Night #2: Saturday, January 9th
7:09 pm at (le) Poisson Rouge
Ben Allison is a great writer of songs, and he performed some of his most rousing at the start of the second night of the festival. "Green Al" featured violinist Jenny Scheinman, and on "Man Size Safe" drummer Rudy Royston performed a crowd-teasing, rambunctious solo.
7:41 pm leaving (le) Poisson Rouge
I was happy to see George Wein, the founder of the modern jazz festival, in attendance at New York's only mainstream jazz festival.
7:53 pm at Sullivan Hall
The bit of vocalist Gretchen Parlato's set that I managed to catch contrasted from the raucousness of the majority of the festival. Parlato and her quartet were exercising extreme restraint on Wayne Shorter's "Juju."
8:28 pm at Kenny's Castaways
Bassist Linda Oh presented a new quartet, the focus of which was on electric bass, samples, and the transformation of simple, repeated grooves. The group, consisting of saxophonist Adam Niewood, keyboardist Fabian Almazan, and drummer Greg Ritchie, may not have yet found its stride, but it was nice to see an experiment by a rising musician.
9:48 pm at Bitter End
The Claudia Quintet played to a packed house, where Chris Speed's beaming clarinet tone was juxtaposed with gruff admonitions from waitresses maneuvering through enraptured audience members. The band allowed concise textures to merge into chaos, and the crowd was uproarious.
10:53 pm at (le) Poisson Rouge
Vijay Iyer's trio packed (le) Poisson Rouge, the largest of the five venues, and stunned the brimming audience with music from his latest album Historicity. Bassist Stephan Crump was the star of the show, delivering snaggy solos.
12:04 pm at Bitter End
Bassist Todd Sickafoose brought together rock, old-timey blues, and even some Charles Ivesian overlapping with his somewhat large ensemble. The highlights were solos by Jenny Scheinman, saxophonist John Ellis, who perhaps has the best tone in jazz right now, and trombonist Alan Ferber.
12:59 am at Kenny's Castaways
I wish I had been able to hear more of guitarist Mary Halvorson's trio. The last five minutes were delightfully bizarre and yet familiar.
1:23 am at Kenny's Castaways
Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, guitarist Rez Abassi, and drummer Dan Weiss are the Indo-Pak Coalition, and they improvise hard and twisted lines based on Indian, and presumably Pakistani, scales and rhythmic cycles. Dan Weiss kneels on the floor, alternating between tablas and a selection of Western percussion instruments, including a snare drum and a cymbal.
This is allegedly a crucial point in the evolution of jazz, when warnings of its expiration abound. At Winter Jazzfest 2010, in the audience and on stage, I saw nothing but arresting vitality.