A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Posts from the Previews 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:

Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Thursday, March 7, drummer Jeremy Dutton returns to The Jazz Gallery to present a new project called Systems. Systems features a top-notch quartet of collaborators old and new—saxophonist Maria Grand, guitarist Charles Altura, and bassist Burniss Earl Travis. In a recent interview with the video podcast Underground Drummer, Dutton speaks about his changing approach on the drums—an approach of increased clarity, emphasizing gestures and phrases that communicate clearly through the band. This approach is on full display in a recent performance with pianist (and fellow Houstonian) James Francies, recorded live at WBGO. Dutton unfurls the different colors of his drum kit gradually, creating a satisfying shape over the tune’s slippery vamp.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Dutton’s growing voice as a drummer, composer, and bandleader, alongside some of his impressive peers. (more…)

Photo by Una Stade, courtesy of the artist.

This Thursday, February 28, The Jazz Gallery welcomes vocalist Arta Jēkabsone back to our stage for two sets. Jēkabsone made her Gallery debut this past autumn, showcasing the developing rapport of her home-base ensemble that will return this week. Before coming to New York to study at The New School, Jēkabsone grew up in Kandava, a small town in Latvia, which fostered a distinct relationship between her art and surroundings. In a previous interview in Jazz Speaks, Jēkabsone described that idyllic setting:

[Kandava] is a small town with a lovely river called Abava. I basically spent my childhood there until I was about fifteen years old. It was peaceful there. When I was fifteen or sixteen, I started going to high school in the capital city, Riga.I would maybe travel once a month or so, depending on the stuff I had to do with school and music. Now, I go back to Kandava when I have the urge, the need for space and calmness. Kandava became the place I could go to develop and be with music and with myself, instead of doing concerts.

Before coming to the Gallery to hear Jēkabsone and her band, check out a performance from this past summer in Kandava, below.