The Jazz Gallery’s Alone Together piano Festival happens on April 22/23rd and should prove to be an interesting night of solo piano performances by Fabian Almazan, Aaron Parks, Theo Hill, Luis Perdomo and myself. I go on a solo European tour between May 11-19 (see calendar).
Also, I’m very excited to be playing John’s Zorn’s Bagetelles again in May- first at the Stone on may 3rd in NYC and then at the Victoriaville festival (FIMAV) on May 21st. Joining me will be Mary Halvorson, Drew Gress and Tyshawn Sorey!
Very excited to announce that I will perform at the Newport Jazz festival in July this year! I will be performing twice- a solo concert and with Eric Revis’ quartet with Ken Vandermark and Nasheet Waits!
In March, Eric Revis’ new trio record is coming out on Cleanfeed with Eric, myself and Gerald Cleaver. We tour Europe in March (John Betsch plays drums)…see here for dates and locations. I found an excellent quote from Branford Marsalis about Eric in a recent Jazz Times article: “It’s not so much a big sound, it’s a big beat. He plays with a certain kind of physical authority you don’t find very often anymore.” So true!
Last week I play at Winter Jazz Fest with Michael Formaneks’ new big band, Ensemble Kolossus. His album is coming out on ECM in a few weeks; the music is breathtaking and I’m honored to be a part of this incredible ensemble. I highly recommend taking a listen to this album!
I’m excited to announce that after three years of composing, I have completed a set of new solo works for piano (commissioned by The Shifting Foundation) and will premier the works at the Jazz Gallery in April. These are short, through composed pieces and I plan to offer the score to each piece as a download through my website. I will also premier some of the works on a solo European tour in May.
A few months ago I played some of John Zorn’s Bagatelles at the Stone. This project gave way to a new quartet with myself, Mary Halvorson, Drew Gress and Tyshawn Sorey. We will play Zorns’ bagatelles at some festivals this year and next year (TBA!) and at the Village Vanguard in August along with some other excellent bands (my first time playing at the Vanguard!).
Thanks to the Shifting Foundation, Craig Taborn and I will perform a series of two piano concerts in the fall, touring the US and Canada for two weeks in October. We played together this past year for a duos recording I made (more about this soon) and it was one of those rare moments that felt like we’ve been playing together for years. So excited for this project and a big thanks to The Shifting Foundation for making this possible.
I’m very excited to announce that I was chosen to receive a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award along with Tyshawn Sorey, Matt Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Mark Dresser, Milford Graves and Mark Dresser. More information can be found here.
Also, I just found out that I made 2nd place in the category of Rising Star Pianist in this years Critics Poll in Downbeat Magazine! There is also an excellent review of ‘Save Your Breath’, my new octet record, in this August Downbeat Issue.
My project for 4 bass clarinets (Ben Goldberg, Andrew Bishop, Oscar Noriega, Joachim Badenhorst) with organ (Gary Versace), guitar (Nate Radley), drums (Jim Black) and piano (me!) is coming out soon on Clean Feed. Here’s a video about the project and the upcoming release on Clean Feed Records.
Which comes first, the pianist or the composer? Even on Kris Davis’ exceptional 2011 solo album, Aeriol Piano, the answer was elusive, the ingenuity of her writing and arranging seizing as much attention as her playing and improvising. On Davis’ new quintet recording, Capricorn Climber, the Brooklyn-based artist is so geared toward group interplay and an overall group sound, it’s even more difficult to sort out the sides of her individual talent.
Among new-school pianists, Davis is one of the least disposed toward stepping out, as engaging a soloist as she has proved herself to be. And even when she is taking the lead, she largely acts as facilitator, enhancing the overall sound with sharp accents, classically tinged lines and percussive rumbles. The band boasts two other exceptional soloists in tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, a frequent partner of hers, and viola ace Mat Maneri, who is new to their circle and plays something of a wild card with his wired lyricism. But Laubrock and Maneri also exercise restraint to serve the group aesthetic.
Capricorn Climber is dreamier, more reflective and more playful than Rye Eclipse, Davis’ sometimes hard-edged 2008 quartet album. The quintet, featuring bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Tom Rainey, alternates between wide tonal brush strokes and brisk melodies, free-floating effects and knotty inventions. Building on the brilliantly inventive Rainey’s melody statement on glockenspiel, “Trevor’s Luffa Complex” moves in rapid fashion from minimalism to Ornette-ish lines to free expression. Two of the songs, highlighting Laubrock’s ease in shifting from a classic tenor sound to guttural modern outbursts, come off as mini-suites with their sudden shifts in mood and compositional strategy. Our awareness of the power being held in reserve adds to the impression the album makes.
Union is the second album by Paradoxical Frog, the collective trio teaming Davis, Laubrock (featured on soprano saxophone as well as tenor) and another inspired drummer, Tyshawn Sorey. Boasting compositions by all three members, the album is in some ways a stripped-down companion piece to Capricorn Climber. Playing a deeper inside game than they did on their more assertive debut, the trio makes its most compelling statement with the droning minimalism of “First Strike,” a transfixing piece out of the new-music songbook of LaMonte Young and Morton Feldman, on which Laubrock sustains a long single tone on tenor. “Second Strike” achieves power through elegance.
Offsetting such spatial effects, the trio engages in clipped, swinging phrases on the title track and a lively stop-start attack on “Fear the Fairy Dust.” Sorey’s spare use of trombone or melodica adds color and dimension to two tunes. Cerebral music like this isn’t always fun to listen to. That Union is speaks to how much Davis, Laubrock and Sorey enjoy not only their group concept, but playing in each other’s company.