Two months after disbanding, the former members of Phish are getting busy. In October, ex-frontman Trey Anastasio returned to his Vermont studio, the Barn, to work on a pair of projects. Spending the bulk of the month writing material for an upcoming solo album, the guitarist invited along several collaborators — new and old.
Anastasio first spent time jamming with jazz pianist Herbie Hancock for a cut on the fusion legend’s forthcoming record. The date also included bassist John Patitucci (Chick Corea), veteran drummer Steve Jordan (Blues Brothers, Keith Richards), percussionist Cyro Baptista (Trey Anastasio Band, Beat the Donkey) and trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band). Several brief Hancock/Anastasio duets have been posted to TreyAnastasio.com.
During the final week of October, Anastasio also recorded solo tracks with bassist Tony Levin (King Crimson), drummer Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel) and keyboardist Ray Packowski (Trey Anastasio Band). Several of Anastasio’s regular partners — including Hartswick, ex-Phish bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman — rounded out the sessions. No release date has been set. In addition, a Trey Anastasio Band taping of Austin City Limits, recorded in September, will air nationwide on January 15th.
After producing and playing on Bane, the surreal debut of quasi-fictional bassist Joey Arkenstat, Gordon will return to both the studio and the road in December. First, the bassist will reconvene with avant-folk guitar legend Leo Kottke to begin recording a follow-up to 2002’s Clone. Shortly thereafter, he will join drummer Joe Russo and keyboardist Marco Benevento for a quartet of holiday shows as the “Benevento/Russo Duo featuring Mike Gordon,” culminating in a New Year’s performance at New York’s B.B. King’s. Gordon will soon launch MikeGordon.com to keep track of his solo activities.
Meanwhile, on November 30th, ex-Phish keyboardist Page McConnell will release Vida Blue and the Spam Allstars — Live at the Fillmore, a DVD of a June 2004 performance with his Afro-funk band. Apparently, life after Phish sometimes involves more than music: the bonus disc will include a forty-minute documentary on McConnell’s “foray into the world of demolition derby and car racing.”