Archive for the ‘Jazz’ Category


Six Picks: September 2014

Monday, September 1st, 2014

My monthly list of recommended CDs, as published in The New York City Jazz Record, September 2014. NOTE: This is the last Six Picks to appear in the paper. From here on I’ll be posting a monthly Top Ten in this space.

Jorrit Dijkstra, Music for Reeds and Electronics: Oakland (Driff)

Orrin Evans, Liberation Blues (Smoke Sessions)

Eric Harland’s Voyager, Vipassana (GSI)

Tom Harrell, TRIP (HighNote)

Kirk Knuffke & Jesse Stacken, Five (SteepleChase)

David Ullmann 8, Corduroy (ind.)


Six Picks: August 2014

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

My monthly list of recommended CDs, as published in The New York City Jazz Record, August 2014:

Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio (Concord)

Peter Brendler, Outside the Line (Posi-Tone)

Wolfgang Muthspiel/Larry Grenadier/Brian Blade, Driftwood (ECM)

Felix Peikli, Royal Flush (Rex)

Andrew Rathbun Quartet, Numbers & Letters (SteepleChase)

Tamarindo, Somos Agua (Clean Feed)


On Ingrid Laubrock

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

This review appears in the July 2014 issue of The New York City Jazz Record.

221_octet cover_lowres.45c881d96ffc05704dd327901efe0ace297Ingrid Laubrock Octet
Zürich Concert (Intakt)
By David R. Adler

This is an expanded ensemble effort from saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, but the players from her Sleepthief trio (pianist Liam Noble, drummer Tom Rainey) are tucked away inside the octet. The date starts on a high ethereal plane with the brief “Glasses” but then forges ahead with a set of longer and far more detailed pieces, alive with the timbral possibilities provided by guitarist Mary Halvorson, trumpeter Tom Arthurs, accordionist Ted Reichman, cellist Ben Davis and bassist Drew Gress.

Laubrock aims to balance complex written material with flowing and volatile improvisation, and the result is impeccable. Reichman is prominent on “Novemberdoodle,” his lonely melodic lines assuming new shapes as the band fills out the unraveling harmony and subtle counterpoint. Rainey doubles on xylophone — at times it sounds more like marimba — and adds still more textural elements. Halvorson’s solo feature comes at the beginning of “Chant,” which goes on to highlight Gress and Davis in startling bowed unison passages. The abstract lyrical interplay of piano and cello toward the end is a highlight of the set.

It’s on “Chant” that Laubrock steps forward decisively on tenor sax, and she remains very present on “Matrix,” inviting spirited dialogue with Arthurs’ breathy and unsettled trumpet. Reichman and Halvorson have their own deep duo moment as well toward the conclusion. But if there’s a centerpiece of Zürich Concert it’s the nearly 20-minute-long “Nightbus.” It starts with solo piano, rubato Mingusian discords from the band, a brief taste of the fascinating Laubrock-Rainey duo, beautifully conceived sectional counterpoint that emerges in layer after layer, and then a tightly grooving Rainey solo that opens another new section. Soon Noble is off with a fiercely burning trio interlude with Gress and Rainey. Laubrock’s unison writing in this section is astonishing: Tim Berne-like in its difficulty and angular motion but distinctively hers, down to the last lightning chamber figure that surges up to end the piece.


Six Picks: July 2014

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

My monthly list of recommended CDs, as published in The New York City Jazz Record, July 2014:

Oran Etkin, Gathering Light (Motéma)

Rob Garcia 4, The Passion of Color (BJU)

Frank Lacy & The Smalls Legacy Band, Live at Smalls (SmallsLive)

Mark Alban Lotz, Solo Flutes (LopLop)

Ulf Wakenius, Momento Magico (ACT)

Mark Weinstein, Latin Jazz Underground (Zoho)


Six Picks: June 2014

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

My monthly list of recommended CDs, as published in The New York City Jazz Record, June 2014:

Jeff Denson & Joshua White, I’ll Fly Away (pfMENTUM)

John Ellis & Andy Bragen, MOBRO (Parade Light)

Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band, Mother’s Touch (Posi-Tone)

Ideal Bread, Beating the Teens: Songs of Steve Lacy (Cuneiform)

Anne Mette Iversen’s Double Life, So Many Roads (BJU)

Yosvany Terry, New Throned King (5Passion)


Six Picks: May 2014

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

My monthly list of recommended CDs, as published in The New York City Jazz Record, May 2014:

The Bad Plus, The Rite of Spring (Sony Masterworks)

Amy Cervini, Jazz Country (Anzic)

Brian Charette, Square One (Posi-Tone)

Kris Davis Trio, Waiting for You to Grow (Clean Feed)

Rufus Reid, Quiet Pride: The Elizabeth Catlett Project (Motéma)

Matt Slocum, Black Elk’s Dream (Chandra)


On Dan Weiss

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

This review appears in the April 2014 issue of The New York City Jazz Record.

51MItavYCqL._SL500_AA280_Dan Weiss
Fourteen (Pi)

By David R. Adler

Expanding on his trio output and his marvelous tabla-inspired albums for solo drum set, drummer Dan Weiss ventures into large-scale composition with the ambitious Fourteen. The disc’s seven tracks run together without pause, and though the ensemble swells to 14 members, the first 90 seconds feature Weiss with just his regular trio mates, pianist Jacob Sacks and bassist Thomas Morgan. Sacks opens alone with strong articulation, generating counterpoint in a vague tonality before Weiss abruptly joins, as if breaking through the door. The jolt of that initial entrance says much about Weiss as an artist: full of eccentric spark but controlled, as ready to pounce as he is to pull back.

