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Photo by Ingrid Hertfelder

Photo by Ingrid Hertfelder

You could make a good argument that bassist Chris Tordini is jazz’s answer to Kevin Bacon. Because Tordini is comfortable in any possible musical situation, from pop to the avant garde, he seems to be connected to everybody in the New York scene, regardless of style. While he has primarily worked as a sideman, on Thursday January 23, Tordini will step out as a leader for a couple of sets at The Jazz Gallery.

With such a varied resume, it’s hard to be sure what Chris has in store for the evening. Check out the following “Six Degrees of Chris Tordini” to get a sense of the many avenues he might take.

Degree 1: Metrically-playful post-bop

Tordini cut his teeth in New York playing with drummer Ari Hoenig in the basement of Small’s Jazz Club. There he learned how to make a band swing while dealing with Hoenig’s famous metric curveballs. (more…)

Photo by Ziga Koritnik

Photo by Ziga Koritnik

On Saturday, January 18, The Jazz Gallery is proud to present Slovenian saxophonist Jure Pukl and his “Sound Pictures” quintet. This will be Jure’s second time performing at the Gallery—he previously appeared back in May 2011 with pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist Joe Sanders, and drummer Damion Reid, just before the group went into the studio to record Jure’s most recent album, Abstract Society (Storyville). While this album and 2010’s EARchitecture (SessionWorkRec) were recorded in New York, he does not pass through the city often, so Saturday promises to be a special event.

Pukl has studied all over the world—from Vienna to the Hague to Berklee in Boston—and his music reflects his diverse experiences. Free improvisation rubs shoulders with gut-bucket swing, hushed lyricism fits in alongside contemporary mixed-meters. Just check out this live video from Zagreb, Croatia:

Jure’s style has earned him not just praise from critics, but the respect of fellow musicians from around the world. Vijay Iyer calls Jure, “…an uncommon young artist with an original vision for modern music. He is one of those rare beings whose music reflects a higher understanding at a young age.”

Don’t miss this chance to hear Jure’s vital and unique voice in person. He’ll be joined by an all-star quintet featuring Adam Rogers on guitar, Sam Harris on piano, Joe Sanders on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums.

Jure Pukl’s “Sound Pictures” performs at The Jazz Gallery on Saturday, January 19, at 9 and 11 p.m. $20 general admission ($10 for members). Purchase tickets here.

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

When Darius Jones plays his alto saxophone, it doesn’t sound like he’s pushing air through it. Jones seems to spew some molten liquid—his sound contains a darkness and density that blatantly defies the laws of physics. This sound seemed to capture everyone’s attention in 2009 when Jones released his debut album, Man’ish Boy (A Raw and Beautiful Thing) on AUM Fidelity, a record that found a spot on countless critics’ best-of lists. He has since released three more albums as a leader or co-leader, each one offering further explorations into Jones’s mysterious universe that lies somewhere in between jazz, blues, and the avant-garde.

For his show at The Jazz Gallery on Friday January 17, Jones has teamed up with a very special guest—French singer Emilie Lesbros. We caught up with Jones by phone this week to talk about his new project and how he approaches writing for the voice.

The Jazz Gallery: For this show, you’re collaborating with French singer Emilie Lesbros. How did this collaboration come to be?

Darius Jones: I was a fan of Emilie for a while, and I wanted to work with her—I wanted to do something substantial. Someone told me about the French-American Jazz Exchange, and I was like, “Oh that’s a good idea.” So I applied for that grant, got it, and so we met and talked a little bit. She was down to work with me. I’ve been working very intensely for the past few years on a large-scale work for voice. Emilie is one of those really rare, special people—there’s not another one of her out there. What she’s capable of doing is just unreal.

One of the things we have in common is this woman Bridget Fontaine, this legendary French avant-garde artist who has done all kinds of great things. We’re trying to deal with Bridget’s perspective as a musician and artist, and the tradition that I come from, which is jazz and gospel and the blues. We’re trying to say something different with these traditions. (more…)

Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

Flutist and vocalist Elena Pinderhughes just finished her first semester at the Manhattan School of Music but has the resume of a seasoned veteran. Pinderhughes has wowed audiences all over the world, from the Monterey and Montreux Jazz Festivals, to Carnegie Hall and the White House. She has even appeared in an HBO special, The Music in Me, filmed when she was just 11 years old.

Hailing from Berkeley, California, Elena and her older brother, pianist Samora Pinderhughes, are poised to make a big splash in the New York scene. Elena’s performance on Thursday evening will be her second time performing on The Jazz Gallery stage—she sang and played flute with Kyle Poole’s Poole and the Gang last month—but her debut as a leader. To get to know her a little better, check out these YouTube videos.

Elena’s arrangement of the standard “Save Your Love for Me” shows both her Latin Jazz roots and a creeping influence of contemporary Hip-Hop and R&B. Fans of Esperanza Spalding and Gretchen Parlato should take note. (more…)

From left: Miguel Zenon, Adam O'Farrill, Zach O'Farrill

From left: Miguel Zenon, Adam O’Farrill, Zach O’Farrill

On Saturday, January 11, The Jazz Gallery will present a very special double bill featuring two Gallery veterans—the O’Farrill Bros band and the Miguel Zenon quartet. Over the past several years, both groups have used the Gallery as their musical laboratory, a space where they have developed their unique voices in real time. While both groups have a strong grounding in various Latin Jazz traditions, the groups’ respective sounds encompass anything that passes their ears in our saturated city. With these two fan favorites sharing the stage, Saturday is sure to be special night. We hope to see you there.

 The O’Farrill Bros band, featuring Adam O’Farrill on trumpet, Zach O’Farrill on drums, Livio Almeda on tenor sax, Travis Reuter on guitar, Albert Marques on piano, and Walter Stinson on bass, plays at 9 p.m. The Miguel Zenon Quartet, with Luis Perdomo on piano, Jorge Roeder on bass, and Henry Cole on drums, plays at 11 p.m. $20 general admission ($10 for members). Purchase tickets here.