Recent Music News


Tomorrow night, February 17, the Pollotronik All*Stars are playing some killer funk at Toad in Porter Square, Cambridge.

And since Steve Giannaros just sent an email out to his mailing list promoting the gig, I figured I’d just quote him here, verbatim, and save myself the effort of saying the exact same thing:

As some of you may know, the Pollotronik All-Stars have taken a bit of a hiatus, as the band’s founder and fearless leader, Yahuba Garcia, has been extensively touring with the Ryan Montbleau Band, Martin Sexton, among others… On Thursday, 2/17, the Pollotronik All-Stars will be back in full force at Toad in Cambridge! No cover, usually things get started sometime after 10, and we will play late into the evening - You will witness an obscene amount of jamming and hear improvisation at its finest, as well as songs by artists such as Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Mongo Santamaria, and Robert Glasper, to name a few.

The lineup:
Yahuba Garcia - congas and Percussion
Peter MacLean - drums
Jason Cohen - keys
Ben Alman - bass
Dan Abreu and Myself - dueling tenor saxophones and EWIs.

The secret ingredient, and the basis of this band, is that we have never once rehearsed and wouldn’t have it any other way. So, if you didn’t know, now you know.

So that’s what Steve had to say. Killer funk, killer lineup.. and because it’s Toad, killer beer. I’ll see you there!


This Saturday, October 30, Artifaktori & The Nephrok Allstars proudly present a fresh, fabulous, freaky chic FUNK EXTRAVAGANZA at Atwood’s Tavern in Inman Square, Cambridge!

Don your funkiest junk (or halloween costume) and get down and groove! There’s going to be a costume CONTEST with multiple categories and lots of prizes, so dress sharp!

The show starts at 10, so RSVP now and I’ll see you there.


This Friday, September 24 (tomorrow!!), I’m playing with Trick Bag at The Tap in Haverhill, MA. We’re going to be playing both instrumental and vocal funk, NOLA-style, so if you like to get your groove on, this is definitely the place to be on Friday night.

We’ll be going on at 9pm, and the place has plenty of beer (how could it not, with a name like “The Tap”), so come on down and shake your moneymaker!

Find out more details and let us know that you’re coming by RSVPing at the Facebook event page.

Note: I initially posted this gig as October 24, but it’s actually September 24. Sorry for the confusion!


First of all, thanks to everyone who came out last friday for the crazy Big Ben Hillman / Nephrok! Allstars double-header at Johnny D’s, it was an awesome gig!

This Saturday, September 11, I’ll be playing again with The Nephrok! Allstars at Atwood’s Tavern in Inman Square, Cambridge. Doors open at 9:30, the cover is only $5, and this place has a killer beer selection, so be prepared to get your funk and your drink on.

Either way, I hope to see you there!


I’m playing a sick double bill this Friday night, laying down the bass with not one, but two amazing funk bands. I’ll be playing with both Big Ben Hillman and The Nephrok! Allstars, and we’ll be hooking up an entire evening of the most killin’, super funky grooves you’ve ever heard.

On top of that, both groups are going to do a set together at the end of the night, at which point a gigantic intergalactic supernova funk-splosion will be created, so be sure to rock the protective eyewear. You definitely won’t want to miss this.

The gig is at Johnny D’s in Somerville, MA on Friday, September 3 at 9:30pm. The show is 21+, the cover is only $10, and it’s going to be EXTREMELY FUNKY, so you’d better show up. This goes double if you haven’t seen me play before, in that case you need to either show up twice (probably physically impossible), or bring someone else (definitely possible, recommended).

If you want more information, you can RSVP at the Facebook event page, so check that out.. and I’ll see you there!


Alright everybody, I’m playing next Friday night at Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, so you’ve got to come down and check it out!

I’ll be playing with Big Ben Hillman and The Royal Family, but Jen Kearney and The Lost Onion will also be doing their thing too, so don’t miss it. It’s going to be funky!

And if you need some sound samples, check out these tracks from the last gig I did with Big Ben Hillman.

Next Friday, April 23 at Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. Put it in your calendar!


Recently, Robyn and I have had the good fortune to see some truly awesome music performances.

Most recently, we saw Toots Thielemans with Kenny Werner and Oscar Castro-Neves at Scullers. This show was amazing, the trio played flawlessly.. and it was just fantastic to see not only eighty-seven year old Toots (who actually called himself a “black motherf***er from Belgium” on stage), but also Kenny and Oscar, who maintained an amazing rhythmic and harmonic counterpoint throughout the show (punctuated by amazing solos).

Before that, we got to see Buster Williams with Patrice Rushen, E.J. Strickland and Mark Gross at Scullers. Not only was it an awesome show, but I actually got to meet Patrice Rushen (!!!) which was a total thrill, since I’ve been a huge fan of hers for quite some time. Ever since I heard Men in Black her first two albums, Prelusion and Before the Dawn (and of course, the amazing Straight from the Heart), I’ve been totally hooked.

