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Live From New York

January 2010

By Published: January 17, 2010
Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
b.1960
saxophone
strode confidently onto the stage of Juilliard's Paul Hall laden with three saxophones, his customary tenor and soprano plus the alto that has been seldomly seen since his early days with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. The third horn was a sure sign of the saxophonist's commitment to ensure the success of the program exploring his self-confessed "difficult" music, which he was to perform with the school's two jazz ensembles (Dec. 1st). The absence of music stands on the stage was a similarly strong indication of the students' many hours of labor in memorizing his thorny songbook. Opening with the serpentine "Jabberwocky," the young octet proved itself capable of the daunting task, navigating the racing boppish chart skillfully. On the arrangement of the Billie Holiday-associated "Gloomy Sunday" that followed, the musicians proved themselves to be equally capable of playing the ballad tempo that is often most difficult for younger artists. Pianist Kris Bowers distinguished himself as an arranger on the Marsalis soprano feature "Lykeif" and as a player on "Bullworth," where baritonist Tony Lustig also shined. The second half of the evening benefited greatly from the swinging drumming of Bryan Carter on a set that alternated Marsalis and Monk pieces, starting with the former on tenor for his "Spartacus," switching to alto on "Off Minor," then soprano for "Cassandra." After "52nd Street Theme" the show ended with a rousing "In The Crease."

Chano Dominguez
Chano Dominguez
Chano Dominguez
b.1960
piano


Jazz Standard

New York City

December 3, 2009

The final performances of this year's Barcelona Jazz Festival took place not in the Catalan city that hosts the internationally renowned event, but nearly 4,000 miles away at Jazz Standard where pianist Chano Dominguez
Chano Dominguez
Chano Dominguez
b.1960
piano
performed the US premiere of his "The Flamenco Side of Kind of Blue" (Dec. 3rd). Dominguez' arrangements of the five titles from the classic Miles Davis album melded the familiar jazz melodies with various Spanish (and AfroCaribbean) rhythms in a manner that did great justice to both Miles' music and the expanding Flamenco tradition. The quintet with Mario Rossy on bass and Israel Suarez behind a drum kit that substituted cajon and djembe for bass drum and floor tom—yielding a unique percussive atmosphere fortified by the singer Blas Córdoba and dancer Tomasito's polyrhythmic palmas (handclaps)—began the set appropriately with "Flamenco Sketches," featuring Córdoba's sorrowful wail and exciting solos from the leader and Rossy. Modulating tempo from a relaxed opening to an intensely up-tempo midsection and a slow fading finale, the piece was as dramatic as it was original. A rumba-rhythmed "Freddie Freeloader" was drenched in the blues, inspiring a sensual centerstage dance by Tomasito that thrilled the packed house. "Blue In Green," wed beautifully to Rafael Alberti's "Poema 51," and "So What," reharmonized into new territory, testified to Dominguez' genius, just as the straight-ahead "All Blues" closer confirmed his swing.

—Russ Musto

Recommended New Listening:

Samuel Blaser—Pieces of Old Sky (Clean Feed)

Charles Evans/Neil Shah—Live at Saint Stephens (Hot Cup)

Randy Ingram—The Road Ahead (BJUR)

NYNDK—The Hunting of the Snark (Jazzheads)

Barry Romberg—Was, Shall, Why, Because: Music for Large & Small Ensemble (romhog)

Aram Shelton's Fast Citizens—Two Cities (Delmark)

—David Adler NY@Night Columnist, AllAboutJazz.com



Jeff Chan—Horns of Plenty (Asian Improv)

Charles Evans/Neil Shah—Live at Saint Stephens (Hot Cup)

Bobby Hutcherson—Wise One (Kind of Blue)

Håkon Kornstad—Dwell Time (Jazzland)

Bobby Previte—Pan Atlantic (Auand)

Katherine Young—Further Secret Origins (Porter)

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

John Butcher/Mark Sanders; Alex Ward/Roger Turner; John Tchicai/Tony Marsh—Treader Duos (Treader)

Koby Israelite—Is He Listening? (Tzadik)

Dave Rempis/Frank Rosaly—Cyrillic (482 Music)

Wadada Leo Smith—Spiritual Dimensions (Cuneiform)

Christian Weber—Walcheturm Solo (Cut)

Wolter Wierbos—Deining (DolFijn)

—Andrey Henkin Editorial Director, AllAboutJazz-New York


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