You could make a good argument that bassist Chris Tordini is jazz’s answer to Kevin Bacon. Because Tordini is comfortable in any possible musical situation, from pop to the avant garde, he seems to be connected to everybody in the New York scene, regardless of style. While he has primarily worked as a sideman, on Thursday January 23, Tordini will step out as a leader for a couple of sets at The Jazz Gallery.
With such a varied resume, it’s hard to be sure what Chris has in store for the evening. Check out the following “Six Degrees of Chris Tordini” to get a sense of the many avenues he might take.
Degree 1: Metrically-playful post-bop
Tordini cut his teeth in New York playing with drummer Ari Hoenig in the basement of Small’s Jazz Club. There he learned how to make a band swing while dealing with Hoenig’s famous metric curveballs.
Degree 2: Texturally-inventive free improvisation
Tordini is equally adept at exploring the outer reaches of his instrument. In this trio led by trombonist Michael Dessen, Tordini responds to the leader’s electronic burblings with some forceful bowed overtones.
Degree 3: Groovy takes on the contemporary songbook
Chris can keep it in as well as going all the way out. Listen to his fat groove on the Nirvana cover “Heart-Shaped Box” and you’ll can’t help from bobbing your head.
Degree 4: Cross-cultural fusion
Here, Tordini trades in his dark-hued upright for a liquid-toned Fender. Listen to how he can effortlessly snake countermelodies between the minute spaces of wunderkind-pianist Tigran Hamsyan’s furious solo.
Degree 5: Delicate chamber jazz
On the most recent album by drummer John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet, Tordini takes over the bass chair and showcases a deeply lyrical side to his playing.
Degree 6: Intricate jazz-folk-pop
In addition to all of these diverse gigs, Tordini has been the anchor of the Becca Stevens Band ever since he and Stevens met while studying at the New School in New York. Here he multitasks, adding back-up vocals over a shape-shifting beat.
Each of Tordini’s collaborators for his show at The Jazz Gallery on Thursday reflect a different degree of his musical personality. Come and see Chris distill a unique musical vision from his diverse experiences in real time.
Chris Tordini performs at The Jazz Gallery on Thursday, January 23 at 9 and 11 p.m. The band features Tordini on bass, Chris Speed on tenor sax and clarinet, Ryan Ferreira on guitar, Kris Davis on piano, and Jason Nazary on drums, with special guest vocalist Becca Stevens. $15 general admission and $10 for members (first set). $10 general admission and $5 for members (second set). Purchase tickets here.