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Photo courtesy of Adam Larson

Photo courtesy of Adam Larson

While covering Winard Harper‘s band in The Chicago Tribune in early 2009, Howard Reich stumbled upon a noteworthy young artist: “The other revelation was saxophonist Adam Larson, 19, a player for whom the word ‘prodigious’ was coined.”

Now in his early twenties, Adam is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where he continues to earn the respect of those who have an opportunity to hear him. Several artists have recruited the young saxophonist for their own projects, including Matt WilsonJustin BrownOtis Brown IIIJaleel Shaw, and John Escreet. The pianist and educator Ted Rosenthal featured Adam in his “Tenor Madness” series at the Dicapo Opera Theatre, where Adam performed alongside the tenor saxophonists Frank WessLew TabackinJoel Frahm, and Wayne Escoffery. Adam has also kept a busy schedule performing and recording with his peers, including appearances at The North Sea, Monterey, Iowa City, and Telluride Jazz Festivals.

On one occasion a few years ago, the trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire invited Adam onto our stage to sit in with the band. The results were electrifying, and we’ve been presenting Adam’s groups ever since. We’ve watched him grow and develop his own groups on our stage over the last few years, and were very eager to hear the results when he decided to record his debut album, Simple Beauty. How does it sound? Like “everyone checked their egos at the door of the studio and let their stories unfold without forcing them,” according to Rio Sakairi, our Director of Programming. “They cuddled, nudged and negotiated music delicately, yet decisively, and the result is simply beautiful.”

This Friday, we welcome Adam back to The Gallery to celebrate the release of Simple Beauty. The band will feature the guitarist Nils Weinhold, the pianist Can Olgun, the bassist Martin Nevin, and the drummer Guilhem Flouzat.

Watch a video of Adam’s band performing the title track from the album in 2011 at The Jazz Gallery, and stream “Tiny Conferences” below:


Photo via

Photo via

AllMusic characterizes the trumpeter Jason Palmer as an “intelligent, highly adept improviser,” and counts him among “a new breed of 21st century jazz musicians…who set their egos aside and take a thoughtful, intellectual, and technically adept approach to the music.”

Born and raised in High Point, North Carolina, Jason 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 JazzBostonThe 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 HaynesHerbie HancockWynton MarsalisCommon, 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.

More recently, 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 fourth album as a leader, Take A Little Trip: Jason Palmer Plays Minnie Riperton (SteepleChase), featuring the guitarist Greg Duncan, the pianist Jake Sherman, the bassist Edward Perez, and the drummer Lee Fish. A man of many talents, 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.

This Saturday night, Jason makes his first appearance at our new home with a group featuring the saxophonists Mark Shim and Godwin Louis, the guitarist Mike Moreno, the pianist Leo Genovese, the bassist Edward Perez, and the drummer EJ Strickland.

Watch a video of Jason’s band performing “Velvet Hammer” live at The Jazz Gallery last year.

Photo via Facebook

Photo via Facebook

Melissa Aldana‘s approach to the tenor saxophone has earned her the respect of some of the leading performers and educators on her instrument. Greg Osby, who signed Melissa to his label, Inner Circle Music, after hearing her play just once, proclaims, “Melissa is actually one of my favorite saxophonists on the planet, period.” George Coleman describes her as “one of New York’s finest young saxophonists,” and George Garzone implores you to “please check her out…NOW.”

Melissa was born in Santiago, Chile, and exposed to music under the tutelage of her father, Marcos Aldana, who helped her hone her skills as a saxophonist and improviser. A meeting with the pianist Danilo Perez in 2006 led to an audition at Berklee College of Music, where Melissa received the Presidential Scholarship. Arriving in Boston with very little money and without the ability to speak English, Melissa persevered, seeking out the guidance of the three aforementioned saxophone masters, Greg Osby, George Coleman, and George Garzone, among several others.

Since moving to New York in 2009, Melissa has performed with Osby, Garzone, and Coleman, as well as Benny GolsonFrancisco Mela, and Antonio Sanchez. She has also recorded two albums on Osby’s Inner Circle Music imprint: Free Fall, which was released in 2010, and a new effort, Second Cycle. The New York Times‘ Ben Ratliff writes:

“Second Cycle”…sounds like a moment of synthesis and challenge, when a jazz musician wants to squeeze the music’s history and prove herself on deeper levels. Melissa Aldana is in her mid-20s and already advanced; “Free Fall,” two years ago, showed her basic readiness with the tradition. But on “Second Cycle” she’s in a small group without a piano or any chordal instrument, playing hard over fairly soft dynamics. This suits her…she self-edits and takes her time, getting into the weight and texture of the notes, the pleasure of the sounds…She unspools frenetic phrases and open, flowing ones. Her version of “I’ll Be Seeing You” shows that she’s absorbed the ballad-playing tenor tradition of the 1940s — from Don Byas and Ben Webster — and in other places she seems to link, within a few phrases, the Coltrane of the early ’60s and the Mark Turner of now.

