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The final concert of the evening for this correspondent brought him back to Gesu for another entry into the Jazz Dans La Nuit series. Pianist Yaron Herman is one of the many talented players with Israeli backgrounds propelling modern jazz. He has a wonderful new album of compelling originals and subversive takes on material outside the jazz canon like The Police and Britney Spears. This correspondent saw him in New York earlier this year but with a different bassist than the album, resulting in a very different approach. Matt Brewer was again unavailable for the Gesu show so the album's feel was not recreated and the initial aesthetic focused more on Herman's classical background and seemed almost polite, as if he was spec'ing out the festival crowd. This gave listeners an opportunity to appreciate drummer Gerald Cleaver's remarkable range, particularly for those who know him more for his avant-garde appearances. But by the end of the hour-long set, Herman and company settled into some rather progressive playing, highlighting Herman's unique conception of space and creative use of the inside of the piano. The set ended with his cover of Spears' "Toxic," showing that material is less important than whose hands it is in.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.