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“Rhythm provides more than a heartbeat for the pianist Jason Lindner,” observes Nate Chinen in The New York Times. “It also seems to fuel his respiratory functions and digestive activity, and maybe his neurons…What matters to him is groove, however it comes.”

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Jason grew up immersed in hip-hop. His parents encouraged his musical interests after he began to learn piano by ear, investing in formal lessons for their son and later sending him to New York City’s High School of Music & Art. Though Jason attended both the Mannes College of Music and the New School (where he is currently a faculty member), he credits his most formative study to apprenticeship with two elder statesman: the pianists Barry Harris and Chris Anderson. Jason elaborates (via NextBop):

I’ve brought everything I inherited from my elders in the New York jazz community – like Barry Harris, Chris Anderson, Frank Hewitt, Jimmy Lovelace, Tommy Turrentine, C Sharpe, Junior Cook, Junior Mance – and really used the knowledge and tradition they passed on as a foundation from which to spring ahead and mix with newer rhythms and musical ideas…to really be part of the musical current, the present movement, the present moment.

Jason has appeared on over thirty five recordings, and has worked with the likes of Chick Corea, Roy HaynesMatisyahu, Paul Simon, Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music, Dafnis Prieto’s Proverb Trio & Absolute Quintet, Claudia Acuña, and numerous others. He served as the musical director for Lauryn Hill‘s group in 2004, and was a member of Meshell Ndegeocello‘s band from 2006-2009. Through his multitude of performance experiences, as well as by his own efforts, the pianist has incorporated influences from African, Afro-Caribbean, South American and Middle-Eastern music. The breadth of his interests is evident the five albums he has released under his own name, one of which was recorded live at The Jazz Gallery. We also commissioned and premiered Jason’s large ensemble work, “Breeding Ground,” in 2009.

This weekend, we will welcome Jason to our stage for a two-night run. On Friday, August 17th, we will present a duet between Jason and the Turkish qanun player Tamer Pinarbasi, while the performance on Saturday, August 18th will feature Lindner in a trio alongside fellow keyboardist James Hurt, rounded out by the drummer Yayo Serka.

Stream the penultimate track from Jason’s latest album, Now Vs. Now, “Friendship and Love,” below:

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Photo by Benito Abrams

Matana Roberts is a Chicago-bred, NYC-based composer-performer with an interest in “the mystical roots and spiritual traditions of American creative expression.”

Over the course of fifteen years of working as a saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, she has released numerous albums under her own name and led ensembles in performance in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. In addition to her own projects, Matana has cut her teeth as a sideperson with Greg Tate’s Burnt Sugar, Reg E. Gaines and Savion GloverThe Oliver Lake Big BandThe Julius Hemphill Sextet, and Merce Cunningham dance, and collaborated in the studio with bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and TV On The Radio. Matana’s most recent release, COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres (Constellation), earned numerous accolades, including the #2 slot on SPIN magazine’s list of the 20 Best Avant Albums of 2011.

After presenting her work in various configurations over the past ten years, we invited Matana to test drive new work on our stage during a three-performance residency. Matana has been using this residency to develop a body of instrumental avant music with a quartet featuring the guitarist Liberty Ellman, the bassist Kevin Tkacz, and the drummer Ches Smith. This Saturday, she will give her final performance of this run, which, like the previous ones, has been selected by Time Out New York as a Critics’ Pick.

As we have reported previously, Matana frequently updates her own photo blog, STEELKILT, ROSE. We also recommend (re)visiting our initial post on the saxophonist for more a/v.

Photo via

A recent review in DownBeat describes the trumpeter Jason Palmer as an “exciting player – achieving pinpoint focus in his attack one minute, turning his concrete bebop lines into caramel, sliding through pitches and bending them to his will the next. If Palmer’s music stays close to home, he should go far.”

In this context, “close to home” alludes to previous words about the community that Jason has fostered in his current city. The trumpeter has been a Boston resident for years, and has made numerous contributions to the vitality of the local scene. Every weekend for over a decade, Jason has led the house band at Wally’s Jazz Cafe. He also maintains teaching positions at Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, and The Mission Hill School, and serves on the board of JazzBoston. The Boston Phoenix recognized the importance of his presence by nominating his group for “Best Jazz Act” in 2011.

However, Jason’s impact in Boston has not come at the expense of international attention. The trumpeter has performed and/or recorded with some of the most acclaimed artists in the music, including Roy Haynes, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Common, and Ravi Coltrane, among numerous others. Jason was a member of Greg Osby‘s touring group from 2004-2006, and recently became the first trumpeter ever to be hired by Kurt Rosenwinkel. In 2007, DownBeat named him as one of “Top 25 Trumpeters of the Future,” and in 2009, he took home the $10,000 first prize in the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition.

Over the past year, Jason toured with the Grace Kelly Quintet and The Miles Davis Experience 1949-1959 (a collaboration with Blue Note Records), and completed a weeklong residency with an augmented seven-piece version of the trio FLY. He also released his third album as a leader, Here Today (Steeplechase), featuring the saxophonist Mark Turner, the guitarist Nir Felder, the bassist Edward Perez, and the drummer Kendrick Scott.

