Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thank You, Tina Turner

Thank You, Bill Lee

Must-See Three: Jazz in NYC This Week

hey! i’m on vacation this week. but here are some previous blabs that should nudge you to see the artists mentioned.

Marty Ehrlich The Stone Wednesday, May 24 – Saturday, May 27

Marty interview from “the old days.”

Marty preview from a few months ago – his Cartographies of Flight unit was super tight at Rizzoli a while back, and its music was brimming with emotion. Lyricism everywhere.

Photo by Russell Fine

Michael Blake NuBlu Saturday, May 27

Here’s a blab in anticipation of their Rizzoli hit, which took the music on their Dance of the Mystic Bliss album to some next level zones. Watch out when the boss gives the green light to those Brazilian percussionists. And keep an eye on cellist Chris Hoffman.

Uri Caine/Mark Helias/Ben Perowsky Mezzrow Friday, May 26 – Saturday, May 27

Recently sat inches away from the drummer while he nudged George Garzone into areas of pugnacious poise. Recently sat feet away from the bassist as he conjured his own microcosm during a solo in a trio with Aurora Nealand and Tim Berne. And recently sat yards from the pianist as he picked and chose a wealth of unpredictable motifs in an open field let by Jon Irabagon. Mezzrow is all about inches, feet, and yards, and yes this trio’s chemistry is pretty much guaranteed.

Photo by the wonderful Bill Douthart

Ralph Towner At First Light (ECM)

The poise of the guitarist’s six previous solo albums makes for quite a legacy, and the radiance he’s shared since opening up his Diary to us a half-century ago certainly justify his steady return to the recital realm. Here, as on  2017’s My Foolish Heart, the 83–year-old’s ruminations stress concision, but also manage caprice. At First Light fascinates with inspired tunes, exacting touch, and clarifying focus. After a lifetime of music-making, these elements cohere to a deliver a soft-spoken brilliance. Here, Towner’s nylon strings have their way with a couple Broadway artifacts, Hoagy Carmichael’s “Little Old Lady” and Jule Styne’s irrepressible “Make Someone Happy” (I’ll take the Durante spin over the Bennett version, myself). Between phrasing and temperament, this is where Towner becomes jazziest, reminding me of the exquisite renderings the MJQ’s John Lewis gave those solo pieces on his final Atlantic outings. There’s a diaphanous aura to guitarist’s most fanciful work. “Ubi Sunt” is  gossamer itself, the album’s title cut brims with grace, and “Danny Boy” whispers its sentimental message without waxing maudlin. Rather than feeling flimsy, they arrive with feet on the ground and heart in hand.

TONE Audio

Thank You, Pete Brown

Pete Brown

Far Flung Folk, WRIU, May 17, 2023

Valerie June, David Wax Museum, Gyan Riley, Les Filles de Illighadad, Red Steagall, Rubblebucket, Kimya Dawson, big dog little dog, Texas Gladden, Jeanette MacDonald, Steve Rhodes, Phil Lee, Red Foley, Bongo Joe, Krishna Bhatt, Dylan Thomas, K McCarty, the Schemers, Gordon Lightfoot, a tribute to Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records, and more, more, more.

My roots-centric radio show takes place at 6 pm ET on the third and fourth Wednesday evenings on WRIU in Kingston. RI. Listen to it wherever you are in the world by streaming it on or any one of those wonderful streaming apps, because our antenna and its signal is under extreme duress. Tell a friend!

Must-See Three: Jazz in NYC This Week

Hank Roberts Sextet Ibeam Friday, May 19 – Saturday, May 20

I remember being psychologically and physically cooped up when the cellist’s Science of Love (Sunnyside) arrived in the summer of 2021. It’s an extended piece, taking up the album’s entire program, and as we cranked the volume on this strings/reeds/rhythm endeavor, the music seemed to throw a bear hug around us, offering enough sweep to get us out of our own heads. Groovy swing, noisy asides, blustery fanfare, graceful meandering, and performance kinship, lotsa performance kinship. It became a travelogue when we didn’t have very many places to go. Now Roberts’ sextet (Dana Lyn, Mike McGinnis, Brian Drye, Jacob Sacks, Vinnie Sperrazza) reunite for a two-evening stand in the essential Gowanus cubbyhole. An event! Bet ya that sweep is still part of their collective personality, and the room’s intimacy supercharges all the bandstand action.

