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 Friday, September 14, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome multi-instrumentalist Morgan Guerin back to our stage. In 2016, Guerin released his debut record, The Saga, a sprawling, yet tightly constructed effort where he played most of the instruments. He followed that up with a sequel in 2017, and since then, has continued to expand this ongoing project, working out new material on the bandstand. Before his last performance at the Gallery in March, Guerin spoke about how his compositions for The Saga‘s next chapter have been going in a new direction:
There’s a new sound that I’m exploring right now. I’ve got to be honest, I was almost there with The Saga II—I was almost at the sound that I wanted. But in the moment, [it’s not that I gave] up, but I felt like if I had added more, it would overdo it. This next series of compositions—I’ve never explained it, I’ve just been writing and writing and writing—is definitely a lot of sounds and a lot of melodies. I’m super big on parts nowadays—specific parts. When I was growing up in New Orleans I wasn’t introduced to Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, The Flaming Lips, The Beatles—all those bands. I moved to New York and all my friends were like, ‘Ah man, you don’t know?’ There was a lot of stuff I needed to catch up on. I mean, I’ll be catching up my whole life, but in this sense, [I heard] all those specific parts, people playing roles and not as much improvisation—as in ‘featured soloists,’ not improvisation as freedom in the music, because that’s different. And [all those parts] create the song.
At The Jazz Gallery on Friday, Guerin will present yet another new slate of compositions, alongside Lex Korten on keyboards, Val Jeanty on electronics, Kanoa Mendenhall on bass, and JK Kim and drums. Don’t miss the next leg of Guerin’s heady musical journey this Friday. (more…)
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.
Art courtesy of Ezra & Alvin Roy
This Tuesday, September 11, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to open a new exhibition of art by father and son Alvin and Ezra Roy. Together, their lives and work tell a remarkable story. In 1988, Ezra was born with Down Syndrome. At the time, Alvin was beginning a career in law, but had studied painting at the Houston Technical Institute and with artists Burford Evans and Robin Ishimi Johnson. From a young age, it was clear that Ezra had a keen interest in painting as well. Beginning with training from his father, Ezra has become an accomplished artist. Ezra graduated from Texas Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in art in 2014, the first student with Down Syndrome to graduate from a four-year college.
The pair have exhibited their work extensively throughout their hometown of Houston, Texas and the southern US, but we at The Jazz Gallery are pleased to help the Roys bring their work to New York. To celebrate the exhibition opening on the 11th, pianist Jason Moran will play a solo set at 7 P.M. If you can’t make it to the exhibition opening, come to the Gallery a bit early before your next show to check out Alvin and Ezra’s evocative works.
Photo via www.cityparksfoundation.org
This week, The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival kicks off, with performances and special events all over Manhattan. On Sunday, the stage at Tompkins Square park will host a number of jazz luminaries, including Gary Bartz, Amina Claudine Myers, and The Bad Plus. Kicking off the afternoon, however will be a new project co-led by trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, vibraphonist Joel Ross, and saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins called UNHEARD. Commissioned by the Joyce and George Wein Foundation with supervision by The Jazz Gallery, this project features the three young improvisers exploring the music of Charlie Parker and dealing with his continued legacy.
Before heading over to Tompkins Square Park at 3:00 P.M. on Sunday to see the show, check out O’Farrill performing in another Parker tribute at the festival—Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls, performed live in 2015.