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Saturday @ Winter Jazzfest (Day 2)

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Saturday night jazzfest menu

Got there around 8:15PM this time and started off, just as the day before, with trying to do some quick gig hopping and check out all the venues for the most appealing sounds…

On the average, I think it felt even more crowded than the day before (it was 2000 people both nights and it was sold out). Come to think of it, according to the data on Search&Restore website, the¬†capacity of Zinc Bar is 250, 800 for le Poisson Rouge, 345 for Sullivan Hall (although I never saw that being at capacity),which totals 1395 people, theoretically. That would leave around 300 each for Kenny’s Castaways and the Bitter End. So it’s pretty understandable that the crowds were all over the place.

1. Bernie Worrell Orchestra @ le Poisson Rouge

Kyle Cadena, guitar / Andrew Kimball, guitar / Scott Hogan, bass / Glen Fittin, percussion / Shlomi Cohen, alto sax / Ofer Assaf, tenor sax / Justin Mullens, trumpet / Karl Latham, drums / Evan Taylor, drums

Pretty straightforward funky kind of music. Hopped on pretty soon…

2. Herculaneum @ Kenny’s Castaways

Dylan Ryan, drums / David McDonnell, alto saxophone / Nick Broste, trombone / Nate Lepine, tenor saxophone and flute / Patrick Newbery, trumpet / Greg Danek, bass

Stopped by really briefly: seemed like a nice hang, but not spectacular enough to settle down…

Bernie Worrell Orchestra

3. Lionel Loueke @ Zinc Bar

Lionel Loueke, guitar and vocals / Michael Olatuja, bass / Mark Guiliana, drums

Although I had heard Lionel Loueke a few times, I was a bit curiuos to hear this particular lineup with Mark Guiliana on drums. Finally managed to get in to Zinc Bar (it was so crowded that I didn’t really see anything). They sounded nice, but I only stayed for a tune or so, as the mission for the night was to hear something mind blowing…ūüôā

4. Andy Milne’s Dapp Theory @ the Bitter End

Andy Milne, piano, keyboards & vocals / John Moon, poet / Aaron Kruziki, reeds & vocals / Chris Tordini, basses & vocals / Kenny Grohowski, drums & guitar

Andy Milne's Dapp Theory

Back to the Bitter End. That one was crowded as well (oddly, everybody also stayed near the door, actually there was more room on the other side of the room). The band had energy and intention + they played well, so it was a pleasure to listen. Later on John Moon, the poet and vocalist in the band, performed some interesting improvised (?) poetry, locking it in with the band’s groove. Haven’t heard things like that too often, so I thought it sounded interesting, the rhythm of the words and the music…

5. Mostly Other People Do The Killing @ Kenny’s Castaways

Peter Evans, trumpet / Jon Irabagon, saxophone / Moppa Elliott, bass / Kevin Shea, drums

Didn’t fascinate that much me at the moment. Hopped on…

Fabian Almazan & Strings

6. Fabian Almazan and Strings @ Sullivan  Hall

Fabian Almazan, piano / Linda Oh, bass / Henry Cole, drums / Jenny Scheinman: Violin. I / Megan Gould, violin. II / Karen Waltuch, viola / Noah Hoffeld, cello

Didn’t hear enough of it to form an opinion. And to be honest, I thought Sullivan Hall wasn’t that appropriate a venue to hear this kind of music anyway as the sound of the room is more suitable for rock (bass is heavy, not so clear overall). On the average, the venues that have jazz in New York normally¬†have really great balanced sound (rooms are dry and not emphasizing any particular frequencies). So I’d rather hear Fabian Almazan and Strings somewhere else.

Justin Brown Group w/ special guest Ambrose Akinmusire

7. Justin Brown Group @ Sullivan Hall

Fabian Almazan, fender Rhodes & piano / Burness Travis, electric bass / Matthew Stevens, guitar / Special guest Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet / Justin Brown, drums

Another band I was looking forward to hearing – but somehow the music and the playing didn’t touch me this time.

Vijay Iyer Trio @ le Poisson Rouge

8. Vijay Iyer trio @ le Poisson Rouge

Vijay Iyer, piano / Stephan Crump, bass / Marcus Gilmore, drums

That one was great! The only drawback was that Le Poisson Rouge was packed as hell. Marcus Gilmore, once again, sounded great. And so did Stephan Crump on bass and Vijay himself. Looking forward to hearing them again soon, preferably in a bit more relaxed environment.

