Caroline Davis “Heart Tonic” at Jazz Gallery 4/13/18 (by Marta Sanchez)

PERSONNEL: Caroline Davis (alto saxophone), Noah Preminger (tenor saxophone), Julian Shore (piano, rhodes and synth), Tamir Shmerling (upbright and electric bass), Jay Sawyer (drums), Rogerio Boccato (percussion on “Ocean Motion”)

SET LIST: Constructs, Penelope (Wayne Shorter), Footloose and Fancy Free, People Look Like Tanks, Air, Ocean Motion (all songs by Caroline Davis except the Shorter)

HIGHLIGHTS: Caroline’s solo over “Constructs” was a powerful improvisation, full of rhythmic confidence and fresh ideas.

Caroline Davis celebrated the release of her CD “Heart Tonic” on Sunnyside Records. Her eight compositions plus an arrangement of Wayne Shorter’s “Penelope” are influenced by many different stylistic ideas that go from traditional jazz to the most avant-garde, although the whole set stayed coherent and personal.

Like many of Davis’s compositions, “Constructs” has many different parts that explore different atmospheres. It begins with a tricky bass line over which the horns play a mysterious melody. After that, the rhythm section breathes, going into a kind of vamp that opens for a short shared improvisation by Davis and Noah Preminger. The melody in the horns developed to become more angular and rhythmic, and almost before we realize it the tune became a fast swing feel for brilliant solos by Davis, Preminger, and Julian Shore.

Davis’s arrangement of Wayne Shorter’s “Penelope” was faster and more rhythmically intricate than the original ballad. Shore offered a compelling solo that created a lot of space for interaction with the rhythm section.

Shore’s synth intro to “Footloose and Fancy Free”  somehow reminded me of a Haitian chorus, the way one of the voices go a half step apart when you least expect it.  The tune proper started with an electric bass line, over which the horns sang a sophisticated avant-garde melody creating a contrapuntal, rhythmically complex effect.

“People Look Like Tanks” was the only composition not included on the CD. Davis wrote a gorgeous melody over a steady rhythm on the piano that created the most poetic moment of the night.

An atmospheric and textural drum intro by Jay Sawyer set up the vibe of “Air,” a really pretty ballad that honored its title. Shore painted with rich chords in his feature. Eventually the horns started soloing together. Preminginer and Davis were on fire, encouraging each other and reaching high levels of energy.

Rogerio Boccato joined to play the last song of the set and the last one of the CD, “Ocean Motion”, a tune that started with a powerful line in 9/8 played by Tamir on electric bass. The vibe remind me a bit of Weather Report, with an African rhythm underneath in an electric format. The tune ended with an exchange between drums and percussion, where Jay and Rogerio displayed endless ideas.

Caroline Davis’s music is deep and personal. It is rhythmically complex, but the band made the difficulties sound easy and natural. Everyone onstage was free to make things happen.

— by Marta Sanchez

Billy Childs at The Jazz Standard 3/25/18 (by Kazemde George)

PERSONNEL: Billy Childs (piano), Dayna Stephens (soprano, alto and baritone saxophones), Hans Glawischnig (bass), Ari Hoenig (drums)

SET LIST: Rebirth (Childs, Acuña), Windmills of Your Mind (Legrand), Dance of Shiba (Childs), Peace (Silver), The Starry Night (Childs)

HIGHLIGHTS: Hoenig consistently drove the energy of the band forward with an undercurrent of rhythmic subdivision, constantly reacting to and supporting the ideas presented by the soloists.

Billy Childs is now best known as a major composer. However, he hasn’t lost touch with jazz, and his latest album Rebirth represents a return to the renowned pianist’s earlier days as a sideman playing with hard-bop legends Freddie Hubbard and JJ Johnson.

The quartet kicked off their set with the album’s title track, a high-energy romp in straight eighths. After playing the main theme, the band settled into a vamp for the piano solo with one measure of 5/4 and one of 7/4. The skill of all the band members was quickly made apparent as they deftly suggested each melodic or rhythmic idea before putting it in its place and moving to the next musical impulse. Stephens improvised over a new section, and eventually transitioned into a final vamp section with a repeated melody line, buttressed by hits from the rest of the band which progressed through a series of re-harms before an abrupt conclusion.

