Lucid Culture


How to Do Winter Jazzfest 2016

A decade ago, Winter Jazzfest first spun off of the annual APAP booking agents’ convention by turning a bunch of cheesy Bleecker Street clubs into jazz venues for a couple of nights. This year’s marathon weekend festival on January 15 and 16 has a couple of exciting new developments: for one, it’s expanded further than ever beyond those clubs’ cramped confines, with a more expanded lineup than ever. Which promises to make this year’s arguably the best ever, considering that the number of venues involved now make up a grand total of eleven, most likely eliminating the lines that would often make it impossible to get into the most popular shows later in the evening as crowds reached critical mass.

Perhaps in order to drive attendance at the related bills at the Poisson Rouge (whose management also program the festival) on on the 13th and 17th, the best deal for tix is the five-day, $145 full-festival pass. That’s an even steeper commitment timewise than moneywise, but it not only gets you into any show you’d like to see Friday and Saturday night, but also to the January 13, 7:30 PM show with the rampaging low-register duo of whirlwind bass saxophonist Colin Stetson and bassman Bill Laswell and Dutch no wave rock legends the Ex (the latter of whom are also at the Greene Space at 11 on Friday night), as well as the 6 PM concert on the 17th with purist guitarist Julian Lage‘s trio followed by sax quartet Rova teaming up with guitarist Nels Cline, playing Coltrane material.  There are other options, but the cost is intimidating. Getting tickets in advance at the Poisson Rouge box office is your best bet; otherwise you can pick them up starting at 5 at Judson Church at 55 Washington Square Park South, each day.

On Friday night, you could start the evening by checking out a solo guitar set by downtown stalwart David Torn at the New School’s first-floor auditorium at 63 5th Ave., or irrepressible sax improviser Matana Roberts at the same time at Subcultlure, or hit the Poisson Rouge at 6:20 for what could be a mind-blowing trio show with drag queen Joey Arias – who is hilarious, and does a mean Lady Day impersonation – backed by guitar shredmeister Brandon Seabrook and pyrotechnic drummer Allison Miller.

Otherwise, the big New School auditorium at 66 W 12th St. just east of 6th Ave. is where the festival is hiding all the big names (in order: Roy Hargrove; James “Blood” Ulmer; Christian McBride; Forro in the Dark playing their duskily enchanting versions of Spy vs. Spy-era John Zorn material, and then at 1 AM Ilhan Ersahin and the Nublu Jazz Orchestra improvising their way through a Butch Morris tribute). Hot jazz is relegated both nights to Greenwich House Music School over on Barrow St. (charming oldtimey swing crew the Bumper Jacksons are on at 7:20 on Friday)  Other day one highlights are back at the Poisson Rouge at 7:40 with downtown trumpet fixture Steven Bernstein and Sexmob and then thunderingly funky live bhangra outfit Red Baraat;  piano icon Vijay Iyer and his trio at the first-floor theatre at the New School at 11:20 (not 11:30, ostensibly), and you might actually be able to get into Zinc Bar to see the perennially adrenalizing, soulful Yosvany Terry leading his quintet followed by chanteuse Rene Marie and her combo and then the mighty, accordion-spiced Gregorio Uribe Big Band.

Saturday night, the 63 5th Ave auditorium progarm opens auspiciously with bassist Michael Formanek’s huge improvisational ensemble (conducted by another four-string guy, Michael Attias). Other enticing early choices are indie classical adventurers the Mivos Quartet with Dan Blake at the Poisson Rouge, or a solo set by dazzling pianist Christian Sands at Greenwich House at 6. Good bets for later on include haunting Franco-Lebanese trumpeter Ibraham Maalouf at the W 12th St. hall at 7:40; another darkly virtuosic trumpeter of Middle Eastern descent, Amir ElSaffar with his epic, breathtaking Two Rivers ensemble at Subculture at 9:40; Jamaican piano legend Monty Alexander and his reggae-jazz orchestra the Harlem-Kingston Express back on 12th Street, a show you probably should get to earlier than the 11:40 scheduled start time if you want to get in, considering how packed the Poisson Rouge was when he last played there; and ageless EWI shredder Marshall Allen leading the Sun Ra Arkestra at Judson Church at midnight.

Previous years’ festivals have featured many non-jazz acts as well. This year, there are fewer than usual, scattered throughout the evening at a few spots. Friday night at 9:40 at the fifth-floor theatre at the New School at 55 W 13th St., chanteuse Charenee Wade puts a more purist jazz spin on Gil Scott-Heron, followed by pianist Marc Cary in funkmeister mode and then saxophonist Sharel Cassity and Elektra taking the night back in a more trad direction. On Saturday, hypnotic postrock trio Dawn of Midi are at WNYC’s tiny Greene Space, 44 Charlton St. just east of Varick, at 11, another show that might be worth getting to early if a live dancefloor thump is your thing.

Be sure to check the schedule for updates: as with any festival of this magnitude, there are bound to be tweaks.


January 7, 2016 Posted by | concert, jazz, Music, music, concert, New York City | , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Do Winter Jazzfest 2015

Winter Jazzfest turns the cheesy Bleecker Street strip into a jazz mecca on Friday night, Jan 9 and then Saturday, Jan 10. Tickets are not cheap, but considering what you get, it’s still a considerable bargain. The best deal is the $55 two-day pass for Friday and Saturday, which if you choose wisely, will get you in to see $200 or more worth of talent, at jazz club prices anyway. Getting tickets in advance at the Poisson Rouge box office is your best bet; otherwise you can pick them up starting at 5 at Judson Church on Washington Square Park South, each day.

Your second-best deal is the one-night $35 pass. At the top end, there’s a $145 package available that gets you Friday and Saturday plus an all-star show to benefit organist Mike LeDonne’s disability charity on Jan 8 at 7 PM at the Quaker Friends Meeting Hall, 15 Rutherford Pl. north of 15th St., across the park from 3rd Ave., with LeDonne joining a hall of fame lineup including Ron Carter, Renee Rosnes, Russell Malone, Brad Mehldau, George Coleman, Benny Golson, Jimmy Cobb, Peter Bernstein, Buster Williams, Harold Mabern, Bill Charlap, Kenny Washington and others.

