MOBTOWN MOON is Sandy Asirvatham’s 2013 dream-come-true, envisioned while she was running on a treadmill and listening to Pink Floyd–she’s a very slow runner–and created in collaboration with singer/songwriter ellen cherry and a large host of Baltimore-based artists from many genres. Most of the arrangements were Sandy’s and they sprang vision-like from waking trances. A few others were genuinely collaborative, and served as vehicles to bring together ace musicians who never otherwise get a chance to work with eachother. The music is like the city that inspired it: gritty and beautiful and often just odd.
MM personnel: SA and ellen cherry (ec) co-creators. Scott Smith recording/mixing. Drew Mazurek mastering. (1) The City Speaks: SA compiler/composer, with found sounds provided by Baltimore Soundscape, a project of Hearing and Speech Agency. (2) Breathe (chant): Brian Simms & Vincent Stringer vocals; SA arranger (3) Breathe: SA and ec vocals; Ben Frock trumpet; Jeff Reed bass; Frank Russo drums; Scott Smith guitar; Brain Simms accordion and bg vocals; Vincent Stringer bg vocals (4) On The Run: Andrew Grimm banjo; Dave Hadley pedal steel; ec and Scott Smith drum programming & bells; ec sound assembly, tuning radio, & Moog (5) Time: Brian Simms lead vocal/piano/organ; Warren Boes guitar; Matthew Everhart bass; Christian Stengle drums; Vincent Stringer reprise vocals; ec and SA bg vocals;SA arranger with big assist from the band. (6) The Great Gig in the Sky: SA vocal and arranger; Nicholas Currie violin, Kate Zahradnik cello; Tim Anderson cello; Bryan Young bassoon; Brian Simms organ; Warren Boes guitar; Christian Stengle drums; Mathew Everhart bass. (7) Money: Chris Jacobs vocal/guitar; SA piano/keyboards; Jake Leckie acoustic bass; Mike Gambone drums; SA arranger with big assist from the band. (8) Dream/Counterfeit: David Ross & Femi The DriFish spoken word (writers & performers); with the band from “Money” above. (9) Us and Them: ec vocal; SA piano and arranger; Ben Frock trumpet; Bryan Young bassoon; ec and Jen Smith cellos; Jeff Reed bass; Frank Russo drums. (10) Any Colour You Like: Russell Kirk alto sax; Todd Marcus bass clarinet; Jeff Reed acoustic bass; Eric Kennedy drums; SA arranger. This was a live jazz take in a single studio room, no overdubs. (11) Brain Damage: Lea Gilmore vocal; SA piano and arranger; Craig Alson tenor and bari sax; Patrick Klink, Katie Graybeal, and Brian Gundersdorf bg vocals; Jeff Reed bass; Eric Kennedy drums. (12) Eclipse: OrchKids directed by Dion Cunningham vocals (Keyon Brewington, Nyshae Cheatam, Jameira Crippens, Kayla Dickerson, Monique Graves, Lawrence Howell III, John McFadden, Joseph Wilkerson, Dasani Young);Patrick Klink, Katie Graybeal, and Brian Gundersdorf bg vocals; Scott Smith guitar & effects; Jeff Reed bass; John Thomakos drums.
INNOCENT MONSTER is Sandy’s upcoming collection of 13 new original songs, which have shifted out of “jazz” and moved firmly into piano pop/rock/funk with the help of her new producer, the brilliant Pete Strobl. Production scheduled for summer 2019 and expected release is spring 2020. A few early demos can be heard here:
MEMOIR is Sandy’s 2007 debut of mostly original songs, jazz-pop-folk-rock tinged and lyrically idiosyncratic. It was chosen as one critic’s Best Jazz Debut in the Village Voice that year.
Memoir personnel: SA piano, voice, composer/arranger (arranger only on tracks 9, 10, and 12); Frank Russo drums; Amy Shook bass, violin, viola; Jim McFalls trombone; Tommy Williams trumpet; Dani Cortaza acoustic guitar; Chris Kennedy electric guitar; Fred Hughes engineer.
KREation’s PANORAMIC PATHS is a free, spontaneous, collective improvisation under the direction of visionary bandleader, woodwinds player, and composer Kevin Robinson. Sandy’s piano work here is probably her most musically adventuresome.
Soundtrack for THEO AND JOHN TALK NONSENSE
A film of outtakes from novelist, playwright, and filmmaker John Reed. Sandy Asirvatham composed/improvised the piano score. (She appears in occasional footage starting at 47:15)
A Few Notable Past Performances
Mobtown Moon premiere at Kraushaar Auditorium (September 2013)
Mammojam at The 8×10 (June 2012)
WTMD’s Seventh Birthday Bash at the Recher Theater Patio in Towson MD. (April 2010)
Takoma Park Open Mic at Capital City Cheesecake, solo featured artist. (February 2012)
Artscape, Baltimore’s massive free arts festival. (July 2008 and July 2009)
“Tribute To The Tax Man” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (April 15, 2010)
Chick Singer Night showcase at The Bitter End in NYC (May 2010)
Women In Jazz celebration and concert at Eubie Blake Center (March 2010)
Stoop Storytelling Series at CenterStage (November 2007)
Memoir CD release party at Jazzway 6004 (May 2007)
Baltimore Unsigned (live radio performance & interview) on WTMD 89.7 (November 2008)