Childs’s compositions may resemble hard bop in their feel and intent, but in other ways, the pieces reflect of Childs’ other music endeavors into orchestral and chamber writing. Rather than rely on the common lead-sheet approach to Jazz writing, his pieces are more through-composed, with multiple written passages, transition sections, and improvisations taking place over different forms.

The winding logic of Michel Legrand’s “Windmills of Your Mind” began as a contemplative waltz. The open ended solo section was a one-chord vamp followed by a minor blues turn-around, which allowed the band to explore different options. Childs threw in a few “out” chords, Glawischnig responded with melodies and counter-rhythms, and there were several interactive moments between Hoenig and Childs.

“Dance of Shiba” was a piece designed around rhythm. In each passage, the trio asserted a set of angular hits connected by a frantic melody on the saxophone. In moments like these, Glawischnig and Hoenig were invaluable, they both have an unshakable sense of pulse and great dexterity when it comes to subdividing and manipulating the beat. Much of the rhythmic dynamics of the in-head were abandoned for the piano solo which happened over a commonplace ¾ with mostly static harmony. For the alto solo, the band brought back some of the hits from the exposition, and Stephens took on the challenge of integrating them into his solo. The song ended on a drum solo by Hoenig with the band making the hits sharply and in unison, connecting and re-imagining the rhythms in multiple ways.

Horace Silver’s “Peace” began modestly with Childs mapping out the songs harmony with arpeggios before bringing in the melody. The rest of the band entered with Stephens playing the head on the baritone and Hoenig delicately ornamenting and marking the time. In Glawischnig’s only solo of the night he projected clear melody lines with confidence, his sense of phrasing was loose and natural, but he still was always connected to the grid. Stephens took an unassuming solo which casually meandered through the form. The piano and drums offered a relatively minimal accompaniment, but Glawischnig stepped in to converse melodically with Stephens. For the start of his solo, Childs reached into the piano to mute strings and played with a few simple ideas before concluding on a high, with a series of virtuosic arpeggios.

The final tune, another composition by Childs, was a good amalgamation of the different musical ideas presented throughout the night. The tune featured a few contrasting sections, each based around modulating harmonic structures attached to syncopated hits. Each soloist explored varied moods, from contemplative to brash, and the band was always listening to cues from each other, allowing them to function as one unit to bring Child’s experienced vision into reality.

by Kazemde George

b there or b square 4/23/18

MONDAY APR. 23

Arthur’s Tavern Grove Street Stompers feat. Joe Licari ▲ Amadou Gaye, A Royal Crime
Bar Next Door Ryan Hernandez Trio w. SY Hong, Hank Allen-Barfield ▲ Perry Beekman Trio w. Jack Ryon, Lou Pappas
Birdland Maureen McGovern ▲ Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
Blue Note Aaron Comess Sculptures w. Oli Rockberger, Keith Loftis, Teddy Kumpel, Leon Gruenbaum and guests Joan Osborne, James Maddock
Caffe Vivaldi Open Mic Night
Cornelia St. Cafe Sound Traffic w. Thollem McDonas, Laura Ortman, Miah Artola
Club Bonafide Jim Self/John Chiodini w. guests The New York Tuba Six ▲ Aaron Rimbui
Dizzy’s Purchase Jazz Orchestra w. Mike LeDonne
Fat Cat Harold O’Neal’s Piano Cinema Raw ▲ David Schnitter Quintet ▲ Afterhours w. Billy Kaye
Flatiron Room Blue Opal Jazz
The Iguana Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks
Jazz Standard Mingus Big Band
The Kitano Jam Session w. Iris Ornig
The Kola House Glenn Crytzer Orchestra
Local 802 AFM Jam Session
Mezzrow Randy Ingram w. Drew Gress, Jochen Rueckert ▲ Afterhours w. Pasquale Grasso
Rockwood Music Hall  Jim Campilongo Trio w. Tony Scherr, Josh Dion
Rue B Mara Rosenblum Solo Piano “Monday Blues Series”  ▲Soul & Jazz Singers Jam Session feat Jerome Foster
Smalls Ari Hoenig Trio ▲ Jonathan Barber Group ▲ Afterhours Jam Session
Smoke Vincent Herring Quartet & The New Jam Session
Swing 46 Swingadelic
Tomi Jazz Andrew Kushnir Trio ▲ Tomoko Yanagita Duo
Village Vanguard Vanguard Orchestra
Zinc Bar Tony Purrone Trio ▲ The New School Jazz Jam Session w. John Koozin Trio
11th Street Bar Richard Clements/Murray Wall Band

