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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 😀