By Brad Farberman; photos by Max Flatow for The New York City Jazz Record
Drummer Matt Wilson is not complaining. After all, he has gigs, an excellent new album about to come out and even his own radio show. Each Tuesday in February and March on WBGO, Playdate with Matt Wilson will broadcast live jazz recorded by the station between 1985-2000. When listing his latest associates, Wilson reveals that last January, for instance, he played in a Butch Warren-led quartet that also featured pianist Freddie Redd... And in the span of one recent year, he played with both pianist Junior Mance and Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore. "And it was all great," says Wilson. "You know, to me, it's like, they're all great musicians that welcome it in different ways. So, wow. It's pretty damn lucky. Just to be getting to do this is really great." Wilson's Christmas Tree–O is at Jazz Standard Dec. 17th-18th.
Interview: IKUE MORI
By Kurt Gottschalk; photo by Scott Irvine / Courtesy of Ikue Mori
Ikue Mori moved from Tokyo to New York in 1977, just as punk and its NYC antithesis No Wave were gaining a foothold in the city. With the band DNA (with Arto Lindsay and Tim Wright), she helped to define the nascent lyrics-and-noise movement; the trio was one of four bands to be selected by producer Brian Eno for the seminal No New York compilation. In the '80s, she began pursuing more fully improvised music and made her mark on early Downtown experiments with her unusual choice of playing drum machines. In the year 2000, she began playing laptop, but still retaining a signature sound as a percussionist. She has also worked in graphic design and computer animation and recently has been making films with dolls and sets she constructs herself. While she works with an intentionally limited sonic palette, she is an extraordinarily sensitive listener and often appears with the finest improvising musicians of America and Europe, a short selection of which includes Fred Frith, Evan Parker, Jim Staley and John Zorn, as well as her bands Mephista and Phantom Orchard. Mori is at The Stone Dec. 17th-22nd, 25th and 27th in various contexts.
Artist Feature: IVO PERELMAN
By Ken Waxman; photo by Peter Gannushkin
A Violent Dose of Anything is just one of the 13 CDs saxophonist Ivo Perelman has released during the past two years. Says Perelman, who has put out about four dozen discs since he started recording in 1989: "I have to record when I feel something boiling up inside me, when I feel particularly strong in my sax playing and I'm exploring things differently. I realize I'm at the next plateau of my creating and I want to put it in front of the public." Perelman is at ShapeShifter Lab Dec. 13th.
Encore: JOEL PRESS
By Katie Bull
During his decades in Boston, where he relocated to in the '70s, saxophonist Joel Press conducted jam sessions that became the talk of the New England jazz community, garnering his home in Newton the title of "The Institute". Press is infusing the New York scene with a richly layered sound rooted in tradition. No wonder the next generation of players is lining up for his sets at Smalls: the "Institute" is here! Press is at Smalls Dec. 20th.
Lest We Forget: JOHN HICKS
By Donald Elfman
John Hicks was the choice of artists, critics and audiences. Amazingly creative and both fully receptive and responsive to those with whom he played, Hicks was a first-call pianist in a wide variety of groups - from big band to trio and from swing and hardbop to new music and avant garde. A Hicks tribute is at La Maison d'Art Dec. 20th.
Megaphone: Into The Zone
By Ryan Keberle
Virtuosity and complexity have been hallmarks of modern jazz since the beginning of the music's history... However, when these complexities and virtuosic demonstrations form the focal point of the performance at the expense of musicality, it can make for an esoteric form of music, which, often times, leaves the average listener out in the cold. Keberle is at Jazz Standard Dec. 1st with Maria Schneider, Zankel Hall Dec. 7th with Miguel Zenón, Manhattan School of Music Dec. 12th as a leader and Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Dec. 14th with Paul Carlon.
Record Label Spotlight: RARENOISE
By Kurt Gottschalk
God forbid, wrote Thomas Jefferson, that our country should go 20 years without a rebellion, point being in a sense that the status quo must be upset from time to time even to remain just the status quo. Like social freedom, perhaps, musical freedom might need to be "refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants," its own history being its "natural manure." And so if one were to say that the London-based RareNoise is following a trail blazed in New York City some 25 years ago, it might be seen as a vital fertilization, not a retread but a sort of resuscitative flag waving. A label showcase is at ShapeShifter Lab Dec. 13th with One, Plymouth and Slobber Pup.
Special Feature: HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
Jazz gift suggestions of holiday CDs, DVDs, books, boxed sets and novelty items.