It can often be illuminating to discover an artist’s ancillary modes of expression. For saxophonist Ben van Gelder, it’s photography. His images, which can be found at www.timedrelease.nl, reveal a fascination with layers, broad geometries, and deep contrasts between bold colors and shapes.
In many ways, his photography serves as a percipient introduction to his newest album. Among Verticals was the product of a commission through The Jazz Gallery’s residency program. During daily composition sessions at the venue, van Gelder would often go to museums; on one such day, he discovered František Kupka’s Madame Kupka Dans Les Verticales (1911). “The painting and its title also made me consider the verticals, concrete and abstract, that comprise the city of New York,” van Gelder wrote in the album’s press release. “There are recurring harmonic, melodic and rhythmic devices used throughout the music that are meant to articulate these verticals… Among Verticals is an ode to New York in many ways. It is a reflection of a decade spent in a city with unparalleled diversity and stimulus.”
Inspired by stark imagery, a visual clash of figurative and abstract, van Gelder composed and refined a collection of music celebrating New York’s own social and physical geometries. To get the job done, he enlisted his quintet plus a few extras, including the likes of Philip Dizack on trumpet, Kyle Wilson on saxophone, Peter Schlamb on vibraphone, Sam Harris on piano, Rick Rosato on bass, and Craig Weinrib on drums.
The full ensemble will take flight at The Jazz Gallery this week. After that, van Gelder’s quintet crosses the Atlantic for a busy schedule in Norway, The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Already a well-established figure in New York’s jazz scene, Dutch saxophonist Ben van Gelder brings undeniable clarity and aesthetic level-headedness to the art of composition and improvisation. Join us at The Jazz Gallery as we celebrate the conclusion of van Gelder’s residency and the release of his long-anticipated album. (more…)