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Album Cover

Album art by Cecille McLorin Salvant.

As we at The Jazz Gallery continue our 27th year of presenting new jazz, it has been nice revisit some of the many Residency Commission projects from over the years. This weekend, saxophonist Melissa Aldana returns to the Gallery stage to present her 2017-18 commission, Visions. The project began as a reflection on the work of visual artist Frida Kahlo, who had been an important inspiration to Aldana since her childhood. In a conversation with Jazz Speaks, Aldana noted:

When I was young, I was really into painting with oil. And I used to do what was very similar to transcribing. I would get a painting that I liked, and I would just start painting to imitate. I never took lessons or anything, but I learned a lot from Frida. These paintings, I grew up with them from when I was very young. I thought that that would be important because oftentimes when I write music, and this is a large project, in the middle I tend to forget the core image—where it’s coming from, where it started from. So, when I got offered the commission, I thought, ‘Okay it’s going to be about Frida Kahlo, it’s going to be this scope and these paintings, and different people that surrounded her life.’ So I wrote it all down on a piece of paper and this is what I had in front of my piano while wrote the suite. That was my reminder. Every time I felt like I lost the core, or the sense of direction, I would go back to that.

The music continued to evolve after its 2018 premiere, resulting in Aldana’s 2019 album of the same name, which you can stream below.
For this weekend’s performance of Visions, Aldana will be mixing up the instrumentation from the record, playing with guitarist Mike Moreno, bassist Pablo Menares, and drummer Kush Abadey. Come check out what new visions these musicians have for Aldana’s compositions. (more…)

Micah Thomas

Photo by Pavithran Thomas, courtesy of the artist.

This week, The Jazz Gallery welcomes pianist Micah Thomas back to our stage for two sets with his working trio. Thomas’s past year has been filled with both challenge and accomplishment; from the pandemic and the loss of his teacher Frank Kimbrough, to the release of his debut album, Tide, and a feature on NPR’s Morning Edition (which you can stream below).

For his performance at the Gallery, Thomas will be joined by bassist Dean Torrey and drummer Kayvon Gordon, a trio with ever-deepening rapport. Before hearing them at the Gallery, check out their performance from Desmond White’s Underexposed series, including Thomas taking a spin on Fender Rhodes.


Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Saturday, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome saxophonist Dayna Stephens back to our stage for two sets. Despite the challenges of the past 18 months, Stephens has managed to release three new albums on his new imprint, showcasing different sides of his musical personality. Liberty, released just pre-pandemic, features Stephens in a 3-way rhythmic boxing match with bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric Harland, recorded in the famed Rudy Van Gelder studio.
Right Now! was recorded live during Stephens’ debut run at the Village Vanguard in 2019. Many of the tracks come from the evening where Stephens’ family flew in from the west coast as a surprise.
Stephens’ latest release Pluto Juice! from this past July has a cosmic flavor, featuring Stephens’ work on EWI and compositions inspired by NASA spacecraft and the astronomer Carl Sagan.
For his performance at the Gallery, Stephens will be joined by pianist Gabriel Chakarji, bassist Rick Rosato, and drummer Kweku Sumbry. With these flexible sidemen, anything from the Stephens songbook is fair game. (more…)

From L to R: Dave Liebman, Adam Rudolph, Tyshawn Sorey. Photos courtesy of the artists.

This week, acclaimed improvisers Dave Liebman, Adam Rudolph, and Tyshawn Sorey come to The Jazz Gallery, performing together as a trio for the first time. Rudolph is the connecting tissue in the ensemble, having invited both Liebman and Sorey to play with him at different residencies at The Stone in recent years. After playing there together in 2016, Liebman and Rudolph recorded The Unknowable (Rare Noise) with percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani.
Later, during Rudolph’s 2018 Stone residency, he and Liebman joined forces with percussionist Hamid Drake, yielding the live album Chi (Rare Noise).
In 2019, Rudolph and Sorey presented 2 nights of scintillating duo performances.

With this long track record of collaboration, the trio of Liebman, Rudolph, and Sorey will yield sounds both fresh and lived-in. (more…)

Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Thursday, September 16, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome bassist Ben Tiberio and his quintet to our stage for two sets. Not only is this Tiberio’s first time at the Gallery as a leader (after playing here alongside the likes of Joel Ross, Immanuel Wilkins, and Sasha Berliner), it also marks the almost-release of his debut album, Rare Piece (Outside in Music). The album features 10 original compositions by Tiberio, written across a decade, a decade which saw him finish college, move to New York City, and become an integral member of his improviser peer group.

The compositions are deeply personal, representing what Tiberio calls his “deep perception of the emotional auras of people around me.” This kind of raw connection is reflected in Tiberio’s own wordless vocals on these tracks, including the lead sing “[e]motion,” which you can check out below.

For this release show at the Gallery, Tiberio will be joined album collaborators Nathan Reising on alto saxophone, Lex Korten on piano, and Evan Hyde on drums, as well as tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens. Come to the Gallery this Thursday to experience what Tiberio describes as “this unifying force, which is pervasive and essential in music, provides us with sanctuary and fills us with hope.” (more…)