Posts Tagged ‘Charles Mingus’


New York @ Night: August 2011

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

In the August 2011 issue of The New York City Jazz Record:

To this point, guitarist Rez Abbasi has focused overwhelmingly on original material, and although his work could be said to sit within the modernist mainstream of jazz, he’s spent little time in public playing standard tunes. That changed when he appeared in a trio setting with bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and drummer Adam Cruz at Bar Next Door (July 2nd). Revisiting the bop and post-bop canon might have been unexpected, but it was perfectly logical — Abbasi’s fluid, rhythmically buoyant lines have always shown a rootedness in swing, even when he’s drawing on South Asian musics in the company of Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Dan Weiss and others. The trio led off with a brisk “What Is This Thing Called Love,” and Abbasi chewed up the changes with laid-back precision, forming long strings of ideas with the benefit of a deep, resonant electric guitar sound. No bold-stroke arrangements here: “Alone Together,” “Solar” and Joe Henderson’s angular blues “Isotope” found the group sticking to simple solo rotations and trading of eights and fours. If there was a hesitancy at times during the first of three sets, it was thanks to the newness of the lineup and the casual nature of the gig. But for a warm-up, this was strong and searching music. Abbasi ventured some backwards effects on his intro to Alec Wilder’s ballad “Moon and Sand,” and Cruz found just the right vibe for the tiny room, keeping the volume low without sacrificing intensity. (David R. Adler)

~

It’s impressive in itself that bassist John Hébert could gather pianist Fred Hersch, altoist Tim Berne, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and drummer Ches Smith under one roof for a Charles Mingus tribute at the Stone (July 2nd). This was Hersch’s Stone debut, his first-ever gig with Berne, and a golden opportunity to hear the pianist grapple with the legacy of his mentor Jaki Byard, a key Mingus sideman. Berne, for his part, was no slouch in the implicit role of Eric Dolphy (perhaps also Jackie McLean or Charles MacPherson). But it was Hébert’s achievement that stood out: his way of featuring these unique voices from across the aesthetic spectrum of jazz, and still capturing the swinging integrity of Mingus’s ingenious works. There was a suite-like structure to the set, and a good deal of reading involved, as the band made its way through Hébert’s arrangements of “Sue’s Changes,” “What Love,” “Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love” and “Remember Rockefeller at Attica.” Melodies sang out beautifully, as did Hersch’s richly voiced chords, although there was plenty of unvarnished bite and snarl. Hébert gave everyone, including himself, room to roam unaccompanied. He tacked on clever sonic details, including a glockenspiel line (played by Ches Smith) matching Berne’s alto during “What Love.” The music flowed in and out of defined meter and seemed to revel in its messy, multi-stylistic flux, echoing something Mingus once said to Nat Hentoff: “Why tie yourself to the same tempo all the time?” (DA)