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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

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Photo by Kholood Eid, courtesy of the artist.

This week, The Jazz Gallery is thrilled to start 2020 with two nights of live recording with the Darius Jones Quartet. As a saxophonist and composer, Jones is hard to pin down, always swinging between diverse projects of varied sizes. On the eve of the 2018 midterm elections, Jones spearheaded a concert/community event entitled For The People at Roulette, featuring activist works including his compositions including “Being Caged in ICE” and “LawNOrder.” In 2019, Jones has been honing his flexible composition Cartilage in a variety of configurations, from solo performances to a quintet version at this summer’s Vision Festival, below.

Jones’s run at the Gallery this week will be recorded for release by Jimmy Katz’s nonprofit label Giant Steps Arts and features collaborators old and new—vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassists Dezron Douglas and Sean Conly, and drummer Kush Abadey. Don’t miss this latest installment of Jones’s searching, constantly evolving musical language. (more…)

Design by Takao Fujioka

For many years around the winter holidays, trumpeter Roy Hargrove would return to The Jazz Gallery for a special weekend of performances, many times inviting younger trumpeters to sit in. To honor Hargrove’s living legacy this weekend, The Jazz Gallery is proud to present a pair of big band tribute concerts featuring many Hargrove friends and collaborators.

With special guest vocalist Renee Neufville, the band is sure to feature charts from the Hargrove big band book, as well as other Hargrove favorites. Before celebrating Hargrove’s life and music and the Gallery this weekend, take a listen to a live performance of his infectious tune “Top of My Head,” (you’ll hear saxophonist Justin Robinson and drummer Quincy Phillips with the band this weekend).

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Photo by John Rogers, courtesy of the artist.

This weekend, The Jazz Gallery is thrilled to turn over the stage to Henry Threadgill and his long-running ensemble Zooid. Since the band’s debut in 2001, Zooid has been Threadgill’s playground and laboratory, as he has developed a unique and rigorous system for group improvisation. In an interview with Jazz Speaks, Zooid’s guitarist Liberty Ellman describes some of the elements of Threadgill’s process:

Everything Henry does comes from the perspective of being a composer and a player. Music for him isn’t just a vehicle for soloing; it includes a lot regarding what he hopes to achieve in terms of ensemble sound. I always admire how varied and creative his forms are. For example, we don’t do traditional ‘ABA’ forms; there could be six or seven different sections. After he writes everything, he pretty much considers it modular, so when we rehearse, we might just play one or two sections at a time, and then reorganize the piece depending on what happens during the rehearsal. We might change who solos on what section, move melodies around, or rebuild structures as we go.

This work reached an apotheosis on Zooid’s 2015 album, In for a Penny, In for a Pound (Pi Recordings), an 80-minute epic that was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Since then, Threadgill’s output has focused more on works for larger ensembles, including Ensemble Double Up, 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg, and a commission from the Cleveland Museum of Art for Zooid and chamber ensemble.

Zooid’s special run of performances at The Jazz Gallery is sure to showcase Threadgill’s ever-deepening musical system along with the musicians who know it best. (more…)

Photo by Jimmy Katz, courtesy of the artist.

This week at The Jazz Gallery has turned into a mini-residency for guitarist Mike Moreno. After joining the Kendrick Scott/Kanoa Mendenhall Mentoring Series band on Thursday and vocalist Sachal Vasandani on Friday, Moreno returns on Saturday evening for two sets with a new quartet. Featuring pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Matt Brewer, and drummer Nate Smith, the quartet has a decidedly electric tilt and will perform new Moreno compositions.

Before coming out to hear this brand new material, take a listen to Moreno performing one of his longtime favorite compositions—Wayne Shorter’s “The Big Push”—at the Blue Whale in Los Angeles last month.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50wJpdCL02I

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Photo by Jati Lindsay, courtesy of the artist.

This Friday, December 6, The Jazz Gallery is pleased to welcome vocalist Sachal Vasandani back to our stage for a special, one-off evening of song with pianist Vijay Iyer and guitarist Mike Moreno. An immensely versatile vocalist, Vasandani is as comfortable performing classic repertoire with a lusch backing (check out his Nat King Cole project here) as he is mixing it up in stripped down settings, like this performance of Thelonious Monk’s “Reflections,” below:

With adventurous collaborators like Iyer and Moreno in the mix, who knows what sparks will fly at the Gallery on Friday. (more…)