Once again, I am bringing you a performance from one of New York's many small venues which are outlets for all the talent that is attracted to the city. The Caffe Vivaldi is a tiny, informal place in the West Village of New York. It has live music regularly; mostly singer songwriters. On this night, Neil Pearlman brought his ensemble and proceeded to expand the palette of Scottish music with healthy injections of Jazz harmonies and Latin rhythms. I had gotten a shout from Rachel over at Rock Paper Scissors, and so I grabbed my camcorder and hoped for the best.
The band played mostly songs from Pearlman's new CD Coffee & the Mojo Hat along with some new tunes they were working up. Regarding this performance, Neil says: "That set... in particular is centered around the tune called the Sailor's Wife. It is interesting because I alter a traditional jig (6/8 time) and turn it into a 2/2 Latin groove. In order to bring that alteration out for people who don't already know the tune I start it off in its traditional form before bringing in the rest of the band."
I found the music to be a sweet hybrid because Pearlman, who has been performing Scottish and Cape Breton music with his family since he was a kid, obviously truly loves the trad stuff. And though he has felt the need to break out of the strict interpretations of the melodies, that affection never departs. The ensemble also has an amiable sound, everyone plays well, and although my video does not quite capture it, drummer Alex Cohen's precise yet relaxed rudiments are real ear candy.
Neil can be reached at www.neilpearlman.com. For another performance by Neil Pearlman, visit: http://goo.gl/eYfLW
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