Usually this annual festival is backloaded with a killer Saturday night lineup, but this year, Friday’s is stronger. Keep in mind that your pass does not guarantee entry if a venue is filled to capacity, so if there’s an act you really must see, it’s worth getting there early – maybe a couple of hours early at the smaller clubs. The Friday crowds tend to be smaller than the Saturday mobscene.

On Friday night the Poisson Rouge lineup is especially choice and will be very popular with a younger crowd, since Kneebody is headlining at 9. A Donald Byrd repertory band kicks off the night at 6:30 followed by a rare US appearance by fearless and often surrealistically comedic Dutch big band the ICP Orchestra. Obviously, it’s tempting to stick around for Kneebody, but their set may be on the short side since the club will want to clear the room to accommodate the Jersey tourists lined up to see the Miley Cyrus cover band playing afterward.

Which gives you a perfect opportunity to beat the crowds and hightail it around the corner to the Minettta Lane Theatre, where David Murray is playing two sets starting at 7:30: a “clarinet summit” and then fronting a trio with Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington. Oliver Lake leads a sax trio with Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille there at 10 followed by Marc Ribot with a string section (!!!) at around 11:15 and then sometime after midnight there’s a tribute to John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards with what will undoubtedly be a big Tonic crowd.

Saturday‘s early sets offer plenty to choose from. You might want to start at Subculture at 6 PM with trombonist Ryan Keberele’s reliably adventurous Catharsis, then head west to the Poisson Rouge to catch spectacular Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda at 6:45. Meanwhile, luminous pianist Myra Melford’s Snowy Egret are at Zinc Bar at 6:30, while intriguing, Indian-inspired chanteuse Kavita Shah sings at 6:15 followed by Amina Claudine Myers’ trio, then sizzling postbop supergroup the Cookers, followed at around 10 by Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Charlie Parker project at the Minetta Lane Theatre. And percussionist Jaimeo Brown’s hauntingly atmospheric Transcendence,  who reinvent old spirituals, will be at Bowery Electric at 6:30. Just be aware that if you want to catch Rudresh’s set, or JD Allen’s explosive trio at half past midnight or so at Subculture, you are very strongly advised to get there early: a couple of hours early wouldn’t be too soon.

Last year’s festival featured several non-jazz acts at the end of the night at some venues. This year, they’re scattered throughout the evening at a few spots, and they’re not nearly as good. Other than postrock instrumentalists the Cellar & Point (at the Players Theatre, 1:30 AM-ish on Saturday), soul chanteuse Mavis Swan Poole and her band (the Bitter End, 8:45 on Saturday) and guitarist Stephane Wrembel (who’s gone further into Pink Floyd territory lately, also 8:45 on Saturday, way over on Barrow Street at Greenwich House Music School), that’s the only stuff beyond the jazz that’s worth seeing.

The complete lineup is below: be sure to check the schedule for updates, as there’ve been new venues added in the past week.


LE POISSON ROUGE 158 Bleecker Street NY NY 10012
6:30pm Donald Byrd Acoustic Electric Sessions
7:45pm ICP Orchestra
9:00pm Kneebody + Daedelus

MINETTA LANE THEATRE 18-22 Minetta Lane New York, NY 10003
6:15pm TBA
7:30pm David Murray Clarinet Summit w/ Don Byron, David Krakauer, and Hamiet Bluiett
8:45pm David Murray w/ Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington
10:00pm TRIO 3 w/ Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille and special guest TBA
11:15pm Marc Ribot & The Young Philadelphians with Strings
12:30am Strange and Beautiful: The Music of John Lurie and The Lounge Lizards

JUDSON CHURCH 55 Washington Square Park South
6:45pm Jason Miles & Ingrid Jensen “Kind Of New”
8:00pm Russ Johnson’s Still Out To Lunch (Music of Eric Dolphy)
9:15pm Dave Douglas Quintet
10:30pm Travis Laplante’s Battle Trance
11:45pm So Percussion feat. Man Forever
1:00am Improvised Round Robin Duets

SUBCULTURE 45 Bleecker Street NYC
6:00pm Arturo O’Farrill’s “Boss Level” Septet
7:15pm Linda Oh’s Sun Pictures
8:30pm Taylor Eigsti’s Free Agency
9:45pm Tyshawn Sorey Piano Trio
11:00pm Kris Davis Infrasound
12:15am Uri Caine / Han Bennink
1:30am Aaron Parks Little/Big

THE BITTER END 147 Bleecker Street NYC (Revive Music Stage)
6:15pm Wallace Roney Quintet
7:30pm The Baylor Project feat. Jean Baylor and Marcus Baylor
8:45pm AFRO HARPING: Brandee Younger’s Tribute to Dorothy Ashby feat. Mark Whitfield
10:00pm Igmar Thomas and The Cypher
11:15pm Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life feat. Jean Baylor
12:30am Raymond Angry – Celebration of Life Suite
1:45am Nate Smith + KINFOLK

7:00pm Joe Locke ‘Love Is A Pendulum’
8:15pm Oran Etkin ‘Reimagining Benny Goodman
9:30pm Mike Pride’s From Bacteria To Boys
10:45pm Jen Shyu’s ‘Solo Rites: Seven Breaths’
12:00am Marquis Hill Blackout
1:15am Michael Bates Northern Spy

ZINC BAR 82 West 3rd Street NYC
6:30pm TBA
7:45pm Alicia Olatuja
9:00pm Allan Harris
10:15pm Dafnis Prieto Sextet
11:30pm Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom
12:45am Bria Skonberg
2:00am TBA

6:30pm TBA
7:45pm The MazzMuse Breakdown
9:00pm Jungle Funk
10:15pm Zongo Junction

