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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

The New York Times praises Darius Jones’ “proud, rafters raising tone on alto saxophone,” and characterizes his style as an improviser as “fearless but disciplined.” JazzTimes concurs: “A head full of ideas and a heart full of talent. He never wastes a note or a breath.”

A native of Richmond, VA, Darius moved to New York in 2005. Since arriving here, he’s established collaborations with the pianist Matthew Shipp and the collective Little Women, and has been spotted on bandstands with Gerald Cleaver, Oliver Lake, William Parker, Andrew Cyrille, and countless others. The saxophonist signed with AUM Fidelity in 2009, and has released an autobiographical trilogy of critically-lauded albums on the label which he dubs “the Man’ish Boy Epic.”

The latest release, Book of Mæ’bul (Another Kind of Sunrise), in Darius’ words, is “an attempt at creating a totem to represent Jones’ spiritual pursuit” of “Love and Beauty.” On Thursday, we are pleased to welcome Darius’ Mæ’bul Quartet to our stage for the inaugural performance at our new space. In a blog entry on this group’s performance at the 2012 Vision Festival, Time Out New York‘s Hank Shteamer writes:

The performance centered on a series of heart-rending ballads. Jones sounded as precise and openhearted as I’ve ever heard him. Every time I go see him, I’m struck by the care and gravity he puts into each phrase; even if the passage is a delicate one, he gears up, bears down, applies enormous psychic pressure. The notes have a vocal cry—smooth, yet with rasp always threatening to creep in around the edges, like peppered honey—but they’re sculpted and purposeful. He’s entered a new phase of maturity with this project. Its emotional spectrum is total.

On the subject of the group’s forthcoming appearance at The Gallery, Darius adds:

Thurs. Jan. 17th is the opening of the new Jazz Gallery. It is their first performance in the new space. It is also my first performance there as a leader. The gallery has been supporting and doing amazing work for the jazz community for years. So come out and see the new space. More important support them through this transition. Also if you just want to come and hear Mæ’bul that is a good reason to show up too. Muah!

We hope to see you at the first performance at our new home. Don’t take our word for it; The New York Times has selected this concert as a Critics’ Pick:

★ Darius Jones MAE’bul Quartet (Thursday) With “Book of Mae’bul (Another Kind of Sunrise)” (Aum Fidelity), the alto saxophonist Darius Jones lobs another depth charge into the post-bop swimming pool, backed by a rhythm section featuring the pianist Matt Mitchell, who rejoins him here. (Also on deck: the bassist Sean Conly and the drummer Chad Taylor.) This show will officially break in a new space for the Jazz Gallery, an important hub that lost its old lease at the turn of the year.