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Posts by Kevin Laskey

Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Friday, June 23rd, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins back to our stage for two sets. A native of Philadelphia and a current Juilliard student, Wilkins has already been making a name for himself in the New York scene, building strong relationships with both peers like vibraphonist Joel Ross and bassist Daryl Johns, as well as established veterans like Shai Maestro and Nasheet Waits.

Last month, Wilkins played a key role in Ross’s Jazz Gallery commission project, “Being a Young Black Man.” Wilkins not only provided incendiary playing throughout, but he also contributed an original composition of his own to the project—”Dad’s Song.” As both a preview of the music in store for this Friday and a belated Father’s Day gift, check out the group’s performance of Wilkins’s tune below.

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Photo courtesy of the artist.

Saxophonist Ole Mathisen has long looked to the processes that govern the natural world as inspiration for his music. He’s released an album called Periodic Table and composed a work for chamber orchestra, The Other Side of Night, inspired by Stephen Hawking’s book, The Grand Design. In his own groups and with collaborators like trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, Mathisen has been a thorough explorer of microtonality and different tuning systems—a musical means of engaging with these elemental, physical ideas.

This Thursday, June 22nd, Mathisen will celebrate the release of his newest record, Floating Points, with two sets at The Jazz Gallery. The album features a suite of new music once again inspired by natural phenomena—in this case, turbulence, wave patterns, wind shear, and currents. Mathisen describes his process from inspiration to composition thusly:

I found inspiration to write the Floating Point suite as I was reading about mathematical equations developed by the two mathematicians: Navier and Stokes. It’s stated that these equations are versions of Newton’s 2nd law of motion for fluids, and as I have a fairly good understanding of how to use Newton’s law, I thought I might be able to get an idea what the Navier-Stokes equations were about as well. However, I was wrong about that. These equations are exceedingly complex, and having abandoned the idea of finding ways of musically plotting strict translations of solutions to the equations, I rather decided to reflect on how fluids (and air) is in constant motion and to try to give the music the feeling of never quite coming to defined resting points and to imbue the music with a sense of inner forces and turmoil.

Come to the Gallery this Thursday evening to hear Mathisen’s thoughtful and richly-layered compositions played by a top-notch band, including trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, pianist Bobby Avey, and bassist Gregg August. (more…)

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This Thursday, June 15th, The Jazz Gallery is proud to welcome drummer Kenneth Salters and his band Haven back to our stage for two sets. Salters has established himself as one of the true chameleons in New York’s music scene, as comfortable playing with jazz groups, hybrid new-music groups like Andy Akiho’s Foundry, and even the Boston Pops Orchestra with Tony award-winning singer Leslie Odom, Jr.

As a composer, Salters’s main outlet is Haven, a group filled with similarly-versatile instrumentalists that allow Salters to explore myriad musical ideas and forms. Before coming to the Gallery to check what new material the group has been working through, check out our previous interview with Salters and the video describing Haven’s debut record, Enter to Exit, below.

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This Friday, June 9th, The Jazz Gallery is proud to welcome pianist John Escreet back to our stage. A pianist of impeccable technique and rare versatility, Escreet spans a wide range of idioms even within a single performance. His last two records, The Unknown and Sound, Space and Structures (Sunnyside), feature an exploratory quartet with multi-reedist Evan Parker, bassist John Hébert, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. While the first album featured a series of a short, jam-packed improvisations, the latter featured the group stretching out live for two extended, freely-improvised sets. Check out a sample from The Unknown, below.

At the Gallery this week, Escreet will convene a very different band, featuring saxophonist Seamus Blake and bassist Matt Brewer. With Escreet’s exciting unpredictability, who knows what the top-notch group has in store. (more…)

Design courtesy of the Kaufman Center.

This Thursday, June 8th, The Jazz Gallery is proud to welcome the Samurai Mama Big Band to our stage for the first time. Under the direction of Aakash Mittal, the big band is a project from the Kaufman Center’s Face the Music program, which features youth ensembles dedicated to performing the work of living composers.

Since their inception, the ensemble has tackled exciting and challenging works by the likes of Darcy James Argue, Anthony Braxton, John Hollenbeck, and Maria Schneider. Before seeing these talented young New Yorkers at the Gallery this Thursday, check out their performance of Schneider’s “The Pretty Road,” below.

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