Avram Fefer — A quiet Sunday night at Cornelia Street with the energetic reedman, joined by cellist Tomas Ulrich, bassist Ken Filiano, and drummer Jay Rosen. The quartet had just emerged from a weekend in the Spirit Room, recording a disc for CIMP (it’ll be Fefer’s follow-up to Lucille’s Gemini Dream ). The live set started out free and loose, with Fefer on clarinet for the first two tunes. “Shepp in Wolf’s Clothing” was the centerpiece, with oddly placed riffs, dual tenor-soprano blowing, and a superb bass solo from Filiano. Next was “The Gates of Baghdad,” a topical work of free, formless sonic interaction juxtaposed with haunting written passages. The show ended on a brighter note, with the jittery African rhythm of “Brother Ibrahim,” a showpiece for Rosen's deft rhythmic control.
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)