by Andrew Frisicano
Ben Perowsky's Moodswing Orchestra w/ TK Wonder
Like the year before it, NYC Winter Jazz Fest 2011 was a hit. Capacity crowds filled the venues on both nights (all together 1,400 on Friday and 2,600 on Saturday), and it'd be hard to find two people who came away seeing the same acts, or with the same impression of the fest. From what I've heard and read of Friday night, the music was stellar, but after LPR closed around 9:30pm for another event the numbers overwhelmed the remaining two spaces, with long lines and many disgruntled jazz-heads.
(Le) Poisson Rouge, the largest of the venues, was crammed full on Saturday for a curious lineup of jam-band jazz (Charlie Hunter), noisy guitar improv + painting (Nels Cline and painter Norton Wisdom) and Steve Coleman & Five Elements (high-strung group improv with vocalist Jen Shyu scatting along). I only stayed for those, before heading to Kenny's Castaways for part of its Search and Restore showcase. Aethereal Bace - drummers Nasheet Waits and Eric Mcpherson, and saxist Abraham Burton - improvised as a duo after Mcpherson didn't show (their tight, restrained set mainly served to make me more curious about the two-drummer set up they usually employ). Talibam!, who followed, were something else entirely: spasmotic punk in jazz clothes. Back at LPR, at this point well after 2am, Ben Perowsky's Moodswing Orchestra backed up MC/singer TK Wonder for a criminally underattended set. Then I ended the night with trumpeter David Weiss's band at Bitter End, which, at 3:45am, it was.
Some pictures of the above-mentioned acts (plus Asphalt Orchestra who made an appearance at LPR) are below...
Charlie Hunter (and trumpeter Michael R Williams)
Nels Cline's Stained Radiance
Steve Coleman & Five Elements
Aethereal Bace - 3rd Eye
Ben Perowsky's Moodswing Orchestra with TK Wonder
David Weiss and Point of Departure