Early April was busy for reedist John Tchicai: first playing duo with bassist Adam Lane at the Hudson View Gardens "Sundays at 5" Lounge series (April 6th), then with guitarist Garrison Fewell at Cornelia Street Café for AAJ-NY's "1s & 2s concert series (April 7th). (Tchicai and Lane also played quartet with Paul Smoker and Gerry Hemingway at Zebulon on April 10th.) At HVG, home of our own Laurence Donohue-Greene, who curates the jazz there, Tchicai and Lane deepened the chemistry they first documented on DOS (CIMP). Even without an amp, Lane projected an enormous sound and set a firm rhythmic direction on two adventurous sets. Tchicai played bass clarinet on the first, tenor on the second. The first set was largely improvised, while the second featured tunes -including Tchicai's "Secret , Lane's "Melodic Fragment #7 and even the standard "Alice in Wonderland which Tchicai sang. The Fewell-Tchicai duets were more restrained - often pianissimo, in fact - but no less inventive. Fewell steered closer to the minimalism of Jim Hall than the frenetic energy of Joe Morris or Dom Minasi, and showed a remarkable affinity for the angular bop language of Monk on Tchicai's "Yogi In Disguise , based on Monk's "Friday the Thirteenth . Tchicai's slow legato treatment of "Auld Lang Syne was another bass clarinet highlight.
~ David Adler
On Apr. 1st, John Zorn's new club The Stone began greeting enthusiastic packed houses with "John Zorn's Improv Party . Half the club's namesake - Stephanie Stone (widow of the late Irving)- sat front row as a collective of musicians mixed and matched in various formations playing densely improvised spontaneous percussive compositions. Zorn's trio invocation, featuring drummers Kenny Wollesen and Tony Buck, appropriately ended with the proprietor's pointed acknowledgement to Ms. Stone. Joining Okkyung Lee (cello) was Ned Rothenberg (bass clarinet), the club's first music curator (the club designates a different musician each month). Lukas Ligeti (drums/percussion) and Shanir Blumenkranz (bass) supported the duo (Rothenberg switching to clarinet) in a spectacular orchestral coda of coordinated circular breathing techniques - Lee effectively creaking out continuous effects in applying pressure to strings, sound scientist Ligeti rubbing stick tips on cymbals, Rothenberg selecting a morphing and mesmerizing note pattern. Of the many other not-soon-to-be-forgotten moments: the rhythm section-less "3 Altos of Marty Ehrlich, Rothenberg and Zorn and the Wollesen-Ligeti duo. With Ligeti the lead voice, the two suitably complemented one another for the longest improv of the set; Wollesen colored spaces with tones, beats and accents, offering form to Ligeti's atonal proclivity. And in the tradition of Zorn's improv parties, the closing joined everyone together for a set-ending send-off for the new club.