August 2009

AAJ Staff By

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An overflow crowd spilled out along 54th Street to hear the Billy Harper Quintet's performance in the Museum of Modern Art's sculpture garden (Jul. 12th). Harper, who has a compositional style as distinct and grand as his colossal Texas tenor tone, presented a program that filled the Museum's canyon-like outdoor oasis with rhythmically charged music that made for a truly memorable New York summer night. With the powerful trumpeter Freddie Hendrix filling out the frontline and perennial quintet constituents Francesca Tanksley and Clarence Seay, on piano and bass, joined by McCoy Tyner alumnus Aaron Scott on drums, the band set the mood for the evening with the leader's "Illumination," a pulsating tune mixing modal and straight-ahead improvisational lines by the composer; his exciting register-leaping solo had people cheering wildly both in the garden and on the street outside. Following with "Africa Revisited," a reworking of Coltrane's "Africa" (featuring a fiery recitation by Amiri Baraka on the band's newest CD), and a dramatic stoptime arrangement of the standard "My Funny Valentine," the saxophonist displayed the rare ability to make even the most familiar material his own. This was again made evident with his "Soran Bushi, B.H.," an original inspired by a Japanese folk melody that combined legato and staccato lines in an intoxicating brew of East-meet-West lyricism that elicited vocal approval from the audience that grew even louder following the set closer "Priestess".

—Russ Musto

Recommended New Listening:

* Fred Anderson—Staying in the Game (Engine)

* Ralph Bowen—Dedicated (Posi-Tone)

* James Falzone's Klang—Tea Music (Allos Documents)

* Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Strings—Renegades (Delmark)

* Edward Simon Trio—Poesía (CAMJazz)

* Jack Wilkins—Until It's Time (MAXJAZZ) —David Adler NY@Night Columnist, AllAboutJazz.com

* Mon David—Coming True (FreeHam)

* Ayelet Rose Gottlieb—Upto Here | From Here (Obliqsound)

* The Inbetweens—Quantum Cowboy (Layered)

* Masada Quintet—Book of Angels, Vol. 12: Stolas (feat. Joe Lovano) (Tzadik)

* Herb Robertson/Mark Solborg—[NOD · ] (ILK Music)

* TriBeCaStan—Strange Cousin (Evergreene Music)

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

* Darcy James Argue's Secret Society—Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam)

* Michiel Braam's Wurli Trio—Non-Functionals! (BBB)

* Anthony Braxton + Italian Instabile Orchestra—Creative Orchestra (Bolzano) 2007 (Rai Trade)

* Brötzmann/Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love—Hairy Bones (Okkadisk)

* The New Mellow Edwards—Big Choantza (Skirl)

* Nate Wooley/David Grubbs/Paul Lytton—Seven Storey Mountain (Important)

—Andrey Henkin Editorial Director, AllAboutJazz-New York


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