Road Trips with Jason Crane: Music Is The Best Thing Ever (Part 3)

(Note: This is part 3. Go back and read part 1 and part 2 if you haven’t yet.)

One of the things I’ve missed the most during the pandemic is going to see live music. Writing this series is making me think back to many of the great live shows I’ve seen.

At the end of Part 2 my wife and I were living in Japan and going to see folks like Los Lobos and Doctor John. When we came back from Japan we moved to Hilton Head Island for a year and managed to catch some cool bands, including Angry Salad (twice) and The Toasters. Then we headed to Brooklyn, and as you can imagine, the number of available live shows increased dramatically. I remember seeing Speech from Arrested Development; Doug E. Fresh at a beatboxing show that also included Scratch and others; Los Lobos at the World Trade Center (this was pre-9/11); Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba (also at the World Trade Center); Philip Glass playing live accompaniment to the Bela Lugosi version of Dracula; and I’m sure many more that I don’t remember.

We moved to Rochester, NY, next. We also had our first son around that time, so we started going to fewer concerts. Around this time I started managing a jazz radio station and Rochester started a jazz festival, so I did have the luxury of seeing, meeting and interviewing many great jazz musicians. A couple that Drive listeners might know included Dave Brubeck and Bobby McFerrin.

Then it was on to Albany, NY, where we saw … wait for it … Los Lobos again. Yes, we tended to see them everywhere we lived. During all this time I was listening to music constantly, and hosting a jazz interview podcast, too, so I was keeping in touch with improvising musicians. I also tried during this time to get into the Grateful Dead (again, and again unsuccessfully) and Led Zeppelin (for the first time, and unsuccessfully). We had a second child by this time, so a lot of our home listening was taken up by the Wiggles and Raffi and folks like that. I feel like most parents have a blackout period where they lose touch with new music because they listen to kids’ music all the time.

Shortly after this I was on my own and moved back to NYC. By this time I was podcasting full-time and that meant going to jazz shows multiple nights a week, usually taking a train from Brooklyn to Manhattan for a 9 or 10 p.m. show then heading back out to Brooklyn in the wee hours of the morning. I did see some rock shows during this time, but not too many. The one I remember best was the band Black Dub, featuring guitarist Daniel Lanois, who is also known for being a producer of albums by Bob Dylan, U2, Peter Gabriel and many more.

Next time: Hitting the road by bus!