CARROLL PLACE 157 Bleecker Street NYC
6:00pm Jovan Alexandre & Collective Consciousness
7:15pm Chris Washburne SYOTOS plays Acid Mambo
8:30pm Anthony Pirog
9:45pm Jay Rodriguez SEVEN
11:00pm Todd Clouser A Love Electric
12:15am Silver with Eddie Henderson
1:30am Frank Catalano


LE POISSON ROUGE 158 Bleecker Street NY NY 10012
6:30pm Edmar Castaneda Trio w/ Andrea Tierra
7:45pm TBA
9:00pm David Murray Infinity Quartet with Saul Williams

MINETTA LANE THEATRE 18-22 Minetta Lane New York, NY 10003
6:15pm Kavita Shah
7:30pm Amina Claudine Myers Trio
8:45pm The Cookers
10:00pm Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls (The Charlie Parker Project)
11:15pm TBA
12:30am Nicholas Payton Trio

JUDSON CHURCH 55 Washington Square Park South
6:45pm Theo Bleckman Quartet w/ Ambrose Akinmusire
8:00pm Ken Vandermark – Nate Wooley Duo
9:15pm Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet
10:30pm The Campbell Brothers – A Sacred Steel Love Supreme
11:45pm TBA

SUBCULTURE 45 Bleecker Street NYC
6:00pm TBA
7:15pm Alfredo Rodríguez Trio
8:30pm Lionel Loueke Trio
9:45pm SFJAZZ Collective: Originals and the Music of Michael Jackson
11:00pm Harriet Tubman
12:15am JD Allen Trio w/ Gregg August & Rudy Royston
1:30am TBA

THE BITTER END 147 Bleecker Street NYC (Revive Music Stage)
6:15pm Oliver Lake Organ Quartet
7:30pm Matthew Stevens
8:45pm Soul Understated feat. Mavis Swan Poole
10:00pm Mad Satta
11:15pm Butcher Brown
12:30am Taylor McFerrin
1:45am Walter Smith III

7:00pm Dan Weiss Large Ensemble
8:15pm Darius Jones Quartet
9:30pm Tomas Fujiwara & The Hookup
10:45pm Ryan Keberle & Catharsis
12:00am Eivind Opsvik’s Overseas
1:15am The Cellar and Point

ZINC BAR 82 West 3rd Street NYC
6:30pm Myra Melford’s Snowy Egret
7:45pm Mark Turner Quartet
9:00pm Hadar Noiberg Trio
10:15pm Kellylee Evans
11:30pm Mino Cinelu World Jazz Ensemble
12:45am Nasheet Waits Equality Quartet
2:00am Loston Harris Trio

6:30pm Jaimeo Brown Transcendence: Work Songs
7:45pm Dana Leong Trio
9:00pm Ilhan Ersahin’s Istanbul Sessions
10:15pm Troker

CARROLL PLACE 157 Bleecker Street NYC (Hot Jazz Festival Night)
6:15pm Martina DaSilva’s Ladybugs with Kate Davis
7:30pm Dan Levinson’s Gotham SophistiCats
8:45pm Stephane Wrembel Band
10:00pm Catherine Russell
11:15pm David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band
12:30am Frank Vignola and Friends
1:45am Cynthia Sayer & Her Joyride Band

6:15pm Martina DaSilva’s Ladybugs with Kate Davis
7:30pm Dan Levinson’s Gotham SophistiCats with Blind Boy Paxton
8:45pm Stephane Wrembel Band
10:00pm Catherine Russell
11:15pm David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band

December 21, 2014 Posted by | concert, jazz, Music, New York City | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Do Winter Jazzfest 2014

Winter Jazzfest takes over the West Village Friday night, Jan 10 and then Saturday, Jan 11. Tickets (available in advance at the Poisson Rouge box office) are not cheap, but considering what you get, it’s still quite the bargain. The best deal is the $55 two-day pass for Friday and Saturday, which if you choose your spots wisely, will get you in to see $200 or more worth of talent, at jazz club prices anyway. More on that a little later.

Your second-best deal is the one-night $35 pass. At the top end, there’s a $95 package available that gets you Friday and Saturday plus a show on Jan 7 at the Poisson Rouge with Bobby Previte’s Terminals featuring So Percussion, John Medeski and Nels Cline; an orchestra seat for the Blue Note 75th anniversary show at the Town Hall the following night, Jan 8 with Jason Moran and a bunch of others; plus another show at the Poisson Rouge on Jan 9. And even at over ninety bucks, the total comes to less than $20 a ticket. Admittedly, not many of us have the means or the time to go out five nights in a row like that, but if you do, it’s not a bad deal.

If you have to choose between Friday or Saturday night, go Friday. This patch of bad weather isn’t supposed to let up until Jazzfest weekend, so by then people will be stir-crazy and the lines to get into the Bleecker Street area venues willl be longer than they were last year, especially on Saturday night. Friday night, if you get where you’re going early, you stand a good chance of seeing who you want to see. Saturday night, if you don’t pick a venue and settle in for the duration, you may get shut out: last year, the lines outside were pretty bad by 8 and pretty much stopped moving by 9. Plus, the quality of the acts on the bill is even stronger this year than last year, and last year’s lineup was pretty great: For example, Henry Threadgill is playing a Butch Morris tribute at Judson Church on Washington Square South on Saturday at 8 and 10 PM and you know lines for that will be insane.

The full lineup is at the bottom of the page (check the festival schedule for the latest updates). Some suggestions: Friday night, you might want to start at LPR with Melissa Aldana, who’s probably gassed since she won that competition, and then head over to the Bitter End for an explosive threepeat of Jon Irabagon and whatever trio he has, then the Jazz Passengers, then Burnt Sugar Arkestra with hilarious, ageless sage Melvin Van Peebles. After that, Ben Goldberg’s Unfold Ordinary Mind – hopefully with Nels Cline in the lineup – have a twistedly amazing album out and should be able to outdo that live over at NYU Law, a new and untested venue for this sort of thing. Or just stick around for trumpeter Ben Holmes and his Balkan-influenced quartet, who also have a very strong album out.

