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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

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Nicola Caminiti

Photo courtesy of the artist.

In February 2020, saxophonist Nicola Caminiti made his debut as a leader on The Jazz Gallery’s stage. A native of Sicily and a recent graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Caminiti presented an evening of original compositions, played with self-assurance by a band of talented peers. In an interview with Jazz Speaks, Caminiti shared the centrality of melodic construction to his practice:

Melody is the most important thing for me in general. Sometimes I’ve trashed songs because they have cool changes but the melody isn’t working. For me, the melody is the statement. Any work in the history of music is remarkable because of its melodic content.

Late Coltrane and Ornette Coleman had such a melodic drive. It was different of course. Some would argue that these are not simple melodies. But being simple or diatonic is not the measure of a melody. It’s whether you’re able to channel something through it.

This Saturday, June 12, Caminiti returns to the Gallery stage, showcasing his growing book of melodies, as well as the quartet’s growing rapport. Before coming out to the Gallery, take a listen to the tune “Adam Arturo” from Caminiti’s 2020 Gallery set, below.

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Victor Gould

Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Friday, June 11, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome pianist Victor Gould back to our stage for two sets. Gould made his Gallery debut as a leader back in 2014, and has since released 3 albums under his own name—Clockwork (which was named “Debut of the Year” in the 2016 NPR Jazz Critics’ poll), Earthlings, and Thoughts Become Things.

This past August, Gould received a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant. The result was a piece for his working trio with bassist Tamir Shmerling and drummer Anwar Marshall entitled The Unity Suite. The trio just premiered the work at Smalls last month, and you can check out the performance below (and remember to support the SmallsLIVE foundation for producing these concerts and streams):

Not content for one new project this year, Gould and his trio will be playing more new music at the Gallery from their upcoming album In Our Time, which is due out September 5. (more…)

Lex Korten

Photo by Sam Neufeld, courtesy of the artist.

In March 2020, Lex Korten played The Jazz Gallery with Tyshawn Sorey’s sextet, the last live shows on the Gallery stage before the COVID shutdowns. This week, we’re pleased to welcome Korten back to our stage as a leader in his own right.

In Korten’s previous Gallery shows, he has showcased his compositional voice with bands featuring horn players like Jasper Dütz and Kalia Vadever. However, this will be his first time at the Gallery helming a classic piano trio, alongside bassist Adam Olszewski and drummer Kayvon Gordon. Before coming to checkout Korten’s trio vision at the Gallery, take a listen to his trio performance of Gerald Clayton’s “Trapped in a Dream,” recorded by Brave Sound NYC.

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Or Bareket

Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Saturday, June 5, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome bassist Or Bareket back to our stage, along with his home-base quartet. Bareket grew up speaking three languages in Tel-Aviv and Buenos Aires before coming to New York in 2011. Fluent in many musical idioms, Bareket has worked with similarly cosmopolitan bandleaders like Etienne Charles, Jacques Schwartz-Bart, and Camila Meza, to name a few. He’s released two albums as a bandleader, his agile music speaking in a distinct rhythmic cadence informed by the many communities he’s been a part of.

At the Gallery this weekend, Bareket will be joined by frequent collaborator (and fellow Etienne Charles band member) Savannah Harris on drums, as well as young standouts Jeremy Corren on piano and Morgan Guerin on saxophones. Before coming to the Gallery, check out Bareket’s quartet slithering through his composition “Shosh,” from his debut album Ob1.

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TidePoolsPhoto

L to R: Connor Parks, Hannah Marks, and Alfredo Colon. Photo courtesy of the artists.

“Making it” is an infamously elusive challenge of life in New York. What does it require to hit the ground running? Connections can help. A supportive community is invaluable. But most foundational, perhaps, is a sense of belonging. 

Hannah Marks decided to make New York her new home in fall of 2019, arriving with clarity and purpose. She was coming off the heels of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead at the Kennedy Center. She arrived in New York with some momentum, and found herself on a path with early performance opportunities and recognition from mentors. Months in, Marks was playing regularly, booking tours, and going to sessions. April 1, 2020 was slated to be her debut show as a bandleader at The Jazz Gallery. 

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything stopped. Many left New York, never to return, but Marks couldn’t stay away, and ended up finding creative ways to beat the gloom. One outcome was the creation of a new band, Tide Pools, with Jazz Gallery regulars Alfredo Colon (alto saxophone) and Connor Parks (drums). Tide Pools will be performing at the Gallery this Friday, June 4, marking the end of a fourteen month delay of Marks’ leadership debut. We spoke about it all in a recent phone interview.

The Jazz Gallery: You mentioned that you’re in Washington Heights now. Have you been in New York for the whole pandemic?

Hannah Marks: Almost. I left for the worst of it. I went back to Des Moines, Iowa, my hometown, from March to early May. I’ve been in New York since then. Even though things weren’t necessarily happening, I wanted to be around for any potential work. I’m glad I came back when I did. 

TJG: I’m looking at today’s date and am realizing that we met almost exactly two years ago at Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead. 

HM: I can’t believe it’s been two years. It feels as though we skipped a year.

TJG: How did you feel coming out of that program? Where did it leave you? 

HM: It was pivotal, in that when I came to the program, I did not think I was going to move to New York. I thought I was going to move to Chicago. But I came into the program with an open mind. I wanted my mind to be changed. By the end of the two weeks, I had talked to a lot of people, and several were about to move to New York or were living there now. I thought, “I’ll have some good connections if I take that jump now.” Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jason Moran both told me, “If you don’t do it now… you’ll never be ‘ready,’ so just make the jump.”

TJG: Had you been talking to them, saying you didn’t think you were ready yet?

HM: Yeah, and the idea I had in my head about New York was that I figured I was going to be eaten alive here. That has not been the case. Everyone has been super supportive. I think it’s a sink-or-swim situation, but I got here and felt “I have no choice but to swim.” It’s hard to arrive in the city completely ready playing-wise, but if you just force yourself to jump into the current–continuing with the metaphor–then you’re in the flow of the city.

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