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Wayne Shorter at Town Hall Wednesday

It was announced today that Wayne Shorter is due to perform at the Barbican Centre in London and at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in South Africa. How cool is that? Real. So get out your credit card, make your plans and have fun getting stripped-searched at JFK. OR - walk over to Town Hall on West 43rd Street, or just go to ticketmaster.com from the chair you're in, and get tickets for the band's first NYC appearance in over two years. The guys will be playing on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 8pm (two weeks from tonight.) They'll do "An Evening With" with no opening group and play a straight 90+ min set. You'll be home by 10, can still watch "Top Chef," and will have a musical and spiritual experience you can cherish forever. Just ask anyone who was at Carnegie Hall in Dec. '08.

Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 800-745-3000. They are also available at the Town Hall Box Office, 123 West 43rd St.

Regarded as one of the most significant and prolific performers and composers in jazz and modern music, National Endowment for the Arts' "American Jazz Master" Wayne Shorter has an outstanding record of professional achievement in his historic career as a musician and composer. He has received substantial recognition from his peers, including 9 Grammy® Awards and 13 Grammy® nominations to date.

Shorter was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1958 through 1962.  In 1964 Miles Davis invited Shorter to go on the road with his band, which also included Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Ron Carter. Shorter stayed with Davis for six years, recording a dozen albums with him, and creating a new sound with a bandleader who changed the face of music.

In 1970, Shorter co-founded the group Weather Report with keyboardist and Miles Davis alum, Joe Zawinul. Weather Report was the premier fusion group through the '70s and into the early '80s.  Shorter then formed his own group in 1986.

In the summer of 2001 Shorter began touring as the leader of a talented young lineup featuring pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, each a celebrated recording artist and bandleader in his own right. The ensemble features one of the finest rhythm sections in jazz.

Danilo Pérez' distinctive blend of Pan-American jazz, covering the music of the Americas, folkloric and world music, has attracted critical acclaim and loyal audiences. Perez recently released a Grammy®-nominated album entitled Providencia, his "most ambitious album since Motherland," notes the Wall Street Journal.

Drummer Brian Blade recently collaborated with Daniel Lanois on his Black Dub CD and tour project. In between Wayne Shorter Quartet concerts and recording and touring with Lanois, Blade also performs with his own Fellowship Band.

A Grammy®-winning acoustic and electric bassist, John Patitucci is not only known for his work with Shorter, but has attracted worldwide acclaim as one of today's most influential musicians and composers. In 2009, Patitucci, released a project for Concord Jazz, Remembrance, a remarkable Grammy® nominated outing.

This concert celebrates the Quartet's 10th anniversary and is their first NYC performance since 2008

NPR Takes Ladysmith Black Mambazo Back Home

For their new album, 'Songs From a Zulu Farm' (out this week on Listen 2 Entertainment Group/Razor & Tie Entertainment), South Africa's a cappella treasure Ladysmith Black Mambazo went back home.

Original band member Albert Mazibuko and 20-year band manager Mitch Goldstein joined NPR Weekend Edition Sunday’s host Liane Hansen to discuss how Ladysmith Black Mambazo collected songs traditionally sung by Zulu parents to their children for the new album.

"There's such a rich, wonderful history. A personal history that comes from the group that's not always found in their CDs," Goldstein said. Mazibuko added, "When my grandmother told me about the songs, she said that their parents were singing the same songs to them."

Listen to the NPR interview here.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was featured earlier this month on AOL’s Spinner blog, where Mazibuko, said, "Most of these songs we sing, even the traditional songs and the songs we wrote as a group, are the songs that always have lessons of encouragement, this kind of instruction."

Read more about 'Songs From a Zulu Farm' and listen to "Uthekwane" and "Leliyafu" here.

Read some Grateful Web coverage of Ladysmith Black Mambazo here.

A Benefit Jazz Concert Charlie Hunter Duo & Daniel Bennett Group

Sunday Series at Abingdon is proud to present 8-string "groove" guitarist Charlie Hunter and "Folk Jazz" Saxophonist Daniel Bennett who are teaming up for a special double bill performance to benefit not-for-profit Abingdon Theatre Company.