Saturday night the obvious draw is Threadgill. If you’re going, get to the church as close to six as you can. Doors should be at around 6:30, and the opening 7 PM duo of Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman is very much worth seeing as well. Otherwise, your best bet, pound for pound, is to settle in when the doors open at NYU Law and get psyched to be blasted by Mostly Other People Do the Killing and then eventually Elliott Sharp’s Orchestra Carbon. Or, on a slightly less jazz-oriented tip, the Bowery Electric trifecta of Slavic Soul Party doing Ellington’s Far East Suite, Wicked Knee with Billy Martin, Curtis Fowlkes, Marcus Rojas and Steven Bernstein  and then the No BS Brass should be lots of fun. Or even take a chance and catch Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society at Subculture at 6 PM and then sprint over to Bowery, which is just four short blocks away. What you DON’T want to do Saturday night is more around a lot because the later it gets, the slimmer the odds that you’ll be able to get in anywhere.

Friday January 10th, 2014

Le Poisson Rouge:
6:00pm            Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio
7:15pm            Keren Ann
8:30pm            Dawn of Midi
9:45pm            Jeff “Tain” Watts & Lionel Loueke
11:00pm          Roy Hargrove Quintet

Judson Church:
6:15pm            TBA
7:30pm            Otto Hauser etc.
8:45pm            Roomful of Teeth
10:00pm          Mary Halvorson Septet
11:15pm          Peter Brötzmann w/ Hamid Drake and Jason Adasiewicz
12:30pm          Improvised Round Robin Duets w/ artists TBA

6:30pm            Sharel Cassity Quintet
7:45pm            Gary Bartz Quartet
9:00pm            Takuya Kurada
10:15pm          Otis Brown III f. Jimmy Greene
11:30pm          Kris Bowers Group
12:45am          Gizmo w/ special guest Casey Benjamin
2:00am            Big Yuki

NYU Law:
6:45pm            Ben Wendel Quartet
8:00pm            Ches Smith Trio
9:15pm            Nate Wooley’s Seven Storey Mountain
10:30pm          Chris Lightcap & Bigmouth
11:45pm          Ben Goldberg’s Unfold Ordinary Mind
1:00am            Aruan Ortiz Orbiting Quartet

The Bitter End:
6:15pm            Blue Cranes
7:30pm            Matt Ulery’s Loom
8:45pm            Jon Irabagon Trio
10:00pm          The Jazz Passengers
11:15pm          Burnt Sugar Arkestra Review with Melvin Van Peebles, Vernon Reid etc.
12:30am          Ben Holmes Quartet
1:45am            Thiefs

Zinc Bar:
6:30pm            Antoine Roney Trio featuring Kojo
7:45pm            Zee Avi
9:00pm            Rene Marie
10:15pm          Gregoire Maret w/ Terri Lyne Carrington
11:30pm          3rd Eye 4tet: McPherson, Waits, Burton, Hurt
12:45am          Roman Diaz & Midnight Rumba

Saturday January 11th 2014

Le Poisson Rouge:
6:00pm            Tillery featuring Rebecca Martin, Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens
7:15pm            Rudy Royston 303
8:30pm            Mother Falcon
9:45pm            Gretchen Parlato
11:00pm          Big Chief Donald Harrison & Congo Square Nation
12:15am          Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

1:30am            Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Judson Church:
7:00pm            Sylvie Courvoisier – Mark Feldman Duo
8/10 PM            Henry Threadgill’s ‘Ensemble Double-Up’ In Remembrance of Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris
11:45pm         Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog w/ Mary Halvorson
1:00am            Matthew Shipp Trio

6:30pm            James Brandon Lewis
7:40pm            Theo Croker
8:50pm            Jeff Ballard Trio
10:00pm          Nir Felder
11:10pm          Somi
12:20am          Craig Handy
1:00am            Okeh Records Jam

NYU Law:
6:45pm            Miles Okazaki Quartet
8:00pm            Endangered Blood
9:15pm            Mostly Other People Do The Killing
10:30pm          EYEBONE: Nels / Jim Black
11:45pm          Elliott Sharp’s Orchestra Carbon
1:00am            Chris Morrissey Quartet

The Bitter End:
6:15pm            Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba
7:30pm            Howard Johnson & Gravity
8:45pm            Angelika Niescier
10:00pm          Raul Midon
11:15pm          Meklit
12:30am          Jamie Baum Septet +
1:45am            Trees in Tongues w/ Samita Sinha, Grey McMurray, and Sunny Jain

Zinc Bar:
6:30pm            Ted Poor Quartet
7:45pm            Morgan James
9:00pm            Don Byron’s Six Musician Group
10:15pm          Trio Feral
11:30pm          Lakecia Benjamin & Soul Squad
12:45am          Marc Cary Focus Trio
2:00am            Matt Wilson, Ted Nash, Jesse Lewis

6:00pm            Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
7:15pm            Ralph Alessi Baida Quartet
8:30pm            Mark Helias Open Loose
9:45pm            Tim Berne Snakeoil
11:00pm          Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo
12:15am          Erik Friedlander’s Bonebridge
1:30am            ABRAXAS – John Zorn’s Book of Angels by Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz

Bowery Electric:
6:30pm            Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music
7:45pm            Slavic Soul Party! plays Ellington: the Far East Suite
9:00pm            Wicked Knee w/ Billy Martin, Curtis Fowlkes, Marcus Rojas, and Steven Bernstein
10:15pm          No BS! Brass

The Blue Note:
12:30am          The NEXT Collective

January 2, 2014 Posted by | concert, jazz, Live Events, Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter Jazzfest 2013: A Marathon Account

The narrative for Winter Jazzfest 2013 wrote itself. “The festival began and ended with two extraordinary trumpeters from Middle Eastern backgrounds, Ibrahim Maalouf early on Friday evening and then Amir ElSaffar in the wee hours of Sunday morning.” Except that it didn’t happen like that. Maalouf – whose new album Wind is a chillingly spot-on homage to Miles Davis’ noir soundtrack to the film Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud – was conspicuously absent, with visa issues. And by quarter to one Sunday morning, the line of hopefuls outside Zinc Bar, where ElSaffar was scheduled, made a mockery of any hope of getting in to see him play. But a bitingly bluesy, full-bore cadenza earlier in the evening from another trumpeter – Hazmat Modine’s Pam Fleming – had already redeemed the night many times over. In more than fourteen hours of jazz spread across the West Village (and into the East) over two nights, moments of transcendence like that outnumbered disappointments a thousand to one.

