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L to R: Ethan Helm, Miho Hazama, Nathan Parker Smith. Photos courtesy of the artists.

This Thursday, July 25, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to present the 13th concert in our ongoing Jazz Composers’ Showcase. In this series, emerging composers showcase their music for large ensemble, an increasingly rare opportunity in today’s scene. Many alumni of the series—including Christopher Zuar, Erica Seguine, and Jihye Lee—have since released their own acclaimed big band records.

For this edition of the showcase, composers Ethan Helm, Nathan Parker Smith, and Miho Hazama will present works for string quartet and drums. All three composers embrace multiplicitous practices. While Hazama’s original training was as a classical composer, Smith’s large ensemble music reflects his deep engagement with metal. Helm, on the other hand, is currently pursuing a PhD at NYU, researching applications of classical music theory in jazz. Before coming to the Gallery to hear the composers’ imaginative string music, take a listen to Hazama’s composition “Time River,” performed by the WDR Big Band and vocalist Theo Bleckmann.

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Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Saturday, July 20, multi-instrumentalist Morgan Guerin returns to The Jazz Gallery for two sets. With his abilities on saxophone, bass, drums, and keyboards, Guerin has become a choice sideman for stylistically-fluid bandleaders like Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lynne Carrington. As a leader, Guerin has released two chapters of an ongoing project that he calls The Saga, where he plays most of the instrumental parts alongside smart contributions from peers like vibraphonist Sasha Berliner and keyboardist Julius Rodriguez. You can stream The Saga II below:
In a previous interview with Jazz Speaks, Guerin spoke about how he keeps up with all of his different instruments:

I wake up and immediately pick up my bass every day, out of habit. I have a lot of instruments and recording equipment in my room, and my bass is on the wall above my bead, so every time I wake up, I pick it up without thinking. I’ve been trying to hone in on the bass, because it’s new to me, and I’m in love with the instrument. With the others, I try to practice everything at least once a day, every day. There are times where I don’t get to touch my horn for maybe a day or two, and there are other times where I don’t touch the bass for a day or two and I’m playing a lot of saxophone, drums, or something else instead. It’s a constant cycle, but I can feel when I’m losing familiarity with an instrument [laughs]. I have to stay on top of it.

For his performance this weekend at the Gallery, Guerin will be performing on saxophone, EWI, bass and synthesizer, alongside Alina Engibaryan on vocals and Rhodes piano; Julius Rodriguez on piano, keyboards, and synthesizer; JK Kim on drums; and Val Jeanty on electronics. (more…)

Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Friday, July 19, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome singer-songwriter Nerissa Campbell back to our stage. Campbell’s songs are both intimate and expansive, evoking “deserted and poorly lit” city streets (Little Village Magazine) while featuring lush, layered accompaniments. Her most recent album—2016’s After The Magic (Crooked Mouth Music)—features a top-flight New York rhythm section alongside Gamelan Dharma Swara.

For this week’s show at the Gallery, Campbell will be joined by pianist Fabian Almazan. With an array of effects pedals, this duo is an effective conduit of the intimacy and expansiveness of Campbell’s music. They’re as likely to leave tantalizing bits of space as they are to open up with orchestral sweeps. Before coming out to see Campbell and Almazan at the Gallery this Friday, take a listen to a live recording of Campbell’s “Little Little Just” below, featuring Almazan on piano.

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Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Saturday, July 13, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome guitarist Nir Felder and his trio back to our stage. Over the past several months, Felder has been living a bit of a double life. By day, Felder has been a steady sideman, touring with the likes of trumpeter Keyon Harrold and Tony-winning actor/singer Ben Platt. By night, Felder has been developing a new book of material for trio, playing late sets at 55 Bar and the Blue Note. Here’s a quick sample of the fireworks Felder has been setting off at these gigs—some ferocious interplay with drummer Louis Cole on the David Binney tune “Aliso.”

For his performance at the Gallery this week, Felder will be joined by two longtime collaborators in bassist Orlando LeFleming and drummer Jimmy MacBride. (more…)

Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Friday, July 12, The Jazz Gallery is proud to kick off its summer season with a performance by the Jihye Lee Orchestra. An alumnus of the Berklee College of Music and the Gallery’s Jazz Composers’ Showcase, Lee released her debut large ensemble record April in 2017. The richly-voiced and cinematically-paced music reflects on the 2014 sinking of the ferry Sewol of the coast of Korea, which claimed over 300 lives. Lee’s elegiac composition “You Are Here (Every Time I Think of You),” featuring fluegelhorn soloist Sean Jones, rounds out the deeply-affect album.

Since the release of April, Lee has continued to add new compositions to her band’s book. In an interview with Jazz Speaks, Lee commented how her move to New York from Boston impacted these new compositions:

Our living environment is very important, I think. Music is the reflection of your life right? Since I’ve moved to New York, I think the energy of the city has changed my music in a good way. There’s more crunchiness, more anger, but in a positive way. The crunchiness is in the harmonic material. I’m using a lot of minor 2nds and 9ths. We learn in school, “Don’t use minor 9ths,” but in order to make personal, emotional statements, you need to use those forbidden harmonic moves.

Before coming out to hear Lee’s compositions at the Gallery on July 12, check out The Jazz Gallery’s SummerPass, which offers general admission to every Gallery show in July and August for one low price. (more…)