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We’ll be closing out the weekend with a performance from saxophonist Tim Green and his quintet. We have presented Tim’s band on three occasions in the past, the first of which was shortly after he graduated from the Manhattan School of Music in June of 2004. Since then, Tim has gone on to receive many honors, including a second place finish in the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, and has recorded and/or performed with an array of artists including Roy Hargrove, Israel Houghton, Mulgrew Miller, Fred Hammond, Jon Faddis, Kirk Franklin, Christian McBride, and many more. You can read Tim’s full bio here.

Tim was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about his compositions, his collaborators, and what we can expect to hear on Saturday night. Without further ado, Tim speaks:


In 2005, you released your debut album, Divine Inspiration (G Major), which features mostly hymns and spiritual songs. How did you approach that material?

My first album, Divine Inspiration, was my first offering to God. I chose to do a record featuring hymns as well as a few originals. I wanted to keep the instrumentation really simple and light for the most part. Hymns and spirituals have some of the most beautiful melodies, and I really wanted to showcase the pureness of the melodies without a lot of soloing.

Tell us about your forthcoming sophomore release.

My new album will be a much more expansive version of my personal hymns, which are original songs that I wrote in relation to scriptures or stories in the Bible that I might have been reading at the time. The songs feature titles such as “Philippians 4:13”, “Psalms 1”, “Peace”, “Silaom”, “Hope”, which are references to the Bible. You can hear the influence of all of my favorite jazz composers and musicians. The harmony in these originals tends to be more expansive, while the melodies are simple for the most part.

The new album, which is as-of-yet untitled, will feature some of my favorite musicians, including Orrin Evans, Warren Wolf, Rodney Green, Obed Calvaire, Allyn Johnson, Gilad Hekselman, Kris Funn, Josh Ginsburg, Romain Collin, Quamon Fowler, Quincy Phillips, and Adam Johnson. I love the fact that I have a lot of friends that are great musicians, and I wanted to include their voices on this second album.

Your quintet featuring Gilad Hekselman, Orrin Evans, Ben Williams, and Obed Calvaire performs at The Jazz Gallery on Saturday, January 14th. How did you select the personnel? What can we expect to hear on Saturday?

Well , I think the show on January 14th is going to be very special. This is a band of musicians that I’ve been hoping to assemble for a while who are the best of the best: first call musicians on the New York jazz scene. They also all happen to be friends of mine, for which I’m grateful.

I’ve known Obed since high school: we attended the Vail Jazz Workshop in 1998, played in the high school GRAMMY band together, and went to the Manhattan School of Music together as well. Obed was one of the first people to play my originals, and has helped me both musically and as a friend since I started playing. He’s a dear friend of mine, and I’m always excited to play and hang with him whenever we can.

I just started playing with Orrin recently, but I’ve been a fan of his playing and his music for a long time . I’ve had a few chances in the past two years to play and record in some of his groups, which has been incredible. I’m honored to have such a great musician and incredible person on the show.

Ben Williams is an incredible musician and phenomenal bassist who I met in D.C. maybe three or four years ago. Ben totally blew me away when I heard him play the bass, which seems to be the case amongst everyone who has heard him. I have always tried to keep up with him whenever possible, and I’m glad he could make this show.

I met Gilad through Obed, and we’ve been playing together for about two years now. He’s an incredible musician that I’m really thankful to have a chance to make music with. He really played beautifully on my album, and I look forward to everyone getting to hear him interpret the music in person.

I’m also working on brand new music, which we will premiere at on Saturday. It’s going to be a special one.


Listen to samples from Tim’s forthcoming album on his website or via Soundcloud.

Collage by Rafiq for Jazz Speaks. Filter by Rollip.

On Friday, The Jazz Gallery will host a meeting of the minds between saxophonist Will Vinson, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Brewer, and drummer Marcus Gilmore.

All four artists have presented their own bands at The Gallery on multiple occasions in the past: Will and Matt have both been performing here since 2006, Aaron since 2002, and Marcus since 2005. Additionally, both Aaron and Marcus were commissioned as a part of The Jazz Gallery Composer’s Series in 2007. And, as we mentioned recently, Matt Brewer is currently completing a Leading From the Bass residency at The Gallery. We look forward to hearing these individuals unite in various combinations.

On the subject of the engagement, Will Vinson writes, “I can’t wait to play with three of the most incredible young musicians in New York. We’re going to be playing in duo, trio and quartet formations and taking the opportunity to explore orchestration ideas on some new, and some old, music.”

As Will notes, all four of these artists are among the most sought-after musicians in town, and space is limited. Reserve your tickets here.