A spinoff of the annual APAP booking agents’ convention, the festival has caught on with tourists (the French and Japanese were especially well-represented) along with a young, scruffy, overwhelmingly white crowd like what you might see at Brooklyn spots like Shapeshifter Lab or I-Beam. Those crowds came to listen. Another tourist crowd, this one from New Jersey and Long Island, ponied up the $35 cover for an all-night pass and then did their best to drink like this was any old night on the Bleecker Street strip, oblivious to the music. It was amusing to see them out of their element and clearly nervous about it.

That contingent was largely absent on Friday – and probably because of the rain, attendance was strong but not as overwhelming as it would be the following night. Over at Bowery Electric, drummer Bobby Previte led a trio with baritone saxophonist Fabian Rucker and guitarist Mike Gamble to open the festival on a richly murky, noir note, raising the bar to an impossibly high level that few other acts would be able to match, at least from this perspective (wth scores of groups on the bill, triage is necessary, often a cruel choice between several artists). Watching Rucker build his way matter-of-factly from a minimalistically smoky stripper vamp to fire-and-brimstone clusters of hard bop was like being teleported to the jazz club scene from David Lynch’s Lost Highway.

Over at le Poisson Rouge, chanteuse Catherine Russell delivered a mix of alternately jaunty, devious and poignant swing tunes, none of them from later than 1953, the most recent one a lively drinking song from the Wynonie Harris book. Guitarist and music director Matt Munisteri added his signature purist wit and an expectedly offhand intensity on both guitar and six-stirng banjo as the group – with Ehud Asherie on piano, Lee Hudson on bass and Mark McLean on drums – swung  through the early Ella Fitzgerald catalog as well as on blues by Lil Green and Bessie Smith, riding an arc that finally hit an unselfconsciously joyous note as they wound it up.

Jamaican jazz piano legend Monty Alexander followed, leading his Harlem-Kingston Express as they turned on a dime from pristine swing to a deep and dark roots reggae pulse. Alexander has been having fun with this project – utilizing what are essentially two discrete groups on a single stage, one an acoustic foursome, the other a fullscale reggae band with electric bass, keys and guitar – for a few years now. This was as entertaining as usual, mashing up Uptown and Jamdown and ending with a singalong on Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry. In between, Alexander romped through jump blues and then added biting minor-key riffage to Marley classics like Slave Driver and The Heathen. Alexander was at the top of his game as master of ceremonies  – he even sang a little, making it up as he went along. It’s hard to think of a more likeable ambassador for the Irie Island.

Across the street at the Bitter End, Nels Cline and Julian Lage teamed up for a duo guitar show that was intimate to the extent that you had to watch their fingers to figure out who was playing what. Both guitarists played with clean tones and no effects, meticulous harmonies intertwining over seamless dynamic shifts as the two negotiated blue-sky themes with a distant nod to Bill Friselll…and also to Jerry Garcia, whose goodnaturedly expansive style Lage evoked throughout a handful of bluegrass-tinged explorations. On a couple of tunes, Cline switched to twelve-string and played pointillistic rhythm behind Lage, who was rather graciously given the lion’s share of lead lines and handled them with a refreshing directness – no wasted notes here. The two beefed up a Jim Hall tune and closed with a trickily rhythmic, energetic Chris Potter number.

The Culture Project Theatre, just off Lafayette Street, is where the most improvisationally-inclined, adventurous acts were hidden away – and by the time Boston free jazz legends the Fringe took the stage for a rare New York gig, the place was packed. The trio of tenor saxophonist George Garzone, drummer Bob Gullotti and bassist John Lockwood gave a clinic in friendly interplay, leaving plenty of space for the others’ contributions, each giving the other a long launching pad for adding individual ideas. Gullotti was in a shuffle mood, Lockwood a chordal one, Garzone flirting playfully with familiar themes that he’d take into the bop-osophere in a split second, the rhythm section leaving him to figure out what was happening way out there until he’d give the signal that he was coming back to earth.

Nasheet Waits’ Equality was next on the bill there and was one example of a band that could have used more than the barely forty minutes they got onstage. It wasn’t that they rushed the songs, it was simply that this band is obviously used to stretching out more than they got the oppportunity to do, shifting shape rhythmically as much as melodically, through compositions by both the drummer/bandleader and alto saxophonist Logan Richardson. Warmly lyrical sax found a murky anchor in Vijay Iyer’s insistently hypnotic pedalpoint and block chords, Mark Helias propelling their third tune with careful permutations on a tireless bass loop. They danced out on a biting, latin-tinged vibe.

Seabrook Power Plant, somewhat less lethal and toxic than their name implies, closed out Friday night with a pummelling yet often surprisingly melodic set for the diehards who’d stuck around. Brandon Seabrook – the Dick Dale of the banjo – teamed up with bassist Tom Blancarte and drummer Jared Seabrook for a hard-hitting, heavily syncopated, mathrock-tinged couple of tunes, the bandleader’s right hand a blur as he tremolopicked lightning flurries of chords that were more dreampop than full frontal attack. Then he picked up the guitar, started tapping and suddenly the shadow of Yngwie Malmsteen began to materialize, signaling that it was time to get some rest and get ready for day two.

Word on the street has been that the best strategy for the Saturday portion of the festival is to pick a single venue out of the total of six and camp out there, as one of the organizers sheepishly alluded as the evening got underway. This year that turned out to be gospel truth, validating the decision to become possibly the only person not employed by the Bitter End to spend six consecutive hours there. That choice wasn’t just an easy way out. Right through the witching hour, there were no lulls: the bill was that strong.

