Tag Archives: Michael Kammers

Flying Manning Custom Cases

7 Oct

I don’t know if you’ll be able to see the photos on this link if you’re not a facebook user, but it’s a series of photos of Manning Custom Baritone Sax cases comfortably fitting in the overhead compartments of a variety of aircraft.


There are many reasons for my fantasy about owning a Manning Custom Flight Case for my bari — the wheels, the latches, the material; my buddy MK let me carry his and it’s a whole lot lighter and ergonomic than my equivalently priced BAM case (as well as trumping it in the wheels, latches & customer service departments).

But while I was at Michael Manning’s magical olde worlde shoppe in a basement on 35th Street at 9th avenue (which reminds me of Sun Studios in Memphis, which is where Michael is from) waiting for my hand sewn backpack straps to be attached to my current case, Mike showed me this series of photos taken by bari player James King — James has been photographing his Manning Custom Flight Case successfully fitting in the overhead compartments on a series of different jet airliners.  When met with a resistant flight attendant at the gate check, he produces his photo-roll on his phone and has been allowed to fly in comfort, knowing nobody’s throwing his horn around and that it’s safely in reach right above his head.

I’m so excited about this prospect I’m going to have to magically come up with the $875 I’ll need to procure one of these cases.  Image

Happy Birthday to Aaron Johnson, Micah Gaugh and Michael Kammers

1 Apr

This week 3 of my favorite horn players celebrated their birthdays.  I’ve played with Aaron, Micah and Michael in many projects over the years including Electro Fetus, Rev. Vince Anderson & The Love Choir, TV on the Radio, Mackie Riverside & The Street Pushers and Burnt Sugar .  They’re all amazing fiery players who really shred as well as being great section players.

Micah Gaugh plays alto and a bent soprano sax (sometimes simultaneously, which literally makes women scream) and I play with him in Burnt Sugar; he also plays in Apollo Heights and has a solo project called Puppet. Aaron Johnson plays the hot & steamy trombone you’ve heard in Antibalas, The El Michels Affair and Fela! on Broadway, for which he received a Tony nomination in his role as musical director, and Michael Kammers is a screaming tenor man who has a prolifically self composed for 14 piece big band called MK Groove Orchestra which also plays out in a truncated trio format, the MK Trio, plays sax, farfisa and bass pedals in The Suite Unraveling and sometimes tours with Easy Star All Stars.

As an astrology fancier, I felt like I was in a furnace when I got to simultaneously play in a section with all three first decan Arians around my birthday last June when we played in INDOMITABLE, Burnt Sugar’s tribute to James Brown featuring Brandon Victor Dixon.

Even though all three of these guys have repeatedly, um, blown me away with their soloing prowess over the years, I recommend you find them live in concert, because I couldn’t find video footage to emphasize their awesomeness strongly enough on the http://www.  Real life is still best!

Here’s some examples of what they do respectively:

Micah in his amazing solo project Puppet:

Here’s Aaron with Antibalas playing Elephant …

Michael Kammers released his first solo EP, The Claustrophobic Noise EP, last year which I was honored to play on.

You can listen to it right here:


Michael Kammers presents The Claustrophobic Noise EP

25 Sep

I first met Michael Kammers on a Mackie Riverside & The StreetPushers gig, which is fun because we play 60s & 70s STAX covers. I immediately liked him and lo & behold he turned out to be a wailing tenor sax player and a GREAT team player. I was always happy to section up with him, even on wedding gigs where we had to learn Seawind Horns lines on MJ covers etc. Next I found out he also shreds on Farfisa which strikes a chord with me because we had one in my house when I was a kid and I used to play with it a lot. So when he invited me, I was more than happy to walk around the corner and lay down bari tracks on a couple of his original compositions which were crazy psychedelic prog with a sense of humor jams. He was recording The Claustrophobic Noise EP in his bedroom with most of his studio set up under a loft bed, this being one of the reasons for the name, the other being a nod to a rehearsal studio from his early youth in Syracuse. Anyway, as life tends to unfold in New York we’ve now played many gigs together and I always love playing with this guy whether he’s on sax or keys — doesn’t matter, he’s an all round great musician. I urge anyone who reads this to check out this EP and keep your ears open for more groovy sounds from Michael Kammers because he’s full of them — you’ll find his MK Groove Orchestra (14 piece big band playing all his original compositions) playing regularly in Brooklyn, the trio version of that group popping up all over the tri-state area and you’ll hear him being an asset to lots of other bands too including some I play in — Rev. Vince Anderson & The Love Choir, Meah Pace, Zoe Sundra and Burnt Sugar to name a few.

Every Monday night I play bari sax with Rev. Vince Anderson & The Love Choir

20 Dec

Back in 1996 I had the great fortune to meet Rev. Vince Anderson when I answered an ad seeking a drummer in the New York Press. I don’t play drums, just bari sax, but the ad was humorous and the name of the band was Leopold & Stanges Jangletown, which I liked. They said they liked Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Johnny Cash and I like all of that so I applied, apologizing about my non-prowess on the drums. I got the job, which turned out to be an off off Broadway theatrical production which was not entirely my cup of tea, however Rev. Vince was and a few months later when he put his new band together I was thrilled to receive an invitation to join. I’ve been playing with him every week ever since and it has been an amazing journey of music and friendship. For many years I was the only horn player, although from time to time people would sit in, Aaron Johnson or Steve Moses on trombone, or some sax players who would come through. About four years ago Dave Smith sat in on trombone and has been playing with us every Monday ever since. These days our regular Monday night gig at Union Pool is popular with Cochemea Gastelun from Sharon Jones & The Dapp Kings (more about his solo project Johnny Arrow soon), Eliot Bergman from NOMO, Michael Kammers from MK Groove Orchestra, Eric Biondo from Antibalas and Beyondo, and many others. It’s not unusual for us to cram four or five horns onstage at a time and then all solo simultaneously! Tonight is Rev. Vince’s Christmas Spectacular and we have some very special guests coming through. Showtime is at 11pm in the backroom at Union Pool, 484 Union Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tacos are served all night and admission is free, but you have to bring ID! Every Monday at Union Pool