April 2009

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Edward Simon
Edward Simon
Edward Simon
b.1969
piano


Ed Simon Trio

Village Vanguard

New York City March 1, 2009

In any circumstance, it would be worth hitting the Village Vanguard to hear Edward Simon
Edward Simon
Edward Simon
b.1969
piano
(Mar. 1st), one of the most gifted pianists of our day. But the presence of guest saxophonist Mark Turner
Mark Turner
Mark Turner
b.1965
sax, tenor
—back in undiminished form after a potentially career-ending hand injury—made the night all the more resonant. Flanked by bassist Ben Street
Ben Street
Ben Street

bass
and drummer Adam Cruz
Adam Cruz
Adam Cruz
b.1970
drums
(Danilo Perez' longtime rhythm section), Simon and Turner proved an inspired match, reaching well back into Turner's songbook to open with the mid-tempo, elliptically swinging "Mesa". Simon's ambitious two-part treatment of "Alma Llanera," a joropo classic from his native Venezuela, spanned a large portion of the set, ranging from bright 3/4 swing with ornate melodies to a dark minor-key theme centered on a six-note bass riff, sparking Simon's most dramatic improvising of the night. The best full-band feature, however, was the bebop classic "Woody 'n You," heavily reharmonized until Simon and Turner reverted to the original changes for furious trading in double-time, giving way to Cruz' powerful drum solo. To close, the band grew to a quintet, with alto saxophonist David Binney
David Binney
David Binney
b.1961
saxophone
joining for "La Bikina," the title track from Simon's 1998 release (on Binney's Mythology label). Horns filled the room with an airy unison line in 6/8 and Binney's solo was scorching, inexorably climbing. Turner took his vertiginous turn only later, when a new, sunnier series of vamp chords brought the tune home.



SFJAZZ Collective

SFJAZZ Collective
SFJAZZ Collective
b.2004
band/orchestra


SFJazz Collective

Allen Room

New York City

March 7, 2009

With the towering glass wall of the Allen Room as a backdrop, the SFJazz Collective (Mar. 7th) continued its practice of juxtaposing new music and classic work by a particular jazz great. The focus was McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
b.1938
piano
but the tunes were not the expected ones. Drawing from such corners of the Tyner discography as Focal Point, Today and Tomorrow and Fly with the Wind, the band—currently a septet in the absence of vibraphonist Stefon Harris—brought a texture of grit and gravel to the songs (each member contributed one Tyner arrangement and one original). Pianist Renee Rosnes
Renee Rosnes
Renee Rosnes
b.1962
piano
cooled down the '70s excesses of "Fly with the Wind" only to unleash more of its inherent grandeur. Bassist Matt Penman took a vivid contrapuntal approach to the waltz "Three Flowers," while trombonist Robin Eubanks
Robin Eubanks
Robin Eubanks
b.1955
trombone
fused "Indo-Serenade" and "Parody" into a two-part tour de force featuring himself, trumpeter Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
b.1963
trumpet
and drummer Eric Harland
Eric Harland
Eric Harland
b.1976
drums
. The latter's treatment of "Consensus" began with Rosnes' affecting rubato and worked up to a burning tenor solo from Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
. Of the originals, Lovano's "Jazz Free" was the most adventurous, interweaving brief yet searching solos from each player in a loose thematic framework. "Sycamore," by Douglas, a dusky ballad, progressed through several time feels, setting up Lovano and altoist Miguel Zenon
Miguel Zenon
Miguel Zenon
b.1976
saxophone
for some charged interplay. Zenón's "No Filter" made for a hot finale, a four-horn chorale ushering in a deceptive calm before a ferocious Latin-tinged storm.

—David R. Adler

Ned Rothenberg
Ned Rothenberg
Ned Rothenberg
b.1956
saxophone
& Paolo Angeli

Ned Rothenberg & Paolo Angeli

Issue Project Room

Brooklyn

March 9, 2009

Ned Rothenberg

Ned Rothenberg
Ned Rothenberg
b.1956
saxophone
and Paolo Angeli had only played together once prior to their set at Issue Project Room (Mar. 9th), but it was an intense meeting: a series of duo and trio combinations with Evan Parker
Evan Parker
Evan Parker
b.1944
sax, tenor
, documented on Free Zone Appleby 2007 (Psi). The encounter, however, only hinted at what they would find in Brooklyn. Angeli's Sardinian guitar is outfitted like some sort of bionic viola de gamba, with one set of strings hovering above the proper ones and a third set running horizontally across, with a complex system of pedals, springs, hammers, pickups and electronic effects that make for a never-ending elasticity in sound. But Angeli is not all bells and whistles: one high-speed solo passage showed a remarkable flair for jazz guitar, with walking bass and bopping, distorted lead. He was never overly busy, which left plenty of room for the accompaniment of clarinet and saxophone. Rothenberg is not just a remarkably talented player, but a strikingly sensible one as well. One could imagine throwing a bucket of bolts down a stairwell and him responding "Oh, I know that song" and playing along, creating something fresh yet familiar. That he could even keep momentum on essentially monophonic instruments, much less be equally variegated alongside Angeli's ever-mutating orchestration, even conjuring some Ayler screams on bass clarinet, was testament to his inventiveness. Through the long set they were always moving forward, yet never lost.

Kai Fagaschinski & Michael Thieke

Kai Fagaschinski & Michael Thieke

Experimental Intermedia

Brooklyn

March 6, 2009


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