A Rough Guide to NYC Winter Jazzfest 2015 Friday Marathon
NYC Winter Jazzfest 2015 is upon us. Wednesday and Thursday featured “warm up” acts like Robert Glasper, but the indisputable highlight of the festival is the two day, multi-venue, interdisciplinary weekend marathon. Half the fun lies in inadvertently discovering new favorite acts. Here’s a rough guide to get started exploring the many nooks and crannies of New York City’s jazz event of the season. Click HERE for tickets and additional information.
6:30pm – Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric
BOWERY ELECTRIC 327 Bowery
Todd Clouser is the type of gritty rock guitarist who would have been right at home on the Bowery of several decades ago. The Bowery has changed considerably in recent years, but some bare bones basement venues still carry on the punk spirit. Fitting then that Clouser is bringing his energetic jazz funk project “A Love Electric” to Bowery Electric for an early evening throwdown.
7:15pm – Linda Oh’s Sun Pictures
SUBCULTURE 45 Bleecker Street
Subculture is one of the best venues at the Winter Jazzfest, with stadium seating suited to losing oneself in the music. The bands booked here are solid throughout the entire night, veering closer to standard jazz than the freer forms found elsewhere and that’s not bad. Bassist Linda Oh will lead an ensemble through her sunny compositions in the earlier evening when there should still be seats available.
8:15pm – Oran Etkin Reimagining Benny Goodman
THE PLAYERS THEATER 115 MacDougal Street
Oran Etkin has made a career out of inserting the clarinet into unfamiliar musical contexts from across the globe. This gig at another virgin Winter Jazzfest venue finds him paying homage to a titan of the instrument – the King of Swing himself, Mr. Benny Goodman.
9:00pm – Kneebody + Daedelus
LE POISSON ROUGE – 158 Bleecker Street
Perhaps the most intriguing pairing on the lineup, the prime time LPR slot has matched the alternatively bouncy and suave fusion quintet Kneebody with electronic experimentalist Daedelus. Though this may seem a strange match, they have collaborated frequently over the years in live and studio settings producing often pleasantly surprising results.
10:00pm – Gordon Webster Sextet with Brianna Thomas
GREENWICH HO– USE MUSIC SCHOOL 46 Barrow Street
There will be quality variations on swinging 1920s tunes at Greenwich House all night as part of the Hot Jazz Festival, from the twangy banjo-based numbers of Cynthia Sayer & Her Joyride Band to the humor-inflected guitar stylings of Frank Vignola and Friends. The final act of the night is Gordon Webster’s group which specializes in a soulful jaunty take on the soundtrack to the Lindy Hop, a Harlem dance craze of the latter half of the decade.
11:15pm – Marc Ribot & The Young Philadelphians with Strings
MINETTA LANE THEATRE 18-22 Minetta Lane
If drums are your thing, head to So Percussion with Kid Millions for some outré beats. But for a crackerjack group of adventurous instrumentalists led by the inimitable sexagenarian six-stringer Marc Ribot, look no further than Minetta Lane Theatre for some heavy-hitting pyrotechnics courtesy of some virtuoso performers.
12:45am – Anthony Pirog
CARROLL PLACE 157 Bleecker Street
What once was Village stalwart Kenny’s Castaways is now Carroll Place, and the WJF makes its triumphant return to the space this year. Watch how Anthony Pirog’s dreamy progressive ambient jams jibe with the renovated restaurant.
1:00am – Improvised Round Robin Duets
JUDSON CHURCH 55 Washington Square Park South
The concept is simple. The results are divine. Musician A begins a solo. Musician B joins in. Musician A cedes to musician C and then B gives way to D and so on and so forth. The vaunted Village church is an expansive venue particularly permissive for these often devilish improvisations.
2:00am – Theo Hill Trio
ZINC BAR 82 West 3rd Street
The cozy confines of this red velvet lounge are prohibitive in the early evening hours. Closer to dawn however, the crowds disperse and the classic after midnight piano trio acrobatics of Theo Hill and company will provide just the type of smoky ambiance befitting the subterranean hour.