Guitarist Charlie Hunter has established himself as one of America's preeminent guitar players and musical innovators. Hunter’s latest recording, Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid, features the guitarist alongside drummer Eric Kalb (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, John Scofield) and a new horn section, including trombonist Curtis Fowlkes (Jazz Passengers, Lounge Lizards, Bill Frisell), trombonist Alan Ferber (Don Byron,  Kenny Wheeler) and trumpeter Eric Biondo (Antibalas, TV On The Radio). This marks Hunter's second full-length release on his independent label Spire Artist Media. Hunter follows up his latest trio album, Baboon Strength, with an ambitious effort recorded live direct to two-inch analog tape.

Critically acclaimed New York saxophonist Daniel Bennett has recently shared concert stages with national artists like Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter, James Carter, Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood), Jerry Bergonzi, and David Fiuczynski. Bennett’s musical journey began as a graduate student at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts.  While at NEC, Bennett studied saxophone with Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, and Ken Radnofsky.  Daniel Bennett graduated from the conservatory in 2004 and began performing as a freelance musician with groups like the Portland Symphony, New Hampshire Festival Orchestra, Musaner, and the Duprees. During this time, Bennett also began to compose songs that featured folk melodies played on the saxophone in a jazz quartet format.  Bennett's chord progressions also maintained a unique minimalist quality, influenced by composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass.. The band’s landmark debut album, A Nation of Bears, was met with critical acclaim. The Daniel Bennett Group released The Legend of Bear Thompson in the spring of 2008. Metronome Magazine ranked the album in their top five picks of the month, declaring, "the trio is so in sync with each other that it's downright mystical."  In 2009, the Daniel Bennett Group released Live at the Theatre, a groundbreaking album that was recorded live during a double bill performance with the Charlie Hunter Trio. The Daniel Bennett Group has been featured on popular radio programs like Harvard University’s Jazz Spectrum (WHRB 95.3FM).  The group has also made television appearances on Bandwidth TV, The Music Closet, Style Boston, and Sal's Show. The Daniel Bennett Group can be heard at clubs and festivals throughout the United States.

Since 1993, not-for-profit Abingdon Theatre Company has developed and produced new plays by American playwrights exclusively. Under the artistic direction of Jan Buttram, the company provides a safe home in which playwrights collaborate with other theatre artists and receive audience feedback through the utilization of a four-step development process: First Readings, Staged Readings, and Workout Labs, which culminate in Studio Productions and Mainstage Productions.  

For Tickets visit their website.

Jon Hardy & the Public to release 'A Hard Year'

Acclaimed purveyors of resonating Americana, Jon Hardy & the Public prepare for the January 25 release of a new stand-out EPA Hard Year - continuing their tradition of being St. Louis' "best kept secret" and announce a very special hometown show to celebrate!

Jon Hardy’s voice is deep and true, expressing yearning, pain, and triumph all at the same time. The St. Louis singer/songwriter and his band, The Public, make music that has bowled over critics at outlets like NPR, No Depression and hometown weekly Riverfront Times. “I asked fellow music writer Roy Kasten to name a better song than Hardy’s ‘Cassius Clay’ to come out of St. Louis since Uncle Tupelo’s ‘Gun,’” wrote that paper’s Christian Schaefer. “He couldn’t.”

Indeed, the group’s Americana-rooted sound often draws comparisons to Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar’s early work, though it also incorporates horn-driven soul and stomping, anthemic rock a la Bruce Springsteen. Also featuring Glenn Labarre on lead guitar, Johnny Kidd on keyboards, Greg Shadwick on bass and Mike Schurk on drums, The Public are also influenced by Randy Newman, and released a four song cover EP of his tracks called Little Criminals. “There’s something in his voice that gives me the impression that he’s on the outside looking in, that he’s not invited to the party,” says Hardy. “His songs are comforting and troubling all at the same time.”

This uneasy combination was recently featured as NPR’s Song of the Day with the single “Worst I Ever Had”. “Brilliantly capturing that desperate feeling lying somewhere between lust and fear,” wrote NPR’s Ben Westhoff, “the group shows why they probably won’t be simply regional favorites for much longer.”

