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Published: 2008/03/20

Antibalas, Scofield, Medeski, Martin, Krasno, Evans, Laswell, The Duo and Friends Salute Scotty Hard

Last night, a number of musicians with ties to New Yorks downtown music scene participated in a benefit for veteran producer Scott Harding, who was partially paralyzed after being sideswiped in a hit and run accident in February. Throughout the night, DJs Olive and Logic entertained the sold out crowd between performances, the latter DJ sporting one of Ropeadopes new charitable Hard Ware t-shirts. Vernon Reid opened the evenings festivities with a few words about his longtime friend, before joining Logic for a performance that drew in John Medeski and John Scofield for their final number. Their set segued into a short, spirited set reminiscent of MSMW tour that featured Scofield, Medeski, Club delf bassist Mike Rivard and Bill Martin. Immediately after, legendary dub producer/bassist Bill Laswell took the stage with a band that featured his Praxis collaborator Bernie Worrell, with whom he recently completed a series of new studio recordings.
Perhaps the evenings most emotional moment followed, as Brian Harding led Medeski, Michael Blake and others through his brothers arrangement of Duke Ellingtons Utopia and offered some words on behalf of his family. Soon after, jazz keyboardist Vijay Iyer won over more than a few new ears, while Sex Mob invited out a number of musicians for its segment, including Blake, Medeski and Logic.
For many, the evenings highlight was a powerful set featuring members of the extended Soulive and Duo families. First up, Soulives Eric Krasno and Neil Evans played a trio set with Krasnos longtime musical partner Adam Deitch, before handing things over to Joe Russo, Tom Hamilton and Marco Benevento for a take on The Duos new song, Hey Hey Hey. All six musicians then took the stage together for energetic instrumental Led Zeppelin medley highlighted by The Ocean. Finally, an ad hoc version of Antibalas closed things out with the evenings longest set, with omnipresent saxophonist Cochemea ‘Cheme’ Gastelum, Medeski, Casey Benjamin, John Ellis and others sitting in before the benefit came to a close around 2 AM with a charged version of Incitement.
The night also featured some short interludes from the more rock-centric realm: two songs from Kevin Kendricks A Big Yesand a small no, which features Kendricks former Fat Mama bandmates Joe Russo, Jonathan Goldberger and Jonti Siman and a horn section featuring Gastelum, and a stripped down version of American Babies that found both Russo and Hamilton playing acoustic guitar and Goldberger played pedal steel. Though unable to attend in person, Harding was there in spirit, offering both video and audio messages that confidently declared, Im going to beat this thing, so dont be surprised if you find me standing by the way at a show in the next few months. In total, the evening raised over $30,000. Please visit for more information on how to donate.

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