Tim Berne Lowlands Wednesday, May 17 / Barbès Saturday, May 20 / House Concert Sunday, May 21

Those who follow the saxophonist know that for the last several months, he’s been turning the Gowanus tavern Lowlands into his personal salon. Indeed, he’s commandeered an energized slate of performances that have played out like the world’s longest residency, inviting a huge swath of improvisers to have at his keenly crafted and quite exciting art music. Chris Potter, Bill Frisell, David Torn, Craig Taborn, Kate Gentile, Herb Robertson, John Hébert, Aurora Nealand, Marc Ducret, Matt Mitchell, Jeff Davis, Tom Rainey, Gregg Belisle-Chi, Hank Roberts, Mark Helias, Oscar Noriega – the list of participants goes on and on, and the one thing that’s been rather guaranteed is that the percentage of collective improv, meaning spur-of-the-moment creativity, meaning orchestrate while you machinate, is larger than the percentage of imposing melodies written for Berne’s ever-growing book. That’s great, because the artists mentioned above are risk-takers, sniffing out animation, fascinated by dynamics, and focused on how their contributions can up the eloquence of their now or never moves. Lowlands ain’t the only venue in play. Berne also touches down at nearby Barbès with frequency, and his current yen for interaction has even found him opening his home for a concert or two. This week, as the list above attests, it’s a three-hit schedule, with guitarist Torn (who fried minds with his well-centered frenzy a couple weeks ago at Union Pool), guitarist Frisell (who has a knack at bringing out the leader’s lyrical side), and accordionist/reedist Nealand (who has a way of elevating the action with keyb drones while bringing heart to the turmoil with liquid clarinet gambits). Advice: whenever possible, pay strict attention to how drummer Rainey advances the impact of everything around him with the strategies of a master orchestrator.

Marta Sánchez The Stone Wednesday, May 17 – Saturday, May 20

Spent a fair amount of time sitting behind the pianist at local gigs in the past year. It’s never less than thrilling to watch as she goes off on a tear, taking a snatch of melody and elaborating on it with a whirlwind of ideas – the essence of jazz, no? A deep sense of momentum goes everywhere she goes, so as her improvs compound their original impetus, a purposeful thrust supports the action. This residency find her working with a string quartet, a guitarist, a trio with the mighty Eric McPherson, and her truly remarkable Quintet, a variation of which made this treasure.


Patricia Brennan Quartet Jamaica Performing Arts Center Saturday, May 20

Rez Abbasi/JoshFeinberg’s Naya Baz Joe’s Pub Friday, May 19

Chris Dingman 440 Gallery Sunday, May 21

James Carney Quartet / Gregg Belisle-Chi’s HUM Owl Music Parlor Sunday, May 21

Bill Charlap Trio Dizzy’s Tuesday, May 16 – Sunday, May 21

Sara Serpa Trio Jewish Museum Thursday, May 18

Amirtha Kidambi/ Matteo Liberatore Shift Wednesday, May 17

Brandon Seabrook’s Epic Proportions Public Records Saturday, May 20

James Francies & Friends Blue Note Tuesday, May 16 – Wednesday, May 17

Massimo Biolcati Quintet Jazz Gallery Friday, May 19

Sean Moran’s Sun Tiger Barbes Monday, May 27

Philharmonix Conduction Orchestra (Frank London/Elijah Shiffer) Main Drag Wednesday, May 17

Nir Felder Trio Jazz Gallery Saturday, May 20

Luis Perdomo Bar Bayeux Saturday, May 20

Kazembe George Quartet Bar Bayeux Friday, May 19

Lonnie Holley’s Universe of Friends American Folk Art Museum Thursday, May 18

Terrell Stafford Quintet Smoke Thursday, May 18 – Sunday, May 21

Chris Morrissey Jazz Gallery Thursday, May 18

Oran Etkin LunAtico Thursday, May 18

Marta Sanchez The Stone Wednesday, May 17 – Saturday, May 20

Marcus Gilmore  Village Vanguard  Tuesday, May 16 – Sunday, May 21

Brian Drye’s Trio Love Call Expanded: Missa Ibeam Wednesday, May 24

Matt Pavolka’s Horns Band Smalls Tuesday, May 23

Once We Were Damned, Now I Guess We Are Angels

Kendrick Scott Corridors (Blue Note)