The two EPs followed the group’s 2005 debut Make Me Like Gold, which No Depression writer Ed Ward said was “about as original as any grass-roots recording by a guitar-based band is going to get at this late date” and their 2007 disc Working In Love. That album featured the show-stopping “Cassius Clay” and songs concerning Hardy’s recent divorce; in many ways the album was a letter to his ex-wife. “That was the best way I knew to tell her what I was thinking and feeling,” he says.
In recent years, Jon Hardy & The Public have performed with acclaimed acts including Okkervil River, The Avett Brothers, White Denim, John Vanderslice, Pernice Brothers and White Rabbits and drawn comparisons to Spoon. Their music has been played on college and community radio stations from coast to coast.
Hardy was raised in Webster Groves, just outside of St. Louis, by a Presbyterian preacher father and a mother whose work included substitute teaching. “It was a strange mix of liberal and conservative,” Hardy says. “My dad would always spend time reading to us about the civil rights movement. At the same time, TV was not smiled upon and music was carefully reviewed.” Having grown up on his parents’ classic rock and pop records, he taught himself guitar largely from listening to blues players like Lightnin’ Hopkins and B.B. King on local radio.
His first band was a power pop outfit called Shelby. “I remember I was very afraid of being in front of people and performing,” he says. “I don’t know that I’ve completely gotten over it.” An odd thing to say, as Jon Hardy & The Public’s shows have the inspirational quality of a revival meeting worthy of his father. Often featuring a full horns section and a faithful cover of Springsteen’s “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” they are largely responsible for the band’s considerable grassroots following in the Midwest.
Shadwick joined the group not long before he and Hardy were laid off from their jobs. He joined Labarre (a former fan of the band who came aboard shortly after Make Me Like Gold), Kidd (who brought a soul and pop aesthetic to the group) and Schurk, who answered a craigslist ad and bested other potential stickmen in a try-out. All five members collaborate on their albums’ stunning production, which highlights each member’s considerable musicianship without sacrificing their raw power.
Hardy makes it clear that he and The Public are dedicated to making quality tracks that stand the test of time. “We all still have to work other jobs to pay the bills, and in the meantime we’re trying to create good music,” he says. He’s also firmly rooted in his community, penning songs largely for himself and his friends. It just so happens that these tunes -- in all their rumbling power -- resonate with folks he’s never met. A sound as big as theirs, it turns out, has a hard time being contained.

Two Fresh Announces 2011 'Air Mail' Tour

Having recently closed a blockbuster holiday tour, which culminated with a New Year’s Eve dance party in Dallas, TX that saw 5k+ attend in support of the rapidly growing duo, Two Fresh is excited to announce the Air Mail Tour – a tour that will see the group hit the road with exciting, top notch support acts in anticipation of their forthcoming, full length album Air Mail. A full date list appears below. Ticketing and more information for all shows is available here.

Two Fresh kicks off the Air Mail Tour in the familiar stomping grounds of the Southeast and heads deep into the South, before winding up the East coast with parties in Knoxville, Athens, Tuscaloosa, Nashville, Austin, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Brooklyn. The tour will wrap with a Windy City rager in Chicago at the Bottom Lounge. Additional date announcements are expected from the trio, as the album release draws closer.

The tour will feature two of Brooklyn’s finest up and coming acts, Body Language and Mux Mool. Body Language’s original music was born from weekly dance party remixes crafted by Grant Wheeler and Matt Young, and are graced by the soul stylings of Ms. Angelica Bess. Mux Mool’s homespun electro hip-hop is the product of an introverted mind, an extroverted imagination, and a bottomless cultural appetite.

Having spent the last 18 months touring and working with different musicians and producers all over the country, Two Fresh is supporting the release of their forthcoming album, Air Mail, scheduled for release February 2011 on Elm & Oak Records/1320 Records. The ambitious and hungry group have planned 2 other releases for the later part of 2011. Having gained new, valuable perspective from recent tours and collaborations, Air Mail shows just how much the group has learned and evolved since their last release.

Two Fresh consists of an inseparable pair of twin producers, Sherwyn and Kendrick Nichols, who have been making beats and playing music together since they were fifteen years old. Now, about to be 22, the twins are armed with a forward-thinking perspective. As always, Two Fresh will tour with Colby Buckler on drums.