Percussionist Pedrito Martinez opened with his group: the sensational, charismatic Araicne Trujillo on piano and vocals, Jhair Sala on cowbell and Alvaro Benavides on five-string bass. Playing congas, Martinez took on the rare role of groovemeister with a subtle sense of dynamics, through a swaying set that was as electrically suspenseful as it was fever-pitched and diverse, slinking through Cuban rhythms from across the waves and the ages. Trujillo was a force of nature, showing off a wistful, bittersweet mezzo-soprano voice in quieter moments and adding fiery harmonies as the music rose. Given a long piano solo, she quoted vigorously and meticulously from Beethoven, Chopin and West Side Story without losing the slinky beat, matching rapidfire precision to an occasionally wild, noisy edge, notably on a long, call-and-response-driven take of Que Palo.

Chilean-American chanteuse Claudia Acuna was next, leading her six-piece band through a raputurous, hypnotic set that drew equally on folk music and classic American soul as well as jazz. Her voice radiates resilience and awareness: one early number broodingly contemplated ecological disaster and other global concerns. Chords and ripples rang from the electric piano, ornamented elegantly by guitarist Mike Moreno over grooves that rose and fell. After sultry tango inflections, a moody departure anthem and a surprisingly succesful shot at jazzing up You Are My Sunshine, they closed with an understated take on Victor Jara’s Adios Mundo Indino.

Of all of these acts, saxophonist Colin Stetson was the most spectacular. Playing solo is the hardest gig of all, notwithstanding that Stetson has made a career out of being a one-man band, one that sounds like he’s using a million effects and loops even though what he’s playing is 100% live. Tapping out a groove on the keys of his bass sax, sustaining a stunning mix of lows and keening overtones via circular breathing, some of what he played might be termed live techno. Holding fast to a rhythm that managed to be motorik and swinging at once, he evoked the angst of screaming in the wilderness – metaphorically speaking. Or being the last (or first) in a line of whales whose pitch is just a hair off from being understandable to others of the species, explaining how he felt a kinship with the “Cryptowhale” recently discovered on US Navy underwater recordings. Switching to alto sax, he delivered his most haunting number, spiked with sometimes menacing, sometimes plaintive chromatics and closed with a slowly and methodically crescendoing piece that built from dusky, otherworldly ambience to a firestorm of overtones and insistent, raw explosiveness. Of all the acts witnessed at this year’s festival, he drew the most applause.

In a smart bit of programming, trumpeter Brian Carpenter’s nine-peice Ghost Train Orchestra was next on the bill. Carpenter’s previous album collected jaunty, pioneering, surprisingly modern-sounding hot 20s proto-swing from the catalogs of bandleaders like Fess Williams and Charlie Johnson, and the band played some of those tunes, adding an unexpected anachronistic edge via biting, aggressive solos from tenor saxophonist Andy Laster and Brandon Seabrook, wailing away on banjo again. As the set went on, a positively noir Cab Calloway hi-de-ho energy set in, apprehensive chromatics pushing bouncy blues to the side, Mazz Swift’s gracefully edgy violin contrasting with Curtis Hasselbring’s terse but forceful trombone lines.

In addition to innumerable jazz flavors, this year’s festival featured a trio of acts who don’t really play jazz at all and the most tantalizing of them, Hazmat Modine, happened to be next on the bill. Frontman Wade Schuman played his chromatic harmonica through a series of effects that made him sound like a hurdy-gurdy on acid…or helium, depending on the song. Lively handoffs and conversations, notably between tuba player Joseph Daly and trombonist Reut Regev but also guitarists Pete Smith and Michael Gomez, Rachelle Garniez on claviola and accordion, Steve Elson on tenor sax, Pam Fleming on trumpet, and Rich Huntley on drums burst out of everywhere. Huntley took an antique field holler rhythm and made a hypnotic mid-70s disco-soul vamp out of it, as well as romping through samba swing, Diddleybeat, calypso or reggae, as on the minor-key but ecstatic opening tune, So Glad. The French have anointed the Hazmats as a blues band (their album Bahamut was the #1 blues album of the year there) even though they interpolate so many different styles into the genre and then jam them into unrecognizability. It was just as well that this set proved to be the final one of the festival – at least from this point of view – because after they’d vamped through a wryly surreal but ecstatic take of the carnivalesque tropicalia of the album’s title track, there was nowhere to go but down.

January 15, 2013 Posted by | concert, jazz, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Complete Lineup for 2011 Winter Jazzfest in NYC

Here’s the latest lineup for the absurdly excellent extravaganza formerly known as the Undead Jazz Festival, which we would like to call Operation Take Back Bleecker Street. A weekend pass is $35, which if you see a lot of these groups probably translates to less than a dollar per artist.

