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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

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Photo by Will Boisture, courtesy of the artist

Photo by Will Boisture, courtesy of the artist

Saxophonist Adam Larson has been a regular at The Jazz Gallery since February 2009, when he made his Thursday night début while still an undergraduate at the Manhattan School of Music. Larson, who will be finishing up his Master’s degree at MSM next month, returns to the Gallery this Saturday leading a new quintet that features Matthew Stevens on guitar, John Escreet on piano, Matt Penman on bass, and longtime collaborator Jimmy Macbride on drums. Regarding the personnel in this new configuration, Adam told us:

I’ve had the real pleasure to play with Matt Penman a couple times, and thankfully he’s available. He’s somebody I look up to quite a bit; he’s in all my favorite bands and plays with my favorite saxophonists. I have John on the piano for the first time for a while. He was on my first gig at the Gallery in February 2009, and it’ll be nice to have him in the band. I’m inspired by him because he’s one of the most hardworking individuals I’ve ever met in New York. I just can’t keep up with every record he puts out, and he pushes me in the same vein rhythmically on stage.

It’s also the first time in six years with a different guitarist, and I’ve been trying to play with Matt [Stevens] for some time so it’ll be a great opportunity. And Jimmy: we’ve been playing on-and-off forever, but I think for the music we’re going to be presenting, it’s the right call for drums.

And on the new music they’ll be playing:

I’ve been trying to get out of how I usually write, which is from the piano. I also tend to write from the saxophone perspective, which ends up being pretty difficult for the saxophone, or I have a tendency to write at the piano and the melody’s not what I want. The music for this is more thought out, I’d say. I’ve been listening to Kneebody quite a bit and one of my tunes is called “McWendel’s,” so it’s an homage to Ben Wendel and Donny McCaslin, who I’ve been listening to quite a bit.

Compositionally speaking, I’m big on rhythm and so is Donny—I was a student of his for a while—so some of the tunes are built off of vamps. I think the idea of how to get from one vamp to the next is something I’m trying to and still trying to iron out. How the music sounds and feels, coming from the place of a rock groove or something that’s straight 8th—I don’t know how to describe it, but I’m using those other bands as points of reference. The rhythmic devices in their composing and soloing are something that I’ve been checking out.

The Adam Larson Quintet performs at The Jazz Gallery this Saturday, May 3rd, 2014. The quintet features Larson on alto, tenor, and soprano saxophones, Matthew Stevens on guitar, John Escreet on piano, Matt Penman on bass, and Jimmy Macbride on drums. Sets are at 9 and 11 p.m. $22 general admission and $10 for members. Purchase tickets here. 

Photo by Dan Andrako, courtesy of the artist

Photo by Dan Andrako, courtesy of the artist

In her promotional materials, Imani Uzuri self-identifies as a “vocalist, composer and cultural worker.” From her 2008 self-produced rock opera Her Holy Water to her 2012 release The Gypsy Diaries, a more introspective effort inspired by her travels across the world, Uzuri has been interested in exploring different aspects of her personal lived experience and her heritage. More recently, the North Carolina-born vocalist curated a 4-day festival titled Sinners and Saints at the end of February, which explored African-American vernacular culture and their musical forms: ring shouts, spirituals, blues, gospel, line singing, and more.

Her new project Praise House closed that festival, and she has described the ensemble as an effort to explore “improvisation as an ecstatic tradition,” or, as the etymology of “ecstasy” suggests, improvisation as an art that carries one into an out-of-body experience. We hope that you’ll join us this Friday as Uzuri and Praise House share their explorations into African-American vernacular culture through music.

Imani Uzuri’s Praise House performs at The Jazz Gallery this Friday, May 2nd, 2014. The ensemble features Uzuri on vocals and tambourine, Darius Jones on saxophone, Marika Hughes on cello, Graham Haynes on cornet, Aruan Ortiz on piano, and Nasheet Waits on drums. Sets are at 9 and 11 p.m. $22 general admission and $10 for members. Purchase tickets here. 

