Date: Thursday, January 5, 2012
Venue: Le Poisson Rouge (NY)
Review by Matt Cole
On Thursday, 5 January 2012, the Jessica Lurie Ensemble opened up a 4-band pre-2012 NY Winter Jazzfest concert at La Poisson Rouge with a very strong set, which was dominated by selections from her upcoming album, Megaphone Heart. Naturally, this band is led by multi-instrumentalist Jessica Lurie, who is known for her saxophone pyrotechnics in Living Daylights and The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet. In addition to Ms. Lurie on the saxophone, flute, and vocals, the band consisted of longtime JLE stalwarts Allison Miller on drums, Erik Deutsch on keyboards, along with frequent collaborator Will Bernard on guitar and a (so far) rare appearance by Chris Lightcap on double bass.
It is very hard to pin down the JLE with regards to genre or style. The band can go from Balkan sounds, to avant jazz, to rock, to gentle ballads and back again in the space of a set (and sometimes within the space of one song). All of the musicians are virtuoso players on their respective instruments, and have excellent listening and communication skills.
Text by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi and Jim Hoey
Now in it’s 8th year, NYC’s Winter Jazzfest sent out an impossible dare to city jazz fans this time in 2012: “Pay the low price of $45 for two nights and we dare you to try to see over 60 acts in four venues around the West Village”.
The clubs that featured bands are some of the oldest, and smaller, rooms in the city: Le Poisson Rouge, Sullivan Hall, The Bitter End, Kenny’s Castaways, and Zinc Bar. In trying to manically beat a path from spot to spot hoping to catch a favorite act, over 4000 music lovers made this year’s festival probably the most successful yet, thanks to the hard work of founders Brice Rosenbloom and Adam Schatz and the promotion efforts of Boom Collective and Search and Restore.
Since the closing of many of the more avant-garde downtown venues like Tonic and the original Knitting Factory, the city has felt a loss in the jazz scene; sure there’s always Lincoln Center, but what about the emerging artists, hungry to push boundaries? At times it’s felt like maybe the old “Jazz is dead” cliche is actually starting to ring true, with so much shifting sand under the feet of those in the scene, so to speak, and everything spreading out to Brooklyn. Here in NYC, that would be unbelievable, unacceptable.
Dates: Friday and Saturday, December 6 and 7, 2012
Venue: Zinc Bar
Text by Jeremy Siskind
During the 2012 Winter Jazzfest, the Zinc Bar was woefully unable to accommodate the multitudes hoping to hear such topflight artists as Miguel Zenon, Gregoire Maret, and Lionel Loueke. A long line consistently wound onto West 3rd Street and unraveled into Thompson Street, where the bar’s bouncers insistently reminded standers-by that “there are four other venues that have music!”
Inside, the majority of listeners stood in a sweaty bar area while poor weather-beaten waitresses attempted to push by and serve the seated guests. A large percentage of the audience couldn’t glimpse the stage, and many retreated to the back of the bar and began conversing in murmurs that occasionally competed with the softer parts of a show. Fire codes were likely ignored. Standers greedily eyed the seated like a carnivorous cat salivating over the silhouette of an antelope. My friend and I actually drew a diagram of the seating area and formulated a battle plan to storm the room loosely based on Sherman’s march through the South. Despite the logistical challenges and shortcomings, some memorable shows took place at the Zinc Bar. Continue reading