Live Music Review //
Kaelen Ghandhi / Chris Cretella / Michael Larocca
The Linda Sharrock Network
Luke Rovinsky / James Paul Nadien
Kaelen Ghandhi / Forbes Graham / Caleb Duval / Michael Larocca

April 29th, 2023
at Willimantic Records, Willimantic CT

Additional photos can be found here :::

This monthly improvisational music series by Michael Larocca at Willimantic Records is really becoming can't miss and if you weren't at this specific show you really did miss out because Michael Larocca brought in the legendary Linda Sharrock Network.   I feel like anything I say about Linda Sharrock is just going to be understated, but once you really do a deep dive into it yourself you'll hopefully realize how important this show truly was.

The show opened with that quartet of Kaelen Ghandhi (on saxophone), Forbes Graham (on trumpet), Caleb Duval (on bass) and Michael Larocca (on percussion).   This was particularly fun for me because I've seen Duval and Larocca as a duo before and with other special guests, but this was my first time seeing both Kaelen Ghandhi and Forbes Graham so having those two new musicians paired with two I've seen before was nice.

In all of its glory, this first set felt the closest to jazz that you could be at this show and the instruments and musicians going into it made sure of that.  I caught Quentin bobbing his head along to the rhythm more than once and this was just such a great combo to be put together because of the way they all came together and created that free jazz sound.   It really felt like we were opening the show with a bang.

Up second was the duo of Luke Rovinsky and James Paul Nadien.  Both of these musicians are around playing shows such as this often but this was my first time seeing both of them.  Luke Rovinksy plays the guitar while James Paul Nadien handled the percussion.   This was somewhere between loud and calm, as it felt more experimental and closer to noise than any other genre and I did enjoy that as well.

At one point, James Paul Nadien pulled out a piece of Styrofoam and created sounds with that.  I've heard a lot of sounds on cassette that sound like that scraping and screeching and kind of thought it was an actual instrument of some type, but this also makes sense.  I'm imagining at some point someone will pull out a chalkboard and just literally run their fingernails down it in some sort of noise set.   (It's probably been done, right?)

Third was The Linda Sharrock Network and words just cannot express how this was.  You have a group of musicians who are literally among the best at what they do all coming together to create this one sound.   The music history in this room was amazing and I really enjoyed the saxophone contributions by Mario Rechtern.   This whole set was just something to behold and you have to have seen it to believe it, but it was top musicians at the top of their game.

And a lot of what I find most impressive about all of this too is that a lot of the shows that I go to and the musicians that I see, including this show, are all people I feel like have been influenced by The Linda Sharrock Network.   To still be doing this, at this level, when 76 years old is just something I think we can hope to do one day.   For Quentin to be a part of this at age eleven also just makes it all feel so timeless.

The afternoon was closed out by Kaelen Ghandhi on sax, Michael Larocca on percussion and Chris Cretella on guitar.   This felt like taking the first set and taking some of the jazz out of it and putting more of a rock sound into it, but also somewhat of that free improv/experimental noise stuff that we heard in the second set with Luke Rovinksy and James Paul Nadien.  

This was definitely loud and rocking as just as this show started with a lot of energy, it seemed to keep it up throughout and never really slow down or stop until the end.   I'm constantly amazed by how well everyone plays together and it feels like they're all on the same page even though it might take other musicians years to accomplish that.   But that's part of the talent, its part of the sound and it's part of what makes this all so remarkable.  

Willimantic Records can be found on the web here :::

Michael Larocca can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Caleb Duval can be found on Bandcamp here :::

James Paul Nadien can be found on Instagram here :::

Kaelen Ghandhi can be found on Instagram here :::

Forbes Graham can be found on Instagram here :::

Luke Rovinsky can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Chris Cretella can be found on Bandcamp here :::

The Linda Sharrock Network can be found everywhere.