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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

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Photo by Richard Wright, courtesy of the artist.

Photo by Richard Wright, courtesy of the artist.

No matter what your state of mind is this Saturday, Ms. Lezlie Harrison has a song for you. A Gallery founder and fixture on our stage for many years, Ms. Harrison is equally comfortable winding her way through a standard from the Great American Songbook as she is taking classic soul and R&B tunes for a spin.

Featuring her working band of Saul Rubin on guitar, Ben Paterson on organ, and Luca Santaniello on drums, Ms. Harrison will present two Valentine’s Day sets of love songs…

And songs of a not-so-loverly character.

Whatever musical prescription you’re looking for on Saturday, Ms. Lezlie Harrison has got you covered.

Ms. Lezlie Harrison plays The Jazz Gallery for Valentine’s Day on Saturday, February 14th. The band features Saul Rubin on guitar, Ben Paterson on organ, and Luca Santaniello on drums. Sets are at 8 and 10 p.m. $22 general admission ($12 for members). Purchase tickets here.

Photo by Lisa Walters, courtesy of the artist.

Photo by Lisa Walters, courtesy of the artist.

Pianist Manuel Valera’s music is all about the groove, the ineffable feeling of forward motion that coaxes feet to tap and heads to bob. A native of Cuba, Valera has throughout his career explored the nature of clave—the heartbeat of Cuban music—and how clave can morph between genres. In an interview with Jazz Speaks last March, Valera noted that:

Most of my tunes have clave in them, even if they’re not Cuban-style tunes. Even when I write something that’s more straight-eighths, ECM-type things, it also has clave in it. And it all sort of grooves because the way we as humans listen to and create music is generally groovy. The whole “no time” with just a melody, avant-garde thing is something that we as listeners have to work on a little bit, because those things are very foreign to us. The whole groove thing is very important to me, whether it’s Cuban or funk or whatever.

This Friday, February 13th, Valera will bring his new Groove Square project to The Jazz Gallery, a project that explores the links between Cuban rhythms and the sound and feel of plugged-in funk. In the track “Coming Down,” below, Valera kicks everything off with a riff that at first sounds like something out of a mambo before bassist John Benitez and drummer E.J. Strickland jump in and immediately pull the tune into classic funk-fusion territory.

Even without the telltale sounds of Latin Jazz, “Coming Down” has the percussive chatter and lilt that makes clave-based music so rhythmically intoxicating. Don’t miss your chance to hear this music that straddles time and continents to meet in the always-hopping plaza known as Groove Square.

Manuel Valera’s Groove Square plays The Jazz Gallery on Friday, February 13th. The group features Valera on keyboards, John Ellis on saxophone, Nir Felder on guitar, John Benitez on bass, and E.J. Strickland on drums. Sets are at 8 and 10 p.m. $22 general admission ($12 for members). Purchase tickets here.

Photo by Jennie Barst, courtesy of the artist.

Photo by Jennie Barst, courtesy of the artist.

Guitarist Rotem Sivan has a sound that pulls you into his own world. Though he plays fluid lines reminiscent of peers like Mike Moreno and Gilad Hekselman, Sivan adds a different kind of spice to the mix—a sharp articulation evocative of the classical guitar tradition.

Like Hekselman, Sivan moved from Israel to New York to study at the New School and quickly became a fixture at downtown clubs like Smalls and Fat Cat, playing with the likes of drummer Ari Hoenig and fellow guitarist Peter Bernstein. This Thursday, February 12th, Sivan will journey uptown to make his debut as a leader on The Jazz Gallery stage.

Sivan released his sophomore album For Emotional Use Only (Fresh Sound) this past September. The record has received positive notice from All About Jazz for its ability to “cast spells” and “astonish.” Check out some of Sivan’s musical magic in the videos below, including the lush and lyrical title track from the new album as well as the fleet-footed “New Dance.”

The Rotem Sivan Trio plays The Jazz Gallery on Thursday, February 12th, 2015. The group features Sivan on guitar, Haggai Cohen Milo on bass, and Ziv Ravitz on drums. Sets are at 8 and 10 p.m. $15 general admission ($10 for members) for the first set, $10 general admission ($8 for members) for the second.  Purchase Tickets Here. 

Adam O'Farrill (L) and Marquis Hill (R). Photos courtesy of the artists.

Adam O’Farrill (L) and Marquis Hill (R). Photos courtesy of the artists.

2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of The Jazz Gallery. To celebrate, we have planned a series of special concerts  featuring some of our favorite musicians who have graced the Gallery stage over the years.

We begin our celebration this weekend, February 6th and 7th, with our semi-annual series “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” featuring Roy Hargrove—one of our founders—alongside a pair of emerging young trumpeters—Marquis Hill and Adam O’Farrill. Marquis and Adam were both finalists in last year’s Thelonious Monk Competition and have recently received positive notice in the New York Times.

We at Jazz Speaks wanted to get in on the celebrating as well with a new feature—a monthly podcast. For this first edition of the podcast, we caught up with Adam and Marquis to talk about performing at the Monk Competition and the many musical mentors that have helped them get to where they are.

The Jazz Gallery presents “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” this Friday and Saturday, February 6th and 7th, 2015. On Friday evening, trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Adam O’Farrill will perform alongside pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer Justin Brown. On Saturday evening, Mr. Hargrove will be joined by trumpeter Marquis Hill, as well as Mssrs. Evans, Williams, and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Sets are at 8 and 10 p.m. each night. $35 general admission ($25 for members), plus $5 extra for reserved cabaret seating. Purchase Tickets Here. 

 

Mike Moreno. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Mike Moreno. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Guitarist Mike Moreno is set to rack up a lot of frequent flyer miles in 2015. Over the next few months, Mike will be on tour with Kendrick Scott’s Oracle, Will Vinson’s quartet, and Stefon Harris’s brand new “Sonic Creed” group (which features a host of young Gallery regulars). Beyond touring, Mike will also travel to both the University of North Texas and the University of San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador, as an artist in residence.

Before he sets off on all this jet setting, The Jazz Gallery is proud to present Mike Moreno and his quartet for a hometown show this Thursday, February 5th, 2015. The group features Jon Cowherd on piano—an increasingly frequent collaborator with Moreno—as well as an incomparable rhythm team of Doug Weiss on bass and Clarence Penn on drums. Don’t miss the opportunity to get your guitar fix before Moreno hits the road.

The Mike Moreno Quartet plays The Jazz Gallery on Thursday, February 5th, 2015. The group features Moreno on his beautiful semi-hollow guitar designed by Stephen Marchione, Jon Cowherd on piano, Doug Weiss on bass, and Clarence Penn on drums. Sets are at 8 and 10 p.m. $15 general admission ($10 for Members) for the first set, $10 general admission ($8 for Members) for the second. Purchase Tickets Here.