Entries tagged with “Tony Malaby”.

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)

My monthly list of recommended CDs, as published in The New York City Jazz Record, November 2011:

The Claudia Quintet + 1, What Is the Beautiful? (Cuneiform)

Amir ElSaffar, Inana (Pi)

Joel Frahm Quartet, Live at Smalls (Smalls Live)

Brad Mehldau, Kevin Hays & Patrick Zimmerli, Modern Music (Nonesuch)

Ted Rosenthal Trio, Out of This World (Playscape)

Tony Malaby’s Novela (Clean Feed)

This review appears in the March 2011 issue of The New York City Jazz Record:

Gerald Cleaver’s Uncle June
Be It As I See It (Fresh Sound New Talent)

By David R. Adler

It’s scarcely an exaggeration to say that drummer Gerald Cleaver can play everything: from the down-the-middle postbop of Jeremy Pelt to the free-blowing fury of Charles Gayle, to the pellucid soundscapes of Miroslav Vitous and more. Cleaver is an artist belonging to no camp, and this explains much about the stunning individuality of Be It As I See It, his third Fresh Sound release.

“To Love,” with its pumping rock beat and anarchic tonal mishmash (Cleaver shouts the song title out loud at various points), sounds virtually nothing like the remainder of the album — quite a stark choice for an opener. Following this, “Charles Street Sunrise” is already a world away, with a dark, dissonant mood and slow-moving legato tones from Andrew Bishop’s flute and Drew Gress’s arco bass. Oddly, the piece slips into a clear tempo toward the end but then quickly fades out. Later in the program, “Charles Street Quotidian” picks up the thread, as the same motive from the fadeout blossoms into a full piece. The continuity is striking, and Cleaver strengthens this narrative aspect of the music with an extended suite called “Fence & Post,” which stretches to fill nearly half the album.

Craig Taborn’s brilliant acoustic piano flights (“Gremmy,” “22 Minutes”) and alien keyboard and organ murmurings (“The Lights,” “Statues / Umbra”) loom large. So do the individual solo voices and sectional counterpoint of Mat Maneri on viola, Tony Malaby on tenor and soprano and Andrew Bishop on multi-reeds. These are loyal allies of Cleaver’s: Taborn, Maneri and Bishop appeared on the drummer’s 2001 debut Adjust; Bishop returned for Gerald Cleaver’s Detroit in 2008; and Cleaver’s co-led trio projects with Lotte Anker (saxophone) and William Parker (bass) both feature Taborn in the piano chair.

Beyond this strongly unified core of a band, Cleaver tosses in wild-card elements like the noisy guitar of Ryan Macstaller, spicy banjo from Andy Taub (who engineered and mixed the album), and the left-field vocals of Jean Carla Rodea and John Cleaver (the leader’s father, also a drummer). The disparate streams feed into a surging river, a music full of nerve and murky beauty.

And that’ll be my final post of 2010. I hope to make this blog much more active in 2011, so keep your eyes here.

In case you missed the last one

Many Arms, Missing Time (Engine)

Lucian Ban & John Hébert, Enesco Reimagined (Sunnyside)

Barry Romberg’s Random Access, The Gods Must Be Smiling (Romhog)

Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo Live (Clean Feed)

Russell Malone, Triple Play (MaxJazz)

Walter Smith III, III (Criss Cross)

In the July 2010 issue of All About Jazz-New York:

When Dave Douglas and Keystone played (Le) Poisson Rouge in the prime 8:20 p.m. slot of the Undead Jazzfest (June 12), DJ Olive was not there to provide his sonic trickery, which has done much to define the group since its 2005 inception. But Adam Benjamin’s heavily tweaked Fender Rhodes filled the gaps, bathing the music in atmospheric intrigue just as the stage lighting enveloped the band in a smoky blue haze. That’s not to say this was a mellow set: After the dreamlike rubato intro of the opening “Creature Theme,” bassist Brad Jones and drummer Gene Lake went to work, pushing Douglas and his tenor saxophone foil Marcus Strickland into heated exchanges on a halting but relentless groove. The “creature” in question was Frankenstein, and the music, from Keystone’s new release Spark of Being, was the fruit of Douglas’ recent Frankenstein-themed collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison. (Douglas’ Spark of Being soundtrack will join two stand-alone Keystone CDs, Expand and Burst, in a forthcoming boxed set.) Continuing with “The Tree Ring Circus,” Lake blazed a path in quick 15/8 time and stayed rigorously in tempo during his wailing solo spot. “Chroma” introduced quieter muted textures, although Lake added tension with a busy pattern that sounded something like a dumbek. “Split Personality,” the finale, morphed from a blaring bass-driven pulse to jazzy 12/8 as Strickland, quoting Coltrane’s “Africa,” unleashed a gutsy coup de grâce. (David R. Adler)


Over the years Tony Malaby has led his share of diversified ensembles, but nothing quite like Novela, an unruly mass of eight horns, Fender Rhodes and drums. No need for a bassist, as Dan Peck’s tuba provided the lows and gave drummer Flin Vanhemmen a rhythmic anchor when Novela played its second-ever gig at Kenny’s Castaways, ringing in the 11 o’clock hour at the Undead Jazzfest (June 12). For repertoire, Malaby drew on assorted corners of his discography, including “Floating Head” and “Mother’s Love” from Tamardino, “Remolino” from Warblepeck and “Cosas” from Adobe. Kris Davis, an exceptional pianist and leader in her own right, arranged all this material and played Rhodes, leaning hard on dense chromatic chords but otherwise giving the horns their space. There was a kind of Braxtonian excess in the group’s heaving, ragingly dissonant but beautiful block-chord passages. One could call it a big band aesthetic even though the players stood arrayed in a single semi-circular arc. (My colleague Jim Macnie likened it to “The Maze,” a 1978 octet work by Roscoe Mitchell.) Above all, this was a forum for improvisation, and the bass clarinet double-solo by Oscar Noriega and Joachim Badenhorst was one strong example. In addition to trumpeter Kenny Warren, baritone saxist Andrew Hadro and trombonist Ben Gerstein, there was of course Malaby himself, pushing the envelope of timbre and melody on tenor and soprano saxes. The set’s most dramatic extended solo, however, came from altoist Michaël Attias, who brought the noisy room to a hush. (DA)

In case you missed the last one

Walter Smith III, Live in Paris (Space Time)

Daniel Humair/Tony Malaby/Bruno Chevillon, Pas de Dense (Zig Zag)

Geri Allen & Timeline, Live (Motéma)

Keith DeStefano & Puzzlebox, A Place to Be (ind.)

Lee Konitz/Chris Cheek/Stephane Furic Leibovici, Jugendstil II (ESP-Disk)

Marilyn Crispell & David Rothenberg, One Night I Left My Silent House (ECM)