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When we learned that the reedist Ben Wendel and his former teacher, the trumpeter Ralph Alessi, were interested in working together, we were quick to endorse the idea. The collaboration will debut this Friday and Saturday at The Jazz Gallery, rounded out by a rhythm section of the pianist Fabian Almazan, the bassist Noah Garabedian, and the drummer Kendrick Scott.

Both Ben and Rlaph have been performing here for several years. Ben, now an acclaimed artist (read: Grammy-nominated for his work with Kneebody) in his own right, received some formative training from Ralph in his college years. Ben elaborates:

Ralph was my teacher at the Eastman School of Music in the late 90’s – I still feel he was one of the best teachers I ever had!  Since then Kneebody has been part of two SIM sessions and I’ve continued to see/hang with Ralph all the time, but we’ve never had the chance to play together.  It finally came up in conversation a few months ago and we decided to set up some gigs.

Ralph is a pioneering creative musician, and has consistently sought out and nurtured younger artists, often enriching his own perspective with their youthful energy. Ralph adds:

Well yes I ‘ve known Ben for many years and our relationship has evolved from a teacher-student dynamic to a personal friendship. I’ve admired his playing and writing for many years so collaborating with him now on a project was long overdue. In addition, I’m really looking forward to playing with Fabian, Rodney and Noah. Should be a lot of fun and a real treat for me.

Read more about Ralph and Ben via previous postings on this blog, or go ahead and grab your tickets here.

Photo by Jorge Ribera

The New York Times describes Ferenc Nemeth as “a nimble Hungarian drummer with a feel for African rhythm, as he has proved through a marquee association with the guitarist Lionel Loueke.” The first call drummer has also shared the stage with Herbie HancockWayne ShorterTerence BlanchardBilly Childs, and Christian McBride, and many others.

As the Times noted, Ferenc can be heard most frequently alongside the guitarist and Blue Note recording artist Lionel Loueke and the bassist Massimo Biolcati. The trio has appeared on each of Loueke’s critically acclaimed albums for Blue Note, and have also released two collaborative albums under the name Gilfema for the ObliqSound label.

Yet Ferenc has also made leading his own band a priority. The drummer released his debut album Night Songs (Dreamers’ Collective) in 2007, which features the guitarist Lionel Loueke, the saxophonists Chris Cheek and Mark Turner, the pianist Aaron Parks, and the bassist John PatitucciJazzTimes praised the effort, writing:

A strain of melancholy longing runs through drummer Ferenc Nemeth’s dreamlike debut as a leader, as delicately layered melodies billow and merge in overlapping waves. Nemeth’s rolling cadences provide direction, while the twin saxophones of Chris Cheek and Mark Turner dance in an intimate pas de deux or roam introspective byways. Aaron Parks is sunny yet mysterious on piano, and guitarist Lionel Loueke’s sparkling, ethereal lines and quiet vocalizing add a sense of fantasy to this elusively structured set.

We presented the CD release concert for Night Songs in 2007, and it is with great pleasure that we welcome Ferenc back to our stage on Thursday to celebrate the release of his new album, Triumph (Dreamers’ Collective). The new album includes contributions from the saxophonist Joshua Redman, the guitarist Lionel Loueke, and the pianist Kenny Werner, while the lineup for Thursday’s performance will feature the saxophonist Chris Cheek and the guitarist Gilad Hekselman. Ferenc speaks:

Triumph…represents my personal experiences, the many things that I’ve been through in my life. Coming from a small village, moving out of my parents’ house at age fourteen, trying to practice…while everyone around me [insisted] that by playing music I [would] not make a living, moving to a big city, learning to adjust to different communities, being bullied, fighting for my rights as an artist on my own and in a different country, getting recognized and being accepted as a foreigner, losing friends and family, going through hardships. All this and of course many beautiful things like meeting new people, new friends, mentors, traveling, see the world opening in front of you, loving and being loved, experiencing the many wonders that life gives us and celebrating life itself.

Take an exclusive first listen to the title track from Triumph below:


Photo by Mark Niskanen

The Jazz Gallery Home Run Benefit Concert II

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 | 8 p.m.
Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2
196 Allen Street New York, NY 10002

Dafnis Prieto / Steve Coleman / Jonathan Finlayson / Koyaki / Anthony Tidd
Miguel Zenón / Larry Grenadier / Johnathan Blake
+ Special Additions TBA


Do you value “an essential roost and incubator for up-and-coming jazz talent” (The New York Times)? Want to help secure the future of “one of the city’s key labs for improvisers” (Village Voice)? Join us for an evening of music celebrating the incubator that is The Jazz Gallery!

Come hear three sets of great music for just $35, featuring performances by Dafnis PrietoMiguel Zenón, Larry GrenadierJohnathan Blake, and special additions TBA. Our friends at Rockwood Music Hall are hosting the second Home Run Benefit concert, and the cash bar will help offset our rental costs. All proceeds will help to stabilize The Gallery as we search for a new home; in other words, you can support us by having a fun evening.

We plan to continue serving the jazz community for years to come, but we need your help. Enjoy some great music, and stand with The Gallery in the process.

