Newport Jazz Festival to scout the talent and hopefully, judging by the lineup (click on the name above), invite artists who have yet to play in the handsome performance space.
When she returns (chances are also good owner Ken Kitchings will be there as well), The Side Door has quite a group of artists scheduled for August through mid-September including trumpeter Dominick Farinacci (8/06), saxophonist Tia Fuller (8/13), vocalist and pianist Champian Fulton (8/26), and saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's "Bird Calls" with trumpeter Adam O'Farrill and (perhaps) pianist Matt Mitchell (9/16). And, there's plenty more! Go to thesidedoorjazz.com to check to all out.
The results of those sessions can now be heard on the sextet's debut album. Titled "Black Art Jazz Collective: Presented by The Side Door Jazz Club" (Sunnyside Records), the CD includes eight original compositions (two by Escoffery and Davis plus one each from the rest of the band, including Burno but not Archer). Most, if not all, of the group are bandleaders so this "collective" understands that one puts aside egos and focusses on the music. The recording starts with two pieces by the saxophonist, the fiery "Double Consciousness" and the forceful "Awaiting Change" - pay attention to the work of Davis, Archer, and, especially Blake. as the music swells, pulsates and flows. Both Escoffery and Pelt play with great fire on the latter track while Burton III's more mellow approach is an excellent contrast to the blasts of the sax and trumpet on the opener. Yet, listen to how Blake fires up the band Iand he does so throughout the album.
Black Art Jazz Collective has the power and intelligence to stir an audience, making music that nods towards its influences yet sounds fresh and refreshing. The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme, CT, opened in May of 2013 with the mission of not only presenting first-class musicians from around the world but also shining its spotlights on younger musicians, especially those who have gone through the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School, the New England Conservatory, Berklee, Manhattan School of Music, and elsewhere. Ken and Jan's first recording project opens a new door and one hopes that this portal stays off its latch a good long time.
For more information, go to sunnysidezone.com/album/presented-by-the-side-door-jazz-club. For reservations to the CT show, call 860-434-0886 or go to thesidedoorjazz.com.