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Live From New York

March 2007

By Published: March 7, 2007
Chris Potter at Village Vanguard

The Village Vanguard played host to Chris Potter's Underground for a live record date by the unusual unit with Craig Taborn at the Fender Rhodes piano, Adam Rogers playing guitars and Nate Smith on drums (February 15th). Opening with an untitled original, Potter played a deliberately-stated melodic line over Rogers' slow building ostinato, Taborn's spacey sustained chords and Smith's funky martial beat, his tone rising from a low dark bottom to a hoarse cry, then segueing into a fast swinging section that gave way to a cleanly articulated guitar solo with some nasty climaxes. The programmatic piece "Viva Las Vilnius began with unaccompanied tenor, the horn's percussive pads providing a rhythmic impetus to the melody. This moved from a mysterious mood into a joyous atmosphere that had Potter wailing after a sax/drum interlude on which Smith elicited hand-played exoticism. Rogers played attractive open guitar chords to start the song announced as "Pop Tune #2," Potter blowing bittersweet tenor and Taborn contributing a thoughtful piano interlude leading to a celebratory culmination by the whole band. Smith was featured on the next piece in a fiery tenor/drum duo with the leader. Potter then switched to bass clarinet, playing a beautifully lyrical rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Ladies of the Canyon and staying with it for the introduction to the traditional African folk song "Togo," before returning to tenor, driving the group to an exciting finish.

Lee Konitz at Jazz Gallery

Lee Konitz and his quartet, featuring Todd Neufeld on guitar with Jeremy Stratton's bass and George Schuller's drums, gave a superb performance at the Jazz Gallery (February 2nd), during which the august alto saxophonist again proved himself to be one of the most inspired improvisors in music today. Konitz kicked off his second show with an original based on the changes of "All The Things You Are that he called "Thingin'." After a relaxed reading of the ingeniously constructed melody, the altoist soloed with subtle variations on the theme, beginning in the lower reaches of his horn, revealing a somewhat thickened tone, before settling into the middle upper register, where his signature singing sound slowly unraveled the mysteries of the song's familiar chords. Neufeld played a warm and spacious solo, followed by the lyrical Stratton, with the leader almost whispering rhythmic punctuations behind the bassist and during Schuller's ensuing brush feature. A pretty guitar prelude set up "How About You before Konitz took charge with a brief examination of the melody that preceded his improvised section, which was as soulful as it was analytical. Stratton's solo bass introduced "My Old Flame before the rhythm section stated the torchy melody without the leader, who played with a moving bluesy poignancy when he eventually joined. A very swinging "The Way You Look Tonight," with Konitz displaying his supreme lyricism, ended the most gratifying set.

~ Russ Musto

Recommended New Listening:

· Don Aliquo—Jazz Folk (Young Warrior Records)

· Richie Barshay Project—Homework (Ayva Music)

· Steve Kuhn—Live at Birdland (Blue Note)

· Wolfgang Muthspiel & Brian Blade— Friendly Travelers (Material)

· Dave Stryker & Steve Slagle— Latest Outlook (Zoho)

· Gebhard Ullmann/Chris Dahlgren/Art Lande—Die Blaue Nixe (Between the Lines-Challenge)

-David Adler NY@Night Columnist,

· Omer Avital Group—Room To Grow (Smalls)

· Richie Barshay Project—Homework (Ayva Music)

· Anat Cohen/Anzic Orchestra—Noir (Anzic)

· Jack Cortner New York Big Band—Fast Track (feat. Marvin Stamm) (Jazzed Media)

· Giorgio Gaslini—L'Integrale Antologia Cronologica CD no. 6 : 1969-70 (Grido/Newport in Milan/ Africa) (Durium/Off-Soul Note)

· Jesper Lovdal/Mark Solborg/Anders Provis—Ventilator (Ilk Music)

-Laurence Donohue-Greene Managing Editor, AllAboutJazz-New York

· Atomic—Happy New Ears! (Jazzland)

· Stefano Bollani—Piano Solo (ECM)

· John Carter/Bobby Bradford Quartet—Seeking (hatOLOGY)

· Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton—Zafiro (Maya)

· Enrico Rava—JazzItaliano Live 2006 (L'Espresso)

· Irene Schweizer/Fred Anderson/Hamid Drake—Live Willisau & Taktlos (Intakt)

-Andrey Henkin Editorial Director, AllAboutJazz-New York

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