And last month, we had a damn good time seeing Los Amigos Invisibles again, back at the Paradise. We never miss them when they come around, and it was yet another great show, lots of groovy, sexy Venezuelan dance-funk, which is awesome if you like music that kicks serious ass.

I know we have tickets to see Bobby McFerrin and Roy Haynes within the next month, so hopefully I’ll be able to take (and then actually post) photos to at least one of those shows!


I never really expected to categorize a post as both “code” and “music,” but you know those “there’s an app for that” iPhone commercials? Well, apparently, “there’s a Ben Alman jQuery plugin for that.”


I’ve had a lot of requests for music recently, and it’s been a long time since I’ve posted any kind of music that even tangentially involves me.. but since I just had a really funky gig (that I recorded), I thought I’d post some tracks from the show.

So, without further ado, check out these tracks from my gig with Big Ben Hillman @ The Big Easy, and as always, let me know what you think in the comments!


I’ve got a cool gig next week that you should definitely check out.. I’ll be playing some funk with my good friend and long-time collaborator Big Ben Hillman at the Big Easy in Portland, Maine next Friday, November 27.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to jam with Ben, but he’s put together a great band, so I’m really psyched. And it looks like we’re opening for a band called “The Returnables” so be sure to get there early.. I think the doors open at 9pm.

Put this date in your calendar, and come out to the Big Easy next Friday! Don’t miss it!


Robyn scored us some tickets to see SMV (Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten) at the House of Blues tonight. the basses were thumpin' and the music was bumpin' - everyone took at least one killer solo, including Marcus on bass clarinet and Stanley on upright.. If you get a chance to see these guys, take it!

Also, check out my photos from the show!


I know I said that I'd write about my Christmas presents, but never did. I got some great presents, really.. but, see, I decided to make myself a few pretty serious New Years' Resolutions too. The first was to revamp my website, with an updated photo gallery plus music and code sections. The second was to finally put together an album.

Well, I've been working on the web redesign pretty much non-stop (in my spare time, of course) since January 1. I completely re-architected my Movable Type templates, rewriting them all from scratch and adding a whole bunch of custom macros and nav code. Since then I've been working on a handful of jQuery plugins, including a really cool flickr photo gallery. These aren't done yet, but they will be soon.

I've also been working on a few new songs. I'm not sure that the album will come out this year, but I'm definitely going to be making a lot of progress. I already have. Once the redesign is done, I'll get some music posted here.

I have no excuse for not updating the site in the last few months, but with the whole template re-architecthing thing, I was a little bit afraid that publishing new blog posts would cause me some headaches. Well, they will, but I'll deal with that later. In the meantime, take a look at some old art and graphic design stuff I just uploaded to flickr. I'll have photos from our recent Washington, DC trip up soon!


It's not that I didn't want to update my News, it's just that I wanted to wait until I had all my photos from our recent trips to Cancun and Puerto Rico sorted, tagged and uploaded. It just took a lot longer than I thought it would, because there were so many good photos (and because I took my damn time).

Robyn and I don't have any more vacations planned until next July, so I should have no excuse in the future to keep things updated. That being said, I've been busy lately..

Let's see.. I've been collaborating on some music with musician and friend Dan Abreu, I created a small corporate website for Viewpoint Lifestyle, and I've even found some time to play Little Big Planet on PS3, which by the way, totally rocks. And of course, with the holidays coming up, there are lots of presents under the tree, so Robyn and I are both pretty excited.

If I get any good loot from Santa, I'll write about it here. I promise!


Recently, Robyn planned a little weekend trip for us to New York City. We walked around Times Square, Central Park, saw Young Frankenstein on Broadway, and Larry Carlton at the Blue Note. Robyn took some photos too, so check them out (I especially love her Trump Tower shot).

Even more recently, we saw the Red Sox of Boston take on the Indians of Cleveland. And in the end, the Red Sox triumphed by hitting a spherical ball made of leather through a big field. It was a most ripping victory. Ok, it wasn't even close to a most ripping victory, but the first inning (and maybe a few other things) were entertaining.

Last, but not least, I finally upgraded my home music studio to a brand new machine running SONAR 7. The photo I uploaded to Flickr was, ironically enough, featured in an article on optimizing SONAR 8 for Vista. I don't even run Vista.. but shh–don't tell anyone, okay? Either way, I'm working on writing and recording music again, so expect more tracks from me, soon!


Robyn and I recently attended the Newport Jazz Festival, for our third year in a row. Let's see.. this year, we got to see Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Aretha Frankin, Ledisi, Chris Botti, Brian Blade, Charlie Haden, Bill Frisell, Chris Potter, Dave Holland, Christian Scott, Esperanza Spalding, Fred Wesley, Lettuce, Soulive.. the list goes on and on.

And for the last few years, Robyn and I just went to relax and listen to the excellent music, and maybe get a sunburn or two.. but this year we went not only to listen, but also to take a lot of photos. And we did! Check out my Newport Jazz Festival 2008 photos, and also check out Robyn's Newport photos as well.

More Recent Music News