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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

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Matt Mitchell & Dan Weiss. Photos courtesy of the artists.

This Saturday, June 15, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Dan Weiss back to our stage for two sets of original music. The pair have developed quite a simpatico relationship over the past several years, playing on each other’s records and together in groups led by the likes of Tim Berne and Rez Abassi. They’re equally adept at throwing down in Weiss’s metal-inspired project Starebaby as they are delving into abstract rhythms and textures. Mitchell himself describes their musical relationship as “breath[ing] as one player.”

Before coming out to hear their duo show at the Gallery, take a listen to a previous performance at The Stone, below.

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From L to R: Giovanni Guidi, Dezron Douglas, David Virelles, Gerald Cleaver. Photo by Robert Oifare, courtesy of the artist.

Back in the summer of 2017, Italian pianist Giovanni Guidi and Cuban pianist David Virelles were hanging backstage at a European jazz festival when they came up with an idea for new band. This idea became Salida, a border-crossing supergroup where the two pianists concoct richly-layered textures on a variety of keyboard instruments, backed a by the crack rhythm team of bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Gerald Cleaver. For Guidi, the band name evokes multiple meanings in Spanish and Italian. In Spanish, the name means exit, while it also resembles the Italian word “salita,” meaning ascent.

This Friday, June 14, Salida plays at The Jazz Gallery for the first time with a slightly altered lineup—pianist John Escreet and bassist Brandon Lopez fill in for Mssrs. Virelles and Douglas respectively. Before hearing the band at the Gallery, check out a performance from last summer in the video below.

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Clockwise from top left: Matt Mitchell, Colin Stranahan, Mark Shim, Ches Smith. Photos courtesy of the artists.

This weekend, The Jazz Gallery will present two evenings of exploratory duos. On Friday evening, pianist Matt Mitchell will be joined by drummer/percussionist Ches Smith to perform material from Mitchell’s 2013 album, Fiction (Pi Recordings). On Saturday, drummer Colin Stranahan has invited saxophonist and EWI player Mark Shim to join him for two fully-improvised sets.

The music on Fiction began as etudes that Mitchell wrote for himself, exploring relationships between fixed and open structures, and challenging his formidable technique. While on tour with saxophonist Tim Berne’s band Snakeoil, Mitchell would warm up with these pieces during soundcheck. Over the course of the tour, Smith—the band’s drummer—would join in, laying the groundwork for this acclaimed record. Before hearing Mitchell and Smith revisit this material at the Gallery on Friday, take a listen to the tracks “Veins” and “Dadaist Flu” from the record, below.

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From L to R: Sean Rickman, Miles Okazaki, Craig Taborn, and Anthony Tidd. Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Friday, May 24, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome guitarist Miles Okazaki and his band Trickster back to our stage. The band has a strong history at the Gallery, as it was where they first performed and workshopped the material, as well as celebrated their record release in April 2017. In an interview with Jazz Speaks before the record release concert, Okazaki described the album’s composition’s unique qualities:

Some of these songs are short little tunes, where I spent a really long time on them, but all that remains is what I think of as, you know, hieroglyphs on the cave walls, washed away over the years. You just see a little bit of what remains. There’s one tune on there called “The Calendar,” which pairs a three-note voicing concept and a rhythm concept I’ve been working on for at least ten years. The whole tune is really only four bars long, it just has certain rules about how the harmonies change. Nobody would know this from listening to the tune, it’s a pretty simple tune [laughs].

For this Friday’s performance at the Gallery, Okazaki will be joined by bassist Anthony Tidd and drummer Sean Rickman, with pianist Matt Mitchell filling in for Craig Taborn. Before coming out to hear the band at the Gallery, check out the aforementioned tune, “The Calendar,” in the video below.

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Album art courtesy of the artist.

The Jazz Gallery welcomes saxophonist and composer Godwin Louis in celebration of his debut double-album, Global (Blue Room Music). As a saxophonist, Louis reaches startling depths through his intricately-woven lines and phrases, and his compositions are emotionally charged yet always danceable. Louis attended the Berklee College of Music and went on to study at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and has played and toured with Herbie Hancock, Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Madonna, Mulatu Astatke, Wynton Marsalis, and more.

Louis has lived in Haiti, Harlem, Connecticut, and New Orleans, and through Global, Louis explores all of these places and beyond, to the music and culture of people from West and Central Africa, Brazil, and islands in the Pacific and Caribbean. Global is about looking at the sounds of the African diaspora, beyond the slave trade ands its horrors, to its influences on pop culture. Discussing the new album, Louis notes that “Global focuses on and explores the history of music in the American continent. It traces the roots via West Africa, and its journey through the four hubs of music in the Americas: Congo Square/New Orleans, Santiago de Cuba, L’Artibonite/Haiti, and Bahia/Brazil.”

For Louis, everything was on the table, and no tradition, people, or way of music-making was left unconsidered. “This is about my traveling experiences all over the world. I’ve been to 100 countries as of now. I have so many stories, some sad, some triumphant. So did our ancestors. Global is the history of music and culture in the Americas. Cultures that came from Africa, met with indigenous aestheticism, and were refined or rarefied via colonialism, as a result changing the course of music history and culture worldwide.”

At the upcoming show, Louis will present music from the new album with his band featuring Etienne Charles on trumpet, Aaron Goldberg on piano, Joel Ross on vibraphone, Jonathan Michel on bass, and Charles Haynes on drums. (more…)