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Confirmed 2011 Two Fresh “Air Mail” Tour w/ Body Language and Mux Mool

Thursday, January 20th, 2011-Knoxville, TN @ Cider House

Friday, January 21st, 2011-Athens, GA @ New Earth Music Hall

Saturday, January 22nd 2011-Tuscaloosa, AL @ The Dixie

Sunday, January 23rd 2011-Chattanooga, TN @ 412 Market

Thursday, January 27th, 2011-Carbondale, IL @ Copper Dragon

Friday, January 28th, 2011-St. Louis, MO @ 2720 Cherokee

Saturday, January 29th, 2011-Nashville, TN @ Mercy

Sunday, January 30th, 2011-Birmingham, AL @ Zydeco

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011-Oxford, AL @ Proud Larry’s

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011-Dallas, TX @ 2826 Arnetic

Friday, February 4th, 2011-Austin, TX @ Parrish

Saturday, February 5th, 2011-New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina’s Uptown

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011-Auburn, AL @Bourbon Street

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011-Tallahassee, FL @ Engine Room

Thursday, February 10th, 2011-Columbia, SC @ The Brightsound Bassment

Friday, February 11th, 2011-Atlanta, GA @ King Plot

Saturday, February 12th, 2011-Blacksburg, VA @ AA’s

Sunday, February 13th, 2011-Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlies

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011-Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011- Baltimore, MD @ Bourbon Street

Saturday, February 19th, 2011-Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Monday, February 21st, 2011-Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011-Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Lounge

Thursday, February 24th, 2011-Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater

Saturday, February 26th, 2011-Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge

Joe Deninzon's Exuberance

Progressive jazz violinist Joe Deninzon, is honored to announce the release of EXUBERANCE. Recorded with bassist Robert Bowen, and guitarist Stephen Benson, EXUBERANCE is the essence of three musicians in a room, playing live with no overdubs or production; a completely raw experience.

The group draws influences from jazz stylists including the gypsy explorations of Django Reinhardt and the hot swing of violinist Stephane Grappelli along with rock and pop standards of the past 40 years including songs by Steely Dan, Alice in Chains, Jimmy Webb and Radiohead.  A few choice covers by Radiohead (“The Tourist”), Alice in Chains (“Heaven Beside You”), Steely Dan (“Bodhissatva”) and Fat's Waller's “Jitterbug Waltz” show just how wide the group's range goes.

One of the group's original songs, “Sun Goes Down” (featuring Luba on lead vocals), has been featured in the independent film, “What's Up Scarlet?” and a recent winner in the Jazz category of the Billboard and John Lennon International Songwriting Contests.

The album is also a tribute to Robert Bowen, who was killed when a car struck him as he rode his bike in Manhattan late August.  Live, the band performs with bassists who were friends with Robert, plus drummer Luciana Padmore (from Joe's band Stratospheerius).  The group has donated some of its earnings and CD sales to Robert's children.

Best known for his work on the 7-string electric violin and lead singing with the rock group Stratospheerius, Joe Deninzon plays acoustic violin in this Trio.  Joe has performed as a solo violinist with the New York City Ballet, and on album or in concert with Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Jane Monheit, Everclear, Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple, Smokey Robinson, and Les Paul.  A 10-time BMI Jazz Composer's grant recipient and a winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, his original music has been used on CMT, MTV VH1, Comedy Central, National Geographic, the Travel Channel and the History Channel.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Keep the Music of their Childhood Alive

The centuries-old story of their country and culture has been the foundation of the a cappella singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo since its beginnings, almost fifty years ago. On 'Songs From A Zulu Farm,' out January 25, 2011 (Listen 2 Entertainment Group), the nine-man group returns to their origins in the open fields of Zulu country to recreate the idyllic world in which they once lived by singing traditional folk tunes sung by mothers and fathers to children throughout the generations.

"These are songs from the earliest time in our lives," says Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder and frontman Joseph Shabalala. "When we sing these songs, we're singing from our personal history. It is such a joy for us to put these stories and songs together for our fans to enjoy too."

'Songs From A Zulu Farm' speaks to the universal joys of childhood. "Whether you are in Ladysmith, Virginia, or Ladysmith, South Africa, children are hearing songs they will carry with them for the rest of their lives and share with their own children," Shabalala says. "We hope that these songs sung to South African children can be enjoyed by families in many other places in the world."

Among the 16 tracks on 'Songs From A Zulu Farm' is "Old McDonald… Zulu Style," the classic children's song reworked in ways never before imagined as it's piped through the language and culture of the Zulu people.

Listen to "Old MacDonald" here.

Shabalala professes his love and longing for the times and places of his youth in “Thalaza,” a song he composed to encourage Zulus – and people of every nation and culture – to reconnect to the innocence of their younger years. “Your roots are who you are,” says Shabalala, who revisits the farmland of his youth every month. “I go home to see the sights I’ve known since I was a baby. When I see a field there, I see my father and mother standing with me as a little boy. I love going home because it is just that…home.”

