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Monday, January 27, 2014

To Tim Berne/Snakeoil yesterday, an afternoon of avant-garde jazz that left me feeling as though I had lightning coming from my fingertips. This was highly composed, tightly played music, and notwithstanding some sonic resemblances to free jazz the band was was working from a score. Great band--Oscar Noriega, clarinet and bass clarinet, Matt Mitchell, piano and Ches Smith, drums, vibes and assorted percussion. Smith's vibes had a very pleasing effect, taking things in some surprising directions. Mitchell's piano demonstrated how much room there was within each composition to move, and Noriega, a fireplug of a reedman, contributed texture to Berne's alto sound that meant that the whole was a great deal more melodic than someone walking by and just catching a snatch of what they were playing would have assumed. Granted, this sort of thing is not everyone's cup of meat, but one of the great things about Bruce Eaton's Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series at the Albright-Knox is that it is a room full of people who get it.

An aside: Upcoming is Ambrose Akinmusire, who is, apparently, fronting the first "traditional" (trumpet, sax, piano, bass, drums) quintet the series has featured. Funny to think that we've had at least two bands come through that featured bass clarinet before we got trumpet and sax.

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