While its mission is the preservation of Himalayan art, NYC's Rubin Museum continues to produce an excellent concert series in collaboration with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. The series has developed into a forum for artists to perform new projects in a singularly spiritual setting. Saxophonist Chris Byars has in effect written a soundtrack for selected art pieces from the Rubinancient tapestries depicting the deities and concepts of the Bön religious tradition of Tibetreproductions of which are included in the album's inner sleeve, enabling listeners to enjoy a cross-media meditative experience.
The music is quite open and works well with the broad musical voicings that are an integral part of this quintet. In addition to Byars' saxophones and flute his father, James Byars, adds a chamber-like second voice on oboe and English horn while trombonist John Mosca displays impressive bop sensibilities. Bassist Ari Roland and drummer Stefan Schatz' rhythms provide an Eastern tinge.
The leader represents both the "Tönpa Shenrab," founder of Bön, and the "Buddha Shakyamuni" as the essence of cool and revels with Roland in the bodhisattva of the blues with "Blues Under the Boddhi Tree." He reveals that the realization of nirvana or "Arhat" is exuberant bop while the cries of the wrathful deity "Chakrasamvara" are represented by both Chris' engaging flute and a combination of dark instrumental drones.
An acoustically sweet environment and a space that is appointed with cherry wood make the downstairs room at the Rubin one of the best places in the city for live jazz. Now, the museum's tapestries and artifacts have returned the favor, serving as wonderful inspiration for this aptly-titled album.
The Better To See You; T
Chris Byars: soprano, alto, tenor saxophones, flute; Ari Roland: bass; John Mosca: trombone; Stefan Schatz: drums; James Byars: oboe, English horn.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.