Oliver Lake Big Band, Jimmy Heath Big Band, Lee Konitz, Lock 10, Jason Miles & DJ Logic, Dave Douglas & Keystone...
Mark Helias & Open Loose
The Cornelia Street Cafe
April 12, 2008
New York tenor man Tony Malaby is ridiculously ubiquitous, whether as bandleader or sideman. Here he is again, in the Helias unit Open Loose, with drummer Nasheet Waits filling in for an indisposed Tom Rainey. That makes it almost the line-up of Malaby's own trio, as heard on his recent Tamarindo album. His enormous tone is to the fore, with another exceedingly intimate gig, down at the stage end of the Cornelia Street Caf's tunnel-like basement. Malaby questions every fine granule of the moment's melody, whether chosen or impulsive. He's not hearing the usual forebears: it's more like he's in tune with Coleman Hawkins, as if that oldster had descended into a free jazz volcano. Waits isn't as detailed as Rainey, but this moves the trio into a different area, perhaps more powerful in a driving, linear direction. Helias is a master of bass song, whether bowing or plucking. He'll often jump from one technique to the other in the space of a single phrase. Together, they're intuitive masters, throttling off with sensitivity, and playing quietly with a bullish firmness.
April 15, 2008
Here's another one of those Birdland mini-festivals, although in reality it's more like a regular gig, with flashy terminology. The BossaBrasil set begins with solo piano from Cesar Camargo Mariano, then bassist Sergio Brandau and drummer Jurim Moreira take to the stage, the trio setting up a supple interplay of chamber-beach brightness, as bossa nova meets classical poise, the players maintaining a constant subtlety in their slick statements. Emphasising the key period of the 1960s, when tenor man Stan Getz helped export the music to the outside world, Harry Allen is guesting for the week, bobbing beside the trio with his velvet- voiced embellishments, peaking on a wordless "She's A Carioca" (a Tom Jobim classic).
Then, the show's star ambles onstage, perching on his central stool. Singer-guitarist Joao Bosco is one of Brazil's most revered artists, a native of the Minas Gerais state, who moved to Rio in 1973 and participated on key recordings with singer Elis Regina. There's a complex relationship between his elaborate guitar stylings and even more elaborate vocal acrobatics. The Portuguese language lends itself completely to Bosco's high-speed avalanche of phrases, percussively enunciated. He comes across as a hearty fellow, an embracer of life. Here, Allen is still onstage, and doing a tasteful amount of slippery insertions, managing to find inroads between Bosco's scattershot lines. Tasteful is the operative word. This is only one facet of Brazilian music, at its most mellow, but where jazz meets bossa, this is what's expected, and Bosco provides the unpredictable element, breaking up the breezy flow with humour and nimble dash.