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Since we last spoke to Victor Gould in January, the pianist and composer has begun recording his début album and has continued working steadily on the scene. Gould, who is currently a member of the Wallace Roney Quintet and has worked with Donald Harrison, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, and Esperanza Spalding, among others, will be leading a trio at The Jazz Gallery this Thursday, April 30th, 2014.

For those who are unfamiliar with Gould’s playing, here are two contrasting videos that reveal different aspects of this versatile pianist’s musical personality. The first is Gould playing a solo on Fender Rhodes with Product, an ongoing project with Nozomi Yamaguchi on guitar, David Ginyard on bass, M. Jelani Brooks on saxophone, and Billy Buss on trumpet:

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Jaleel Shaw (Lafiya Watson) & Elena Pinderhughes

Jaleel Shaw (Lafiya Watson) & Elena Pinderhughes

Last week, The Jazz Gallery débuted its new Mentoring Program with a performance by saxophonist Jaleel Shaw and flutist Elena Pinderhughes. This Wednesday, April 30th, the pair return to our stage again for the next installment of the program. We hope that you’ll join us to hear this apprenticeship and collaboration continue to evolve.

Click here to read our exclusive interview with Jaleel and Elena, where we discuss their own experiences with on-the-scene learning and their thoughts on the mentoring process.

Jaleel Shaw and Elena Pinderhughes will perform together at The Jazz Gallery on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014, in Volume 1, Edition 1 of The Jazz Gallery Mentoring Series. The band will feature Shaw on alto saxophone, Pinderhughes on flute and vocals, Lawrence Fields on piano, Hans Glawischnig on bass, and EJ Strickland on drums. $15 general admission and $10 for members (first set), $10 general admission and $5 for members (second set). Purchase tickets here.

Photo by Marc Minsker (Wikimedia Commons)

Photo by Marc Minsker (Wikimedia Commons)

D.C. native Andrew White III boasts an eclectic, multi-disciplinary career that saw him wear the hats of saxophonist, oboist, bassist, composer, producer, author, transcriber, Coltrane expert, and entrepreneur. White established himself in the jazz world in 1961 playing saxophone in D.C.’s J.F.K. Quintet produced by Cannonball Adderley, and his style has been compared to that of Eric Dolphy’s. As a saxophonist, White has since appeared with the likes of Otis Redding, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, and his own group “Andrew White’s ZORROSAX ALLSTARS.” White also led two overlapping decade-long careers in the ’60s and ’70s: one as an oboist that featured a stint with American Ballet Theatre and the other as an electric bassist, including efforts with Stevie Wonder, The 5th Dimension, and Weather Report. Despite all of that, White may actually be best known for his transcriptions of John Coltrane’s solos—he has reportedly transcribed just about every Coltrane solo ever recorded. Since 1971, White has run “Andrew’s Music,” a self-run operation out of his own basement that has nearly 3000 items in its catalogue for sale: almost 1000 Coltrane transcriptions, numerous vinyl records, CDs, books, essays, and even an 800-page autobiography, Everybody Loves the Sugar. White is also known for his sense of humor: some descriptions he has given himself include: “‘the ultimate bad-assed-Zorro-Super-sax,’ ‘Jaws White,’ and ‘Mr. Musical Achiever of the ’70’s and ’80’s.'”

This Saturday, April 26th, White returns to play his first show as a leader in New York in almost 20 years. The Jazz Gallery warmly presents Andrew White III on saxophone, Wade Beach on piano, Steve Novosel on bass, and Nasar Abadey on drums. We caught up with Andrew by phone to discuss the gig and to see what he’s been up to.

The Jazz Gallery: The upcoming gig at The Jazz Gallery is your first appearance in New York City as a leader in about 20 years. What brings you up from Washington D.C. for the occasion?

Andrew White: I am very happy to do it!  I’d like to thank my producer Anthony Radice who approached me about the opportunity and helped set it up. My general itinerary is very restrictive in terms of allowing time for playing gigs as my publishing business “Andrew’s Music” is a full-time job.  I’m usually only available to book shows two months or less in advance which presents challenges with the way the rest of the industry tends to work.  As a self-producer of Andrew’s Music, which is now 42 ½ years young, I can’t afford to jeopardize that business. Elvin Jones once said in passing, “Never exceed your ambitions.”

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