Allison Miller's BOOM TIC BOOM

9. Allison Miller’s BOOM TIC BOOM @ the Bitter End

Myra Melford, piano / Jenny Scheinman, violin / Brad Jones, bass / Allison Miller, drums

The Bitter End was packed as hell as well, but I managed to squeeze through the mob to the other side of the room, so it was quite cozy. I also found the music to be charming somehow, although it probably wouldn’t have been a jazz purist’s cup of tea (again, this conflict between the rhythmic worlds of jazz and folk). Allison Miller had loads of great musical ideas, enjoyable grooves and it was refreshing to hear her creative musical vision pouring out of the drum set: she treats the instrument in quite a unique way. They also had a nice energy as a band and were clearly enjoying what they do – it is always incredible to witness how much that actually adds (regardless of the actual music).

Taylor Eigsti trio

10. Taylor Eigsti trio @ the Bitter End

Taylor Eigsti, piano / Eric Harland, drums / Harish Raghavan, bass

That was the highlight of the day for me. Great musicians, great band! ¬†First, they played a few¬†originals, then a pretty impressive version of Wayne Shorter’s Deluge.¬†Tenor player Dayna Stephens stepped up as special guest for (his arrangement of) Joe Henderson’s Black Narcissus. For the last tune, vocalist Becca Stevens joined for a tune written by her and Eigsti,¬†Magnolia.

Taylor Eigsti trio w/ Becca Stevens and Dayna Stephens

What impressed me most in the concert was Eigsti’s almost McCoy Tyner kind of energy in his melodic lines. It was also great how he made musically meaningful use of textures of the actual instruments, combining the more intense sound of the piano (even more noteworthy as the actual piano seemed to be rather crappy) and the mellow sound of Rhodes. Harish Raghavan’s command of the bass was almost scary. And Eric Harland was as great as ever, or better.

11. Tyshawn Sorey Oblique @ the Bitter End

Tyshawn Sorey, drums / Loren Stillman, alto saxophone / Todd Neufeld, guitar / John Escreet, piano, keyboards / Chris Tordini, bass

Tyshawn Sorey Oblique @ the Bitter End

Although that was one of the late-night sets (starting at 01:45 AM) and many had departed, but there seemed to be quite a few musicians around to see this one. What bothered me about this one, though, was how they (not Tyshawn though)¬†seemed to be struggling with all the reading. Most players were so fixed on their sheet music that it looked almost humorous. Although this kind of intellectual and many-faceted compositions seem to be one of the interesting developments in jazz and one probably can’t really play music like that by heart, is reading music really supposed to be something that jazz musicians should demonstrate in such extreme ways? I feel that lot of the¬†effortlessness and grace that one would expect from the live music gets lost. All were great musicians (heard some spectacular solos and overall amazing musicianship), though, and it was kind of fun to try to process and make sense of the load of musical information presented (giving an almost sport-like thrill…).

Charlie Parker Festival @ Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem

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Charlie Parker festival @ Marcus Garvey park

Part of the New York ¬†Summer Stage, the annual Charlie Parker festival celebrated Bird’s 90. birthday this year (Aug 29th). I went to hear the concerts on Saturday @ Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem. I really liked the all-star tribute band MC Raydar Ellis’s Revive Da Live band with Ben Williams on bass (sounded really great), Justin Brown on drums, Jaleel Shaw on alto, Marcus Strickland on tenor, Marc Cary on keyboard, Corey King on trombone, Ingmar Thomas on trumpet.

I also heard J.D Allen’s group & ¬†Jason Moran’s Bandwagon, which was great because one of my very favorite drummers Nasheet Waits was playing. But I didn’t understand the band leading concept of using old Billie Holiday and Eddie Jefferson tracks and playing along with them. It didn’t sound like a live concert at that point, it felt like the band is having a break.

Drummers that seemed to ignore the Charlie Parker festival

And last but not least, they had McCoy Tyner on solo piano. He played some really nice (mostly original) tunes – Fly With the Wind (he actually played it twice), I Should Care, ¬†Blues on the Corner, African Village. A lot of people are saying how he doesn’t have the facility on the piano that he used to, but I think he still sounds totally extraordinary. At 86. And he is actually one of the very few of the real giants who’s still playing, so it’so feels really special to hear him live.

