A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Posts from the Listen Category

From L to R: Tomeka Reid, Michael Wimberly, Melanie Dyer, Gwen Laster, Ken Filiano, and Charles Burnham. Photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis.

This Wednesday, September 19, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome the band WeFreeStrings to our stage for two sets. Led by violist Melanie Dyer, the ensemble has just released their debut record, Fulfillment. The record features five original compositions by Dyer, linked by collectively-improvised paraphrases. The inspirations for Dyer’s compositions run far and wide. There’s “I’m Still Here,” a meditation on womanhood.

Then there’s “Bayaka/Yangissa,” inspired by the traditional music of the Batwa people from the Congo:

Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Thursday, September 13, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome multi-instrumentalist Jasper Dütz back to our stage for two sets. Having just returned to New York from a tour of Japan, Dütz will convene a new ensemble featuring his talented peers, as well as his father, percussionist Brad Dütz.

The ensemble will perform a mix of Dütz’s original compositions, as well as whimsical takes on jazz standards and classic video game themes. In addition, Jasper and Brad will perform selections from their recently released duo album, which you can stream below. Don’t miss this evening of fleet-footed and quick-witted musical interplay.


Photo courtesy of the artist.

As a drummer and composer, Colin Hinton balances an eclectic taste with a sharp focus. He’s as comfortable in a free improvisation setting as he is writing exacting chamber music. This Thursday, September 6, Hinton will make his Jazz Gallery debut as a bandleader with his group Facehugger, a quintet that sits at the nexus of contemporary improvisation and concert music. Featuring woodwind players Anna Webber and Yuma Uesaka, guitarist Edward Gavitt, and bassist Shawn Lovato, Facehugger will head into the studio next week to record their debut album. We caught up with Hinton to discuss his path through diverse musical styles and their communities, and how this journey has impacted his work with Facehugger.

The Jazz Gallery: Your music explores a lot of intersections between different musical practices—namely improvisational practices from jazz as well as sounds and structures from modernist classical music. How did this exploration begin for you?

Colin Hinton: A lot of this started when I became more aware of the AACM. My background was in playing more straight-ahead and modern jazz and that was initially what I wanted to do when I moved to New York in 2011. After trying to do that for a couple of years, I never felt like I fully committed to it, I felt burned out. I didn’t really know what else was out there. I then started hanging out more with Tyshawn Sorey and following him around. He really introduced me to this musical world that I knew existed, but didn’t know that much about. A lot of what he showed me initially centered on the AACM, specifically the music of Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams.

TJG: In that period, were there particular records or pieces from those musicians that ended up being big eye-openers?

CH: I got the Art Ensemble record A Jackson in Your Houseway before I got into this music. I was probably 19 or 20. It was a pretty huge record for me, but I didn’t really understand the context behind what the Art Ensemble was. Tyshawn then told me to check out Braxton’s ‘80s quartet, specifically the live recordings from Coventry and Birmingham.

I didn’t completely understand what was going on—I wasn’t really familiar with Braxton’s musical world and how the band approached those pieces as part of a big, open work. But I was just fascinated by the initial aesthetic of what they were doing. It wasn’t until a lot later when I went back and bought those records Four Compositions, Five Compositions, Six Compositions, that make up the bulk of the source material for those live performances. I can’t stress enough how big of an influence his music and writings have been. Everything about the man is inspiring. The way he talks about music and life really resonated with me. I’ve actually never heard him play live or had the opportunity to meet him, but hopefully I will get to one day.

One of the other people that had a huge influence on me at the time was Ingrid Laubrock. I studied composition with her for about two years. She also showed me a lot of AACM records, especially a lot of Henry Threadgill records that I didn’t know, but then talked with me a lot about Stockhausen and other composers that she was drawing from.

At about that same time, Tyshawn got me into Morton Feldman, and I started getting into more contemporary classical music. The culmination of this path in a lot of ways came about a year and a half ago when I started studying composition with Eric Wubbels and he just blew the lid open on a lot of that world for me. In a way, I feel like I ended heading toward this world because I felt like I had exhausted my outlets in some of the other worlds that I was working in. I felt that I was looking for something that I hadn’t quite found yet and just kept searching. Where I am now feels like it’s more open-ended than the other places I had ended up in before.


From L to R: Anna Webber, Matt Holman, Brian Krock. Photos courtesy of the artists.

This Friday, August 3, The Jazz Gallery is proud to present the latest edition of our Jazz Composers’ Showcase. Curated by composer and conductor Miho Hazama, the Showcase gives up-and-coming composers the increasingly rare opportunity to have their work for large ensemble performed by a top-notch group. The two sets on Friday will feature music by Anna Webber, Matt Holman, and Brian Krock.

Whether working with her flexible Simple Trio—featuring pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer John Hollenbeck—or writing more precisely detailed music for larger ensembles, multi-instrumentalist Anna Webber makes music that has been described as “bracing and argumentative” by critic Ben Ratliff. Webber’s most recent project features music for a septet inspired by 20th century works for percussion by the likes of Varese and Cage. To get a sense of how her musical ideas scale up for large ensemble, check out her composition “Parallelissimo,” performed by the Jazz-Institut Berlin Big Band.


Photo courtesy of the artist.

In a recent interview with Jazz Speaks, saxophonist Jure Pukl spoke about his notion of risk in improvised music:

Riskiness can be an open form, or taking a certain structure then opening it up, or getting inspired from a structure and then opening it up into a newer, broader thing, maybe returning the structure. Or, having only structure, trying to be creative and risking only within that structure, so that the players move with the same mission. Fish don’t always move in the same direction, but they outline the bigger shape. Some turn left a little early, some turn left afterwards, it’s all this one moving shape.

Saxophonist Darius Jones is an equally-committed risk-taker, always experimenting with new forms, instrumental configurations, and even made-up languages. At The Jazz Gallery this Thursday, June 28, Jones and Pukl will convene their collaborative quintet Meat—featuring pianist John Escreet, bassist Carlo DeRosa, and drummer Eric McPherson—for two sets of musical surprises. Before checking out the distinctive interplay of Pukl and Jones live, take a listen to their kaleidoscopic version of Ornette Coleman’s “Intersong,” below: