In Praise of Marc Ribot…

From The Village Voice:

You’d figure a guy like Ribot gets a lot of 1099s. Later in the week, he’ll give a duo concert with avant-garde bassist Henry Grimes at the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea, before whisking himself downtown to play an acoustic set at Tribeca’s City Winery with veteran pop icon Marianne Faithfull the same night. Both shows will sell out. (A few days later, he’ll join Faithfull again on the Late Show With David Letterman, offering a stirringly lyrical eight-bar solo on a cover of the Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife 3.”) He’s kept up this lifestyle for several decades now, cementing a reputation as the hardest-working sideman on the downtown scene, in addition to spearheading countless pioneering jazz groups, cutting almost 20 albums as a leader, and lending his mercurial guitar sound to everyone from Tom Waits to John Zorn to Allen Ginsberg to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Oftentimes, the only connection between the various artists he’s played with is . . . him.

And now, to celebrate his 55th birthday, Ribot is bringing together many of those eclectic collaborators for a week-long career retrospective. From May 9 through 16, he’ll spend almost every night in a different downtown venue with a different group: the ethereal Scelsi Morning, Latin-jazz provocateurs Los Cubanos Postizos, gut-busting jazz-punk powerhouse Shrek (no relation), avant-noise genre-benders Rootless Cosmopolitans, Albert Ayler tribute band Spiritual Unity, “post-everything” electro-funk trio Ceramic Dog (to which Ribot also contributes vocals), and the debut of Sun Ship, his latest foray into the ever-expanding world of free jazz, named after the John Coltrane album.

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