Lost Jazz Shrines

Topsy Turvey: Bebop Redux a la Matt Wilson via Lost Jazz Shrines

Last Friday night, I attended and loved this concert at the Borough of Manhattan Community College! The music had roots, it left them behind, it was a generous night.

Musical Director Matt Wilson calls the music "pre-bop," small group material from the 1940s by Neal Hefti, John Lewis, John Kirby, Tiny Grimes, Tiny Kahn, NEW arrangements for the occasion by Oded Lev-Ari. Matt assembled an improbable and wonderful band, below. Each player projected, each piece was a gem. Coming out of intermission, Matt gave us a "collision of songs," "a mashup," from an affecting trio arrangement of his "No Outerwear" (a/k/a "Out of Nowhere" and maybe "OON" is written on "Honeysuckle Rose?" .. help me here) to surprise walk on's by the rest of the group, vocalizing; things progressed unpredictably from there. If only I'd taken some legible notes. The smaller theater at BMCC worked beautifully for this; I saw Vijay's hands at work better than ever I've seen them before. Photos of 52nd Street a/k/a Swing Street were the backdrop.

Lost Jazz Shrines is Willard Jenkins' continuing series, and this Spring is the first time Willard has brought in a Musical Director. On Friday, June 3, see conguero Candido -- born in Havana, came to NY in 1946 -- with Matt's quintet Arts & Crafts. I wish we were recording these great nights for JazzSet!

L to R: Vijay Iyer, Curtis Fowlkes, Mary Halvorson, Kirk Knuffke, Chris Lightcap, Tia Fuller, Jeff Lederer, drummer Matt Wilson at the BMCC Tribeca PAC .. photo by Nathan Turner for the Litchfield Jazz Festival
L to R: Vijay Iyer, Curtis Fowlkes, Mary Halvorson, Kirk Knuffke, Chris Lightcap, Tia Fuller, Jeff Lederer, drummer Matt Wilson at the BMCC Tribeca PAC .. photo by Nathan Turner for the Litchfield Jazz Festival

Luckily I was sitting near a good photographer! BTW, Matt Wilson is also the Artist-in-Residence at this summer’s Litchfield Jazz Festival in Kent, CT.