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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Live From New York

April 2007

By Published: April 13, 2007
Ray Bryant at Rubin Museum

New York City has an auspicious history of jazz in its museums, notably at MOMA, the Whitney and recently the Museum of Natural History, but the collaboration of the Jazz Museum in Harlem and the Rubin Museum in Chelsea is a unique endeavor pairing an unlikely couple. The Jazz Museum's mission is evidenced in its name, while the Rubin is dedicated to Himalayan art, so the connection between the two is tenuous at best. But that didn't stop Ray Bryant from making sense out of the Harlem in the Himalayas series title in his appearance (March 2nd). The veteran pianist opened his solo concert with an original called "Himalaya," composed especially for the event, following the appropriately exotic piece with a rousing version of Duke Ellington/Strayhorn's "Take The A Train to bring the audience back up to Harlem with a powerful left-hand boogie-woogie line. Bryant is the kind of class act that is equally at home in a museum as he is in an after hours' jazz club. His two sets traversed through classic material as timeless as the museum's art and included works as disparate as John Lewis' "Django," the spiritual "Motherless Child and Otis Redding's "Sittin' On The Dock of The Bay," with some Monk, Strayhorn, Schumann and W. C. Handy thrown in for good measure. He filled out the enjoyable evening of acoustic jazz piano with a pair of his own well known standards, the Latin jazz opus "Cubano Chant and soulful hit "Little Suzy."

Ed Simon at Iridium

All-star record dates are too often one-shot events after which the participants never get a chance to develop the creative potential first born in the studio before a live audience. So the appearance of pianist Ed Simon with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, colleagues from his excellent Unicity CD, at Iridium (March 1st) was an uncommon opportunity to see three masterful musicians band together into a unit greater than the sum of its parts. Drawing upon the combined strengths of the group's members as superior soloists and sensitive accompanists, the evening's music grew organically from seemingly simple beginnings, as in the opening "Infinite One," which started with Patitucci's repetitive bass ostinato, around which Simon set up his pretty melody, aided by Blade's spacious adornment. All through the piece the players moved freely about each other, blurring the lines between forefront and background. On "You're My Everything the group was remarkably cliché-free in its approach to the classic jazz trio format. Simon's "Abiding Unicity," a highlight from the album, showcased the group's unified sound as it moved between delicate impressionism and explosive dynamics. Patitucci's "Michael," a moving tribute to the late Brecker, was a new composition that proved the trio's compatibility was not limited to familiar material, while "Pere and "Pathless Path demonstrated Simon's compositional prowess and the band's impressive interpretive skills.

~ Russ Musto

Recommended New Listening:

· Ralph Alessi's This Against That—Look (Between the Lines-Challenge)

· Bobby Broom—Song and Dance (Origin)

· Anat Fort—A Long Story (ECM)

· Alvin Fielder Trio—A Measure of Vision (Clean Feed)

· Russ Lossing/Mat Maneri/Mark Dresser—Metal Rat (Clean Feed)

· Kendrick Scott Oracle—The Source (World Culture)

-David Adler NY@Night Columnist,

· Luis Bonilla—Trombonilla: Terminal Clarity (Live at the Jazz Gallery) (Now Jazz Consortium)

· Jaki Byard—Sunshine of My Soul: Live at the Keystone Korner (HighNote)

· Alvin Fielder Trio—A Measure of Vision (Clean Feed)

· Denis Gabel—Keep on Rollin' (A Tribute to Sonny Rollins) (Nagel Heyer)

· David Rogers Sextet—The World Is Not Your Home (Jumbie)

· Michael Stephans—OM/ShalOM (Endemik)

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

· Jaki Byard—Sunshine of My Soul: Live at the Keystone Korner (HighNote)

· Graham Collier—Hoarded Dreams (Cuneiform)

· Alvin Fielder Trio—A Measure of Vision (Clean Feed)

· Ian Hendrickson-Smith—Blues in the Basement (Cellar Live)

· Fred Lonberg-Holm—Terminal Valentine (Atavistic)

· Matthias Schubert—Trappola (Red Toucan)

-Andrey Henkin Editorial Director, AllAboutJazz-New York

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