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The Turntable Sessions Report

Click on the Session of your choice...
TURNTABLE SESSIONS #1 - Summer 2001 (Exit Art Gallery - NYC, NY)
TURNTABLE SESSIONS #2 - Winter 2002 (Boulder Theater - Boulder, CO)
TURNTABLE SESSIONS #3 - Summer 2002 (Bowery Poetry Club - NYC, NY)

Radio Interview...
WNYC's John Schaefer speaks with Billy Martin about the Turntable Sessions and Drop The Needle sessions.

Bonus Radio Interview (Part II) ...
WNYC's feature story on Medeski Martin & Wood.

Turntable Session Booking...
Limor Tomer (limorbitte@yahoo.com)


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Bowery Poetry Club - NYC, NY
07/24/02 - 08/14/02

In the Summer of 2002, downtown's newest venue for adventurous music and poetry, Bob Holman's Bowery Poetry Club, hosted Billy Martin's ongoing musical journey, the Turntable Sessions. Every Wednesday night from July 24 to August 14, Billy Martin was joined by a stellar lineup of DJs, instrumentalists and vocalists to present the third installment of this innovative approach to controlled improvisation. Participating artists included Scotty Hard, DJ Olive, DJ Mutamasic, Shelley Hirsch, Leroy Jenkins, Marty Ehrlich and Matt Moran.

Each Turntable Session featured a different DJ performing duets over the course of the evening with several different guest musicians, ranging from horn and string players to keyboardists and vocalists. These pairings allowed the audience to have an intimate and direct experience with the DJ, as he or she created a sonic environment and interacted with an acoustic instrument or voice. The music was an exploration into the world of controlled improvisation, featuring some of New York's top hip-hop, jazz and experimental musicians. See below for a list of performers and sound samples.

This installment of the Turntable Sessions coincided with the release of Billy's pioneering breakbeat and remix album, DROP THE NEEDLE. Drop The Needle, the first in an intended series of releases featuring Martin's beats, shows the vast diversity of music that can be made when a single element is filtered through the creative processes of many different musicians from various styles and backgrounds. Martin's beats form the foundation for avant-garde experimentation (Sex With Robots' "Moderndicksealand"), trance dreamscapes (Spacefuzz's "Out of Your Mind"), hip-hop (contributions by Stainless Steele and Bombay Sapphire), sultry funk ("Double Game") and instrumental pop (Monk-One's album closer "Sun Flower"). In addition to submissions by popular musicians, Billy also solicited and included submissions by fans. The idea to have people send in the music they made with Martin's first breakbeat record illy B Eats Vol. 1 came just before the record was sent off to stores. "At the last minute, I decided to stick in an insert that said, 'Send in your mixes for possible inclusion on a follow-up compilation," Martin says. "The only rule was that it has to groove."

Says Martin of the concept for The Turntable Sessions: "It should be fun collaborating in this way, which was my intention when I made the breakbeat record. The Turntable Sessions at The Bowery Poetry Club will allow some of my favorite musical artists to come together to compose, improvise, and basically see what happens in an environment that has no boundaries. The only difference is that the live Turntable Sessions don't have to groove."

July 24 (Turntablist: DJ Mutamassic)
Min Xiao Fen, pipa
Leroy Jenkins, violin
Billy Martin, percussion

July 31 (Turntablist: DJ Olive)
Marty Ehrlich, reeds
Matt Moran, vibes
Billy Martin, percussion

August 7 (Turntablist: Scotty Hard)
Charlie Burnham, violin
Marcus Rojas, tuba
Billy Martin, percussion
August 14 (Turntablist: Val-Inc)
Min Xiao Fen, pipa
Shelley Hirsch, voice
Cyro Baptista, percussion
Billy Martin, percussion


Sound Samples

07/31/02 Turntable Session
(DJ du jour = DJ Olive
DJ Olive with...
56 bitrate mp3's
Billy Martin (drums) - "A Walk in the Dark"
Marty Ehrlich (saxophone) - "Moon Shadows"
Billy Martin (duck calls, toy slide whistle), Marty Ehrlich (sax), Matt Moran (vibes) - "Electro Eclipse"
Billy Martin (percussion, whistles...), Marty Ehrlich (sax), Matt Moran (vibes) - "Before Last Peace"
Marty Ehrlich (sax), Matt Moran (vibes), Billy Martin (drums) - "Last Peace"

