A rare visit from Berlin! The “Speak Low” trio of songbird Lucia Cadotsch, saxophonist Otis Sandsjö & bassist Petter Eldh – a group that reanimates jazz standards like no one else – performs a special early-evening set for Sound It Out. Lucia, Otis & Petter will play at 6:30pm, with pianist Elias Stemeseder sitting in for a couple of tunes. Then Elias will join Jagged Sphere – with saxophonist Anna Webber & drummer Devin Gray – to play the second set of this double-bill, at 8:00pm.
Charismatic singer and multi-instrumentalist Aurora Nealand pursues various muses – from trad-jazz and rockabilly to free improv and modernist composition – but she has a magic touch no matter what she turns her hand to. For Sound It Out, Aurora teams with dancer-choreographer Shannon Stewart and a trio of bold New Orleans musicians to present a very special evening, including both improvisations by the redrawblak trio and compositions from Aurora’s project The Monocle.
Founded in 1963, the Brooklyn-based ESP-Disk label was an important outlet for avant-garde jazz from start, with Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, Ornette Coleman, Paul Bley, Ran Blake, Sun Ra, Steve Lacy and the New York Art Quartet all making key early LPs for the imprint, among many others. Sound It Out presents a special 55th anniversary concert for ESP-Disk, starring a multi-act lineup of current artists associated with the label.
Drummer extraordinaire Jim Black has long been a prime mover and shaker on the progressive music scene, his mixing of rock drama with jazz chops a key influence on a subsequent generation or two of drummers. He has always been just as compelling for audiences, with JazzTimes saying: “In person, he is fun to watch because he is theatrical in his movements, a ballet dancer. On record, the drama and diversity of his percussion content still comes through.” One of the drummer-composer’s most compelling outlets in recent years has been the poetic Jim Black Trio featuring pianist Elias Stemeseder and bassist Thomas Morgan.
The Paris Review has described Brandon Ross as “a one-man atmosphere factory, availing himself of all the sounds — cries, squeaks, cracks, fuzz, whispers, organ-like echoes — that an electric guitar, in the hands of a master, can produce.” The guitarist returns to the Sound It Out series with his latest ensemble, Immortal Obsolescence, which features Takeishi, drummer JT Lewis and the great Graham Haynes on cornet and electronics.
Sound It Out presents a double-bill with two young leaders fronting ace bands: Daniel Levine’s Knuckleball and the Santiago Leibson Trio, both with fine new albums out. The linchpin player for this double-bill (and both records) is drummer Devin Gray, a familiar face at the kit for Sound It Out. Trumpeter Daniel Levine’s trio Knuckleball also features pianist Marc Hannaford, who played his own great show as a leader in the series last fall. And pianist Santiago Leibson’s trio includes for this show the great bassist Michael Formanek, who has played the series many times as a leader himself.
A Sound It Out favorite returns: Saxophonist-composer Michaël Attias leads his ultra-dynamic quartet featuring pianist Aruan Ortiz, bassist John Hébert and drummer extraordinaire Nasheet Waits. They will be performing music from the quartet’s great album of 2017, Nerve Dance, and more. In a glowing review of the album, All About Jazz said: “This may be the most pliable, self-assured quartet to emerge in recent times. It’s certainly one of the most creative. Nerve Dance manages to operate equally well on visceral and cerebral planes. It’s a musical live wire that provides joy to the ears and a jolt to the system.” A recent DownBeat profile pointed out the inspiration Michaël draws from the great lineage of alto saxophonists from Charlie Parker to Ornette Coleman to Anthony Braxton, along with declaring Nerve Dance both the “most adventurous and satisfying” of his nine albums as a leader so far.
Drummer Andrew Drury’s Content Provider features some of New York’s top improvisers: soprano/tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss and guitarist extraordinaire Brandon Seabrook. The Seattle Times described the quartet’s album as “a dazzler… It’s an urgent, elemental journey through a mercurial landscape, with compelling pulses, zigzag melodies and squalls of John Zorn-like free jazz.”
