Jazz-beyond-rock: Tony Williams addressing today’s emergency

Spectrum Road -- electric guitarist Vernon Reid, bassist Jack Bruce, keyboardist John Medeski and drummer Cindy Blackman -- playing high energy, high volume music at the Blue Note (NYC) this weekend inspired by the jazz-rock amalgam the late, great Tony Williams created 40 years ago, seems utterly cutting edge. Or is it just my old ears, getting deaf to quieter subtleties? … [Read more...]

In lieu of JVC Jazz festivals

Did you miss the "festivity" of June jazz concerts in major Manhattan venues -- or did you find ways of coping without them? There's so much fine music -- jazz and beyond -- in nearby festive settings, many of them out-of-doors, that the absence of a 38-year-old institution doesn't seem to have made much stir. Perhaps you didn't even notice? Here's my most recent City Arts - NYC report on how George Wein responded to his perennial presence in New York City's jazz summer being suspended, upcoming classic jazz alternatives in Kent, CT, Katonah NY … [Read more...]

Live in New York, it’s jazz beyond jazz

Presentations of jazz that break all sorts of bounds, pushing far beyond stale conventions -- jazz beyond jazz -- are so prevalent in Manhattan that the energy expended just being on the scene can leave me too drained to report on the good stuff. Five shows in the past month -- Dee Dee Bridgewater's Mali project at the Blue Note, Myra Melford's new quartet at Roulette, Richard Bona and Lionel Loueke in the Allen Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center, James "Blood" Ulmer with Vernon Reid's neo-blues band at the Jazz Standard and an evening celebrating … [Read more...]

New beyond-jazz in NYC clubs

Alto saxophonist Greg Osby debuted a sextet with vocalist, electric guitar and vibes at the Village Vanguard, and pianist Lafayette Gilchrist brought an unusually horn-heavy band from Baltimore into (Le) Poisson Rouge, opening for guitarist Vernon Reid's rockin', scratchin' Yohimbe Brothers. Is this the shape of jazz to come? … [Read more...]