ANDREW CYRILLE – LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT HONOREE – TUESDAY, 6 PM
One of the beautiful parts about the annual Vision bash is its celebration of veteran improvisers. This time around it’s the always impressive drummer, who’s pushing 80 and sounding as poised and inventive as ever. Feel free to read a lifetime of excitement into that “as ever” phrase; Cyrille has exploded with Cecil, cooed with Walt Dickerson, romped with Carla Bley, and nudged David Ware into the spotlight. Along the way he’s proven to be one of the music’s most intrepid percussionists, widening the traditional spectrum by generating sound from his torso and tongue as offhandedly as he prompts crisp abstractions from his trap set. From his drum and bugle corps roots to his swing-slanted excursions, he remains fascinated by the pliability of organized beats. His evening is chock with adventurous partners. Duets with Peter Brötzmann, Milford Graves, Lisa Sokolov and Kidd Jordan; trio gambits with Wadada Leo Smith and Brandon Ross – it’s a shifting schedule that puts the maestro in several unique positions.
TOMAS FUJIWARA’S 7 POET’S TRIO – WEDNESDAY 7:30 PM
Haven’t seen the Brooklyn drummer’s newest ensemble yet, but the buzz that floated around after their Roulette hit last fall was sizable, and the notion of Tomeka Reid’s cello trading lines with Patricia Brennan’s vibraphone is fetching in itself. Fujiwara fans realize he takes composition as seriously as he does improv, so the ensemble’s approach may stroll between notes on the page and rambles juiced by rapport. A debut disc is said to be arriving in September on the Rogue Art label. (Image taken from Roulette Web site.)
GOD PARTICLE – THURSDAY 8 PM
Melvin Gibbs is one of those guys whose work demands to be followed – wherever it may lead. The electric bassist’s recent music with Harriet Tubman has been ferocious – brilliant in its vehemence and able to erase everything surrounding it. On paper, this acoustelectric octet looks to have a distinct ardor of its own. From James Brandon Lewis to Graham Haynes to Will Calhoun, the ingredients are in place to build the kind of subatomic “excitation” that will have you reeling for a week or two. Theoretical physicist and reed-playing laptop fiend Stephon Alexander seems to find stimuli in acceleration.
MARTY EHRLICH’S TRIO EXALTATION – FRIDAY 7:30 PM
Elation is central to the esteemed multi-reedist’s approach to stage work – he knows how to dispense fragments of pleasure while delivering waves of erudition. That usually makes an Ehrlich show a place where abstractions are accountable for their own agency and hooks enjoy the sunny side of the street. The temperaments of his bands vary – and of course that’s performance manna – but this outfit, with drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist John Hébert often goes long on decorum, regardless of the twists and turns the unfolding music serves up. Don’t miss their Clean Feed album, a sparkling program that promises a panoply of emotions, and then delivers, delivers, delivers.
MATTHEW SHIPP & WILLIAM PARKER – FRIDAY 8:30 PM
Lots of rapport between these two. Decades of friendship and collaboration have nurtured an enviable bond that usually reveals its fruits when the pair throws down. I’m recalling “Mr. Chromosome” from their DNA disc, and the way the pianist and bassist coordinated their moves to make the action both light on its feet and deeply rooted. Shipp is waxing particularly eloquent these days. Last time I saw him at this venue he was augmenting the ruminations of Evan Parker and Paul Lytton, and bringing mucho grace to the equation.
Also crucial: Kris Davis’ trio outing with Jeff Watts and William Parker on Friday, Darius Jones’ Quintet on Saturday, and David Virelles Mbókò on Saturday.
THE VISION FESTIVAL STARTS TONIGHT AND RUNS THROUGH JUNE 15 AT ROULETTE, 509 ATLANTIC AVE, BROOKLYN. (917) 267-0368 WWW.ROULETTE.ORG
Photo by Russell Fine