A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Posts by Kevin Laskey

Album art by Daphne Xu and Dana Khagabanova, courtesy of the artist.

This Friday, November 15, The Jazz Galley is pleased to welcome saxophonist Kevin Sun to our stage to celebrate the release of his new double album, The Sustain of Memory (Endectomorph Music). Close to two hours in length, the recording features three long form compositions—”The Middle of Tensions,” “Circle, Line,” and “The Rigors of Love.” Sun debuted “Tensions” and “Rigors” at the Gallery in recent years, and spoke to Jazz Speaks about the concepts behind each one. In discussing “The Rigors of Love,” Sun noted that one goal for him with the piece:

…was being willing to write stuff that is maybe uncomfortably slow, that pushes the boundaries of what I’ve written in the past in terms of duration and perception, being willing to try something relatively slow-moving. I wanted to practice being okay with stasis, and seeing what happens when we have a group of improvisers working in that space. It’s different from the trio music where, say, it’s mostly frenetic and explosive and active, here the beats are wider for the most part.

In discussing “The Middle of Tensions,” Sun explained his thinking on how certain musical ideas can engender emotional tension.

This is a really simplistic way of thinking about it, but a lot of it is having different streams, two different things happen at the same time, like different tempos. There are these polyrhythms where you’re aligned, and then you go away for a while, and then you intersect again, and it’s hard to tell if there’s a dominant pulse. On the harmonic side, there are these dense chords and it sounds like it’s going to resolve, but then doesn’t really resolve, or it does resolve, but the resolution isn’t totally satisfying because there’s a lot of other stuff going on in there. It’s unrelenting.

For this album release show at the Gallery, Sun has assembled his full cast of collaborators from the album—trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, pianist Dana Saul, bassists Simón Willson and Walter Stinson, and drummers Dayeon Seok and Matt Honor. Before coming out to hear the music live, take a listen to the album, below.


Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Friday, The Jazz Gallery welcomes multi-instrumentalist Morgan Guerin and his working band back to our stage. As a performer and bandleader, Guerin’s technical range—he’s adept on saxophones, bass, drums, and keyboards—is matched by his aesthetic one. While his ornately-designed music takes advantage of a wide sonic palette, Guerin also looks for strong musical personalities to push the tunes off the page. In a previous interview with Jazz Speaks, Guerin spoke about the freedom of knowing music from the inside out:

Charts are cool, but learning music without charts is better, I think it helps you understand the music more. It’s cool to be free with the music in a different way, so the paper isn’t telling you what to do. If you have the knowledge of the actual song embedded in you, you’re free to do whatever you want to do.

This Friday at the Gallery, Guerin will be joined by Alina Engibaryan on voice & keyboards, Lex Korten on piano, Hannah Marks on bass, and JK Kim on drums. (more…)

Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Tuesday, November 5, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome drummer Mareike Wiening and her quintet to our stage to celebrate the release of Metropolis Paradise (Greenleaf). Wiening splits her time between New York and Köln, Germany, cultivating a distinctive intercontinental community of collaborators. Metropolis Paradise features her multi-generational, New York-based quartet of saxophonist Rich Perry, pianist Glenn Zaleski (Dan Tepfer fills in on the album), guitarist Alex Goodman, and bassist Johannes Felscher. Take a listen to the album’s evocative and free-flowing title track, recorded live at The Jazz Gallery, below.

This performance marks the finale of Wiening and company’s fall tour, featuring stops throughout Germany and North America. Don’t miss the group back on their home turf in top form. (more…)

Album art courtesy of the artist.

The Jazz Gallery’s weekend of big bands continues on Friday, November 1, and Saturday, November 2, with a pair of album release concerts by saxophonist Remy LeBoeuf’s Assembly of Shadows. The eponymous album traverses LeBoeuf’s development as a big band composer, from the album’s opening track “Strata” (his first major big band commission from 2015; you can hear it below), to the five part “Assembly of Shadows” suite, premiered at The Jazz Gallery last December.
With composers like Charles Mingus and Aaron Copland as touchstones, LeBoeuf is unafraid of grand musical gestures. In a previous interview with Jazz Speaks, LeBoeuf talks about his penchant for epic musical moments:

I find myself writing a lot of epic things. I have one particular friend who always notes the “Lord of the Rings” moments I have in my music: There was a time in my life where, instead of drinking coffee or tea to get focused, I would watch exciting parts of movies to release endorphins in my brain before sitting down to write. When you’re in a movie, you might cry at a denouement moment, it’s just so emotional, which is a great state to be in while composing. You really feel the weight behind every melody, every texture. There was a while when I didn’t have a streaming service and I had the “Lord of the Rings” films on DVD, so I would watch those to get excited [laughs].

For the album release shows, LeBoeuf will be joined by many of his original collaborators from the studio album. Don’t miss this chance to hear LeBoeuf’s full-throated music envelope the Gallery space. (more…)

Photo by Desmond White, courtesy of the artist.

This weekend at The Jazz Gallery, the stage will be filled to capacity as we present three nights of new music from young big bands. On Thursday, October 31, saxophonist and composer Brian Krock reconvenes his Big Heart Machine for a night of live recording. The band’s eponymous debut from 2018 showed that Krock and company were unafraid to mix things up, balancing sharp dissonance and flights of fancy (like the sax section doubling on recorders). If you haven’t given the album a listen yet, check it out below.

For this week’s performance at the Gallery, the band will be recording unreleased, revised tunes from their back catalog, as well as three brand new compositions. Krock himself says that one “…is the most special piece of music I’ve ever worked on in my life for a variety of reasons (more on that later).”  (more…)