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Live From New York

September 2004

By Published: September 3, 2004

Saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins delighted an overflow crowd at Damrosch Park (Aug. 10th) with a concert that, while not matching his historic 2002 performance, proved the tenor great still to be a formidable force. Opening with one of his patented motific compositions, Rollins blew an impressive ten minute solo over Bob Cranshaw's pulsing bass ostinato and then strutted the stage in his trademark sneakers, snapping his fingers while trombonist Clifton Anderson took his turn briefly, as drummer Steven Jordan and percussionist Kimati Dinizulu interacted rhythmically. Rollins and Anderson began "C.E.A." playing the melody in unison before the saxophonist took off on his own, engaging first Cranshaw and then Jordan and Dinizulu, as Anderson provided harmonic reinforcement playing long tones.

Rollins excelled on the Monkish dirge "Ethel Lou" and his classic calypso "Don't Stop The Carnival", on which he repeatedly plunged into the lower register of his horn to great effect. He played fluid boppish tenor on "They Say It's Wonderful", executing long inspired improvised passages that periodically returned to the melody, thrilling the audience to a yelling frenzy each time he paused for a breath. He then calmed the crowd with a customary obscure ballad and finished the evening with a short encore of "Tenor Madness" ending with a quote from the children's song "Dear, Dear What Could The Matter Be".

McCoy Tyner continued to reexamine his art in a historic Blue Note engagement featuring Savion Glover. Tyner's trio with George Mraz and Eric Gravatt opened the Thursday, August 19th second set with a relaxed rendition of his original "Home." A solo recital of his lyrical "You Taught My Heart To Sing" followed, with the pianist moving from straight ahead to stride to ballad phrasing to explore the piece's many moods. Introducing Glover as "a young man doing wonderful things furthering the art of tap," Tyner launched into a bluesy original he later introduced ironically as "Hip Toes." The dancer jumped right in, facing the pianist as he imitated his long winding lines and stomped out rhythmic counterpoint, then turning to Mraz to solo over his walking bass before engaging in a dynamic dancing-drumming duet with Gravatt. On Tyner's powerful "Manalyuca" the gyrating Glover demonstrated his knowledge of AfroCuban drumming, pounding out a clave over the pianist's powerful vamp, dancing relentlessly to Gravatt's shell-rapping rhythms, sweat pouring off his dreadlock and beard framed face. A reprise of "You Taught My Heart" ensued with Glover utilizing samba, swing and flamenco patterns, leading into a finale on which the dancer brought down the house scraping and dragging his feet as McCoy smiled and shook his head in amazement.

~ Russ Musto

Recommended New Releases:

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– John O'Gallagher - Rules of Invisibility Vol. 1 (CIMP)

– Jean-Michel Pilc - Follow Me (Dreyfus)

– Phil Ranelin - Inspiration (Wide Hive)

– Dave Schnitter - Sketch (Sunnyside)

~ David Adler (NY@Night Columnist,

– Dave Douglas/Louis Sclavis/Peggy Lee/Dylan Van Der Schyff - Bow River Falls (Premonition)

– Giacomo Gates - Centerpiece (Origin)

– Jerry Gonzalez - Y Los Pirates Del Flamenco (Sunnyside)

– John McNeil - Sleep Won't Come (OmniTone)

– Steve Swallow/Ohad Talmor Sextet - L'Histoire du Clochard (Palmetto)

– Michael Vatcher/Steuart Liebig/Vinny Golia - On the Cusp of Fire and Water (Red Toucan)

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– Hakim Jami/James Blood Ulmer Revelation Ensemble - Revealing (Reparation)

– Mario Pavone - Boom (Playscape)

– The Trio (with Matthew Shipp) - The Trio Plays Ware (Splasc(H))

– Paul Dunmall Quartet - Love, Warmth, and Compassion (FMR)

– ROVA/Orkestrova (with Satoko Fujii) - An Alligator in Your Wallet (Ewe)

– Anthony Braxton Quartet - 23 Standards 2003 (Leo)

~ Bruce Gallanter (Proprietor, Downtown Music Gallery)

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