brooklyn

Barbès Braincloud ▲ Locobeach
Bar Lunático Beekman: Kyle Nasser, Yago Vazguez, Pablo Menares, Rodrigo Recabarren
Bushwick Public House Stephen Gauci, Sandy Ewen, Adam Lane, Kevin Shea ▲ Sandy Ewen, Matteo Liberatore, Lauri Hyvarinen; Jason Mears, Quentin Tolimieri, Andrew Drury ▲ Adam Caine, Bob Lanzetti, Adam Lane, Billy Mintz ▲ Spencer Friedman/Ryan Shreves
Shapeshifter Lab Florian Herzog  ▲ Gene Perla w. Alan Jones, Nicole Glover, Jon Ballantyne ▲ Concetta Abbate/Benjamin Engel
Sir D’s Lounge Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra w. Steve Wilson, Carolyn Leonhart

see rest of the week…

Jason Rigby “Detroit-Cleveland” Trio at Cornelia St. Cafe 3/30/2018 (by Nathan Bellott)

PERSONNEL: Jason Rigby (tenor & soprano saxophones), Cameron Brown (bass), Gerald Cleaver (drums)

SETLIST: Mushi Mushi (D. Redman), Unreason (Rigby), Possible Beauty (Rigby), Untitled (Rigby), Satellite (J. Coltrane)

HIGHLIGHTS: Rigby’s dark tenor sound mirrored the patina of his vintage horn
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Fresh from a worldwide tour with Mark Guiliana’s Jazz Quartet, Jason Rigby returned to Cornelia St. to lead a trio of regular collaborators. Bassist Cameron Brown has appeared on all of Rigby’s recordings, drummer Gerald Cleaver has appeared on the last two. The most recent, One, features this ensemble playing both originals and standards.

Rigby rarely counts of a tune, he simply begins, and the set commenced with an anthem from the Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet, Dewey Redman’s “Mushi Mushi.” The tune’s corkscrewing melody and harmony are a strong example of the influence of Ornette’s aesthetic upon its author and the American Quartet’s concept writ large. This trio phrases as one, punctuating the spaces between the soloist’s statements with measure.

Gerald Cleaver played the room. His beneath-the-radar approach was effective, but a few accented snare hits made me almost jump out of my seat. Cameron Brown’s big beat shined through on “Mushi” during the open solo sections, where he balanced the harmonic landscape between Rigby’s implications and his own intimations. The “time, no changes” aspect of the tune works perfectly for this trio, as deep swing isn’t sacrificed by unexpected digressions.

“Unreason” was the sole soprano saxophone number, a modal tune in three. Rigby has managed to get almost the same tone on the small horn as the big horn, no small feat. The potential inherent in the title of “Possible Beauty” was to be found in Rigby’s opening cadenza. The newest tune of the night lacked a title: This band often workshops new material on the bandstand, allowing the audience to see a different side of the creative process.

They book-ended the set with another tenor repertoire classic, John Coltrane’s “Satellite.” The majority of the music that had preceded was open, often free of form and harmony. The complex chord changes and set form of “Satellite” forced the players into another approach to improvisation, one that combines intuition with concentration. Rigby offered an open challenge to his previous self with each consecutive chorus. After trading, Cleaver showed off his deep knowledge of the drum lineage with an extended sermon. Afterwards, Cameron Brown amusingly remarked to Rigby, “You waited til the end to call that tune?”

