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  • Wynton and Garth Fagan talk about the upcoming concert

    Posted on November 7th, 2005 in Concerts | 0

    Wynton came to us with the music for the love duet Spring Yaoundé,” Mr. Fagan said, “but when he saw it, he said, ‘No, man, I’m not going to use this,’ and he tossed away what he’d come with, and sat down at the piano, and with one hand on the keys, he put his trumpet to his mouth and just composed an extraordinary ballad right there. I mean the damn walls were crying with emotion by the end of it   Keep reading »

  • Combining Forces to Revive the Soul of New Orleans

    Posted on October 29th, 2005 in Review | 0

    Music is the soul of society, the heart of culture. So, at least, it was variously pronounced by the likes of Itzhak Perlman and Beverly Sills in the course of an evening devoted to bringing it back. “Bringing Back the Music” was the title of the New York Philharmonic’s joint benefit concert with and for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra on Friday night at Avery Fisher Hall. New Orleans, of course, was the intended destination of this particular return: orchestral music in other American cities will have to continue to fend for itself.   Keep reading »

  • Higher Ground benefit concert reviewed on New York Times

    Posted on September 23rd, 2005 in Review | 0

    True to New Orleans ritual, “Higher Ground”—the benefit for Hurricane Katrina relief at the Rose Theater on Saturday night—opened with a processional and wound up with a parade.   Keep reading »

  • Big-Band Music Without the Weight of Nostalgia

    Posted on May 21st, 2005 in Review | 0

    You have to work a little at understanding Thad Jones, the trumpeter and composer. He arrived in New York in 1954, a decade after bebop exploded. He spent nine years playing and arranging with the Count Basie band, and made some lovely but generally overlooked small-group records under his own name. In the mid-1960’s, when so much jazz was open-ended, small-group expressionism, he directed all his energies toward an immaculately sculptured big band.   Keep reading »

  • Don Quixote Rides Again, With an Ellingtonian Sidekick

    Posted on May 12th, 2005 in Review | 0

    More than two hours of original jazz music was played at Rose Theater on Thursday night. It was shaped around stories from “Don Quixote” and scored for 15 musicians and 2 singers, with a professional actor reading about 5,000 words of Cervantes in and around 23 songs and instrumental sketches. It was ambitious, well played, deeply Ellingtonian - and completely indigestible.   Keep reading »

  • Old Friends Get Together, Feeling Right at Home

    Posted on March 12th, 2005 in Review | 1

    When Wynton Marsalis performs with his septet in New York these days, it is a special occasion. He toured Europe with the band a few years ago, but his duties at Lincoln Center as well as his ambitions to compose large works for big ensembles reached critical mass in the late 1990’s. So the septet faded into the background. But it’s good to be reminded of what it achieved. On Wednesday, at Rose Theater, the band entered from stage left, the musicians chanting in a slow single-file entrance, moving and stomping their feet in parade rhythm. As soon as they took their positions and dug into the tune—it was Mr. Marsalis’s “Ain’ No”—they flooded the acoustical space in the room.   Keep reading »

  • Sound Portraits Influenced by the View From the Train

    Posted on March 2nd, 2005 in Review | 0

    When jazz bands played one-nighters in long lists of fourth-tier American towns, trains were a major part of their logistical life. But trains naturally crept into jazz composers’ aesthetic lives, too. At least, this was the case with Duke Ellington, who worked so much about the outside world into his music.   Keep reading »

  • Movement and Music, Both Jazz and Both Live

    Posted on November 5th, 2004 in Review | 0

    Just as jazz music comes in many sonic varieties, so jazz dancing can assume many shapes in space. That became clear on Wednesday night in “Jazz in Motion,” a Jazz at Lincoln Center presentation with works by four choreographers, three of them offering premieres.   Keep reading »

  • With Built-In Tension, Jazz Swings to the Past

    Posted on November 2nd, 2004 in Review | 2

    Ralph Ellison, who was lured away from the trumpet to become a writer, once explained that in jazz there is a “cruel contradiction implicit in the art form.” It is a contradiction between the individual and the group, between solitary assertion and collective cooperation. A “true jazz moment,” Ellison said, “springs from a contest in which each artist challenges all the rest,” in which the very nature of the player’s identity is at stake. That is the drama of solo riffs, of call-and-response interchanges, of daring high-wire improvisations.   Keep reading »

  • Soaking Up the Spaces at a New Jazz Center

    Posted on October 19th, 2004 in Review | 4

    Some basic impressions of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s new space, which opened last night: It is a sophisticated, cosmopolitan, fairly expensive-feeling experience; it is flexible and alive. Jazz has so many different connotations for different people. But at least some part of this three-theater complex, taking up the fifth and sixth floors of the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle, could ring the bells of recognition of someone who had never been to a jazz performance before and only possessed the received wisdom of photographs and album covers: yes, this seems right; this is jazz. And it contains enough attention to detail to impress those who have spent the better part of their lives hearing it, too.   Keep reading »