Photo via Firehouse 12

Paradoxical Frog is a collectively-led trio consisting of the reedist Ingrid Laubrock, the pianist Kris Davis, and the multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey.

Ingrid writes:

This group started at a session Kris Davis called. We played for about and hour and Tyshawn Sorey suggested we turn it into collaboration with each one of us contributing compositions. We have developed an almost telepathic way of interacting…[we] really deconstruct and improvise with sometimes long and involved compositions. Everything is possible and each one of us is kept on his/her toes all the time. It reminds me of being on a (sophisticated) playground.

The bands’ eponymous debut album for Clean Feed was described by Nate Chinen in The New York Times as, “frequently stunning,” and “so far one of this year’s best.” NPR agreed: in an article entitled “The Best New Jazz of 2010 (so far),” they explained, “All three share a similar approach to abstract jazz composition and execution: loose and unfolding like a flowering tea, yet full of unexpected color.”

Originally from Germany, Ingrid Laubrock moved to London at age 19 and joined the F-IRE (Fellowship for Integrated Rhythmic Expression) Collective. During her tenure with F-RE, she won the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation in 2004, was among the nominees for the BBC Jazz Award for ‘Rising Star’ in 2005 and won a Fellowship in Jazz Composition from the Arts Foundation in 2006. After spending nineteen years in London, the reedist relocated to Brooklyn. She has performed and recorded with a host of creative musicians including Anthony BraxtonDave DouglasKenny WheelerTim BerneEvan Parker, and many others. Her multitude of exciting ensembles, a few of which feature different combinations of the same personnel, are listed here.

In an article entitled “New Pilots at The Keyboard,“ Ben Ratliff of The New York Times writes, “Over the last couple of years in New York one method for deciding where to hear jazz on a given night has been to track down pianist Kris Davis.” The Canadian-born pianist had an exceptionally strong year in 2011, which was her tenth year here in New York. Her work was featured on two head-turning releases on Clean FeedAeriol Piano, her own solo album, and Novela, the eponymous release by a band led by Tony Malaby for which she also did the arrangements (they performed here recently). Aeriol Piano received several year-end accolades. Ben Ratliff of The New York Times listed the release as one of the Best Albums of 2011, and also profiled Kris in the aforementioned article. Read a guest post from Kris on Jazz Speaks here.

Speaking about the multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey, the pianist Vijay Iyer says, “Tyshawn is an artist who thinks for himself, creating deeply innovative, resonant, and personal work. Simply put, he is poised to become one of this century’s most significant American musicians. What has consistently struck me about his work, above and beyond its level of technical accomplishment, is a deeply felt resonance with the materials. Even the most austere forms are brought into profound relief by the passion and conviction with which he imbues them. His work keeps broadening and deepening as he expands his arsenal of compositional techniques and continues his restless experimentation.” Tyshawn has collaborated with Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, and countless others. His most recent album, Oblique-I (Pi) was a critical favorite, described as “riveting” by The New York Times and “a mild revelation” by NPR.

On Saturday, Paradoxical Frog returns to our stage to celebrate the release of a new album, Union (Clean Feed). Take an exclusive first listen to a stream of Tyshawn Sorey’s “An Intermittent Procession,” from Union, below:

Photo by Erin Patrice O’Brien

Hank Shteamer of Time Out New York summarizes the music of Pedro Giraduo: “Sometimes tender, sometimes brash and always arranged for maximum emotional punch.”

Born and raised in Córdoba, Argentina, the bassist has worked with the likes of Paquito D’Rivera, Branford Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Miguel Zenón, and many others. Also a first call artist on the tango scene, Pedro has also lent his talents to Pablo ZieglerHector Del Curto’s “Eternal Tango,” Fernando Otero’s “X-Tango,” and Daniel Binelli’s “Tango Metropolis.” He is also the principal bassist of the Hudson Symphony Orchestra and the Música de Cámara String Ensemble.

Pedro leads one of New York’s ace big bands, the Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra, which has received numerous accolades including a four-star review from DownBeat for their last recording, Córdoba. Writing about the album in Step Tempest, Richard B. Kamins proclaims, “The music, bright, emotionally satisfying and mature, is filled with exciting solos, thoughtful melodies and fine harmonies.  2011 is proving to be another banner year for large ensemble recordings and Pedro Giraudo’s CD is among the best.” In 2011, The Latin Jazz Corner recognized Pedro with four “Best of 2011” awards, including Latin Jazz Large Ensemble Album Of The Year, Latin Jazz Boundary Breaking Album Of The Year, South American Jazz Album Of The Year, and Latin Jazz Composition Of The Year. In addition to his own group, Pedro has conducted both the WDR Big Band and the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra.

We commissioned Pedro to write a large ensemble work in 2008, and his group has appeared at The Gallery numerous times in the past. We welcome him back this Friday night with the EXPANSIONS big band, featuring a host of New York’s finest musicians.

Watch Pedro’s Jazz Orchestra performing “Duende del Mate,” courtesy of WBGO.