— by Nathan Bellott

b there or b square 4/15/18

MONDAY APR. 16

Arthur’s Tavern Grove Street Stompers feat. Joe Licari ▲ Amadou Gaye, A Royal Crime
Bar Next Door Andrew Pereira Trio w. Cole Davis, JK Kim ▲ Dana Reedy Trio w. Glenn ALexander, James Robbins
Birdland  Frank Wildhorn & Friends ▲ Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
Blue Note McCoy Tyner & Special Guests
Caffe Vivaldi Open Mic Night
Dizzy’s Emmet Cohen Trio feat. Tootie Heath, Russell Hall
Fat Cat Camila Celin ▲ George Braith Group ▲ Afterhours w. Billy Kaye
Flatiron Room Blue Opal Jazz
The Iguana Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks
Jazz Standard Mingus Big Band
The Kitano Jam Session w. Iris Ornig
The Kola House Glenn Crytzer Orchestra
Le Poisson Rouge Nels Cline 4 w. Julian Lage, Scott Colley, Tom Rainey
Local 802 AFM Jam Session
Mezzrow Ed Cherry, Bruce Barth & Dezron Douglas ▲ Afterhours w. Pasquale Grasso
Minton’s Julius Rodriguez Quintet feat. Harish Raghavan
Rockwood Music Hall  Jim Campilongo Trio w. Chris Morrissey, Kenny Wollesen
Rue B Mara Rosenblum Solo Piano “Monday Blues Series”  ▲Soul & Jazz Singers Jam Session feat Jerome Foster
Smalls Lucas Pino Nonet w. Philip Dizack, Alex LoRe, Nick Finzer, Andrew Gutauskas, Rafal Sarnecki, Glenn Zaleski, Chris Smith, Martina DaSilva, Jimmy Macbride ▲ Jonathan Michel Group ▲ Afterhours Jam Session
Silvana Jon Sheckler
Smoke Vincent Herring Quartet & The New Jam Session
Swing 46 Swingadelic
Tomi Jazz Andrew Liceta Trio ▲ Alex Hamburger Duo
Village Vanguard Vanguard Orchestra
Zinc Bar Strings Attached: Jack Wilkins, Vic Juris, Ron Affif, Mark Whitfield and guest Rale Micic
11th Street Bar Richard Clements/Murray Wall Band
55 Bar Mike Stern

brooklyn

Barbès Braincloud ▲ Cumbiagra
Bar Lunático KADAWA w. Tal Yahalom, Almog Sharvit, Ben Silashi
Bushwick Public House Aaron Rubinstein, Sarah Hughes, Brandon Davis, Michael Larocca ▲ Stephen Gauci, Sandy Ewen, Adam Lane, Kevin Shea ▲ Hampus Ohman-Frolund/Anders Nilsson ▲ Nick Lyons Quartet ▲ Kenneth Jimenez Quartet ▲ Welf Dorr, Aron Namenwirth, Zach Swanson, John Loggia
Sir D’s Lounge Makrokosmos Orchestra

see rest of the week…

Andrew Cyrille Quartet at the Village Vanguard 3/29/18 (by Dan Lehner)

PERSONNEL: Andrew Cyrille (drums), Ben Street (bass), Bill Frisell (guitar), Richard Teitelbaum (synthesizer, laptop, piano)

SET LIST: Dazzling (Perchordially Yours) (Cyrille); Proximity (Cyrille); Brl Itz (Street), Variations and Silence (Teitelbaum), The Painter (Hemphill), With You in Mind (Cyrille), Special People (Cyrille)

HIGHLIGHTS: Cyrille demonstrated the power of a single cymbal hit on his solo in “Dazzling (Perchordially Yours), where attack and decay delivered emotion and compositional logic.

Of all the laudatory things you could say about Andrew Cyrille’s week at the Vanguard, it was perhaps his unique approach to ensemble casting that stood above all else. Who else but Cyrille would have the foresight to unify Bill Frisell (who was on his third week in a row at the Vanguard), with someone like Richard Teitelbaum, an electronic musician veteran from the early Moog days who’s virtually unknown in the jazz world? What other 78-year old drummer would (or even could) hire musicians using looping stations and Ableton Live laptop interfaces at one of the world’s most illustrious jazz clubs?

The quartet, formed for a fantastic ECM release in 2016, lent historical perspective to Cyrille’s unique position in the avant-garde, one that has both a deep history and something profound to say for the present.

The quartet’s diverse repertoire allowed Cyrille to perform as instigator, colorist and independent explorer, sometimes just shading between his band mates motions and sometimes punching with crackling energy and clear intent. Cyrille’s solo moments understood the importance of a sound’s decay, his solo on “Dazzling” limiting itself to the meditative, gong-like resonance of a single cymbal controlled by his mature, poetic sense of time of free time. Cyrille could be painterly and spare, but also very playful, his Caribbean roots showing in his galloping, bell-and-block oriented intros.

