I expect that performance space/recording studio is going rock when Sunwatcher hits the stage. The first set begins at 8:30 p.m. with the second at 10. For tickets, call 203-785-0468 or go to firehouse12.com. To learn more about Jeff Lederer and his music, go to www.littleimusic.com.
Chuck Obuchowski interviews Jeff Lederer on WWUH-91.3 FM Tuesday morning 11/15 at 10 a.m. You can listen online at wwuh.org.
I was lucky enough to see and hear the Bynum Sextet play this music several times before they committed it to CD. Though much of it notated, there's room for the musicians to "speak their piece" within the framework of the composition. "Apparent Distance" is Taylor Ho Bynum's most complete work; his influences (Bill Dixon, Anthony Braxton, Lester Bowie) have been absorbed and what the listener hears is fresh, exciting and forward-looking. To find out more, go to taylorhobynum.com.
Over the past decade, I have heard a lot about and read even more about the Curtis Brothers. The Hartford, Connecticut, natives have been turning heads since their teenage years and time spent at Jackie McLean's Artist Collective and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Performing Arts. Their 2009 recording, "Blood.Spirit.Land.Water.Freedom", displayed pianist Zaccai's burgeoning composing talent and ability to infuse the pieces with both jazz and contemporary Latin influences. Bassist Luques has worked with a slew of jazz artists, from Gary Burton to Dave Valentin to Christian Scott as well as trumpeter Brian Lynch, saxophonist Donald Harrison and drummer Ralph Peterson.
The latter 3 appear on "Completion of Proof" (Truth Revolution Records), the Brothers' 3rd CD and most fully realized program. Zaccai composed and arranged the entire album and it's his propulsive piano mixed with Luques' rock-solid bass lines and Peterson's highly-active drumming that is the heart of this music. The majority of the pieces are up-tempo, replete with strong melodies and arrangement that allow each soloist to dig in. It's Lynch one hears first on the opening track, "Protestor", and he works well against the rhythmic tidal wave beneath him. Alto saxophonist Harrison actually stokes the fire higher and one can hear Peterson react with his "conversational" drums. Zaccai goes next and he, too, spars with Peterson - the results are exhilarating. The mid-section of the CD is dedicated to the 3-part "Manifest Destiny Suite" - joining the rhythm section and Lynch are alto saxophonist Joe Ford, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Greene, bata player Pedro Martinez (2 tracks) and percussionist Rogerio Boccato (1 track). This is not music for the faint of heart. "The Wrath" builds off the strong percussion and McCoy Tyner-like chords to include strong solos and great interaction. "Mass Manipulation" is more thoughtful, Lynch's lyrical lines over the cascading saxophones, rippling piano, the counterpoint from the bass and shimmering percussion. Here, the arrangement has the saxophones playing echoing lines that lead into Greene's forceful statement and a strong bass solo. The title track blends Latin rhythms, be-bop horn lines and hard-bop drive into a heady plunge into the politics of occupation. Zaccai's piano solo is a dazzling blend of rapid-single note runs that push Peterson into driving even harder. "Sol Within" starts softly but gets louder on the strength of Reinaldo De Jesus pushing the tempo on the Barriles de Bomba (drums made from the wood of rum barrels.) Lynch and Zaccai both take fine solos, the latter creating an exciting interaction with the drummers.
One can clearly hear on "Completion of Proof" that The Curtis Brothers are not only carrying on the jazz tradition but adding fresh ideas into the ongoing fusion that is jazz. They take no shortcuts but play with vigor, honesty and the purest of intentions - creating a better world through musical interactions. To find out more, go to curtisbrothersmusic.com.