All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano

Tyran Grillo By

Sign in to view read count
Jocelyn Medina
Jazz at Kitano
Birthday Bash
New York, NY
April 11, 2018

With the release of her third album, Common Ground, still fresh with resonance, New York-based vocalist Jocelyn Medina turned the open space of Jazz at Kitano into her own vibrational field for a celebration of birth and everything that spins from it into life. Joining her wavelength were pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Evan Gregor, and drummer Mark Ferber, who in concert brought an immediacy to music that was otherwise wrapped in timeless themes. Such impulses were only emphasized in her original "Cosmic," a smoothly contoured and groovy entity who shone with sparkling profundity, and "Two But Not Two," a beautifully intoned expression of duality in all things. Treading the line between within and without, she and her bandmates set a tone of reconciliation of spectral opposites, as also in the Indian raga-inspired "Simple" and the title song of her latest CD, through which she communicated an overarching message: faith and love are as universal as those things seeking to destroy them both.

"Slow It Down" rounded out her self-penned selections with neo-soul flair, practicing the very reciprocation it preached. Yet even the ways in which Medina navigated songs lifted from other songbooks proved her capable of making everything she touches her own, as evident in her treatment of Brazilian material. In both the wordless comforts of Hermeto Pascoal's "April 4th" (her birthday song of choice) and the rainbow palette of Pixinguinha's "Lamentos," she evoked much-needed warmth for this year's as-yet-distant spring. Such contrasts of fantasy and reality abounded in her take on Rodgers and Hart's obscure examination of naivete, "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," and in her soulful rendition of Leonard Bernstein's "Big Stuff." In each of these, she tilted her vocal magnifying glass just so, until the emotional joss paper of each lyric gave up its ghost for every memory gone into its making.

Through it all, Gregor brought melodic fortitude, threading the improvisational needle only where it felt most appropriate, while Ferber adapted his playing to the needs of every context, his moods ranging from tactile to airy and back again. Hirahara, for his part, brought hefty yet crispy playing to the fore, switching from delicate comping to vivid solos on a dime. A poorly chosen metaphor, perhaps, because ultimately this performance was less about material pleasures than our collective need to shed their attraction in favor of larger questions that only music can answer.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read Marbin at The Firmament Live Reviews
Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read Big Ears Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club Live Reviews
Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club
by Gareth Thomas
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Moers Festival 2017" Live Reviews Moers Festival 2017
by Phillip Woolever
Published: July 8, 2017
Read "7 Mile House Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews 7 Mile House Jazz Festival 2018
by Walter Atkins
Published: March 25, 2018
Read "Ambrose Akinmusire at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Ambrose Akinmusire at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Pat Martino at Dazzle" Live Reviews Pat Martino at Dazzle
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: September 2, 2017