently diagnosed with melanoma and began chemotherapy last month.
According to promoter Justin Calvillo, the venue wasn't even secured until the Monday before the show. "[Organizer] Ann-Marie [Jacar] actually called me the day I was going to call her ... looking to do an event after hearing about what was happening in Colorado," he said. "We wanted to show that the support was national."
Jacar, whom Calvillo credits with having "amazing artist relationships," concocted a dynamic line-up in the very short time, and her company, FreeRange TV, sponsored the event. Former VH-1 "Bands on the Run" contestant the Josh Dodes Band and ragtime reveler Scrappy Hamilton played earlier in the evening.
Artists were on and off the stage all night, joining in at whim. Faber's 10 p.m. set was drawn primarily from his recent double-disc release "Henry's House" and included backing from several members of the now defunct upstate New York jam band Ominous Seapods. Gordon played a set that featured trumpet, keyboard, and songs of acid jazz man Gary "El Buho" Gazaway, and also included guitarist Scott Murawski (Max Creek), saxophonist Floyd King, and drummer Aaron Johnston (Jazz Is Dead). He returned to the stage to jam during Logic's free-for-all funk set, which highlighted the Deep Banana Blackout horn section and drummer Eric Kalb with Medeski's slappy Hammond B-3 stylings. Logic later scratched with the evening's final act, Motet, which didn't begin playing until 3:15 a.m.
"This type of community spirit is what brought me into the music world from the beginning," Logic told Billboard.com. "It's all about sharing music and communicating with other musicians and fans. I don't even know Mark that well personally, but in light of all that's happened since September 11th, I think it's important to help out in the world anyway I can. He's a great player and I know he would do the same for me. The night was great, his spirit was with us, and I really do think we all helped him just by being there and thinking of him, sending him positive vibes."
Calvillo plans to continue the event by doing "innovative things online and with broadcast" to raise additional money for Vann. Organizers are currently looking for partnership to auction off autographed posters. To contribute directly to Mark Vann, donations can be sent to PO Box 393, Nederland, CO 80466.