David Liebman Big Band at Birdland: Thunderous sounds, with Lieb on soprano only. The tunes spanned his career; they were arranged not by him but by assorted colleagues. Trumpeter Dave Ballou and pianist Jim Ridl were the standouts.
Henry Threadgill and Zooid: At the Gallery, playing new music with eye-opening rhythmic implications. Liberty Ellman and Elliot Kavee (acoustic guitar and drums, respectively) were fully energized; so was cellist Dana Leong, who doubled with astonishing skill on trombone.
Brad Jones: Brad Jones ! Where was everyone? The supple, easygoing bassist led a quartet at the Gallery, joined by Bob DeBellis and Aaron Stewart on reeds and Ben Perowsky on drums. The tunes were sparse and grooving yet precise, full of intriguing rhythmic devices and details. You must go hear him next time.
Tonic Blowout: Dave Burrell opened on April 17 with an epic solo set, followed by the Matthew Shipp/William Parker duo. Guitarist Hilmar Jensen closed out the night with Andrew D’Angelo on alto sax, bass clarinet and Powerbook, and Jim Black on acoustic and electronic drums. A whirlwind of a bill.
Tim Ries & the Stones Project: A label showcase, in effect, for the first-rate saxophonist and sometime Rolling Stones sideman. Ries premiered these jazz-informed Stones covers at the Standard in the able, imaginative company of Ben Monder, Bill Charlap, James Genus, and Clarence Penn. “Angie” in 15/8, anyone?
Pete Robbins: An altoist and new arrival from Boston, Robbins packed Cornelia Street on a Monday night, playing intricate yet loosely flowing originals with Robert Stillman on tenor, Albert Sanz on piano, Chris Van Voorst Van Beest on bass, and Jochen Rueckert on drums.
- Ray Barretto, Homage to Art Blakey (Sunnyside)
- Ahmad Jamal, In Search Of (Birdology/Dreyfus)
- Natto Quartet, Headlands (482 Music)
- Pachora, Astereotypical (Winter & Winter)
- Parsons/Lewin/Patitucci/Monder, Flip! (Sons of Sound)
- Dave Phillips & Freedance, Prayer (Sound Street)