June 10, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Cachaca on West 8th Street is new. (Much on West 8th Street is new.) It's a deep, inviting, sound-lively room and the John Fedchock's Big Band took it over tonight. The band has been together 20 years with consistent personnel, but I understand it doesn't often play live. Having heard some tracks on BGO, I've been determined to get out and see them. Good idea! Trombonist and composer Fedchock is a veteran of the Woody Herman orchestra. Two of John's arrangements in the middle of the set -- of Eclipse by Freddy Hubbard and Epistrophy by Monk -- seemed to transcend the situation. Eclipse had a phrase that (to me) channeled the Woody Herman's orchestra, which I've never heard but I'm sure I heard it in that phrase. In Epistrophy there was a short stretch (a matter of measures) that sounded JUST LIKE New York gridlock. Stuck but with energy. I couldn't stop to ponder how they did that because I would have missed the next excitement. There was background writing for most of the solos, no one was left to fend for himself for long. Once again (as last week with the Roy Hargrove Big Band), the room moved. That's my report & I'm happy to deliver it. The most recent CD is Up and Running (Reservoir label).
© 2008 WBGO
June 4, 2008. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
When you get to your folding chair at the Jazz Gallery on Hudson St.,
there's a personal cardboard fan on your seat, and you think what a nice
souvenir. But by the end of the Roy Hargrove Big Band set, you are using
that fan! You ARE a fan! With 18 guys and a woman -- hallelujah Tanya
Darby on trumpet -- crammed into one end of the oblong loft, and the
audience filling the rest, from the back wall to sax players' feet, you
FEEL this band and it feels GOOD! I love that there's only one mic, for
Roy to speak and, briefly, sing. I love that he has about a square yard
in which to conduct, then turn 180 and play. I love it all. He's
expanding his small group music, and his writing is fresh and old school
at the same time, all accents and syncopation, and the band is playing
almost flawlessly. Gerald Clayton's on piano! The set's not too long.
The Roy Hargrove Big Band plays the Jazz Gallery once more this summer
on June 10. Then after that, your next opp to see them is June 15 at the
Hollywood Bowl, so opt for the great vibes at the Gallery where the
band, the sound and the audience are one and the same. And thanks to Zan
Stewart for his motivating review in the Star Ledger.
© 2008 WBGO