NYC Jazz Holiday on a Budget
Drummer Carl Allen, another leader in his own right, rounded out the rhythm section that began the evening with some smooth navigation through somewhat rocky musical terrain. Then as if Drummond saw the way, a simple knock on his bass coalesced the sound and things took off. The songs came together and you lost yourself in the interchange among these great musicians. A chordal strike on the vibes and the quartet was off in another direction, playing off one another and allowing each to alternately lead and follow. Miller found a slow meandering path and the tempo changed while all picked up on his groove. Lightning fast vibe runs blended into a ballad, all the time Drummond keeping an ever steady pace. Miller is such a brilliant melodicist and was so in tune that he and Nelson could engage in quixotic musical interplay that evoked awe and at times laughter from the patrons. Just as quickly a breezy Latin tinged piece was followed by a wonderful vibes blues, that included an impressive bass solo, and the set was over. This quartet in this atmosphere had made time and space irrelevant.
Marty Ehrlich Sextet
Museum of Modern Art's Sculpture Garden
July 30, 2006
My final night, as luck would have it, was a Sunday that featured free jazz in the Museum of Modern Art's Sculpture Garden. Entitled Summergarden 2006, the series alternates classical with jazz every Sunday, this evening's performer was downtown's reedist extraordinaire, Marty Ehrlich. The price was certainly right and it completed my fourth category with money to spare. Ehrlich's latest release, News on the Rail, was to be the featured music performed by his sextet that includes Ehrlich on alto sax and clarinet, James Zollar on trumpet, Howard Johnson on baritone and tuba, James Weidman on piano and melodica and another dream rhythm section of bassist Ben Allison and drummer Allison Miller. The doors open for the concert at 7.00 and it fills up quickly so arriving at 6.30 is advised to guarantee a good spot.
"Enough Enough began the evening as Allison and Miller set up a broad rhythmscape for Ehrlich's alto solo and Weidman's flowing piano lines. Ehrlich is a perfect introduction to the Downtown scene as his music is highly accessible while maintaining complexity and surprising turns. For example, the title cut from the CD had a front line of tuba, melodica, and clarinet but the audience, many of which who were being exposed to Ehrlich's music for the first time, seemed able to relate to the tune's freer sections. Unison hand clapping began "Dance No. 2 before piano, drum and bass joined in and tuba, ctrumpet and alto took over the lead. The rhythm combination of Allison and Miller gelled surprisingly well, given that it was the bassists first time playing this music. Allison's phrasing was impeccable in both purpose and direction and Miller used her entire set to become an equal partner in the proceedings.
A paean to the late alto/baritone saxophonist Sam Furnace, "Keeper of the Flame , featured each of his instruments touchingly paying him tribute before the band swung out with the complex rhythms, fast clarinet runs and soulful trumpet solo of "Seeker's Delight . A world premiere of a piece written especially for this performance, used a Coltranesque beginning to plead for harmony with "Blues for Peace . Both "Malinke's Dance and "Here You Say capped off the evening in funky style. Miller displayed her awesome drumming chops on the former and the latter could best be described as a healthy dose of "fugal funk .
With $62.00 spent and four days of the best jazz the city has to offer, I even had enough money left for the bus back to Philly. Only in NYC!!
Visit Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble on the web.
Visit Wycliffe Gordon on the web.
Visit Mulgrew Miller on the web.
Visit Marty Ehrlich on the web.