Check out some Grateful Web coverage of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

A Hot Rize Halloween at the Boulder Theater

Hot Rize has marked 32 years in bluegrass, keeping its legend growing by delivering first-class music and entertainment as only it can. The band rose to prominence in the early 80's, appearing frequently on such national broadcasts as "A Prairie Home Companion", Austin City Limits, and on The Nashville Network. Their stage show gained renown, featuring their soulful and distinctive bluegrass combined with their wacky but musically deft "alter-ego" country swing band, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. The group performed in almost every state, as well as Europe, Japan, and Australia.

The traditional-yet-progressive foursome started in January, 1978, based in Colorado and naming itself after the secret ingredient of Martha White self-rising flour, the product Flatt & Scruggs promoted in the 50s and 60s. With national touring and multiple #1 bluegrass radio hits Hot Rize became a premier attraction and stylistic trend-setter. In 1990, the band was feted as Entertainer of the Year by IBMA at its first annual Awards Show. Throughout the 1990s, the group continued to perform occasionally for a loyal and growing fan base.

Following the untimely passing of original member Charles Sawtelle in 1999, the group reorganized in 2002 with Nashville studio ace/multiple Grammy-winner Bryan Sutton on guitar, and has continued to play selected shows each year, delivering its signature sound to a new generation of followers. Hot Rize has remained a top attraction in bluegrass, well into its fourth decade. In 2009, the band was selected to co-host the 20th annual IBMA Awards Show. The year 2010 will see increased activity, including major festivals and new studio recordings. More Info / Buy Tickets

Gogol Bordello @ Boulder Theater

Gogol Bordello's Trans-Continental Hustle, the group's American Recordings debut, is perhaps the most ambitious undertaking in the group's already remarkable decade-long career and it's the result of an inspired, year-length collaboration with famed producer Rick Rubin.


Gogol Bordello is arguably the hardest working "and hardest rocking" group of our discordant new century, maintaining a touring schedule and an onstage energy level that would send the average combo running for the emergency room. Their encounters and adventures, as well as the band members' own immigrant histories, fuel the subversively upbeat story-songs on Transcontinental Hustle. Front-man and lyricist Eugene Hutz spins out scenarios that are, by turns, hilarious and heartbreaking from the outsider experience of gypsies in his native Ukraine to the struggles and celebrations of Rio de Janeiro's favelas. It can be said that GB has been representing the voice of all minorities all at once, a voice that comes from a real, poetic and deep place.

Along the way, Hutz looks for common threads while embracing each of his character's defiantly unique identities, all of which reflect some facet of the frequently flying bandleader himself.

Anonymity clearly won't be an issue for Gogol Bordello any time soon. With Trans-Continental Hustle, the party-starting group will be encouraging and inciting even more of the world to passionately sing along. More Info / Buy Tickets

Greg Lewis Upcoming NYC Appearances

New York native, keyboardist Greg Lewis, a highly accomplished mainstay on the city’s jazz, blues and funk scenes, who has earned a solid reputation for his versatile work around town in a vast variety of settings, steps out front for the first time on his debut CD Organ Monk. Lewis’ sensitive and soulful keyboard playing has made him a favorite among some of the music’s finest vocalists – including blues queen Sweet Georgia Brown, jazz and soul songstress.

Lezlie Harrison and ex-Brooklyn Funk Essentials singer/songwriter Stephanie McKay  -- and earned him a featured role on saxophonist Sam Newsome’s Groove Project recording 24/7.  Now on Organ Monk the spotlight is finally shined on his enormous talents as the leader of his own allstar trio featuring multitalented guitarist Ron Jackson and drummer extraordinaire Cindy Blackman.

Born into a musical family, Lewis’ introduction to jazz came from hearing Monk records from the collection his late father, pianist David Lewis, who was a dedicated fan of Thelonious.  “It all started there,” the younger Lewis proclaims, also naming unsung master Elmo Hope as a major influence.  Lewis started his own piano studies at the age of eleven and began playing professionally around New York as a teenager.  He credits jazz legend Gil Coggins, who sent him as a sub one night to a gig where there was a Hammond B-3, for setting him on the path to becoming a bona fide organist.  These days Lewis has so devoted himself to mastering the difficult instrument with such fervor that he considers himself to be an “organ monk.”