This double-bill presents, on the second half, the trio version of hit band Mostly Other People Do the Killing, with bassist-leader Moppa Elliott joined by pianist Ron Stabinsky and drummer Kevin Shea. They’ll be performing music from the trio’s 2017 album, “Paint” — which All About Jazz called “one of the best trio albums of the year.” Stabinsky will be doing double-duty on the night, with the first half of the bill featuring the keyboardist in a duo with ace guitarist Nick Millevoi, a Sound It Out favorite.
A rare solo double-bill, featuring pianist Anthony Coleman + saxophonist Ellery Eskelin. These two master musicians – each of whom channels a wealth of musical history on their respective instruments – will play full solo sets before coming together at night’s end to play an extended duo encore. A key figure of the downtown New York scene since the early 1980s, pianist Anthony Coleman is a virtuoso of jazz from Jelly Roll Morton to Herbie Nichols to John Zorn and his own scores, not to mention ventures in Klezmer. All Music Guide has praised Anthony’s “breathtaking dramatic command.” Ellery Eskelin has been one of the tenor saxophone’s original voices over the past three decades. Along with such current projects as his New York Trio with organist Gary Versace and drummer Gerald Cleaver, Ellery recently released an album for tenor sax alone, “Solo Live at Snugs,” which Dusted magazine hailed for its “gorgeous tonal vernacular.”
Canadian oud player and guitarist Gordon Grdina has a distinctive, alluring sound woven from the threads of both jazz and Arabic music. His New York-based quartet with reed player Oscar Noriega, pianist Russ Lossing & drummer Satoshi Takeishi released the intensely poetic album “Inroads” last year, and the group will be presenting music from that Songlines release and more at Greenwich House. Doing double-duty on the night, Noriega will open the evening behind the drums with the Crooked Trio, his popular band with pianist Marta Sanchez and bassist Lim Yang; the trio — known for playing a longstanding standards gig at Barbes — will be showcasing Noriega’s compositions for Sound It Out.
Bassist Sean Conly – familiar to Sound It Out audiences from positions in bands led by Michaël Attias, Fay Victor, Jesse Stacken and Mara Rosenbloom, as well as leading his own fine Re:Action quintet – returns to the series as leader of his trio with Attias on alto and Satoshi Takeishi on drums. Conly and company will be celebrating the release of their badass new trio album, “Hard Knocks” (Clean Feed). The evening’s opener will be an encore performance by Argentine pianist Santiago Leibson, who played a great set in the series this past March. He will appear this time alongside bassist Drew Gress and drummer Devin Gray, with whom the pianist recorded the wonderful album “Out of Orden.”
Encore performance from Berlin! The trio of new-era songbird Lucia Cadotsch, saxophonist Otis Sandsjö & bassist Petter Eldh – a group that reanimates jazz standards like no one else – returns to the Sound It Out after a fantastic performance in the series this past January. Reviewing the group’s debut album, “Speak Low” (Yellow Bird/Enja), The Guardian aptly declared: “Remember the name Lucia Cadotsch – you’re going to be hearing a lot of it.” Lucia won the 2017 Echo Jazz Prize – the German equivalent of a Grammy Award – for Best Vocalist of the Year for “Speak Low.” She and her Swedish friends Otis and Petter bring the bittersweet repertoire of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln and Dinah Washington – not to mention Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht – vividly alive for a new generation of listeners.
Vocalist Fay Victor, a Sound It Out favorite, returns to Greenwich House to kick off the new season of the series with an evening of duo performances alongside the great pianist Myra Melford, who makes her belated return to Greenwich House from the West Coast. Esteemed flutist-composer Nicole Mitchell has said about Fay that “the whole legacy of jazz is in her voice,” while All About Jazz has praised Myra as having an “intrepid virtuosity that’s consistently breathtaking.” The night’s special guest will be the excellent cellist Marika Hughes, who will join Fay and Myra to make it a trio.
