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From L to R: Miho Hazama, Marike van Dijk, and Martha Kato. Photos courtesy of the artists.

From L to R: Miho Hazama, Marike van Dijk, and Martha Kato. Photos courtesy of the artists.

This Thursday, February 4th, The Jazz Gallery presents the latest iteration of our Jazz Composers’ showcase, curated by Miho Hazama. This concert will feature new compositions by Ms. Hazama, Martha Kato, and Marike van Dijk performed by van Dijk’s large ensemble called The Stereography Project.

The Stereography Project is filled with many creative bandleaders in their own rights, including multi-reedists Ben Van Gelder, Lucas Pino, and Anna Webber, trombonist Brian Drye, and drummer Colin Stranahan. Van Dijk herself is a native of The Netherlands and has been based in New York for several years, having studied at NYU. The Stereography Project released its debut album in January 2014, featuring Ms. van Dijk’s vivid and impressionistic compositions inspired by the geography of both her home country and her adopted city. Check out the group’s distinctive, string-inflected sound in the video below.

Pianist and composer Martha Kato was born in Nagoya, Japan and came to New York in 2009 to study at the New School. Equally comfortable playing in a trio setting as arranging for big band, Kato has been recognized with awards from the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Workshop at the Kennedy Center, ASCAP, and Montreux Jazz Solo Piano Competition in Kawasaki, Japan. Kato’s composition “Frostwork,” found below, won the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award in 2014.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

A couple of weeks ago, New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen did some major club-hopping during this year’s Winter Jazz Festival, checking out new artists rather than old favorites. At the New School’s Glass Box Theater, Chinen took in a set by James Francies’ Kinetic, featuring vibraphonist Joel Ross. Chinen was impressed by what he heard, noting that Ross is on a “…rocket-like trajectory,” and that “he’s somebody I’ll keep an eye on in the coming months.”

Ross hails from Chicago, Illinois and is an alumnus of the prestigious Brubeck Institute. He currently studies at the New School, but has already been making a name for himself in the greater New York scene. He not only plays with talented peers like James Francies, but was recently featured with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra playing the music of George Gershwin.

Ross swings effortlessly on the vibraphone, sometimes opting for a brittle sound reminiscent of Lionel Hampton, other times creating smooth and expressive lines in the vein of Milt Jackson. Yet while Ross’s sound is grounded in tradition, his rhythmic approach is very contemporary—intensely syncopated and excitingly abstract. Just check out his shape-shifting version of the standard “Stablemates” below.

This Tuesday, February 2nd, Ross will make his Jazz Gallery debut as a leader along with a band of his talented peers. Come and check out this rising talent before the word gets out. (more…)