This Friday night, Jason returns to our stage with his NY Quintet, which includes the saxophonist Mark Shim, the pianist Leo Genovese, the bassist Matt Brewer, and the drummer Marcus Gilmore.

Fun fact: Jason made his acting debut in the 2010 film, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench. Read a review from NPR, who praises Jason’s for “an assured film debut,” and watch a clip featuring Jason here.

Watch a video of Jason’s group performing “Abu Abed” at The Jazz Gallery from last year. The camera work might not be as good as it is on Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, but it’s worth it when you hear the music.

Photo by Zachary Maxwell Stertz via

“The thing that happens to me most, actually, is [that] fragments or pieces or repeating pieces of music are ringing in my head as I’m dreaming, and often during the waking hours,” explains the vibraphonist Chris Dingman during an interview with NPR. “And on occasion, I have woken up with these fragments in my head and written them down.”

The vibraphonist’s self-released debut album, aptly titled Waking Dreams, has been described as “gorgeous” (Time Out New York), “brilliant” (All About Jazz), and “deeply lyrical” (New York Times).

On Saturday, Chris returns to our stage with a quintet featuring the reedist Loren Stillman, the pianist Gerald Clayton, the bassist Drew Gress, and the drummer Justin Brown. Update: this performance has been selected as a Critics’ Pick by The New York TimesTime Out New York, and The Village Voice.

Chris was gracious enough to answer our questions about the concept behind the ensemble and the music, and about his history with his bandmates and The Gallery. Without further ado, Chris Dingman speaks:



Please tell us about your history with the members of the quintet that you are bringing to The Gallery on Saturday. When did you meet them? What drove you to select each of them for this configuration?

First of all, I’m very excited about playing with this particular combination of musicians. In addition to being extremely skilled at their craft, all four of these musicians are kind, humble, and giving people.

This configuration is something of an experiment. Some of these guys have never or rarely ever played together, and are known for playing in fairly different circles from each other. However, they all certainly share a lot of common ground. In particular, Drew Gress has never or almost never played with Justin Brown and Gerald Clayton, although I know they share a mutual admiration for one another. So I’m excited to see how this turns out. It’s unpredictable, but in a very good way – one of the qualities that excites me the most about playing this music.

Of the musicians playing, I’ve known Drew Gress the longest – we began playing together in Steve Lehman’s ensembles in 2002. One of the first gigs I ever played in NYC was with Drew, and we’ve since toured a bunch together with Steve’s excellent octet.

I met both Justin Brown and Gerald Clayton on the same night, May 12, 2005, which I remember because it was bassist Joe Sanders‘ birthday and we all celebrated together. I’ve had the honor and pleasure of playing with Justin since 2007, when we recorded Ambrose Akinmusire‘s first album together, and Justin has played in groups of mine since 2009, including playing on my album, Waking Dreams.

Similarly, I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to play with Gerald many times over the years – in his quintet a few times (including a weekend at The Gallery last year), and in a memorable duo gig at the Undead Jazz Festival. More recently, I’ve had Gerald play in my own group, whenever he is in town and available – a special occasion for sure.

Last but certainly not least, I met Loren Stillman back in 2004 when I saw him play with drummer Tyshawn Sorey‘s band, and he was playing this extremely difficult music with lightness and ease. I didn’t meet him again until 2008, when we started playing together in the bassist Keith Witty‘s quintet. We kept ending up in bands together, and it just seemed right that we collaborate. He has been playing regularly in my group since March 2010.

Tell about the music you will be performing with this group. What can our audience expect to hear?

There will be several compositions from my debut album, Waking Dreams (which you can hear at, as well as a few newer compositions that are fairly similar in style to the music on the album, but have a different kind of edge to them. We’re still exploring how this new music can be played, so it could go in a few different directions. I’m really excited to experience what these musicians will bring to it. The music is fairly open to interpretation, so it always sounds a bit different, even with the same musicians playing, but this performance will be especially interesting.

Please say a few words about your history with The Gallery (as a listener/audience member, performer, etc).

I’ve been attending shows at The Gallery since I first moved to the NYC area in 2002, and I have always been struck by the sense of community, the dedication to the music, and the atmosphere of both congeniality and rigor that makes each performance special, both as an audience member and as a performer. My first gig at The Gallery was in 2004 with the Steve Lehman Quintet, for the CD release of Artificial Light. Since then, I’m happy to say I’ve played there both as a sideman and as a leader with many of my favorite musicians. Some of the gigs that come to mind include groups led by Ambrose Akinmusuire, Jake Saslow, Keith Witty, Jen Shyu, Gerald Clayton, and Sam Harris.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

It means a lot to me to share an evening of music with a new group of people. The audience plays such an important role in the shape the music takes. I hope to see some new faces as well as some old friends on Saturday, and I’m excited to see what will happen when we all come together.



Want to learn more about Chris? You can find a detailed biography here. Alternately, go ahead and reserve your tickets, and let the music speak for itself.