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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Posts by Kevin Laskey

Album art by Gaya Feldheim Schorr.

This Thursday, November 15, at The Jazz Gallery, pianist/composer Gabriel Zucker celebrates the release of his newest record, Weighting (ESP-Disk). The record features Zucker’s multi-movement composition inspired by Rachel Kushner’s acclaimed novel The Flamethrowers. Alongside trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, saxophonist Eric Trudel, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, Zucker conjures moments from the novel with bewitching harmonies and fleet-footed cross-rhythms. Check out the piece’s third movement, “The Stream of New York/and art, of course,” below.

At the Gallery, Zucker and company will play Weighting in entirety for both sets, giving listeners the opportunity to hear this evocative work take on new shadings. (more…)

Photos courtesy of the artists.

On Thursday, November 15, the next edition of The Jazz Gallery Mentoring Series kicks off at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem. This edition features pianist Kris Davis mentoring saxophonist David Leon. Throughout November, the pair will play in four different configurations, from duo to quartet. The ensembles will feature many of Davis’s regular collaborators, including drummers Tom Rainey and Tomas Fujiwara, saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, and bassist Michael Formanek.

Like Davis, Leon is an improviser of enthusiastic versatility and catholic taste. He leads his own post-bop quartet, performs with the collaborative trio Sound Underground, and frequently convenes groups for free improvisation. A native of Miami, Florida, and a graduate of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, Leon has won an ASCAP Herb Alpert Award for jazz composition and performed at the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival. Sound Underground has just released their third album as a group, which you can check out below.
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Photo via burning ambulance.

For over thirty years, saxophonist and composer Hafez Modirzadeh has a forged a distinctly personal musical practice that he calls Chromodality. In this system, western equal temperament collides with other tuning systems from around the world, expanding the expressive possibilities of harmony and color within an improvisational environment. Over his past three albums on Pi Recordings, Modirzadeh has incorporated tunings from Iraqi maqam, Persian dastgah, and Iberian traditional musics. With collaborators like Amir El-Saffar, Vijay Iyer, and the string quartet ETHEL, these multi-modal musical explorations buzz with the excitement of limitless possibility.

This weekend at The Jazz Gallery, Modirzadeh will present a new a project—The Pulsivity/Resonance Project. Over the course of four sets, Modirzadeh will play a set of compositions for saxophone and retuned piano with four different pianists—Leo Genovese, Peter Apfelbaum, Diane Moser, and Tyshawn Sorey. Each pair will play the same compositions, which in turn are all based around a uniquely-tempered eight-note scale. Over the course of the weekend, these compositions will take on new colors and shapes, stretching their structure into multiple dimensions. Before coming out to experience this music, watch Modirzadeh explain elements of his chromodal musical practice below.

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Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Thursday, November 8, The Jazz Gallery welcomes saxophonist/composer Felipe Salles and his new large ensemble to our stage to celebrate the release of The Lullaby Project and Other Works for Large Ensemble (Tapestry). A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Salles mines the music of his youth for the music on the album—namely traditional Brazilian lullabies. Through deft compositional manipulations, Salles highlights the tunes’ dark underlying qualities, and, in the composers own words, creates “a strong aural image in the listener’s mind.”

Before coming out to the Gallery to hear these psychologically-probing works, check out the album trailer, below.

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Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Thursday, November 1, The Jazz Gallery welcomes bassist Jeong Lim Yang and her quintet to our stage for two sets. A native of South Korea, Yang studied at the Berklee College of Music, then moved to New York in 2011. In 2017, Yang released her debut album, Déjà Vu (Fresh Sound New Talent) with a quintet featuring veteran saxophonists Adam Kolker and Michael Attias, as well as rhythm section peers Nick Sanders on piano and Jesse Simpson on drums. Yang’s original compositions on the album follow the lineage of bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Paul Motian, courting abstraction and lyricism in equal measure.

Yang will reconvene this quintet at the Gallery to play material from Déjà Vu. Before seeing the band live, check out their performance of “Moon Tethered,” an homage to trio of Masabumi Kikuchi, Gary Peacock, and Paul Motian.

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