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Posts Tagged ‘Donny McCaslin

Donny McCaslin Quartet @ the 55 Bar

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Donny McCaslin, Nate Smith, Fima Ephron, Ben Monder

Donny McCaslin (tenor), Ben Monder (guitar), Fima Ephron (bass), Nate Smith (drums). It was quite packed (I suspect that there was a high concentration of musicians in the audience again). So for the first set, I had to stand at the hallway next to the stage area (from where I actually could peek at the sheet music, pretty great spot, actually). They played original tunes by Donny McCaslin, some of which seemed to be brand new, testing their reading skills somewhat, and also Energy Generation and Perpetual Motion from McCaslin’s latest CD, Perpetual Motion.

The energy of the concert was great, especially in the second set. Ben Monder played some beautiful chords (that only he seems to find on the guitar) and some wild overdriven solos with sound and energy that would put many rock guitarists to shame… But Nate Smith and Fima Ephron were grooving so meaningfully that for me, it was, at times, even a bit difficult to concentrate on everything else that happened musically… Very danceable (never mind the changing time signatures).

Written by Ines

January 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Tuesday at The Fifth Estate

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Kyle Nasser Group @ the Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate’s jazz Tuesdays seem to be quite a worthy tradition in the Brooklyn jazz scene. For a couple of months now they’ve also had the early set from 7-9:30, by Kyle Nasser Group. I did some pre-listening in their Myspace and thought they’d be worth checking out as well.

So I heard the second set, consisting of: Speak Low, a fresh sounding original tune (by the guitar player in the group, unfortunately I didn’t catch his name), then a tune that I didn’t recognize, a version of Nefertiti with some really beautiful moments, and I Remember You. 

Some of the tunes had a nice fresh energy in them, which I really enjoyed. The guitar player in the group seemed also interesting, played with a lot of energy (which I think is actually quite rare…) although he was relying on Kurt Rosenwinkel’s influence quite a bit which I think is not such an original thing to copy nowadays. I wish I’d find someone successfully copying Grant Green from somewhere…

Donny McCaslin, Diego Voglino, Linda Oh and John Chin

Afterwards we heard the set by Diego Voglino (drums) with Donny McCaslin (tenor) , Linda Oh (bass), John Chin (keyboard). They played Milestones (the older one by Miles Davis), Billy Strayhorn’s Isfahan, John Coltrane’s Crescent and Like Sonny and two compositions by John Chin. I really enjoyed Donny McCaslin’s top quality saxophone playing 🙂 Pretty amazing, on this crispy cold New York Tuesday night, in a bar in Brooklyn, to hear such people… It was actually also my first time hearing Linda Oh: I thought she is great, very nice musician, and actually still rather underrated, in my opinion.

Besides the consistently good jazz at Fifth Estate, they  also have Southampton beer on tap! I like! 🙂

Written by Ines

January 4, 2012 at 3:21 am

Donny McCaslin Group @ the 55 Bar

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Sunday night @ the 55 Bar

W/ Adam Cruz (drums), Joe Sanders (bass) and Ben Monder (guitar). Lot of people, I came for the second set and couldn’t even find a seat at first. Was a great gig 😀 Really enjoyed listening to Ben Monder again…  I guess it was the last New York jazz concert for me this year, though, because I’ll be out of town for a while. Really don’t know when I’ll be back.

Written by Ines

December 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Mingus Big Band @ Jazz Standard & the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra revisited

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Mingus Big Band @ Jazz Standard

Went to hear the Mingus Big Band @ Jazz Standard, finally :D. I’ve been curious about that one for a while. It was surprisingly packed over there, seems like Jazz Standard is doing great business. And they deserve it too – in my opinion they have one of the best bookings in the city, really great food, great service, nice atmosphere, very professional attitude, quite reasonable prices (with student discounts), none of that aggressive minimums policy. Which really makes it in many ways the best jazz club in NY. But I was a little disappointed with the actual big band. I enjoyed only a couple of the tunes. I thought quite a lot of it was actually disturbingly out of tune. And for some reason didn’t like the piano player, I thought he was showing some bad taste with all those elevator music clichés and not so classy christmas carols quotes.  So I wasn’t as much into the whole thing. Boris Kozlov sounded great, though. And the lineup in general seemed pretty amazing: Scott Robinson, Donny McCaslin – tenor saxophone, Jaleel Shaw, Craig Handy – alto saxophone, flute,  Lauren Sevian – baritone saxophone, Andy Hunter, Dave Taylor, Marshall Gilkes – trombones Kenny Rampton, Alex Sipiagin, Earl Gardner – trumpets, David Kikoski – piano, Boris Kozlov – bass, Jeff “Tain” Watts – drums.

Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

But yeah. I think as a big band they were also lacking a little with the dynamics and energy. So later on I went to hear the second set of the Vanguard for a fresh comparison between the two. I must say the Vanguard Orchestra sounded way better to me. They weren’t perfect either, though :D. The Vanguard was really packed as well, even the second set. Seems like the holiday season is favorable for big band music. Speaking of that, I really wish I could have heard Joe Henderson’s Big Band live. I don’t think I would have had anything critical to say about them! 😀

Discovered an inspiring quote by Charles Mingus on Jazz Standard’s website:

“Most people are forced to do things they don’t want to for most of the time, and so they get to the point where they feel they no longer have any choices about anything important, including who they are. We create our own slavery. But I’m going to keep on getting through, and finding out the kind of man I am,

Edmar Casteneda & Ari Hoenig @ Smalls

through my music. That’s the one place I can be free.” (Charles Mingus [1922–1979], from a conversation with Nat Hentoff)

And then finally, saw Ari Hoenig @ Smalls with this interesting Columbian harp player Edmar Casteneda. Never heard seen or heard that kind of harp before, cool 😀

Maria Schneider Orchestra @ Jazz Standard

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Maria Schneider Orchestra @ the Jazz Standard

Heard two sets –  and sat so close to the band for the first one that I could actually see Ben Monder’s sheet music and all the voicings. That was so cool :D. The music was great, some really happening solos by Ben Monder, Donny McCaslin and Ingrid Jensen. This has been their regular Thanksgiving week @ Jazz Standard (for 6 years i think) – totally sold out. It was so great to be Ben Monder’s guest for that one 😀

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Written by Ines

November 26, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Joel Harrison Group @ Tea Lounge

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Joel Harrison Group @ Tea Lounge

Joel Harrison Group @ Tea Lounge

Went to visit a friend in Park Slope and ended up going to the Tea Lounge. What a great surprise – John Escreet (keys) and Donny McCaslin (tenor) were playing with Joel Harrison (guitar). Jerome Harris on bass, Ziv Ravitz on drums – sounded great. John Escreet played the piano solo of the month, I would say 😀 😀

Written by Ines

September 11, 2009 at 3:27 am