Cello Madness would be an example of something that sounds really nifty, but ended up not being so much.
It’s supposed to be a troop of jamming cellists. In previous sessions, there had been 5 to 8 of them, getting all kinds of cello madness on.
Last night, though, there were just 2 of them at the Make-Out Room. The one who seemed to be generally in charge of the event was quite good and did some interesting things with his cello. He made it make sounds like a strumming guitar with his bow. He unabashedly was being cool and aggressive with his playing. The other cellist was a lady who was clearly a skilled classical musician. But she was terrible at improv. Any opportunity to make up a little tune was lost by her random, atonal, double-stop, pseudo jazz. It was consistently discordant and unpleasant. And she seemed to want to try to compensate for her decided lack of coolness in her cello playing by flailing her legs around and slapping her bare feet on the floor like a nod to her recognition of rhythm.
An audience guy asked them to play some Bach. She obliged and was quite good in that arena. She played two pieces from the cello suites that I didn’t know, and I suspect they were probably quite hard.
The other guy took a stab at the familiar piece from the first suite that’s been in a dozen commercials. He did a fun little improve bit in the middle and he messed up a bit in the rest. I was caught off guard at one point and laughed out loud when he played a fast scale instead of the actual notes of the piece. Even so, he was very interesting to listen to.
I may try out Cello Madness again and hopefully, it will be better with more people. But I am skeptical and left feeling like I coulda done a lot better myself, which is dangerous thinking indeed.