A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Posts from the Listen Category

Design courtesy of Indiana University.

This week, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome Indiana University’s Plummer Ensemble back to our stage for two nights of performances. Under the direction of saxophonist Walter Smith III, the group features top students from Indiana University’s jazz department, hailing from across the United States. To get a sense of students’ impressive artistry, take a listen to last year’s Plummer Ensembles, recorded live at WBGO.

For these performances, the ensemble will be joined by acclaimed saxophonist Ben Wendel. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see these young, talented musicians spar with one of New York’s leading soloists. (more…)

From L to R: Ralph Alessi, Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara, Brandon Seabrook, Taylor Ho Bynum, Gerald Cleaver. Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Saturday, March 9, The Jazz Gallery welcomes drummer Tomas Fujiwara’s band Triple Double back to our stage. The band has grown and developed on the Gallery stage, performing before their debut recording session in 2016, then returning to celebrate the record’s release in 2017. In an interview with Jazz Speaks, Fujiwara spoke of his motivations for bringing together the ensemble’s particular combination of musicians together:

I have a trio with Ralph [Alessi] and Brandon [Seabrook] that I had put together a year before Triple Double. I was really enjoying the gigs we had done, and we made a live record (Variable Bets on Relative Pitch Records). With most of the ensembles I’ve led, from The Hook Up to the trio with Ralph and Brandon, one of my main interests has been new combinations of musicians. In the case of Ralph and Brandon, they had never played together before. There were members of the original Hook Up that had never played together before. Taylor and Ralph had never played together, me and Gerald had never played together, so there were also a lot of first times. It was cool to see those relationships develop over time within this group.

This weekend, Triple Double is celebrating the vinyl release of their record—a beautifully-packaged double album with two new bonus tracks. With the band’s original lineup in tow, Fujiwara and Triple Double will perform music from their debut album (which you can listen to below), as well as new material to be released in 2020.


Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Friday, March 8, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson back to our stage. Finlayson was last on our stage this past November, mentoring saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins and playing music from his new record, 3 Times Round (Pi). In an interview with Jazz Speaks, Finlayson spoke about watching Immanuel grow from gig to gig:

It’s like any great boxer or in any great sport—they switch the defense. You’re making micro-adjustments as the night goes on. It doesn’t mean you’re going to figure it out in one swoop, but any good musician is making small adjustments. It’s a new environment for [Immanuel], so [he’s] checking out the way that we play this music.

I was going to say, the second night was fun, but I was most curious about the second gig to the third gig. For me, I felt like that was even more interesting of a leap. It was just a completely different setting and we played pretty open, but I think what was most telling was afterwards I had a conversation with an older musician who swore up and down, Immanuel, that we had music and we had things worked out. But, you know, [Immanuel] can listen and Brian [Settles] can listen; cats are sensitive and pick things up. So of course, you can play spontaneously on an evening like that, and still make music of it without having any music.

Finlayson himself has gotten much positive notice for the music on 3 Times Round, including standout reviews from DownBeat and JazzTimes, as well as a place on PopMatters’s Best Jazz of 2018 list. If you haven’t checked out the record yet, take a listen to “Feint” and “Tap-Tap,” below:

Album art courtesy of the artist.

This Friday, February 1, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome bassist Fima Ephron to our stage to celebrate the release of his new album, Songs From The Tree (Modern Icon). Effortlessly sliding between styles, Ephron has made his name playing with the likes of saxophonist Chris Potter and guitarist Adam Rogers and the notable downtown groups Lost Tribe and Screaming Headless Torsos. Songs From The Tree is Ephron’s  third album as a leader and showcases his trademark eclecticism—from the gorgeous ambience of “Bamboo,” to the deep-pocket funk of “Ground of Being,” to the plainspoken lyricism of “Know Self.” Featuring Potter on saxophones, Rogers on guitar, Kevin Hays on keyboards, and Nate Smith on drums, the album is richly layered, belying the fact that it was recorded in a single 10-hour session.
For the release show at the Gallery, Ephron will be joined by Rogers and Potter, as well as Jon Cowherd on keyboards and Gene Lake on drums. Don’t miss these top musicians take flight on Ephron’s wide-ranging compositions. (more…)

Angela Morris, Drew Williams, and Hye Seon Hong. Photos courtesy of the artists.

This Thursday, January 17, The Jazz Gallery is proud to present the latest volume of our large ensemble Jazz Composers’ Showcase. This long-running series has given emerging composers the opportunity to work with a top-flight New York big band, many of whom have gone onto lead acclaimed ensembles of their own. This week’s show will feature work by composers Angela Morris, Drew Williams, and Hye Seon Hong.

Morris is a saxophonist originally from Toronto and an alumna of the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop. She performs with a number of aesthetically omnivorous groups, including her quintet Rallidae and co-leads “a jagged-edged [big] band,” with saxophonist Anna Webber, “that has begun to turn musicians’ heads,” according to Giovanni Russonello of the New York Times. Check out Morris’s composition “Both Are True” performed by that ensemble, below.