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SubCulture, Grand Opening

Scott Krane By

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The art of recording has changed music, more so in the information age. Nevertheless, it seems consensus in New York: jazz sounds better live. SubCulture is a new performance space in the district of Manhattan that is called "NoHo." The building is located at 45 Bleecker Street right in front of a stop for the B, D, F, M and 6 trains. The recommended drink as per space owner, Marc Kaplan is the Liberty School cabernet and a semi-local brew, the Greenport seasonal ale. The suggestion of spirits is valuable coming from a man whose spot features a musical menu that is even more appetizing. Inside, folding chairs are set up for performance spectators. Before the musicians takes the stage, mellow banter hums amidst the familiar and low-played audio of Miles Davis's Kind of Blue.
Downstairs in the space, metal rafters grasp light fixtures and red bricks give the room a sense of homeliness. The underground location has a lovely, chilled humidity. The walls of the stairs connecting the entrance to the performance space are covered with prints of international and old-fashioned newspaper clips.
SubCulture's lights and acoustics are state of the art. Marc and brother, Steven Kaplan worked in conjunction with Alliance TCC "out of Connecticut" to "do overall design" for the room's artificial ambience and sound. You can see the specs on the Subculture website. As for the music, "We believe in programming artists that create a high level of artistry," said Marc Kaplan, "We believe in programming artists that not only showcase their own work but also draw on their influences and we believe in showcasing diversity in the music and in the art that we present."
"A Single Noon": A recital and CD release by Gregg Kallor

On a warm New York City evening in late May, Gregg Kallor took to the stage of the brand new underground performance space North of Houston Street and greeted his audience with glimmering charm before sitting on the piano bench to perform the movements from his latest solo piano recording, the delightful suite, "A Single Noon," released independently in April.

Mr. Kallor plays with patience and a refusal to refrain from shattering idols of musical influence. On May 30, he performed alone with the precise dynamics of a young creator, frequently teasing the audience with lines of gospel and bop. When it comes to styles of music, Mr. Kallor is not indifferent, but artfully fickle. Such movements from the new suite such as the flighty 'Espresso Nirvana,' the title track which he describes as a "tableau of life in New York City," 'Broken Sentences' and 'Night' show his versatility and carefulness of phrasing. The movement known as 'Strap Hanger's Lurch' displays an incredible use of the variation of rhythms with hints of ragtime written into the chart. The final result does not sound forced but nonetheless fun and refreshing.

Despite several erstwhile performances at Carnegie Hall and two European tours, Kallor might be considered a well-kept secret in the worlds of classical and jazz music. Nonetheless, an ever-increasing résumé is quickly pushing him to the fore of the list of notable musicians and composers to be on the lookout for. In March 2007, the now-35- year-old made his New York City concert debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. His first CD release, "There's a Rhythm" was with his jazz trio and the follow-up "Exhilaration" was music written for and performed with operatic vocals, based on poetry by William Butler Yeats and Emily Dickinson.

The showcase recital at SubCulture was proof that Gregg Kallor is one of the bright stars on the horizon. Both his versatility as player and talent as composer is enough to get sophisticated music enthusiasts salivating for more. This is because there is something enticing about the mix of continents and styles and it is his success at accomplishing excellence as both a jazz player and classical composer that makes Mr. Kallor a humble master of his art. Both poetic and humorous, Kallor's composing reflects the music of the early twentieth century America before jetting ahead in time to the heyday of bebop, borrowing phrases from jazz greats, and then returning to the halls of contemporary music. The piece 'Giants' from the new record is a conceptualized Eliotian tribute to some of his teachers and colleagues, whom he claims he channels somewhat when performing and conducting.

His next album, the follow-up to A Single Noon will be a suite of chamber music. He describes it as "straight-up classical compositions" as well as "some stuff with rhythm sections and improvisers." He also "just finished writing a piano concerto with improvisation in its second movement." and will perform concerts with the lovely mezzo-soprano, Adriana Zabala, with whom he has performed and composed in the past, namely on Exhilaration (2008).


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