On Thursday, we will present the album release concert for Second Cycle, which will feature the trumpeter Gordon Au, the bassist Pablo Menares, and the drummer Jochen Rueckert.

Watch a preview video for Second Cycle, and check out a track from Melissa’s first Inner Circle release, Free Fall.

Photo courtesy of Esther Cidoncha

Photo courtesy of Esther Cidoncha

The Wall Street Journal‘s Larry Blumenfeld praises Román Filiú‘s new album, Musae, as “a new, strong statement.” All About Jazz describes the recording, which is the latest release on Dafnis Prieto‘s label Dafnison Music, as “an all-original, post-modern set of music built around deep thoughts that are occasionally long and free ranging, yet peripatetic and completely controlled.” Musae showcases the reedist’s ruminating compositions, and the saxophone stylings that he has lent to the bands of Chucho Valdes, Paquito D’Rivera, David Murray, and Doug Hammond, among several others.

Román was born and raised in Cuba. The reedist comes from a musical family; his father is a musician and teacher of European classical music, and all of his siblings are also musicians. Although resources were abundant for his classical studies, Román was forced to learn about improvisation through his grandfather’s illegal interceptions of a jazz radio show from Miami, which was outlawed by the Cuban government. Román honed his improvisatory skills outside of the classroom, but his schooling in the European classical tradition earned him an appreciation for Debussy and Hindemith, and also helped foster lifelong relationships with excellent musicians, including the pianists Aruan Ortiz and David Virelles, whom he still plays with today.

After completing his studies, Román moved to Havana to begin his career as a professional musician. He was based there for eight years, recording frequently and traveling internationally with a variety of projects. After working steadily for four years as a member of a salsa band, Román began playing with Chucho Valdes‘ “Irakere” band, a renowned group whose roster included such luminaries as Paquito D’Rivera.

The reedist spent eight years in Havana before packing his bags and heading for Spain. His time in the country was “a beautiful experience,” and he began to play with several musicians across Europe and abroad, including elder statesmen like David Murray and Doug Hammond. Yet Román had his eyes on New York, and finally moved to the city in September of 2011. Although he’s only been here a short time, he’s quickly becoming a part of the city’s vibrant music scene, performing with his own groups as well as those led by David Virelles, David Murray, and Dafnis Prieto, among others.

On Saturday, The Jazz Gallery will present Román for the second time, in celebration of his new album. The lineup will feature the pianist David Virelles, and the guitarist Adam Rogers, both of whom are on the recording, as well as the drummer Craig Weinrib and a bassist to be announced.

To get an idea of what you can expect to hear on Saturday, stream the album below:

Read our 2012 interview with Román here.

Photo courtesy of NPR

Photo via NPR

“Casual listeners to jazz who might not tune into big differences between bass players would notice Linda Oh,” writes Ben Ratliff in The New York Times. “Her music leans forward at you. She has a percussive touch, graceful and sometimes aggressive, and she likes playing fast, walking or soloing or delivering a jagged ostinato. She’s justifying the role of bassist as bandleader, starting the tunes, pushing the band, delivering clean, strong rhythm and melody.”

Linda was born in Malaysia, but spent her formative years in in Perth, Australia. She cycled through piano, clarinet, and bassoon – studying each from the perspective of the European classical tradition – before eventually picking up the electric bass, an instrument she initially learned through the lenses of big-band jazz and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After finishing her undergraduate studies in music with distinction in Australia, the bassist moved to New York to pursue a graduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where she now teaches bass in the pre-college division.

Since arriving in New York, Linda has made a splash as a bandleader with two critically-lauded releases: 2010’s self-released Entry, featuring the trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and the drummer Obed Calvaire, and 2012’s Initial Here (Greenleaf Music), featuring the saxophonist Dayna Stephens, the pianist Fabian Almazan, and the drummer Rudy Royston, as well as guest vocalist Jen Shyu. She is also highly sought-after as a sideperson, and has shared the stage with Steve Wilson, Kenny Barron, Dave Douglas, and many others. Her talents have been recognized by the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition, in which she received a honorary mention, and the BASS2010 competition in Berlin, in which she took second place.

This Friday, Linda makes her first appearance at our new home leading the quartet featured on Initial Here. Come and hear the daring interplay that earned this group a four-star review in DownBeat and a feature among PopMatters‘ Best Jazz of 2012.

Watch a video of Linda premiering “Ebony” at The Jazz Gallery. This piece is part of a larger work commissioned by The Gallery as a part of our 2012 Residency Commissions series, Leading From the Bass. Linda recently announced her intention to release the audio from the premiere as a live album later this year. You can also read about the work in the composer’s own words in a previous post here.