It was such a lovely day at the Marcus Garvey park and the weather was just perfect. The only REALLY annoying thing was how the folks at the Drummer’s Circle (not far from the main stage!) were drumming the whole time through the event. How come there are people that wouldn’t have courtesy to such a lovely event and great musicians, not to mention that on the big stage there were drummers like Nasheet Waits, Rudy Royston, Justin Brown playing? The sound in general was a bit too silent for the whole lawn area, and for that reason the drumming near by was especially painful for the interested listener. But despite all that, a really nice day in Harlem, was worth going! ūüôā

Gilad Hekselman Trio @ Bar Next Door

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Justin Brown, Matt Penman, Gilad Hekselman

With Justin Brown on drums and Matt Penman on bass. They played standards such as Good Bait, How Deep Is the Ocean, Countdown, We’ll Be Together Again and one of Gilad’s originals. I liked the show actually, especially Justin Brown’s energy in it. Otherwise, there is something rhythmically complicated in what Gilad does, which is still confusing to me. ¬†Ari Hoenig demonstrates these things in his book – ¬†“Intro to polyrhythms,¬†contracting and expanding time within the form”. As a listener I sometimes I feel it breaks the flow of rhythm for me even though as a concept I’m sure this is one of the most fascinating “new” things out there, which definitely should interest a lot of musicians.

Written by Ines

August 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Saschal Vasandani’s Who shot the messenger @ the Jazz Gallery

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Sachal Vasandani's project @ the Jazz Gallery

I don’t know how I even got there, really. Was supposed to meet a friend. And I did and it was cool. But I just didn’t like the music. No judgments, just wasn’t for me at all at that moment. Justin Brown on drums was really cool. Ben Williams on bass, the winner of this year’s Monk Competition didn’t impress me as much as I would have expected. Sachal himself wasn’t really singing so much, mostly just rocking along on the side (actually, the atmosphere of the concert was great, if I didn’t hear it it would have seemed like an awesome show). The girls were somewhat off key, too much for that kind of project, with written parts. The compositions and the concept seemed too simplistic for my image of the Jazz Gallery. Really don’t want to be mean here, but I don’t think I’m going to go hear any more jazz singers. Unless they’re Gretchen Parlato or something.

Anyway. The show was great, but I’m just a terrible snob. And, after all, it’s the Jazz Gallery. Must have high expectations for their stuff.

Saschal Vasandani's Who shot the messenger @ the Jazz Gallery

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Sachal Vasandani's project @ the Jazz Gallery

I don’t know how I even got there, really. Was supposed to meet a friend. And I did and it was cool. But I just didn’t like the music. No judgments, just wasn’t for me at all at that moment. Justin Brown on drums was really cool. Ben Williams on bass, the winner of this year’s Monk Competition didn’t impress me as much as I would have expected. Sachal himself wasn’t really singing so much, mostly just rocking along on the side (actually, the atmosphere of the concert was great, if I didn’t hear it it would have seemed like an awesome show). The girls were somewhat off key, too much for that kind of project, with written parts. The compositions and the concept seemed too simplistic for my image of the Jazz Gallery. Really don’t want to be mean here, but I don’t think I’m going to go hear any more jazz singers. Unless they’re Gretchen Parlato or something.

Anyway. The show was great, but I’m just a terrible snob. And, after all, it’s the Jazz Gallery. Must have high expectations for their stuff.

Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet @ the Jazz Gallery

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Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet @ Jazz Gallery

Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet @ Jazz Gallery

That concert was so good! I wasn’t joking that he’s my favorite trumpet player, I love his music so much ūüėÄ The compositions were amazing! Logan Richardson – alto, Gerald Clayton – piano, Justin Brown on drums, Harish Raghavan on bass. Lots of energy, great synergy in the band. Really good sound. Gerald Clayton on piano was totally killin’! Stayed for both sets. Even though I was a little late for the first one and missed the opening tune – of which I heard later on that it was pure magic. And they had friends sitting in – a burning 18-year old tenor player from Manhattan School for Inner Urge and in the second set vocalist Saschal Vasandani joined them for a take of Body and Soul. That was hilarious. I’ve heard him before actually, he’s a great vocalist. It was really entertaining how he had gum in his mouth the whole time. Didn’t seem to affect the singing… Yeah, but Ambrose is so special. People seem to know that – Jazz Gallery was quite packed . Really, everybody was there! ūüėČ I would go hear Ambrose again any time, that was such a pleasure.