Collage by Rafiq for Jazz Speaks. Filter by Rollip.

Bassist Josh Ginsburg will be celebrating the release of his debut album, Zembla Variations (Brooklyn Jazz Underground), at The Jazz Gallery on Thursday, January 12th. This performance, which is part of our Thursday Night Debut Series, will be Josh’s first as a bandleader at The Gallery. However, he has played here in the past, including appearances in the bands of pianists Robert Glasper and Helen Sung. Josh will be joined by the same set of musicians featured on his new release – saxophonist Eli Degibri, pianist Danny Grissett, and drummer Rudy Royston – all of whom have also previously led bands at The Gallery.

To give you a taste of what you can expect to hear on Thursday, we’ve posted “Koan”, which is the fourth piece on the album. More from Josh:

“Koan” is a simple melody based primarily on one harmonic minor scale. My music often balances out – complex meters usually end up with simpler harmonies and melodies, and vice versa. In this one the meters change quite a bit; the primary change is between 3/2 and 3/4. The 3/2 is spacious and relaxed, while the 3/4 is busy and driving. Making this transition so quickly feels like a huge mental shift, especially at first. That’s the idea of it being a “Koan”, the first time you play (or hear) it, it seems like a riddle, but once you feel it in your bones, it seems like the most obvious thing in the world.

Listen to “Koan” below:

Hungry for more? Although the official release date for Zembla Variations is February 7, 2012, you can stream the album in its entirety, and purchase both regular and audiophile editions, via Bandcamp.

Photos by Rafiq for Jazz Speaks

Just a friendly reminder that Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society will be performing tonight (1/6) and tomorrow night (1/7) at The Jazz Gallery. If the rehearsals pictured above provided any indication, we can safely say that these shows are not to be missed!

For more information, consult our preview, as well as this guest post from Darcy.

You don’t have to take our word for it: The New York Times gave this run a Critic’s Pick. They write:

★ Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society (Friday and Saturday) This postmillennial big band was last heard performing an ambitious multimedia opus, “Brooklyn Babylon,” as part of the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Mr. Argue, the band’s mastermind composer-conductor, revisits some of that material here, along with some as-yet-unreleased pieces from a forthcoming album. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Jazz Gallery, 290 Hudson Street, at Spring Street, South Village, (212) 242-1063,; $20 cover. (Chinen)

Reserve your tickets here. We hope to see you soon!

Photo by Rafiq for Jazz Speaks

We caught up with bassist-composer Matt Brewer on the first day of his two-week composer’s residency at The Jazz Gallery. Matt is among the four artists chosen for our “Leading From the Bass” initiative, which supports and spotlights the work of bassist-composers. Matt’s residency, which made possible by major support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, will last two weeks and culminate with a performance on February 10th.

Although he had only been at The Gallery for a few hours, Matt was excited to have time to develop work away from his heavy performance schedule:

I haven’t really had a break since the beginning of October; I’ve been on tour pretty much since then, and I haven’t had a week at home since October 3rd, so I haven’t had a lot of time to write a bunch of music or sit down at the piano. So, already today, after just a couple of hours of being here and playing piano, I’ve written more than I’ve written in the past four or five months, so that’s pretty exciting.

Matt also expressed a gratitude for having proper working conditions: a quiet space with a grand piano (and no fear of disturbing the neighbors):

The main thing is that there’s a grand piano in here, and that’s so much more inspiring for me to write on! [Usually] I’m at home and I have my little keyboard, and I’m just [thinking], “Ugh, I don’t want to play”…the sound doesn’t inspire me to write. And, you know, it sounds good in here. It’s also nice to know that I don’t have to worry about my neighbors hearing me. Just being in a quiet space with a good piano feels so much more comfortable. I get nervous even practicing bass at home!

While this was only the first day of his residency (Matt will have use of our space during “dark hours” for the next two weeks), Matt seemed to already have a clear idea of what he planned to use the time for. He plans to write new work, which will most likely feature piano, saxophone, guitar, bass, and drums, with the possible addition of an extra saxophone or guitar. He explained:

When I write on the piano…I started out playing this Mozart fantasy, and I [also] like to sight read Bach chorales, and almost inevitably in the middle of that process my mind will start wandering. And then I’ll start coming up with something, and [I’ll realize], “Oh wait, okay, now I’m writing music!”, and then I’ll leave the chorale practicing behind. So I think that’s how this started: I was thinking about counterpoint and that stuff, and then these three voices emerged.

We’ll check in with Matt again as his residency continues…stay tuned for more details!