A look inside The Jazz Gallery


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“I mostly hear the band when I’m writing,” says Canadian-born bassist Lauren Falls, who released her début album, The Quiet Fight (2013), last winter. The band that she wrote for included some familiar names in modern jazz: saxophonist Seamus Blake, guitarist Nir Felder, pianist Can Olgun, drummer Trevor Falls (her brother), plus trumpeter Jon Challoner and cellist Caleigh Drane on several tracks. The core quintet will appear this Thursday, December 4th, 2014, at The Jazz Gallery, with drummer Justin Brown filling in for Trevor Falls.

Although The Quiet Fight was released last December, Falls didn’t hold her Cornelia Street Café CD release concert until July; she already had other plans. Soon after she released the album, Falls caught a flight to Mumbai to teach bass guitar, upright bass, and ear-training for four months at The True School of Music, a sister school of the Manhattan School of Music (where Falls earned her Master’s degree in jazz performance).

The Quiet Fight is an honest, mainstream modern jazz effort with songs that feature many familiar textures and devices—straight-eighth note grooves, odd time signatures, independent and melodic ostinati—employed with confident ease and self-expressive focus. Among Falls’s recent compositional reference points are saxophonist Ben Wendel, who participated in the Gallery’s 2013-14 Residency Commissions series, and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, another Gallery alumnus whose compositional approach on albums like the imagined savior is far easier to paint (Blue Note) has been undeniably influential among numerous young jazz musicians.

The song titles themselves reflect Falls’s interest in finding inspiration in everyday life: “B Line to Brooklyn,” “Window Watcher,” “Counting Down the Days.” As she puts it, “I put a lot of thought into song titles. Sometimes, the titles come to me even before I’ve written the song itself.”

Most recently, Falls has been increasingly involved with the singer-songwriter world. After being recommended for a couple gigs here and there, she’s started singing background vocals to supplement her bass playing. She’ll be premiering some recent compositions on Thursday in addition to performing music from The Quiet Fight, but she has already been thinking about the follow-up to her début release.

“I’m taking a month in January to write new music,” she says. “New York is amazing, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed or get distracted. I’ll have a house and a piano to myself in B.C., so I’m looking forward to spending some time alone to work on new material.”

The Lauren Falls Quintet performs this Thursday, December 4th, 2014, at The Jazz Gallery. The band features Falls on bass, Seamus Blake on tenor saxophone, Nir Felder on guitar, Can Olgun on piano, Justin Brown on drums, plus special guests. Sets are at 8 & 10 p.m. The first set is $15.00 ($10.00 for Members) and the second set is $10.00 ($8.00 for Members). Purchase tickets here.