Anticipation was running high and the energy level was palpable, as when the hair on the back of your neck deifies gravity if you stand below a high voltage power line, for drummer Matt Wilson's performance with his Arts & Crafts band at Tri-C's Black Box Theatre.
If you want to be part of a racially diverse audience experiencing jazz in an intimate setting, then the Tri-C Jazz Festival's "Debut" series, held at the East Cleveland Public Library, is the place to be. But don't be late, because the 250-seat auditorium is filled on a first-come-first-served basis
Silent Photographer is an excellent trio recording. The tone is generally hushed and introspective, and the improvisations are searching and cerebral. Though the group does utilize dissonance, space and tense harmony, the music never feels alienating. The musicianship here is first rate, and the group's interplay is equally impressive. Further credit also goes John Stowell (long an underrated and original guitarist) and Jeff Johnson for contributing well crafted and fitting originals to this album. This album is worth seeking out. Highly recommended.
Renowned vibraphonist and improviser Karl Berger often serves as the centralizing entity on this curiously interesting date. A multinational trio, the music is often patterned with sublime textures, ethereal subtleties, and methodical song-forms, occasionally grounded on succinct pulses and steadily moving waves of sound. Here, Berger is the elder statement via his historic alignments with the crème de la crème of modern jazz stylists and cutting-edge improvisers.
Three veritable jazz heavyweights align for a briskly moving and thoroughly modern program, steeped in galvanizing thematic encounters. Trombonist Conrad Herwig, heralded for his hip 'Latinizations' of jazz standards amid a progressive outline, exercises ample doses of pop and sizzle throughout many of these oscillating pieces. And the lack of a bassist engenders a musical climate that offers a loose, open-air foundation for improvisation, sparked by all-universe drummer Jack DeJohnette's sweeping rolls and polyrhythmic timekeeping.
The second recording by drummer Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up follows the heralded Actionspeak (2010, 482 Music), and continues upon a course, teeming with unanticipated shifts in strategy, but not executed in shock-therapy mode. With a superfine support system of revered improvisers, including guitarist Mary Halvorson who seems to be showing up everywhere these days, Fujiwara reaps the benefits of a distinctly fresh musical climate. With off-kilter patterns, cunning geometric architectures and sudden paradigm shifts, the band merges a search and conquer tactical component with an acutely balanced mix of structure and free-form dialogues.
Pianist and composer Chris Donnelly teaches at the University of Toronto and has previous teaching experience as a faculty member at the Humber College Community Music School, Prairielands Jazz Camp and the National Music Camp of Canada. Holding Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto, where he studied with David Braid, Gary Williamson, Paul Read, Kirk MacDonald Alexander Rapoport and Russell Hartenberger, Donnelly was awarded The Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award for students "deemed to have the greatest potential to make an important contribution to the field of music."
Nuance and breathing room was the order of the day for Enrico Rava's February ending performance at Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery. This was the last stop on a four-city, American tour and the audience fully understood just how auspicious the afternoon's concert was to be. The quintet hit the stage and with no fanfare, immediately set to work.
Cleveland's famed Nighttown was a tour stop in late February for tenor saxophonist Danny McCaslin. The Wednesday evening crowd was plentiful and eager to hear the latest musical offering from this New York City stalwart.