A look inside The Jazz Gallery

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Setting poetry to music is delicate business, yet Frank Carlberg has nearly perfected the process. Over five quintet albums spanning 13 years, the Finnish-born, Brooklyn-based pianist has crafted full bodied compositions from the poems of Wallace Stevens, Jack Kerouac, Kenneth Rexroth, and more, placing longtime collaborator Christine Correa’s vocals front and center. The group’s most recent release, 2009’s The American Dream (Red Piano Records), features settings of Robert Creeley poems commissioned by Chamber Music America. Carlberg’s strong, idiosyncratic melodies would stand on their own without words; the poetry only adds depth to an already nuanced collection of compositions. All About Jazz called the album an “inventive recreation” of Creeley’s work, and the Boston Phoenix praised Carlberg’s “full art-song arrangements.”

The quintet Carlberg brings to Thursday’s double-billed show with the Michigan-based Songsmith Collective will include longstanding members Correa and drummer Michael Sarin as well as saxophonist Jeremy Udden and bassist Jay Anderson. Outside of this group, Carlberg teaches at multiple schools and leads his own trio and big band, but even if you limited his output solely to quintet projects, the result would be impressively prolific.

The Frank Carlberg Quintet and Songsmith Collective will perform at The Jazz Gallery this Thursday, March 27th, 2014. The Frank Carlberg Quintet features Carlberg on piano, Christine Correa on voice, Jeremy Udden on saxophones, Jay Anderson on bass, and Michael Sarin on drums. Songsmith Collective features Elliot Weeks and Brooke Lauritzen on voice, Curtis James on trumpet, Dominic Carioti on soprano and tenor saxophone, Blake Cross on tenor saxophone, Luke Marlow on trombone, Marcus Johnson on baritone saxophone and bass clarinet, Kellen Boersma on guitar, Mark Niskanen on piano, Denis Shebukov on bass, and Steven Perry on drums. Both ensembles will perform short sets at 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. $20 general admission ($10 for Members). Purchase tickets here.