Associate Editor Michael Parillo

I’m going to focus on live music this time, because I was lucky enough to see two wonderful bands and two amazing drummers in NYC last month. First up was BRIAN BLADE and the Fellowship at the Village Vanguard. Whoa! Blade got right down to business on the bandstand, opening the set with a stunning bit of whisper-soft and often lightning-quick mallet playing. The music, alternately contemplative and raging, was hypnotic and often trance-like. The wickedly creative Blade played with sensitivity and bluster alike, using the element of surprise to his great advantage.

Then, a few days later, I saw the Bad Plus for the first time, at the Bowery Ballroom. Whoa again! What struck me the most was the trio’s group mind — the band breathed together as one, with the I-know-what-you’re-gonna-do-before-you-do mentality that can really only come though years of sharing stages (and vans…and tiny practice rooms…). DAVE KING was a monster — a happy, benevolent, only sometimes scary monster. He combined looseness and precision, along with, again, lots of rhythmic surprises, in the most satisfying possible way.