A look inside The Jazz Gallery

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Photos courtesy of the artists.

For the second year in a row, The Jazz Gallery will team up with the Jazztopad Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, this Saturday to present a night of Polish and American jazz musicians in dialogue. The first set features a special duo performance of two of Poland’s most acclaimed young improvisers—pianist Piotr Orzechowski and multi-instrumentalist Wacław Zimpel. Orzechowski, also known as Pianohooligan, has released three solo piano records on Decca, including 2017’s 24 Preludes & Improvisations, which showcases Orzechowski’s fluency in myriad idioms.

Zimpel is an inveterate explorer of musics from around the world, including American jazz and Indian classical music. He has released overdubbed solo tracks evocative of Colin Stetson’s practices, and last year released his second album with Saagara, a group featuring featuring top Indian musicians.


Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Thursday, October 4, pianist Micah Thomas returns to The Jazz Gallery for two sets with his work trio, featuring bassist Dean Torrey and drummer Kyle Benford. Since making his Gallery debut as a leader last October, Thomas has become a regular here, performing with the likes of Melissa Aldana, Harish Raghavan, and Immanuel Wilkins. Thomas’s ability to connect with a wide variety of players and practices is reflected in the trio’s own music. In an interview with Jazz Speaks last year, Thomas noted:

My stuff is kind of in the middle of everything. Some originals, some tunes, and some rearrangements of tunes by people that I wanted to play. Some of it’s swinging, some is in the more traditional vein, some is in a more modern-swing vain, and some is just not swinging at all. Some tunes will be really hard and some will be really easy and simple. I wrote everything from 16 bar melodies to compositions that are 5-10 pages long. I’m looking forward to trying it all out. The common denominator is the trio and how we approach it.

Before coming to the Gallery to see Thomas and company’s growth as a band, check out this recent performance of Thomas with Immanuel Wilkins’s quartet, recorded live at WRTI in Philadelphia.


Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society performing Real Enemies at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, November 2015. Photo by Noah Stern Weber.

This Wednesday, October 3, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to once again welcome Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society to our stage. Argue and Secret Society have a long history with the Gallery—Argue’s compositions “Jacobin Club” and “Obsidian Flow” were commissioned by and premiered at the Gallery in 2008-09. Since then, the group has released three highly acclaimed albums and performed throughout the world. This summer marked the ensemble’s debut at the Chicago Jazz Festival, and after the Gallery show this week, the ensemble travels the festival Agrajazz in the Azores Islands.

Outside of his work with Secret Society, Argue has had a busy year, composing a new piece in honor of New England Conservatory’s 150th anniversary, “Wingèd Beasts,” (which you can check out below), and arranging/orchestrating the music for vocalist Cecille McLorin Salvant’s new song cycle OgresseOgresse premiered this past weekend at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, but if you missed it, you can catch it in November at NJPAC in Newark, NJ, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ.


Photo via

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.

Photo by Jimmy Katz, courtesy of the artist.

This Tuesday, August 7, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome saxophonist Eric Alexander and his trio back to our stage for a live recording. With over three dozen albums as a leader to his name, Alexander is among the most prominent saxophonists of his generation. His sound is firmly built on bebop and the blues, a foundation that he has passed on to many musicians as a faculty member at William Patterson University.

This live video recording is presented with Giant Steps Arts, a new organization founded by famed jazz photographer and recording engineer Jimmy Katz. The mission of the organization is to create a sustainable system for jazz musicians to record and release their work. Under Katz’s perceptive eyes and ears, these recordings will be given free of charge to the performers, who can release and market the recordings without a label middleman. Katz is also making biographical profiles of these musicians, such as this one with Marcus Gilmore, below.