Working weekly for the past five years at the hip Brooklyn club Night Of The Cookers, with his regular trio featuring Ron Jackson on guitar, Lewis has honed his skills on the B 3 to become one of New York’s first call organists.  It was at the club that he first met drummer Cindy Blackman, who was so impressed with his playing that she sat in with the group and made arrangements to later perform with Lewis.  An unwavering fan of the Tony Williams Lifetime group, featuring Larry Young on organ, Blackman is the perfect complement for Lewis’, who names Young as his primary influence on the instrument (along with, of course, Jimmy Smith as well as Sly Stone).  Lewis cites Young’s landmark interpretation of “Monk’s Dream” from the classic Unity album as a further inspiration for his decision to devote this his first date to the music of Thelonious.

Although albums memorializing Monk’s music have become somewhat commonplace since the iconic pianist/composer’s death, Organ Monk is most likely the very first on which the date is led by an organist.   Lewis’ years of familiarizing himself with both his instrument’s expansive capabilities, as well as Monk’s sizable songbook, have led to this inevitable debut recording that breathes new life into the master’s repertory, while exploiting the Hammond B 3’s vast (and somewhat untapped) potential for creating new sounds.

Despite its classic organ-guitar-drum configuration, Lewis’ trio is far from typical in approach to making modern music. His arrangements of the fourteen Monk titles on the record are consciously contemporary in their originality, respecting the composer’s melodic, harmonic and rhythmic voice, while using the different elements of each piece to propel the group into its own unique nexus, one where the customary divisions between soloist and accompanist are blurred, or even erased.   Beginning with “Trinkle Tinkle”, one of Monk’s more intricate melodic lines, Lewis’ mastery of both the B 3’s dual keyboards and its too often neglected bass pedals is clearly evident, as is his fearless approach to arranging for the trio, with Blackman’s powerful drums doubling the intricate melody with him.

Lewis’ unaccompanied introduction to ”Jackie-ing”, slowing building around the chords of the playful Monk march before inviting drums and guitar to join him is an eloquent lesson in dynamic tension and release.  The trio trips around in space with Lewis’ organ at times reminiscent of Sun Ra before sliding smoothly into the infectious melody of “Criss Cross”, with Blackman’s drums offering a jagged contrast to the velvety tone of the B 3, before the trio settles into an earthy mood and then blasts back into the stratosphere to conclude astrally.  The band’s easy swinging reading of the beautiful “Light Blue”, featuring Jackson’s soulful guitar, is a ringing affirmation of the group’s ability to shine brightly in the classic organ trio tradition, as is their burning up tempo rendition of the not often heard “Played Twice” that features an exciting Lewis-Blackman dialogue.

The date’s other nine Monk pieces each offer a different perspective on the master’s work.  There’s the bouncing rhythm that jumps out of the long tones that set up “Boo Boo’s Birthday” and its fittingly funny quote by Lewis of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, followed the lilting rhythms of the bebop masterpiece “Coming On The Hudson.”  Blackman’s energetic drumming on the fiercely burning “Four In One”, reminiscent of Art Blakey’s work with Monk, incites Lewis and Jackson to some of their best soloing of the date.  Lewis’ playing on “Locomotion” with his tonally expansive keyboard work, intelligent use of space and cleverly complementary bass line is nothing short of masterful.  On “We See” the trio once again swings mightily, with Lewis clearly demonstrating the influence of the great Jimmy Smith on his virtuosic playing.

“Monk’s Mood” is the date’s most beautiful ballad, with Lewis displaying the sensitive lyricism that has made him the favorite accompanist of so many of New York’s finest vocalists.  The trio shows off its intuitive split second timing in an edge of your seat dramatic reading of the marvelous melody of “Think Of One”, before digging down into their shared deep blues roots.  Lewis’ harmonic daring is clearly evident on his audacious arrangement of “Work.”  The final Monk piece of the date, “Introspection”, is a fitting example of the unmitigated joy the trio finds in coming together to make great music.

The date’s concluding coda is a Lewis original, “Kohl’s Here”, a fittingly Monkish melody dedicated to his teenage son that gives listeners a brief glimpse into the keyboardist’s own impressive abilities as a composer.  A talent that is sure to be seen in greater abundance on future releases from this extraordinary artist.

Night Of The Cookers Oct 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th, 2010

10pm-1am | 767 Fulton St, Brooklyn 11217 (Btwn Greene Ave & S Oxford St)

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55 Bar Oct 9th & 23rd

10pm-130am
55 Christopher St.
New York, NY 10001