The music often breathed in episodic ways. “Dazzling” frequently rested and rearranged itself between solos and duos, in a way that the new temporal and musical information felt neatly arranged, rather than broken apart (recalling Joe Lovano’s observation that “all the tempos are one tempo” in Cyrille’s music). Teitelbaum’s spare, conceptual “Variations and Silence” commented not only on space and timbre but also the realness of each sound, a three-way dance between the wholly existent sounds of the drum and bass, the semi-real sounds of Frisell’s effects-laden guitar and the purely synthetic sounds of processed didgeridoos and violin concertos from Teitelbaum’s Ableton patches.

For all its experimentation, the music was often extremely listenable. Cyrille’s elegiac “Proximity” was wistful and resolute, buoyed by Street’s supportive but musically free directional sense, anchored with his gorgeous and direct tone. Street’s “Brl Itz”, a wry, scuffling 3/4 piece, was imbued with a rock ‘n roll shot of energy from Cyrille, moving from freewheeling drum ‘n bass snares deftly back to the rhythm of the melody. Teitelbaum’s synth had a fascinating palette, ranging from dainty flute sounds to detuned horror movie pieces, but his piano playing was just as compelling, saving his colorful, Cecil-Taylor-meets-Gyorgy-Ligeti sensibility for one tune only. Frisell, always a master of the amicable wrapped in the experimental, dragged the bluesy melody of Cyrille’s “Special People” through a glittering array of echoes and delays, brilliantly moving out of the woods to collide with his band mates for one last triumphant melody to close a rejuvenating and probing set of music.

by Dan Lehner

b there or b square 4/9/18

MONDAY APR. 9

Arthur’s Tavern Grove Street Stompers feat. Joe Licari ▲ Amadou Gaye, A Royal Crime
Bar Next Door Jonah Udall Trio w. Brian Krock, Jake Shandling ▲ Valerie Farber Trio w. Cat Toren, Jake Leckie
Birdland  Natalie Douglas Tributes: Elvis ▲ Jim Caruso’s Cast Party
Blue Note Purchase Jazz Orchestra w. Todd Coolman feat. Dick Oatts
Caffe Vivaldi Open Mic Night
Cornelia St. Cafe Martin Hennessy & Rachel Peters w. Meredith Lustig, Kyle Oliver, Alden Terry
Dizzy’s Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra w. Joe Lovano
Fat Cat Osso String Quartet ▲ Ned Goold Quartet ▲ Afterhours w. Billy Kaye
Flatiron Room Blue Opal Jazz
The Iguana Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks
Jazz Standard Mingus Big Band
The Kitano Jam Session w. Iris Ornig
The Kola House Glenn Crytzer Orchestra
Local 802 AFM Jam Session
Mezzrow Mike Moreno & Nitai Hershkovits ▲ Afterhours w. Pasquale Grasso
Minton’s Chris McCarthy, Harish Raghavan, JK Kim
Rue B Mara Rosenblum Solo Piano “Monday Blues Series”  ▲Soul & Jazz Singers Jam Session feat Jerome Foster
Smalls Ari Hoenig Trio w. Gilad Hekselman, Orlando Le Fleming ▲ Joel Frahm Group ▲ Afterhours Jam Session
Smoke Vincent Herring Quartet & The New Jam Session
Swing 46 Swingadelic
Tomi Jazz Shoko Igarishi
Village Vanguard Vanguard Orchestra
Zinc Bar Ron Affif Trio
11th Street Bar Richard Clements/Murray Wall Band
55 Bar Mike Stern

brooklyn

Barbès Braincloud ▲ Los Cumpleanos
Bar Lunático Kevin Harris Project w. Hery Paz, Will Slater, Felix Lecaros
Bushwick Public House Matt Lavelle/Daniel Carter ▲ Stephen Gauci, Sandy Ewen, Adam Lane, Kevin Shea ▲ Daniel Carter, Blaise Siwula, Matt Lavelle, Eric Plaks, William Parker, Jon Panikkar ▲ Tony Malaby, Roberta Piket, Hilliard Greene, Billy Mintz ▲ Daniel Blake Quartet ▲ Yoni Kretzmer, Mazel Fortia, Joe Hertenstein
Shapeshifter LabAlex Frondelli Stacked Quartet with Cole Davis, Jaylen Pentinaud, Miho Sasaki
Sir D’s Lounge Kevin Blancq KBQ Big Band

concerts

National Sawdust Rafiq Bhatia’s Breaking English

see rest of the week…