08/14/02 Turntable Session
(DJ du jour = Val-Inc
Val-Inc with...
56 bitrate mp3's
Billy Martin (drums) - "DJ & Drum Duet"
Billy Martin (talking drum) - "DJ & Dun Dun"
Min Xiao Fen (pipa) - "Untitled"
Cyro Baptista (percussion), Billy Martin (drums) - "Cyro-illy Samba"
Shelley Hirsch (vocals) - "Untitled"
Shelley Hirsch (vocals), Min Xiao Fen (pipa), Cyro Baptista & Billy Martin (percussion and additional vocals at end) - "Untitled Ensemble"


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Boulder Theater - Boulder, CO
02/19/02 - 02/20/02

The Turntable Sessions in Boulder, Colorado featured DJ Olive and Scotty Hard on turntables.

The other musicians joining them were...
Charlie Burnham (violin)
Min Xiao Fen (pipa)
Mike iLL (vocals/guitar)
Chris Wood (bass)
Billy Martin (host/percussionist)
John Medeski (keyboards).

Each DJ improvised while the other musicians rotated on and off the stage. At times there was a duet setting, and at others three or four musicians would be onstage. Each show ended with an encore featuring the entire ensemble.

Click here for photos of the Turntable Session on 02/19/02
Click here to read the preview that appeared in Denver's Westword paper

The Turntable Sessions originated in the Summer of 2001 in collaboration with Exit Art's LP Show in NYC. You can listen to sound clips of those performances in the section below. Click here to go to Turntable Sessions #1.

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Exit Art Gallery - NYC, NY
07/11/01 - 08/01/01

In the Summer of 2001, I curated four musical events at Exit Art Gallery in NYC. The featured exhibit, The LP Show, was amazing and got a lot of exposure. My friend (and booking agent) Limor Tomer suggested I curate some gigs that coincided with the show. Right around the same time, I was just about to release my first breakbeat vinyl, illy B Eats Vol.1 - Groove, Bang and Jive Around, on my own Amulet recording label.

The chemistry was unique each week...
July 11th Turntablist Scotty Hard with Steve Cannon (Spoken Word), Mike Ill (guitar,vocals/rap), Dean Bowman (vocals), Cyro Baptista (percussion) with illy B sitting in on percussion from time to time.
July 18th Turntablist DJ Olive w/ Chris Wood (bass guitar), Ikue Mori (electronics via laptop computer), John Medeski (keyboards) and illy B.
July 25th Turntablist DJ Logic with Steven Bernstein (trumpets), Danny Blume (guitar), Marty Ehrlich and illy B
Aug.1st Turntablist Mark Anthony Thompson w/Daniel Carter (sax, trumpet, flute), Charlie Burnham (violin), Raphael Moses (rap), Bob Moses (drums, percussion) and illy B

-Billy Martin aka illy B

Sound Samples

07/11/01 Turntable Session
(DJ du jour = Scotty Hard
Scotty Hard with...
56 bitrate mp3's
Steve Cannon (reading from his book - "Groove, Bang, & Jive Around")
Mike Ill (I)
Mike Ill (II)
Dean Bowman (I)
Dean Bowman (II)
Dean Bowman w/ Billy Martin and Cyro Baptista on percussion
Cyro Baptista (I)
Cyro Baptista (II) 

07/18/01 Turntable Session
(DJ du jour = DJ Olive
DJ Olive with...
56 bitrate mp3's
Chris Wood (I)
Chris Wood (II)
Ikue Mori
John Medeski
John Medeski and illy B on percussion and whistles.

07/25/01 Turntable Session
(DJ du jour = DJ Logic
DJ Logic with...
56 bitrate mp3's
Steven Bernstein on trumpet
Danny Blume on guitar & Billy Martin on percussion & whistle
Marty Ehrlich on tenor saxophone
Marty Ehrlich on penny whistles & Billy Martin on percussion
Marty Ehrlich on flute & Billy Martin on percussion
Marty Ehrlich on bass clarinet & Billy Martin on talking drum

all music © copyright 2001 by the artists, all rights reserved
©2004 Amulet Records