Pooling ideas around shared interests worked wonderfully for a clique of young improvisers a couple of decades ago. Now this extended family, which stretches from bassist Ben Allison to pianist Frank Kimbrough and saxophonist Michael Blake, reunites mainly to celebrate anniversaries. This week’s program is enticing enough to warrant a visit each night, but I’d make sure to be there for Ron Horton’s Sextet (which utilizes all the group’s mainstays), as well as the JCC’s forays into the songbooks of Jim Hall and Herbie Nichols.
Options for those embracing New York this weekend include three superb reed players working three different angles. Here’s a synopsis.
Ted Nash @ Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater
He’s composed a beaut of an album, a suite entitled Portrait in Seven Shades that leads the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to places it seldom goes. The pieces are parallels to works by modern art’s visual masters, from Chagall to Pollock to Dali, and the sweep of their collective poetry is dazzling. From the winsome flutters of “Monet” to the Spanish swing of “Picasso,” Nash designs his mix of textures and rhythms to be genuinely evocative. And distinctive. When all seven pieces conclude, you feel like you’ve been visited seven singular environments. Live, there’s sure to be plenty of lift-off. February 4 – 7.
J.D. Allen Trio @ Village Vanguard
Audiences have really responded to the esthetic of pith that the tenor saxophonist has developed the last few years. His meaty solos are sharply edited, offering curt forays that quickly zero in on the eloquence. Last year’s Shine! was a suite of sorts – each piece spilled into the next and together they resonated an informal unity. Allen had critics buzzing after his Winter Jazz Fest gig a few weeks ago. The addition of drummer Tyshawn Sorey (subbing for Rudy Royston) will amend the band’s sound, no doubt. Should be fun to see exactly how. February 2- 7.
Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson Quartet @ Dizzy’s
A few of Wynton’s early playmates were deemed conservative, but check the recent work of Wycliffe Gordon or Anderson himself and you’ll find audacious solo after audacious solo. The alto saxophonist is steeped in the blues lingo, but he bends it in lots of provocative ways. Last time I caught him there was even a passage or two that took on Braxtonian outness. That’s called scope, and it makes the music that much more gripping. It’s been a minute since we’ve seen him (he’s living in Michigan these days) and that, combined with the fact that drummer Jeff Watts is fueling the fire, makes this an attractive gig. February 2-7.
Make the jump to see Warmdaddy in action.