“ Visually, the [Tony Malaby] quartet seemed like a plane: Malaby in the cockpit, Rainey the crucial tailfin, the two bassists coasting through the air currents. Andrey Henkin ”
Jamie Baum Septet and Tomasz Stanko Quartet
New York City April 4, 2009
It was a pretty sure bet that "Juxtapositions In Jazz," a Merkin Concert Hall double bill featuring the Jamie Baum Septet and Tomasz Stanko Quartet (Apr. 4th), would live up to its name and offer vividly contrasting takes on the art of bandleading. Baum's contribution, centered on her four-part "Ives Suite," was evocative and color-rich, with French horn, bass clarinet and alto flute thickening the textures and framing fine solos by the leader on flutes, Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Douglas Yates (alto sax) and Luis Perdomo, the septet's newest member, on piano and Rhodes. This was music with ample exploratory space but a high degree of intricacy. It was trumpeter Stanko, however, who brought listeners to the summit of the mountain, performing not with his Polish quartet, but instead, for the first time, a band of New York heavies: pianist Craig Taborn, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Jim Black. Listed in the program as "The Music from Amsterdam Avenue," a three-part sequence, the set progressed through varied Stanko repertoire in the manner of an interconnected dream. Stanko's sound was appealingly weathered, his phrasing economical, his interplay with the band marked by a freshness and spontaneity that his recent ECM albums haven't quite captured. Hard swing, primal abstraction and darkly hued balladry all came into play, girded by Taborn's virtuosic attack, Black's impulsive percussion and Morgan's ultra-deliberate note placement, which made the music seem to float on air.
joined trumpeter Nate Wooley, cellist Daniel Levin and drummer Jeff Davis (April 2nd), the agenda was to have no agenda. The band played four free improvisations in roughly 45 minutes, beginning with scattered staccato horn motifs, busy pizzicato cello and a forceful yet contained attack on brushes. Wooley shifted the mood with loud, sustained multiphonic tones, setting up a visceral trio passage with cello and drums, choosing from an array of mutes at his feet throughout the set. The acoustics were raw, but sonic subtleties won out, especially with the third piece, pointedly slow and melodic in response to a question posed by a dinner guest with a young child: "Do you guys know any lullabies?" Sometimes even a small audience can exert a strong creative pull. Whipping up something they called "Lullaby for Jack," the quartet eased into legato horn harmonies with lyrical arco cello and coloristic cymbals. Davis, with mallets, provided just a hint of a beat as the piece crescendoed, then came to a slurry, woozy finisha calm before the brief but hard-hitting finale.
Le Grand Dakar
April 2, 2009
Infrequent Seams, the progressive jazz series at Brooklyn's Le Grand Dakar restaurant, isn't all that infrequentevery other Thursday it provides a much-needed forum for varied small groups to explore while listeners down forkfuls of chicken yassa, thieboudienne and other delectable West African cuisine. (Dakar is home to a Tuesday night jazz series as well.) When alto saxophonist and co-curator Pete Robbins
David R. Adler
Walter Thompson & Anthony Braxton
Walter Thompson and Anthony Braxton
April 16, 2009
Complex structures for improvisationWalter Thompson