Geri Allen’s ultimate album as a pacesetter used to be “Grand River Crossings,” a solo piano recording from 2013 launched on Motéma Records.
Diversity in the Mainstream
‘JAZZ-AGEDDON:’ RAY ANGRY, WARREN WOLF AND FRIENDS The Blue Note, Jan. 22
Years in the past, for those who put a couple of musicians from considered one of jazz’s main inventive streams right into a room, it is advisable to roughly are expecting the registers they might hit and the jobs each and every software would play. Not lately. For 3 nights in January, the pianist Ray Angry and the vibraphonist Warren Wolf took over the Blue Note, inviting a sundry group of collaborators to take part in what they referred to as the “Jazz-ageddon” sequence, and the end result used to be a multihued patchwork.
Mr. Angry and Mr. Wolf come from reverse ends of the similar normal spectrum. Mr. Angry has been a first-call pianist for pop acts like John Legend and Joss Stone, however his large influences are jazz and gospel. Mr. Wolf is a vibraphonist who’s maximum frequently heard in acoustic mixtures, taking part in straight-ahead jazz and its offshoots. On Jan. 22, they had been joined via seven different musicians, together with the saxophonists Tia Fuller and James Carter, the bassist Ben Williams and the drummer Marcus Gilmore.
The track incorporated “The Community Theme Song,” a samba-inflected music via the trombonist Wycliffe Gordon with a carefully lingering melody; David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”; and a marvel cameo from Black Thought of the Roots, who rapped a casually prodigious freestyle over the beat from Nas’s “One Love,” performed via Mr. Wolf, Mr. Williams and Mr. Gilmore.
There used to be only one second when the musicians fell right into a crisp, midtempo swing really feel, and it used to be on a track you wouldn’t be expecting: “My First Mine,” an early-90s garage-rock scorcher from the indie-rock band Pavement.
Warren Wolf returns to New York March 6-10, taking part in a run at Birdland with the Cyrus Chestnut Quartet.
Mythmaking for the Present Day
JEN SHYU The Jazz Gallery, Jan. 24
Jen Shyu’s newest track cycle, “Nine Doors,” grew out of loss. After her good friend, the Indonesian shadow puppeteer Sri Joko Raharjo, died in a automobile twist of fate together with his spouse and toddler kid, best his Four-year-old daughter survived. With her in thoughts, Ms. Shyu set about culling folkloric stories from traditions throughout East and Southeast Asia, and created her personal syncretic saga for the existing day.
The paintings is greater than conceptual inquiry or non-public discovery. At the Jazz Gallery, Ms. Shyu became the degree into an area of imaginative ritual; she framed storytelling and mythmaking as recent phenomena — even prerequisites. She opened the efficiency via main the room in a stretching workout, then defined the tale of the crash in a somber however welcoming tone. Standing via the piano, she defined how the collision had happened, nearly performing as though the software had been the automobile.
Many mins later, after a track of chilly, raging grief — Ms. Shyu making a song in a blustery howl, clawing on the strings of the Japanese biwa — she wandered again towards the piano. Eventually it become transparent that she used to be merely retrieving an software perched alongside the wall, however for a second my breath stopped. The piano nonetheless gave the impression to constitute the scene of the crash, and it felt as though she had been re-entering an area of peril. That magic remained all over the set: A easy jazz membership degree become a territory of trust, narrative and beauty.
Free, Forceful and Unified
LOGAN RICHARDSON QUARTET Smalls, Jan. 29
By sure appearances, the alto saxophonist Logan Richardson’s efficiency at Smalls must have made a listener really feel impatient or unfocused. Leading an ordinary sax-piano-bass-drums quartet, Mr. Richardson performed 8 authentic tunes, each and every one tumbling out with a way of daring disassembly. Their sections had been arduous to outline; the band swelled and crested with out settling into carefully knit patterns. Often, polyrhythms had been implied, after which the band briefly began to play outdoor and round them. The workforce now and again shambled right into a free-flowing rubato proper in the center of a quick music, but it surely maintained conviction, and have shyed away from melodrama.
But there used to be a type of wealthy concord right here, even supposing you best truly felt it in retrospect. Partly that’s on account of the boldness and energy introduced via Mr. Richardson’s band associates: John Escreet on piano, Harish Raghavan on bass and Kenny Grohowski on drums. They rendered each and every particular person word with stark, upstanding drive, retaining company amid the swarm.
And as a saxophone soloist, Mr. Richardson went in each path however the only you anticipated; he performed arcing, bluesy, honeydew words with out filing to cliché. He’s keen on soul-inflected grace notes, however he all the time articulates them thickly and cleanly, rolling into and out of them. In his fingers, each heat gesture is a forceful remark.
Logan Richardson’s “Shift” used to be launched in 2016 on Blue Note Records.
A Large Ensemble With an Expansive Palette
JOHN HOLLENBECK’S LARGE ENSEMBLE Le Poisson Rouge, Jan. 30
We’re about 70 years into the eerie afterlife of the jazz large band. What began out as an engine for in style American dance track hasn’t had a lot to do with dance flooring — or popular culture — for the reason that finish of the 1940s. Since then, the massive band has been a medium for expansively minded composers, who aren’t aiming for dancers however have so much to mention about bodily motion because it happens at the bandstand, throughout the track.
John Hollenbeck, a drummer and composer, is considered one of lately’s maximum dynamic orchestral jazz bandleaders, a undeniable fact that’s bolstered via the discharge of “All Can Work,” the arresting new album from his Large Ensemble. With this 19-piece workforce (20 together with its conductor, J.C. Sanford), he pulls from the annals of that big-band afterlife: Gil Evans’s paintings with Miles Davis in the 1950s; Bob Brookmeyer’s slyly locomotive preparations of the 1970s and ’80s; the luxurious, tangled vibrancy of Guillermo Klein’s track from the 1990s and early 2000s.
The John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble’s CD free up efficiency started with “Elf” — a longer composition primarily based round “Isfahan,” the deliquescent Billy Strayhorn ballad — and ended on a bridling, crosshatched rendition of Kraftwerk’s “The Model.” In between had been 4 Hollenbeck originals, all from the brand new album, each and every one doused in citrusy, corrugated harmonies, with currents that constructed large circles round crescent-shaped melodies. The report’s identify monitor used to be a spotlight, with the vocalist Theo Bleckmann making a song lyrics drawn from messages that the trumpeter Laurie Frink had written to Mr. Hollenbeck quickly ahead of her loss of life in 2013. The trumpet phase performed a bobbing, elliptical trend primarily based upon Ms. Frink’s tutorial workout routines, and Mr. Bleckmann sang in a gradual, matter-of-fact tone: “I will miss you all, and especially the music.”
John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble simply launched “All Can Work” on New Amsterdam Records.