FEATURE JAZZFEST

Words & Images – A Review of Winter Jazzfest NYC – #NYCWJF

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Images – Jeff Day

Words – Brandon Peckman

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To find refuge from the blustering winds of 2017’s first snowstorm, one could escape into the electrifying world of the 13th Annual Winter Jazzfest, which boasted over 100 bands across 13 different stages over this past weekend. 

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20170106©DayJazzFest1417.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Vinicius Cantuaria performing Friday night at SOBs with his Quintet.
Vinicius Cantuaria

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Honoring late jazz pioneer Thelonious Monk’s centennial and artist-in-residence drummer Andrew Cyrille, the festival’s inspired sounds  resonated with a social justice theme.

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20170106©DayJazzFest1764.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Matt Darriau/saxophone, Steven Berstein conducting his Universal Melody Brass Band Friday night at SOBs.
Steven Bernstein conducting his Universal Melody Brass Band.

20170106©DayJazzFest1535.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Johnathan Finlayson performing Friday night at SOBs with Steven Bernstein's Universal Melody Brass Band.
Johnathan Finlayson; Steven Bernstein’s Universal Melody Brass Band

20170106©DayJazzFest1672.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Matt Darriau/saxophone, Arthur Baron/trombone performing Friday night at SOBs with Steven Bernstein's Universal Melody Brass Band.
Matt Darriau/saxophone; Arthur Baron/trombone; Steven Bernstein’s Universal Melody Brass Band

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One could spend the marathons on Friday and Saturday night hopping between iconic downtown NYC venues such as the Bitter End, Subculture, and Le Poisson Rouge to sample the modern scene’s  vibrant youth. Or, for those wanting to experience rare duos, there was the celebrated record label ECM’s stage at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium.

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20170106©DayJazzFest1941.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Joe Fonda/ Joe Fonda Quintet performing Saturday night at the New School Auditorium.
Joe Fonda; Joe Fonda Quintet

20170107©DayJazzFest1968.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Mike Rabinowiitz/ Joe Fonda Quintet performing Saturday night at the New School Auditorium.
Mike Rabinowitz; Joe Fonda Quintet

20170107©DayJazzFest2115.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Ralph Peterson/ Ralph Peterson & Aggregate Prime performing Saturday night at the New School Auditorium.
Ralph Peterson/ Ralph Peterson & Aggregate Prime

20170107©DayJazzFest2246.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Mark Whitfield/ Ralph Peterson & Aggregate Prime performing Saturday night at the New School Auditorium.
Mark Whitfield/ Ralph Peterson & Aggregate Prime
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Bridging the echoes of the Monk generation’s legacy with the innovations of their musical progeny, the night’s first extraordinary duo featured saxophone virtuoso Ravi Coltrane and piano phenom David Virelles. 

Minutes before the show, Coltrane played every single note perfectly along with a recording of his father’s “Giant Steps.”

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20170107©DayJazzFest2450.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Ravi Coltrane performing Saturday night at the New School Tishman Auditorium.
Ravi Coltrane;  Ravi Coltrane/ David Virelles Duo

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Throughout the performance, which featured recreations of his father’s most idyllic recordings like Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life,” Coltrane channeled his father’s spirit while breathing new life into the music.  Virelles’ impassioned accompaniment roused the spirits of jazz legends and coated Coltrane’s melodic explorations with an otherworldly brilliance.  You could hear a pin drop as the two resolved on their final saccharine chord, leaving the audience stunned in ecstasy.

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20170107©DayJazzFest2502.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Ravi Coltrane/ David Virelles Duo performing Saturday night at the New School Tishman Auditorium.
Ravi Coltrane/ David Virelles Duo

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To follow, guitarist Bill Frisell — an innovator on every style from bebop to Americana to surf rock — wove an intricate web of sound along with young bassist Thomas Morgan, who got his first ECM session with another revered guitarist: John Abercrombie. 

 

Frisell led energetic Morgan through a diverse labyrinth of sound, which included everything from a meditative improvisation constructed by outrè loops and effects, to variations on Kristofferson and Foster’s “Me and Bobby McGee.”  

The dynamic duo built off each other’s ideas, creating a unique vibe which was accessible yet ethereal.

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20170107©DayJazzFest2571.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan Duo performing Saturday night at the New School Tishman Auditorium.
Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan Duo

Once both sets had completed, the gentleman to my left remarked, “Nothing can top that tonight.”  My friend to the right was so astonished, he couldn’t even utter “wow.”

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20170107©DayJazzFest2701.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Andrew Cyrille/ Andrew Cyrille & Haitian Fascination performing Saturday night at the New School Auditorium.
Andrew Cyrille; Andrew Cyrille & Haitian Fascination

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Alix “Tit” Pascal;  Andrew Cyrille & Haitian Fascination

20170108©DayJazzFest2765.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Charlie Burnham performing at the Thelonius Monk 100th Birthday Improv Show, Sunday, January 8th at Littlefield in Brooklyn
Charlie Burnham performing at the Thelonius Monk 100th Birthday Improv Show.

20170108©DayJazzFest2770.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Marc Ribot performing at the Thelonius Monk 100th Birthday Improv Show, Sunday, January 8th at Littlefield in Brooklyn
Marc Ribot performing at the Thelonius Monk 100th Birthday Improv Show.

20170108©DayJazzFest2845.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Linda Oh performing at the Thelonius Monk 100th Birthday Improv Show, Sunday, January 8th at Littlefield in Brooklyn
Linda Oh performing at the Thelonius Monk 100th Birthday Improv Show.

20170108©DayJazzFest2873.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Shabaka Hutchings performing at the Thelonius Monk 100th Birthday Improv Show, Sunday, January 8th at Littlefield in Brooklyn
Shabaka Hutchings performing at the Thelonius Monk 100th Birthday Improv Show.

20170108©DayJazzFest2979.jpg The 13th Anual Winter JazzFest played over a snowy weekend from January 5th- January 10. Deva Mahal performing at the Thelonius Monk 100th Birthday Improv Show, Sunday, January 8th at Littlefield in Brooklyn
Deva Mahal performing at the Thelonius Monk 100th Birthday Improv Show.

CONTACTS

Brandon Peckman can be reached at bap316@nyu.edu; Jeff Day can be contacted through his website – http://www.jeffday.com.