All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Live From New York

March 2010

By Published: February 28, 2010
The masterful bassist Barre Phillips came to town to pay musical respects at Joe Maneri's memorial and took the occasion not only to film some scenes of outdoor playing for an ongoing video project but to play an early evening solo set at Downtown Music Gallery on Feb. 12th. He spent the opening 15 minutes with poet Steve Dalachinsky, focused intensely on him and responding with quick precision to the words and cadence of the recitation. He then carried on for a remarkable unaccompanied set full of liquid deliberateness and shifting meditations. He moved from low, bowed tones to harmonic chirps to quick three-note phrases to tenor wails with alarming elasticity and with deep attentiveness. Once Dalachinsky had stepped out, he focused his gaze disarmingly on the audience, watching them at least as intensely (probably moreso) as they were him while beating quick rhythms with his fingertips, along the soundboard and strings, then up the neck, arriving at the headstock to conclude the piece. The next improvisation was played arco and here he looked at the floor as improvisers do, but we might pretend he was looking at his bass viol adoringly or indeed that he knew it so well he had closed his eyes and was simply feeling its weight against his belly, its neck under his fingers while engaging in a profound examination of the act of counting to four, performed with the bow reversed and more fingertips. A brief final piece provided a lovely, plucked and repeated coda.

—Kurt Gottschalk

Noah Preminger
Noah Preminger
Noah Preminger
b.1986
saxophone


Hawaiian Tropic Zone

New York, NY

February 4, 2010

New York City, as the now-disputed jazz capital of the world, has all manner of jazz venues, from grandiose halls to once-smoky clubs all the way to street corners. But what distinguishes the Overpriced Apple from all other metropolises is that even the odder venues are still manned by world-class players. Hawaiian Tropic Zone, a Times Square restaurant that laudably has started regular jazz programming despite many distractions (flatscreen televisions, tourists, beautiful waitresses), on Feb. 4th was a case in point. A regrettably small audience was treated to an excellent quartet of musicians just as likely to be featured at one of the bigger, more traditional jazz supper clubs. It was led by tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger, a player making his reputation in a number of progressive bands, ably abetted by Portuguese guitarist Andre Matos (recent New England Conservatory graduate) and the grizzled rhythm section of bassist Sean Conly and drummer Rob Garcia
Rob Garcia
Rob Garcia
b.1969
drums
. And besides the strong, expansive playing, the set featured one of the more diverse setlists in this reviewer's recent memory: the Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart 1936 obscurity "There's a Small Hotel"; "Promises Kept" from Sonny Sharrock's 1991 album Ask the Ages; Yip Harburg-Arthur Schwartz' "Then I'll Be Tired of You"; Warne Marsh's "Background Music"; the Frank Sinatra-sung hit "All or Nothing at All" and the closer of "Milestones." The waitresses seemed to enjoy it thoroughly.

Jill McManus

Sofia's

New York City

February 4, 2010

Almost 35 years ago, pianist Jill McManus recorded a duet album with bassist Richard Davis (As One, Muse) live at a Lower East Side club called The Fugue. The disc was an intimate affair, the material mostly standards played to an attentive audience. On Feb. 4th, McManus was found in a somewhat similar setting, playing comparable tunes in partnership with another bassist, Paul Gill, at Sofia's in Times Square. The difference in eras and locales notwithstanding, McManus retained the deft, almost sprightly touch on the keyboard she demonstrated all those decades ago. And she needed every bit of it, as at the beginning of her 45-minute first 'set,' she was battling the cellphone conversation of an overdone Michigan tourist and a loud chat between Russian mobsters. New York City is full of gigs like this, ones where a pair of musicians in a corner of a loud room can easily be overlooked. So it was to McManus' credit and ability that she made the music transcend the terrible notion of 'cocktail piano,' inserting interesting chord voicings and appealing harmonies in tandem with Gill's stalwart playing. This is a semi-regular gig for McManus and there were some people scattered around the bar specifically to listen but she had to fill the large space, choosing to do so by playing denser chordal solos rather than single-notes lines that might have been swallowed up. Gill's solos, pithy statements all, were difficult to hear until he switched to the bow and the mobsters paid their check.

—Andrey Henkin

Jimmy Heath

Jimmy Heath
Jimmy Heath
b.1926
sax, tenor


Blue Note

New York City

February 3rd, 2010


comments powered by Disqus