Surprises like these, both jarring and exceedingly gentle, occur throughout the work. Some passages take on a chamber-like quality thanks to Matt Mitchell on glockenspiel and organ, Katie Andrews on harp and Miles Okazaki on classical guitar. (Okazaki also does some of his grungiest electric playing on record as well.) Vocalists Lana Cenčić, Judith Berkson and Maria Neckam bring a choral element, singing wordlessly with great rhythmic finesse and reaching uncanny high-register extremes in “Part Six.” David Binney and Ohad Talmor unleash on alto and tenor saxophone respectively, while trombonists Jacob Garchik and Ben Gerstein intersect most notably on the sparse duo intro of “Part Five.”

The groove syntax of Fourteen is fluid but broken up, unstable, something Weiss has honed and documented in his trio and sideman sessions as well. The slow heaving beat of “Part One” hints at his metal influences, but soon it’s on to Meredith Monk-like minimalist patterns toward the end of “Part Two,” and ultimately no drums at all on the concluding “Part Seven.” There, Garchik supplies a low tuba drone as Sacks plays rubato and voices rise and fall softly. At a midpoint when the harp and guitar join, it’s almost the inverse of the jolt from the first track. The singers come in too, sounding like flutes, hovering at an implied tempo until the music disappears.


New York @ Night: April 2014

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

From the April 2014 issue of The New York City Jazz Record.

Photo: John Rogers

Photo: John Rogers

The clarinet looms large in Chris Speed’s work, though he spent the first two nights of his residency at the Stone solely on tenor saxophone. In the last of four trio sets with bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Dave King (Mar. 12), Speed focused mainly on music from his new Skirl release Really OK, sitting in a low chair with the bell of the horn far away from the mic. “It’s nice to play some swing music here at the Stone,” he said after a loping, slower-than-usual reading of John Coltrane’s “26-2” came to a close. “All of Me,” the similarly relaxed and swinging finale, was also something you wouldn’t expect under this downtown roof. But the opener, a brief and agitated take on Albert Ayler’s “Spirits,” fit like a glove. Regardless of source material, the trio brought to bear a unified aesthetic, rooted in Speed’s dark tenor sound and exploratory phrasing. There were two originals from the album played back to back: first the slowly churning 5/4 vehicle “Takedown” and then the brighter “Argento,” prefaced by King’s incendiary intro on drums. “Transporter,” set up by Tordini with resonant double-stops, harmonics and other textures, came from the book of a different project: Speed’s yeah NO, a quartet slated for the following night. Some six more lineups would play before Speed’s residency ran its course, so the Really OK trio seemed a fine way to limber up. Its loose and effortless interaction, broad dynamic contrasts and controlled wild streak played to Speed’s strengths and got at something vital about his artistry. (David R. Adler)

~

Noah Baerman “Know Thy Self” Jazz Suite.Relationships run deep in pianist Noah Baerman’s Jazz Samaritan Alliance, even if the sextet’s Jazz Gallery engagement (Mar. 13) was the first live gig of its existence. Celebrating the release of Ripples (Lemel), Baerman opened with the expansive “Motherless” — based on the spiritual “Motherless Child” — and called upon the prodigious talents of vibraphonist Chris Dingman, alto saxophonist Kris Allen, tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, bassist Henry Lugo and drummer Johnathan Blake. There were rubato passages, unaccompanied spots and tight restatements of the theme, animated by a strutting feel and horn harmonies that recalled classic Blue Note. Baerman’s “Peeling the Onion” was funkier, moderately paced, full of rhythmic intricacy and harmonic ambiguity. Guest flutist Erica von Kleist brought an emotional connection to the 3/4 ballad “The Healer,” forming a mini horn section with Allen and Escoffery and venturing her own solo just before Baerman’s. Two vignettes, “Ripple: Persistence” and “Ripple: Brotherhood,” featured modified lineups. The first was a boppish quartet feature for the virtuosic Allen while the second took an atmospheric turn, with Escoffery’s soprano sax guiding (and Allen sitting out). “Zaneta,” from Dingman’s album Waking Dreams, closed the first set in a decisively swinging mood, with Escoffery blowing fiercely once again. As intent as Baerman was on sharing the spotlight, he did plenty to light up the music with his lyricism, drive and confident touch at the keys.(DA)


Six Picks: April 2014

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

My monthly list of recommended CDs, as published in The New York City Jazz Record, April 2014:

Diego Barber & Craig Taborn, Tales (Sunnyside)

Digital Primitives, Lipsomuch (Hopscotch)

Billy Hart Quartet, One Is the Other (ECM)

Tom Rainey, Obbligato (Intakt)

Pete Robbins, Pyramid (Hate Laugh)

Ton Trio II, On and On (Singlespeed)


Six Picks: March 2014

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

My monthly list of recommended CDs, as published in The New York City Jazz Record, March 2014:

Steve Cardenas, Melody in a Dream (Sunnyside)

Eli Degibri, Twelve (Plus Loin)

Jozef Dumoulin, A Fender Rhodes Solo (BEE Jazz)

Vijay Iyer, Mutations (ECM)

Mehliana, Taming the Dragon (Nonesuch)

Catherine Russell, Bring It Back (Jazz Village)