The great Marilyn Crispell returns to the Sound It Out stage to team with series favorite Angelica Sanchez team for a rare night of piano duets on the beautiful matched pair of Steinways at Greenwich House Music School. The Chicago Reader has said: “Marilyn Crispell has been one of the most deliciously unpredictable and distinctive piano improvisers in jazz for more than four decades,” while JazzTimes has lauded Angelica for music-making that’s both “provocative… and evocative.”
The fantastic Angelica Sanchez Nonet returns to the Sound It Out series, with the band featuring some of the creative music scene’s finest players giving voice to this composer-pianist’s most textured writing. The New York Times says: “In her piano playing as well as her compositions, Angelica Sanchez seeks out the lyrical heartbeat within any avant-garde storm.”
Great new band! Bassist-composer Michael Formanek returns to the Sound It Out series to present his Very Practical Trio featuring iconic alto saxophonist Tim Berne and the very electric guitarist Mary Halvorson. Mike’s past three ECM albums have garnered five-star reviews in DownBeat, and The New York Times has described his music as “graceful in its subversions, even sumptuous.” Jazzwise has praised Tim’s art as being “suffused with genuine humanity and more than a little wisdom,” while the Wall Street Journal called Mary “one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz – or otherwise.”
The wonderful guitarist Amanda Monaco makes her Sound It Out debut, teaming with sundry musical friends to celebrate her birthday! Amanda’s guitar playing is “well within the modernist canon, but quite distinctive,” according to the New York City Jazz Record. “Her phrasing is often made up of tartly dissonant chords and insistent yet off-kilter repetitions that remind one of Grant Green by way of Andrew Hill… Her playing is utterly unique, a breath of fresh air in the cookie-cutter climes of both mainstream and free jazz.”
This double-bill features two versatile New York reed players as leaders, each fronting a trio sans harmony instrument: baritone saxophonist & bass clarinetist Josh Sinton leads his Predicate Trio with cellist Chris Hoffman and drummer Tom Rainey, the band celebrating the release of its first album, “making bones…”. And alto/tenor saxophonist & bass clarinetist Avram Fefer leads a trio with bassist Sean Conly and drummer Michael Wimberly.
Rockin’ guitar night! This double-bill features the return to Sound It Out of guitarist Nick Millevoi’s mighty Desertion Trio, with bassist Johnny DeBlase and drummer Kevin Shea. NPR has said: “When Nick Millevoi plays the guitar, it’s like a rocket darting skyward between clouds.” Opening the show will be the dynamic duo of guitarists Anders Nilsson & Aaron Dugan.
Ever-evolving drummer-composer Devin Gray – who played the second show in the Sound It Out series back in 2012 and has returned many times since as a leader and sideman – will be celebrating the release of the sophomore album by his all-star quartet Dirigo Rataplan, featuring trumpeter Dave Ballou, saxophonist Ellery Eskelin & bassist Michael Formanek. Writing about Devin’s first album with Dirigo Rataplan, Jazzwise magazine said: “A musician-drummer rather than a drummer-drummer, Gray is interested in making music that is deeply evocative… shaped by a fizzing, often restless push-pull energy.”
This special evening presents two sides of the exciting, Cuban-bred Aruán Ortiz, as improving pianist and as composer of chamber music. About “Cub(an)ism,” Aruán’s recent Intakt album of solo piano, The Guardian said: “Aruán Ortiz is a rising piano star with a sweeping contemporary technique – and the imagination and keyboard-power, fueled by deep awareness of Cuba’s traditions, to be an enthralling one-man band, too.” The concert’s second half will consist of two chamber pieces: “Living in the Midst of a Twisted Globe,” for piano trio, and “Ogguere (when the soul of the earth, dances around spectral motions),” for brass quintet. About Aruán’s ambitions as a composer, JazzTimes said: “He well aware of his roots but has no intention of being confined by them.”