Alex Obert & the Hollow Bones at the Gallery Bar (NY)!

Date: 17/2/2010
Venue: Gallery Bar (120 Orchard & Delancy)

Text by Jim Hoey

Alex Obert and his jazz ensemble Hollow Bones play the kind of striving, eclectic jazz that used to be common at the old Knitting Factory and Tonic, unencumbered and free, ready to go off in any direction next, with instrumentalists that know how to swing in the pocket and skronk on the fringes in turn.

This night in NYC, he was joined by Ras Moshe on saxophone, Dave Ross and Anders Nilsson on guitar and Michael Wimberly holding it steady on drums, with special guest Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi sitting in for a few tunes on sax as well.

Obert plays and sings on bass, so he’s something of an anomaly in the jazz world and his vocals have more in common with Tom Waits than Nat King Cole. When he sings and plays simultaneously he doesn’t miss a note and is generous in giving all the players time and space to stretch out and get into their solos at will.

All these guys did just that this night, too, with Anders Nilsson shining on guitar while soloing and comping with sparse, delicate chords. Saxophonists Moshe and Ladjevardi shared the spotlight pushing each other to up the ante a bit as well, and drummer Michael Wimberly even rumbled out a solo near the end of the night.

If only bands like this could get a steady night going and reestablish a venue where jazz groups could regularly gig and grow an audience that demands, supports (monetarily), and comes to expect high-level playing and serious improvisation. I’m waiting for it…..