Friday January 7th
(Le) Poisson Rouge
6:15pm – The Respect Sextet
Eli Asher, trumpet, toys / James Hirschfeld, trombone, toys / Malcolm Kirby, bass / Ted Poor, drums / Josh Rutner, reeds, radio, toys / Red Wierenga, piano, keyboard, accordion
7:15pm – Anat Cohen Quartet with Jason Lindner
Anat Cohen, clarinet, tenor saxophone / Jason Lindner, piano / TBA, bass / TBA, drums
8:15pm – JD Allen VISIONFUGITIVE! Conducted by Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris
Butch Morris, conducts / JD Allen, tenor / Gregg August, bass /Danny Sedownick, percussion / Dezron Douglas, bass / Rudy Royston, drums / Jeremy “Bean” Clemons, drums /
Stacy Dillard, soprano / Logan Richardson, alto / Duane Eubanks, trumpet / Ben Waltzer, piano / Bryan Carrott, vibes
9:15pm – Chico Hamilton
Chico Hamilton, drums / Paul Ramsey, bass / Nick Demopoulos, guitar / Evan Schwam, flute, alto & tenor saxes / Mayu Saeki, flute / Jeremy Carlstedt, percussion
Kenny’s Castaways
6:00pm – Mike Pride’s From Bacteria To Boys
Darius Jones, alto saxophone / Peter Bitenc, bass / Alexis Marcelo, piano / Mike Pride, drums
7:00pm – Shane Endsley & The Music Band
Shane Endsley, trumpet / Matt Brewer, bass / Ted Poor, drums / TBA, piano
8:00pm – Jacob Garchik Trio
Jacob Garchik, trombone / Jacob Sacks, piano / Dan Weiss, drums
9:00pm – Jen Shyu & Jade Tongue
Jen Shyu, vocals, Rhodes, moon lute, dance / David Binney, alto sax / John Hebert, bass / Dan Weiss, drums 
10:00pm – Charles Gayle Trio
Charles Gayle, sax / Larry Roland, bass / Michael TA Thompson, drums
11:00pm – Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth
Chris Lightcap, bass / Gerald Cleaver, drums / Tony Malaby, tenor sax / Bill McHenry, tenor sax 12:00am – Jason Lindner’s NOW vs. NOW
Jason Lindner, electronics, piano / Mark Gulliana, drums / Panagiotis Andreou, bass
1:00am – Chris Speed’s YeahNO
Chris Speed, saxophone / Skuli Sverrisson, bass / Jim Black, drums
2:00am – Dan Tepfer Trio
Dan Tepfer, piano / Thomas Morgan, bass / Ted Poor, drums
Zinc Bar
6:30pm – Amina Figarova
Amina Figarova, piano / Bart Platteau, flutes / Marc Mommaas, tenorsax / Ernie Hammes, trumpet / Jay Anderson, bass / Chris ‘Buckshot” Strik, drums
7:30pm – Eric Legnini featuring Krystle Warren
Eric Legnini, piano / Krystal Warren, vocals, guitar
8:30pm – Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le, guitar / Chris Jennings, acoustic bass / Mark Guiliana, drums
9:30pm – Proverb Trio featuring Dafnis Prieto, Kokayi & Jason Lindner
Dafnis Prieto, drums / Kokayi, vocals, poetry / Jason Lindner, keyboards
10:30pm – Source w/Abdoulaye Diabaté
Abdoulaye “Djoss” Diabate, guitar, vocal, percussion / Sylvain Leroux, flute, sax / Bailo Bah Fula, flute / Emi Yabuno, piano, keyboards / Mamadou Ba, bass / Sean Dixon, drums
11:30pm – Matana Roberts
Matana Roberts, Sax – solo
12:30am – Aaron Goldberg Trio
Aaron Goldberg, piano / Matt Penman, bass / Eric Harland, drums
1:30am – Marcus Strickland Quartet
Marcus Strickland, soprano & tenor saxophones / David Bryant, piano / Ben Williams, bass / E.J. Strickland, drums
2:30am – Shimrit Shoshan Trio
Shimrit Shoshan, piano / Ben Street, bass / Eric McPherson, drums
Saturday January 8th
(Le) Poisson Rouge

