Artsjournal.com unleashed Rifftides on the world four years ago today. A lot of blogging has gone down since then. See the archives (center column) for a complete history. Here’s a section of the first item, posted June 15, 2005, when I was in New York promoting Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond.
The Village Vanguard was sold out, full of advance planners and second mortgagers eager to hear Lou Donaldson. We wandered three blocks down the street and found a 1920s garage converted into a jazz club. Even adjusting for inflation, the Garage Restaurant at 7th Avenue South near Grove is no throwback to the last golden age of jazz in New York–not in the fiscal sense. A couple of drinks can make twenty dollars disappear. But there is no cover and no minimum, and it is possible even on a populous Saturday night to comandeer a stool at the bar, focus your hearing through the hilarity and be treated to a superior jazz performance.
We listened to the Nick Moran trio with bassist Marco Panascia and pianist Eduardo Withrington. Moran is a good young guitarist with a lyrical bebop bent and an alert harmonic faculty. He would benefit from self-editing, but it’s a rare young improviser who would not. Unless you don’t want to hear the piano, try for a spot at the bar that is not under the enormous copper air vent, a relic of a cooking area long dismantled. The metal seems to block or absorb the piano’s sonority.
Next up was the bright young tenor saxophonist Virginia Mayhew, a Garage regular. She was at the helm of a pianoless quartet, a good idea under the acoustic circumstances. Mayhew’s playing was so far advanced from the last time I heard her that I was riveted by her expansive tenor sound, flow of ideas, humor, use of space, and swing that is by turns loping and hard-driving.
To read the whole thing, go here.
By coincidence, as you read this I am on my way to New York again, for a week of business and pleasure. I’ll attend the Jazz Journalists Association awards at the Jazz Standard to present the JJA journalism lifetime achievement award to the 2009 winner. I was unable to be there last year to accept it. And, who knows, maybe I’ll make it down to The Garage again. Blogging will be as time allows.
Thanks to Rifftides readers around the world for four years of interest, support and participation.