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Live From New York

September 2007

By Published: September 15, 2007
Helio Alves at The Kitano

It was abundantly clear from the opening notes of Helio Alves' first set at The Kitano (Aug. 2nd) that, despite the room's hotel locale and salon-like atmosphere, this would be anything but an evening of polite cocktail music. The brilliant Brazilian pianist, leading an interAmerican trio with Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based bassist Lonnie Plaxico and Cuban drummer Ernesto Simpson, started things off at a brisk tempo with a landmark from his homeland, Hermeto Pascoal's "Bebe . Simpson's swirling rhythms maintained the samba beat while moving the music multidirectionally in ways that both complemented and prodded Alves as he blended staccato single notes and opulent chords into an intoxicating brew. A prolific composer, the pianist followed with one of his newest pieces, an untitled work that began rhapsodically with chords that recalled "Naima and then swelled dynamically into a melodic line that referenced "The Girl From Ipanema . On "Beija-Flor the trio played with a subtle sensitivity that belied the fact that this was only the second time they had worked as a unit. On his own song, also titled "Bebe , Alves demonstrated his broad pianistic palette, displaying an affinity towards McCoy Tyner and Bill Evans. The latter's influence was also evident on the pianist's delicate interpretation of Herbie Hancock's "Chan's Song . The set closer, Egberto Gismonti's "Loro , returned to the bright Brazilian mood that began the night.

Jimmy Heath at Jazzmobile

Jazzmobile has been bringing swinging sounds to the people of New York for more than four decades, traveling far and wide from its Harlem headquarters to keep the music alive in the city's many music- starved localities. On summer Wednesdays though, the nomadic stage takes a break from its roaming ways to rest at Grant's Tomb, where it brings the biggest names in jazz to 1,000s of uptown's most discerning music fans. After a disappointing July, wherein wet weather forced the cancellation of the season's first two concerts, August got off to an auspicious start when Jimmy Heath took to the stage (Aug. 1st) that Dizzy Gillespie and Dexter Gordon once occupied. Leading a quintet featuring Argentine trumpeter Diego Urcola up front with Jeb Patton at the piano, David Wong on bass and Winard Harper behind the drums, the diminutive tenor giant kicked off the set with "Take The A Tain (a song that might be considered the neighborhood's national anthem), the bandstand bouncing in time with the music as the crowd roared with approval, confirming the message of the set's second song, Heath's "A Sound For Sore Ears . The infectious rhythms of the funky calypso "Fuji Mama had people raucously dancing on the sidelines, but when Heath switched to soprano for a moody "'Round Midnight the audience hushed to a quiet often wished for in a noisy club. The fiery "Gingerbread Boy that ended the set was followed by an "On Green Dolphin Street encore.

~ Russ Musto

Recommended New Listening:

· Rob Brown Trio — Sounds (Clean Feed)

· Paquito D'Rivera Quintet — Funk Tango (Paquito-Sunnyside)

· Charles Davis — Land of Dreams (Smalls)

· Jason Lindner Big Band — Live at the Jazz Gallery (Anzic)

· David Murray Black Saint Quartet — Sacred Ground (Justin Time)

· Jacques Schwarz-Bart — Soné Ka La (EmArcy)

-David Adler NY@Night Columnist, AllAboutJazz.com

· The All Ear Trio (John Tchicai/Thomas Agergaard/Peter Ole Jørgensen) — Boiler (with Sirone) (Ninth World Music)

· Jimmy Bennington/Julian Priester — Portraits and Silhouettes (TSP)

· Sam Newsome — Monk Abstractions (s/r)

· Antonio Sanchez — Migration (CAMJazz)

· Carol Sloane — Dearest Duke (Arbors)

· Sonore (Peter Brötzmann/Mats Gustafsson/Ken Vandermark) — Only the Devil Has No Dreams (Jazzwerkstatt)

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

· Alex Kontorovich — Deep Minor (Chamsa)

· Joachim Kühn/Majid Bekkas — Kalimba (ACT)

· Mat Marucci/Doug Webb Trio — No Lesser Evil (Cadence Jazz)

· Ravish Momin's Trio Tarana — Miren (A Longing) (Clean Feed)

· Sam Newsome — Monk Abstractions (s/r)

· Various Artists — Leo Records 25th Anniversary Loft, Koln (Leo)

-Andrey Henkin Editorial Director, AllAboutJazz-New York



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