Kristjan Randalu with the Transatlantic Collective @ Cornelia Street Cafe
The same band as I heard in Estonia, in december 2008, except for the drummer (Patrick Cornelius – alto, Michael Janisch – double bass, Ambrose Akinmusire – trumpet, Kristjan Randalu – piano), Colin Stranahan on drums this time, sounded real good. Even some of the songs were the same as in Estonia, as it was the official US CD release concert of their debut album “Traveling Song”. The music somehow even felt more organic and energetic here in New York. It was great jazz playing from everyone in the group and the feel of it all was quite intense – really going for it. But this kind of event feels so natural here – just sitting in a jazz club and listening to top grade musicians playing good jazz.
But yeah, it is still a fact that Kristjan Randalu is probably the only Estonian jazz musician who is in that league of players right now, and would actually comfortably stand a comparison to the big names in the scene. It has been a lot of fun to spot him here and there in the city (- we’ve actually met many times at various concerts in the past couple of weeks, sometimes a bit deliberately though). 🙂 But he’s going back to Europe now – guess I won’t have the luxury of talking Estonian to someone at the concerts anymore…
I really like Cornelia Street Cafe as a venue (downstairs) but upstairs is an especially nice place to have drinks – it’s in a great neighborhood (West Village) and has a relaxed atmosphere – great for meeting people. I actually met the manager of Village Vanguard there and had some wine with him. Was fascinating to hear him talk about what he has seen here in NY – since he has worked at the Vanguard for over 20 years, hanged around with people like Dexter Gordon and seen the real jazz scene as it was back in the days when there were no smoking regulations and all that. In New York all the places are so connected to jazz history – great stories and great music – for those who know about it.
Oh yeah, and on my way home I actually did stop by at the Village Vanguard to confirm with my own eyes and ears that Brad Mehldau and Larry Grenadier were sitting in with Bill McHenry’s band (substituting Duane Eubanks and Ben Street). These kinds of things happen – only in New York.