6:15pm – Vernon Reid’s Artificial Afrika
Vernon Reid, guitar / Akim Funk Buddha, vocals / Leon Lamont, DJ, percussion
7:15pm – Tia Fuller
Tia Fuller, saxophones / Shamie Royston, piano / Mimi Jones, bass /Rudy Royston, drums
8:15pm – Don Byron’s New Gospel Quintet with special guest, Geri Allen
Don Byron, clarinet, tenor saxophone, background vocal / DK Dyson, vocal / Geri Allen, piano / Brad Jones, bass, background vocals / Pheeroan akLaff, drums
9:15pm – Charlie Hunter
Charlie Hunter, 7 string guitar / Eric Kalb, drums / Michael R. Williams, bass, trumpet
10:15pm – Nels Cline’s Stained Radiance
Nels Cline, guitar / Norton Wisdom, paint, canvas
11:15pm – Steve Coleman & Five Elements
Steve Coleman, sax / Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet / Miles Okazaki, guitar / David Virelles, piano / Marcus Gilmore, bass / Jen Shyu, vocals
12:15am – RedCred with John Medeski, Chris Speed, Ben Perowsky
Chris Speed, saxophone / John Medeski, keyboards / Ben Perowsky, drums
1:15am – Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
Brian Hass, piano / Josh Raymer, drums / Chris Coombs, lap steele guitar / Jeff Harshbarger, double bass
2:15am – Ben Perowsky’s Moodswing Orchestra with TK Wonder
Ben Perowsky, drums, bells, sincussion, voice / Glenn Patscha, electric/acoustic piano, comb, voice / Markus Miller, turntables, electronics, dial tones / Oren Bloedow, bass, voice /
Marcus Rojas, tuba, voice / Doug Weiselman, clarinet, bass clarinet, wooden flute / Steven Bernstein, trumpet / Pamelia Kurstin, theremin / Jennifer Charles, voice / Miho Hatori, voice /
Elyas Khan, voice / Joan Wasser, voice  / Bebel Gilberto, voice / TK Wonder, voice
Kenny’s Castaways
6:00pm – Kirk Knuffke Quartet
Kirk Knuffke, trumpet / Brian Drye, trombone / Mark Helias, bass / Jeff Davis, drums
7:00pm – Bad Touch
Loren Stillman, alto saxophone / Nate Radley, guitar / Gary Versace, organ / Ted Poor, drums
8:00pm – Andrew D’Angelo’s AGOGIC
Andrew D’Angelo, alto sax, bass clarinet, electronics, composition / Cuong Vu, trumpet, electronics, compositions / Luke Bergman, electric bass / Evan Woodle, drums, compositions
9:00pm – James Carney Group
James Carney, piano / Tony Malaby, tenor sax / Chris Lightcap, bass / Mark Ferber, drums / Josh Roseman, trombone / Ralph Alessi, trumpet / Peter Epstein, sax
10:00pm – Donny McCaslin Trio with Uri Caine
Donny McCaslin, sax / Uri Caine, piano
11:00pm – Water Surgeons
Josh Roseman, trombone, bass, electronics, tenor / Jacob Garchik, trombone, accordion, soprano / Curtis “CURHA” Hasselbring trombone, guitar, bari /
Barney “Chas Degaulle” McAll, keyboards, samples
12:00am – Miles Okazaki / Damion Reid / Guillaume Perret
Miles Okazaki, guitar / Damion Reid, drums / Guillaume Perret, sax
1:00am – Aethereal Base – 3rd Eye
Nasheet Waits, drums / Abraham Burton, sax / Eric Mcpherson, drums
2:00am – Talibam!
Matt Mottel, keys / Kevin Shea, drums
Zinc Bar
6:30pm – Jacky Terrasson
Jacky Terrasson, piano / Ben Williams, bass / Jamire Williams, drums
7:30pm – Sofia Rei Koutsovitis
Sofia Rei Koutsovitis, vocals / Eric Kurimski, guitar / Jorge Roeder, bass / Yayo Serka, drums / Samuel Torres, percussion
8:30pm – Tineke Postema
Tineke Postema, sax / Marc van Roon, piano / Frans van der Hoeven, bass / Martijn Vink, drums
9:30pm – Juan-Carlos Formell & Johnny’s Dream Club
Personnel TBA
10:30pm – Mariani
Personnel TBA
11:30pm – Carmen Souza
Carmen Souza, voice, wurlitzer, acoustic guitar / Theo Pas’cal, bass, double bass / Dado Pasqualini, percussion / Victor Zamora or Jonathan Idiagbonya, acoustic piano / Tiago Santos, guitar
12:30am – Sameer Gupta’s Namaskar
Sameer Gupta, drumset, tabla / Neel Murgai, sitar / Theo Hill, piano, keyboards / Rashaan Carter, acoustic bass / Trina Basu, viola / Amali Premawardanan, cello
1:30am – Jean-Michel Pilc / Francois Moutin / Ari Hoenig
Jean Michel Pilc, piano / Francois Moutin, bass / Ari Hoenig, drums
2:30am –  The Inbetweens
                Mike Gamble, guitar / Noah Jarrett, bass / Conor Elmes, drums
Sullivan Hall
7:15pm – (U)nity
Amaury Acosta, drums / Axel Tosca Laugart, piano / Michael Valeanu, guitar / Christopher Smith, bass
8:15pm – Captain Black Big Band conducted by Orrin Evans
Orrin Evans, piano / Luques Curtis, bass / Donald Edwards, drums / Saxophones: Victor North, Chelsea Baratz, Mark Allen, Todd Bashore, Darryl Yokley / Trombones: Ernest Staurt,
Frank Lacy, Brent White / Trumpets: Tatum Greenblat, Leon Jordan Jr, Walter White, Duane Eubanks
9:15pm – Igmar Thomas & The Cypher
Igmar Thomas, trumpet / Justin Brown, drums / Ben Williams, bass / TBA, keys
10:15pm – Curtis Brothers Quartet featuring Giovanni Almonte
Zaccai Curtis, piano / Luques Curtis, bass / Richie Barshay, drums / Reinaldo De Jesus, congas / John Davis, drums / Joel Gonzalez, trumpet / Philip Dizack, trumpet / Zach Lucas, alto sax /
Louis Fouche, alto sax / Frank Kozyra, tenor sax
11:15pm – Derrick Hodge
Derrick Hodge, bass / Keyon Harrold, trumpet / Travis Sayles, piano / Chris Dave, drums
12:15am – Maurice Brown Effect
Maurice Brown, trumpet / Derek Douget, sax / Chris Rob, piano / Solomon Dorsey, bass / Joe Blaxx, drums
1:15am – Robert Glasper
Robert Glasper, piano / Chris Dave, drums / Derrick Hodge, bass / Casey Benjamin, vocoder, alto sax
2:15am – Kenneth Whalem Quartet
Kenneth Whalum, tenor sax / Justin Brown, drums / Ben Williams, bass / Lawrence Fields, keys
3:15am – Kendrick Scott
Kendrick Scott, drums / Mike Moreno, guitar / John Ellis, sax / Taylor Eigsti, piano / Joe Sanders, bass

The Bitter End
5:45pm – Gregory Porter
Personnel TBA
6:45pm – Jamie Baum Septet
Jamie Baum, flutes / Taylor Haskins, trumpet / Doug Yates, alto sax, bass clarinet / Brad Shepik, guitar / George Colligan, piano / Johannes Weidenmueller, bass / Jeff Hirshfield, drums
7:45pm – MILK & JADE by Dana Leong
                Dana Leong, cello, trombone, laptop / iLLspokiNN, vocals / Lex Sadler, electric bass / Yoni Halevy, drums

8:45pm – Dayna Kurtz
                Dayna Kurtz, voice, guitar / Dave Richards, upright bass / Peter Vitalone, piano, organ / Dan Reiser, drums
9:45pm – Doug Wamble
Doug Wamble, guitar, vocals / Adrian Harpham, drums / Derek Nievergelt, bass
10:45pm – Nomo
                Elliot Bergman, saxophone, electric kalimba / Erik Hall, guitar, nu-tones, drums / Quin Kirchner, drums, percussion / Dan Bennett, baritone saxophone / Justin Walter, trumpet, percussion /
Jamie Register, bass
11:45pm – Amir ElSaffar
Amir ElSaffar, trumpet, santour vocal / Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto saxophone / Carlo DeRosa, bass / Zafer Tawil, oud, percussion / Nasheet Waits, drums
12:45am – Underground Horns
Welf Dorr, alto sax / Mike Irwin, trumpet / Kevin Moehringer, trombone / Nate Rawls, tuba / Kevin Raczka, drums / Okai Fleurimont, percussion / Satoru Ohashi, trumpet /
Andreas Brade, drums / Ibanda Ruhumbika, tuba
1:45am – Noah Preminger Group
Noah Preminger, saxophone / Frank Kimbrough, piano / John Hébert, bass / Matt Wilson, drums
2:45am – TBA

December 25, 2010 Posted by | concert, jazz, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment