May 2010

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Adam Lane

Brooklyn Lyceum

Brooklyn, NY April 14, 2010

While bassist Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra is named to conjure up great size and bombast, at present it's a compact sextet whose sonic inventory includes passages of nuance and overall calm. With a Bay Area lineup, Lane has released No(w) Music (Cadence, 2001) and New Magical Kingdom (Clean Feed, 2006). His New York edition has a two-disc item, Ashcan Rantings, on the way. At the Brooklyn Lyceum (Apr. 14th), Lane provided a window into his current thinking, joined by David Bindman (tenor/soprano saxophones), Avram Fefer
Avram Fefer
Avram Fefer

(alto sax and clarinet), Herb Robertson
Herb Robertson
Herb Robertson
(trumpet), Reut Regev (trombone) and Igal Foni (drums). "Cycles" established a mood of swing shading into funk, with a catchy, bluesy melody in 7/8, tart trumpet and alto solos and a tight framework of tempo shifts. "Imaginary Portrait" was also steeped in blues flavor, teetering from 4/4 to 6/4 and giving Robertson an unaccompanied spot that prompted obstreperous free group improv. Here and during "Sanctum," Lane showed a penchant for simple horn unisons expanding into richly voiced harmony in the second pass—an Ellingtonian touch made all the prettier by Robertson's cornet and Fefer's clarinet. The tunes had a rough-yet-polished character, allowing for pockets of free blowing and hinting at the band's rowdy punk-jazz origins. But "Calypso," an upbeat tribute to the late South African bassist Johnny Dyani, closed the set in sweetly melodic fashion, with Regev in the lead.

ERGO; Curtis Hasselbring's New Mellow Edwards


Brooklyn, NY

April 17, 2010

Brian Drye and Westbrook Johnson, curators of the Second Annual Trombone Festival at I-Beam, did a fine thing by corralling their trombone brethren and presenting 12 varied acts in 5 nights. The third evening in the series (Apr. 17th) was a double bill shared by ERGO, with trombonist Brett Sroka

Brett Sroka
Brett Sroka

, keyboardist Sam Harris
Sam Harris
Sam Harris
and drummer Shawn Baltazor and Curtis Hasselbring's New Mellow Edwards (NME), featuring the leader/trombonist with Chris Speed
Chris Speed
Chris Speed

on tenor sax and clarinet, Trevor Dunn on bass and Ches Smith on drums (standing in for John Hollenbeck). Simply put, ERGO is an electronic atmosphere band, NME is an acoustic blowing band and both revealed a profound though dissimilar rock influence. Harris, taking the place of Carl Maguire, played Rhodes, synth and piano; Sroka, seated in a chair, molded sound with trombone, a laptop rig and pedals; Baltazor gave the mournful, ethereal and at times spooky music a beating heart of rhythm. Much of the material was from Multitude, Solitude, ERGO's latest on Cuneiform, although "If Not, Inertia" and "The Widening Gyre" are yet to be documented. After the break, Hasselbring's group exploded forth with a wry, peppy set of songs from their two releases on the Skirl label. They also snuck in a premiere, "You Are Many Names," a wild bit of chamber funk with a snaking clarinet motif, arch dissonance from trombone and bowed bass and strategically dished-out madness from the drums.

—David R. Adler

Wayne Horvitz, Lê Quan Ninh, Briggan Krauss

The Stone

New York, NY

April 7, 2010

Had Wayne Horvitz
Wayne Horvitz
Wayne Horvitz
not left his native New York for Seattle some 15 years ago, he and Briggan Krauss might have been the hottest 2/3 of a trio in town today. Their long association dates back to the band Pigpen in the early '90s, which found the duo paired with Bill Frisell, Michael Shrieve and the Billy Tipton Sax Quartet. Since then, they've been complemented by Kenny Wollesen, Dylan van der Schyff and Brandon Seabrook. But perhaps their least likely formation hit The Stone Apr. 7th with French-Vietnamese percussionist Lê Quan Ninh. Ninh's stature in the minimalist improvisation world makes him an unlikely band mate for the loud keyboards and alto sax of Horvitz and Krauss, but minimalism doesn't always mean quietude. The three played a number of fronts, seamlessly and seemingly effortlessly, swaying between moderately low to moderately high volumes and contemporary classical to modern-jazz-leaning improvisations. Krauss showed a subtlety that kept pace with Horvitz' Nord synth (cast in jazz organ and more abstract roles) and piano (played with effective repetitions and careful string preparations). As a duo, they created a swath of settings to which Ninh responded impressively. With sticks and cymbal against his bass drum laid flat, he kept scattered time behind them. With pinecones and styrofoam against the drum's head, he played lead melodicist. Overall, he helped to show once again what a strong 2/3 of a trio the rest of the band could be.

Ignaz Schick

Issue Project Room

New York, NY

April 1, 2010

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