Tag Archives: 48 hours

Top Five Jazz Moments of the Last 48 Hours

DRUM EDITION!!!

Herlin Riley Treme‘s The Hell Outta The Blue Note:

Need a second line to come sashaying down West 3rd Street? Riley’s your can-do man. The NOLA drummer was equal parts Connie Kay and Earl Palmer during a pithy solo with Ahmad Jamal‘s quartet on Weds night. He clattered the side of the floor tom, fizzled the high-hat, and conjured an array of kinetics that was the essence of groove. Afterward, the boss stood up from his instrument, looked at the crowd, and silently pointed his index finger at his charge, as if to say “Yeah you right.”

Greg Hutchinson Through the Looking Glass  at Smalls

Arrive late and the West Village club doesn’t allow for much of a sight line when it comes to checking out the drummer’s work. But the mirror that hangs above the spot where the traps are usually placed often saves the day, and when bassist-leader Ben Wolfe was putting some of his ultra-glide swing to work during a set of new tunes being recorded for a forthcoming disc (god, is B smoove or what?), it was easy to gauge the chemistry he concocted with his percussionist. Maybe it’s the jazz version of the jumbotron.

Tom Rainey’s Heartbeat Abstractions at Korzo

Pianist James Carney was leading a quartet through a handful of free pieces, and at least twice during the evening – during ballad-esque spots that allowed for the band to float a bit – the drummer found ways to be insistent while still being suggestive. It’s a Tony Williams ploy as I hear it (recheck Spring, y’all), but Rainey wasn’t paralleling that tack, he was simply being pragmatic. In the middle of an amorphous section, a poetic repetition of pulse on the ride cymbal guided the band, architected the performance, and soothed everyone in the room.

Bill Hart’s Thespian Skills at Iridium

Jean-Michel Pilc was throwing Monk into the Beast and hitting the throttle. A twentysomething in the front row was laughing out loud because the band was flying at such a pace. Billy Hart was was giving a hot foot to all the action, and while doing so, making wildly dramatic faces. Each time a new triple-time tom-tom fill arrived, a new level of open-mouthed grin was beamed into the audience. You go to see live performances because you want to see the body language that’s central to the show. Hart puts it right out there.

Tony Williams Working On Cecil Taylor’s Synapses

Was pulling a YouTube clip for a Miles Davis birthday post on Wednesday, and heard a snippet of a Williams’ cymbal flourish that stopped me cold. Got pulled away from it by squabbling kids, and when I returned to the desk I got the notion to spin “Morgan’s Motion,” the only duet between TW & CT. At 2:03 or so, there’s a half-sec that finds the drummer trying to press roll the pianist into oblivion. Of course when the dust settles, Cecil is still firing hollow points with that left hand. It’s the kind of thing that buoys your day. Remember, Taylor’s a percussionist, too.

Top Five Jazz Moments Of The Last 48 Hours

1. Tyshawn Sorey Working Steve Lehman’s Charts  (Jazz Gallery)

There’s something absolute about his every move. The drummer brings cherubs and robots to each bandstand he graces. Meaning the way he unites poetry and precision, and the way he immerses himself in lithe kinetics, defined the action last night. “No Neighborhood Rough Enough” indeed.

2. Matt Wilson Gives Beyonce a Smooch On The Cheek (Iridium)

The pop-addicted drummer nuzzled up to Rosemary Clooney a few years ago, so we know sweet ballads are in his wheel-house. But Kurt Knuffke’s aching trumpet tone on Sasha Fierce’s “If I Were a Boy” had all the heartbreak and bravado of the hit. Time for a video. And maybe a medley with Eartha Kitt’s “If I Was a Boy.”

3. Russ Lossing and John Hebert’s Telepathy Class (Korzo)

The pianist was a +1 guest of Michael Attias’ Renku outfit on a rainy Brooklyn evening, and his percussive maneuvers (both inside and outside the piano) had a unmistakable connection to the bassist on his left. One fillip would lead to another, and desconstructions of standards such as “Sweet and Lovely” were saturated with a Morse Code of exchanges by these two. Be sure to hear ’em stroll through “Pitter Panther Patter.”

4. Wallace Roney’s Power Ballads (Jazz Standard)

The volume was up and the vulnerability was front and center. The trumpeter ain’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, even if all those chops make his sobs seem more like forlorn pronouncements. It’s an odd and fetching balance, especially has evidenced on his band’s essay of “If Only For One Night.” Somewhere over his shoulder the Maids of Cadiz had tears in their eyes, too.

5. Getz & Barron Solve a Red Light Snarl on Hoyt & Atlantic (Downtown Brooklyn)

Suffering through traffic nonsense while doing errands is one of the day’s low points. But as some jamoke was blocking the box, Stan and Kenny rolled through “Surrey With a Fringe On Top” from Sunnyside’s complete People Time box. All of a sudden the steam coming from my ears had a eucalyptus vibe, chicks, ducks and geese scurried out of the way,  and a wave of pleasure music reigned supreme. Ain’t no finer rig, I’m a-thinking.