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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Posts by Rafiq

Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Photo Courtesy of the Artist

“This album is a collection of original music meant to highlight the conversational voices of the individuals in the band,” explains the pianist Pascal Le Boeuf on the subject of his forthcoming release, Pascal’s Triangle (Nineteen-Eight). The album features Pascal’s trio, which includes the bassist Linda Oh and the drummer Justin Brown (who led his own group at The Gallery last weekend). “We trust each other’s choices and share an orientation towards self-expression through group improvisation. Every time we sit down to make music, we are exploring the depths of what is possible.” (more…)

Photo by Peter Gannushkin, http://downtownmusic.net

Photo by Peter Gannushkin, http://downtownmusic.net

“A freethinking, gifted pianist on the scene, [Kris] Davis lives in each note that she plays,” writes the pianist Jason Moran in his Best of 2012 list for ArtForum. “Her range is impeccable; she tackles prepared piano, minimalism, and jazz standards, all under one umbrella. I consider her an honorary descendant of Cecil Taylor and a welcome addition to the fold.” In an article entitled “New Pilots at The Keyboard,“ Ben Ratliff of The New York Times adds, “Over the last couple of years in New York one method for deciding where to hear jazz on a given night has been to track down pianist Kris Davis.” (more…)

Photo via http://www.craviottodrums.com/

Photo via http://www.craviottodrums.com/

“Moments after Justin Brown sat behind a drum kit on Saturday afternoon, the mood at the National Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium shifted,” writes Larry Blumenfeld in the Wall Street Journal. “When he took a solo, it expressed narrative arc more than technique. The ninth of 12 semifinalists to perform at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition, Mr. Brown had upped the ante, not so much by displaying skills—he did that, but so did others—as by bringing the house band together as a well-tuned vehicle fueled by clear rhythmic ideas. Above all else, that’s what good jazz drummers do, each in a personal way.” (more…)

Photo via Worldwide Scene

Photo via Worldwide Scene

In a review of the guitarist Gilad Hekselman‘s 2011 album, Hearts Wide Open (Le Chant du Monde), The New York Times‘ Ben Ratliff writes: “Crucially, this record isn’t only understandable as jazz-guitar music, a maze of speed and soloing. Some of these tracks…are actually songs, singable, playable on other instruments. They are melodies that stay with you.”

“Fifteen years ago he probably would have been signed to a major label,” notes Ratliff. “You might already have read about him in a men’s magazine, or seen his face on a display rack at Tower Records. But the jazz business is more modest and artist-directed now.” Yet Gilad is thriving in this climate, in no small part due to his knowledge of his instrument, and of the music. Nate Chinen’s Best of 2011 list in The New York Times describes his playing as “an object lesson in the high bar facing a young jazz guitarist today…so much fluid knowledge it’s scary.” Chris Potter, Mark Turner, John Scofield, Ari Hoenig, and Esperanza Spalding are among several bandleaders who agree, apparently; they’ve all appeared onstage with the young guitarist.

Gilad was born and raised in Israel, and began his musical training on the piano at age six. Picking up the guitar shortly thereafter, he continued to hone his abilities through performance (even appearing for a time with the band on a children’s television show) and academics. After graduating from the highly reputed Thelma Yellin School of Arts, the young guitarist moved to New York to attend the New School on a scholarship. While still a student, Gilad won the 2005 Gibson Montreux International Jazz Guitar Competition, opened for the guitarist Paco de Lucía, and released his debut album, 2006’s SplitLife (Smalls Records). Before long, he followed with more acclaimed recordings: 2009’s Words Unspoken (LateSet), and 2011’s Hearts Wide Open (Le Chant du Monde).

On April 9th, 2013, Gilad released his most recent album, This Just In (JazzVillage), featuring his frequent collaborators Joe Martin (bass), Marcus Gilmore (drums), and Mark Turner (saxophone). The album takes a formal “cue from that rapid-fire information stream” that is the modern day news cycle. Gilad speaks: “Each one of these pieces has a totally different mood to it, like they’re telling stories from different places in the world.”

We’ve been presenting Gilad in various contexts for several years, and we look forward to hosting another one of his projects on Saturday. The group will feature the keyboardist Shai Maestro, who will play both Fender Rhodes and piano, and the drummer Justin Brown.

Watch Gilad’s quartet performing live in France.

Photo by Christopher Drukker

Photo by Christopher Drukker

Dayna Stephens, a soulful and assured straight-ahead tenor man, has been making an ever-larger impression on the local scene just lately,” writes Time Out New York. He’s “a must see,” according to The New York Times. His peers agree: “Dayna is one of the people who will move music to a new place. He drives the band as he drives himself. He puts us all to a different level,” says the pianist Taylor Eigsti. “He’s just magic,” adds the vocalist Gretchen Parlato.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dayna showed promise from a young age. The saxophonist began his collegiate career at the Berklee College of Music, where he received a full scholarship, and was subsequently selected by Herbie HancockWayne Shorter, and Terence Blanchard to attend The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC. Since then, the saxophonist has performed internationally alongside Terence Blanchard, Kenny BarronAlbert “Tootie” HeathRoy HargroveCarlos SantanaStevie Wonder, and many others.

Dayna’s debut album, The Timeless Now (CTA), was released in 2007 to widespread critical acclaim. The guitarist John Scofield, the pianist Taylor Eigsti, the bassist Ben Street, the drummer Eric Harland, and the trombonist Nick Vayenas all make contributions to the recording, which received a four star review in DownBeat and was noted by NPR as one of the Top Ten Jazz Jewels of 2007JazzTimes predicted that the “timely debut may signal the birth of a new cool.” Criss Cross followed by releasing the saxophonist’s sophomore effort, Today Is Tomorrow, which was also well received. Dayna recently put the finishing touches on a new recording: the folks at Time Out New York “predict that his profile will soar sky-high when word gets out about That Nepenthetic Place, Stephens’s new Sunnyside CD, which confirms his prodigious chops as a soloist, bandleader, arranger and composer.”

Dayna caught our attention early on, and has been performing at The Gallery as a leader since 2007. On Friday, he returns to our stage to celebrate the release of That Nepenthetic Place (Sunnyside). Listen to a teaser from the album and read more about it here.