It’s no surprise that saxophonist Walter Smith III captivates on this trio outing by the intrepid drummer. His tenor has been impressing listeners through the series of In Common records that began back in 2018. But there’s always going to be a differentiation drawn when an ensemble player steps into the stark realm of trio work, and Scott has delivered a mitzvah to his pal by positioning him thusly. With bassist Reuben Rogers a limber lynch pin between the two, the drummer and horn player romp through a fluid terrain. Indeed, Corridors is all about flow. Scott’s pieces, brimming with genuinely melodic themes rather than simple riff tunes, genuflect to consonance while trusting in their own rhythmic agency. A variety of swing tactics emerge through the record, and from balladry (“One Door Closes, Another Opens”) to barnburners (“Threshold”), the shifts are calibrated seductively enough to carry the day. Wisely clocking in at 42 minutes (short on the 2023 jazz album landscape), Scott’s statement proves its value by keeping things both pithy and provocative. NYC’s Jazz Gallery made smart move when it requested and sponsored his work on this project. Utterly valuable. 

TONE Audio

Must-See Three: Jazz In NYC This Week

Mark Shim Trio Bar Bayeux Wednesday, May 10

A non-jazz pal caught the saxophonist in Sante Fe a few years ago and waxed effusive: “have you ever heard of this guy, he was great, he blew away everyone in the room!!” It takes a charisma and craft to win over non-jazzers in the wild, but Shim’s that kind of dude, laying down deep blues, chopping rhythms into nuggets of surprise, taking U-turns if he feels the road ahead is baron. I recall seeing the above live-stream show during the pandemic, when Bayeux and a handful of other clubs were sharing the music with the world to stay afloat. It tickled me to no end, because Shim’s long leash yielded a enviable group interplay that was full of fireworks. Tonight’s crew is Burniss Earl Travis and Tyshawn Sorey. Fireworks, again, methinks.

Chet Doxas Trio Smalls Wednesday, May 10

Thought I had a grip on the saxophonist’s “approach” until I caught him twice in a row with Mike Formanek’s Drome Trio last year. Doxas sits expressionism in the back seat, instead sharing clear, well-measured dispatches that usually have a good guess at where they’re headed and how they’re getting there. That can be quite refreshing in the 2023 jazz world. And his precision accrues power. When the individual ideas driving one of his solos are fully stacked, they create their own kind of combustion. See “Soapbox” or “Up There In The Woods” from his underdiscussed You Can’t Take It With You (Whirlwind) for a tickle or two. This Jacob Sacks/Thomas Morgan outing should fascinate.

Dave Liebman & Richie Beirach Mezzrow Tuesday, May 9

When I started this weekly column back before Christmas, one of the first entries mentioned Liebman’s “presence.” Last week at the Long Play festival, the saxophonist united with Kenny Werner for a free floating jaunt that was built on spontaneity and marked by gentility. Just soprano and piano swaying through a series of exchanges that wound up enticing at every turn, especially the feathery closing investigation of “Naima.” Bet you $5 a similar rapport emerges when he meets his old pal Beirach in Mezzrow’s cozy corner.


Matt Pavolka Band Nublu Tuesday, May 9

Alex Weiss Quartet Three’s Brewing May 10 (9:30)

Brooklyn Circle (Stacey Dillard/Diallo House/Ismail Lawal) LunAtico Tuesday, May 9

Vinnie Sperrazza Trio (Thomas Morgan/Ethan Iverson) Jazz Gallery Thursday, May 11

Michael Vatcher/Thomas Heberer/Steuart Liebig/Doug Wieselman: Improvised Music Series  Main Drag  Wednesday, May 10

Peter Apfelbaum & New York Heiroglyphics Jazz Gallery Friday, May 12

Jerome Sabbagh Trio Bar Bayeux Friday, May 12

Chris Potter Quartet Smoke Wednesday, May 11 – Sunday, May 14

Ayako Kanda/Rema hasumi/Lester St. louis/Claire de Brunner/Ken Kobayashi IBEAM Sunday, May 14 (6 pm)

Kevin Hays/Bill Stewart Jazz Gallery Saturday, May 13

Sanchez/Tordini/Nazary  Barbès  Friday, May 12

Julieta Eugenio Trio LunAtico Monday, May 15

Aaron Rubenstein The Stone Wednesday, May 10 – Saturday, May 13

Peter Bernstein Quartet  Village Vanguard  Tuesday, May 9 – Sunday, May 14