Why go see Sendrowitz & Jimenez on 2/23/11?

From the event:

Brian & Phil photos 2/23/11


IW:  This is not a post.  It is a love note.  One of our goals on Wilderside has been to support the local music scene, and let our friends know how many amazing musicians are in their backyard.  This free singer-songwriter series does that in a big way.  It is hosted by LI Pulse which regularly spotlights local talent, including an occasional article from your humble blogger.

On top of that , this music series is curated by one of my all-time favorite poetmusicians Alan Semerdjian.  Alan is also a regularly contributor to LI Pulse.  One of my favorite games  in getting a new issue of Pulse, besides seeing if I recognize the lyric publisher Nada quotes in her column and flipping to infobites in the back page Pulse rate, is hunting Wheres-Waldo-style for the almost obligatory Alan column/photo/listing. 

Alan Semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian

Though there are many chances to catch Alan’s musical side (especially during one of his summer tours), you should make sure to catch him if he is reading from is book , In the Architecture of Bone. The book is a very personal journey through Alan’s identity, especially his Armenian heritage.  This is the opening stanza from How Turkish Coffee Got Its Name

I want to bring coffee here and read the gas station attendant’s fortune in the grounds that take the shape of a ghost or treasure chest. The kind of coffee my mother used to make. And before that, her mother. The kind that rises on the stove in the pot. Rises like the inside of a volcano. The side you never see until it reaches the brim. Then you pull it off and serve it. In tiny cups. The kind I’ll bring and spread out across the counter during an oil change.

Alan is truly is an artist.  The Body Electric that he curated at the Whitman Birthplace was the best multimedia series I had ever attended.  I miss it.

For me the highlight of the series are the 2 musicians booked for February 23rd evening (8pm).  Alan knows much I love Sendrowitz’ and Jimenez’ music.  Alan had performed a set himself at the inauguration of this series  at the Cinema Arts Center.  That night included the legendary David Amram and Jaymay.   Alan, being one of the most generous performers I know, performed one of Sendrowitz’ songs that night partially because he knew I would enjoy it.  It turns the whole complaint of LI being “cover song land” on its head when a local artist covers another local artist.    It is just such a wonderful act in building a loving, supporting artistic community.

Brian Sendrowitz‘s songs are raw emotion with literate lyrics and captivating music.  Though Brian has been performing and recording as the leader of Beat Radio for years now, his initial solo album, When It Comes On Like A Dream is still  one of my all-time  favorite.  (And not just because in the cover photo his guitar case has a Nader-LaDuke photo on it.)  John P. Darcy writing in the album’s liner notes has come much closer than I ever have to describing the album’s seductiveness:

Though I have to admit that my current favorite single of Brian’s is from a more recent Beat Radio album, safe inside the sound: Hard Times for Dreamers.


If you want to sing along in the chorus:

When the cold wind blows
We raise up our sails
When there is no wind we row
Hard times for dreamers
But our hearts prevail
And we shine that light
Everywhere we go

To understand why Phil Jimenez is the perfect double bill with Brian, we need to start with/return to Darcy’s When It Comes on Like a Dream liner notes:

The album is built around live takes constructed in close quarters. Brian and producer Phil Jimenez had worked together before, but only in fragments. It appeared that the tandem would never get the chance to complete a project together. Case in point: the album was lost in cyberspace’s deepest abyss and would take $20,000 to even attempt to retrieve. Miraculously, Phil stoically rescued it through divine technological troubleshooting and ultimately saw it through to its completion. . . . There was a lot of love put into making the album. It was recorded in Phil’s Huntington studio, which doubles as his residence.

Phil is LI’s own Daniel Lanois/Quincy Jones/T-Bone Burnett.  He is not only a record producer with a golden ear, he has the multi-instrumentalist chops to bring the musical ideas to life.  You are just as likely to hear Phil playing accordion on an someone’s album as guitar or percussion. When It Comes on Like A Dream is one of my favorite alums because of Brian’s songwriting and performance, but it undeniable that Phil’s light touch showcased Brian’s talent perfectly.

And then we have Phil’s own songwriting talent.  He writes witty catchy songs with the vibrancy of op and the weight of rock.  I was a fan of Phil’s long-lost band Jordan River.  Somewhere in the 90’s I booked them for their last gig at Kate Kelly‘s Sundays at Seven in Northport before the band disbanded before he went off on an international tour with LI pop/rock band WHEATUS for their self titled multi-platinum debut (TEENAGE DIRTBAG), which he co-produced for Columbia Records. My favorite iteration of Phil’s music was Easy Anthems.


There are so many Easy Anthems songs I love, but the last few lines of this one always gets me. From left to right, the acoustic version of Easy Anthems in the video are:  Paul Loren, Vanesa Alvero, and Phil.  And yes they are playing for the Babylon Green Party.

Finally,  returning to my earlier thought of my love of hearing local artists covering each other, I believe we’ll be hearing a lot of cross-pollination on the 23rd.  Brian and Phil are more than artist and producer,  they are friends, collaborators and friendly musical competitors.   When I booked Beat Radio for a Green Party of Suffolk fundraiser in 2008, Phil came along as Brian’s sideman:


6 Responses

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