ANISTAR is one of the best bands I've heard in a while. Sadly, they played their last show in NYC last night (the leader, Harel Shachal, is leaving the country to raise his family in Israel), but you can get their CD here, a live recording made a few years ago. I'm listening to it now. All of the players are ridiculous, but Harvey Valdez on Oud is on another level.
I went to see the band for the first time a couple of weeks ago on the recommendation of my friend and collaborator Skye Steele, who plays in Anistar and also fronts his own mighty quintet that was sharing the bill that night. Skye recently put out his debut CD Late Bloomer, a fine collection of originals, standards and traditionals highlighted (I think) by Skye's vocal debut on "I Don\'t Want To Live on the Moon." If you haven't heard Skye play with my band, you've missed out. Check him out playing on A Ghost from last December at Joe's Pub.
Someone else I\'ve checked out a few times recently is Sasha Dobson, a fabulous singer who has that rare something between jazz, country, pop and blues that I like so much. I don't know a lot about Sasha, but she's the real deal as far as I'm concerned. I met her, her beau Richard Julian and Josh Radin a few weeks ago when we all took turns passing around Sasha's guitar and trading songs after her gig at MOTO. The four of us, plus Jon Flaugher and Ian Riggs (each taking turns on bass) hung out till the wee hours playing each other tunes -- lots of fun. I don't know Richard's music that well yet either, but I plan to check it out some.
Sasha plays Sundays at my old stomping grounds Pete's Candy Store -- be sure to stop in and see her.