The Falcon, a spacious, a spacious former 19th century factory; now a music venue, has gained a reputation for featuring top, globally distinguished jazz, rock and pop musicians. Nonetheless management is particularly excited about the headliner on July 20: Paul Shaffer, keyboardist and bandleader and music director for The David Letterman Show, playing with his mentor, guitarist Tisziji Muñoz, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the recording Divine Radiance and the 25th anniversary of Muñoz’s Visiting this Planet, both of which were recorded with Shaffer.
Shaffer is at “the top of the pyramid in the music business,” noted the Falcon’s Fern Franke. “He’s one of the great minds in music today, and has an extraordinary reputation for being a living doll to work with.”
Muñoz and Shaffer will perform with Don Pate on bass, John Medeski on piano/organ, Bob Moses on drums and Tony Falco on percussion (not to be confused with The Falcon’s proprietor Tony Falco). Franke said Shaffer’s Letterman bandmates – bass player Will Lee and drummer Anton Fig – perform at the Falcon with different ensembles.
Shaffer and Muñoz go way back: After leaving the military in 1969, Muñoz began experimenting and generating his own musical ideas, taking a leading role in the development of Toronto’s underground music scene. As a guitarist in the musicals Hair and Godspell, he met and inspired Shaffer, who became Muñoz’s primary accompanist from 1970 to 1972.
“Tisziji’s music was of a unique, otherworldly nature,” recalled Shaffer. “Although I didn’t understand it, I was galvanized. He began to instruct me in how to accompany and play this type of music. Thus began a musical and spiritual friendship that continues to this day.
“I apprenticed with Muñoz until I left Toronto for New York in 1974. He taught me first a repertoire of jazz standards, expanding my knowledge of harmony, then gradually freed me to play the modal type of spatial music with which he dealt. He led me and a small group of cats in an exploration of music as a means of spiritual communication with each other and, ultimately, with G-d. I have since played with all the great guitar players, from Eric Clapton to Van Halen to Santana to Jeff Beck, and nobody plays guitar the way Tisziji Muñoz does. He is very spiritual, and as a guitar player he swings wild.”
Muñoz and Shaffer have collaborated on many levels and recorded multiple albums together, including the two records that they are celebrating at the Falcon. “Paul and I are not only an odd couple, but we are a God couple when it comes to music,” said Muñoz. “Our musical relationship is completely intuitive, incomprehensible, yet perfectly workable.”
The Falcon serves delicious local fare and the doors open for dinner at 5:30 p.m.; the music starts at 7 p.m., and there’s no cover, though donations are encouraged ($20 suggested), and meals help fund this wonderful venture. The Falcon is located on Route 9W in Marlboro.
Tisziji Muñoz & Paul Shaffer Anniversary Concert, Saturday, July 20, 7 p.m., by donation, The Falcon, 1348 Route 9W, Marlboro; (845) 236-7970; www.liveatthefalcon.com.