Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Firehouse with Strings + a Drummer's Tribute

The Fall 2012 Concert Series at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street in New Haven, continues apace with the Mat Maneri Quartet coming to the Elm City performance space on Friday October 19. Maneri, the son of the late saxophonist/educator Joe Maneri, is a violist and violinist as well as a fearless improvisor.  Besides leading how own ensembles, Maneri has played alongside saxophonist Tim Berne, pianist Matthew Shipp, guitarist/bassist Joe Morris, and pianist Cecil Taylor (plus many others.)  He's now leads a group featuring Matt Moran (vibraphone), Randy Peterson (drums) and Garth Stevenson (bass - he last played the Firehouse as a member of Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day.) One should expect this music to move in a variety of directions with impressive dynamic variations and intelligent interplay.

The Mat Maneri Quartet plays 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. (separate admission charge to each) - Firehouse 12 is a wonderful space to see and hear such intimate and challenging music.  For ticket information, go to firehouse12.com or call 203-785-0468.

Good news, bad news and it's all wrapped up in the next sentence - both sets of October 26 Fred Hersch Trio concert are sold out (as one should have expected.)  To get on the waiting list, use the contact information above.

There are a slew of creative musicians who hail from Houston, Texas, playing jazz, rhythm & blues, rap, hip-hop and more.  Drummer-composer Reggie Quinerly pays tribute to the music and musicians on his debut CD, "Music Inspired by Freedman Town" (Redefinition Music).  Freedman's Town is the Fourth Ward of Houston so named by the freed slaves who settled there after the Civil War.  The story of the area is not so much different than other Southern cities, from Birmingham, Alabama, to Memphis, Tennessee (you can read more by going to www.isocracytx.net/hp-org/FTAbrief.html.)

For his recording, Quinerly intersperses musical styles, from shuffles to swing to gospel-drenched to "standards" with musicians such as Enoch Smith Jr (vocals, piano, organ), Gerald Clayton (piano), Tim Warfield (tenor saxophone), Mike Moreno (guitar) and Vicente Archer (bass). Smith Jr appears on 2 tracks, including the soulful "Freedmantown", revealing the strength and creativity of the Ward's residents. Trumpeter Antoine Drye, trombonist Corey King and tenor saxophonist Matt Parker create a hearty "shout" chorus behind the vocals.  Clayton (who appears on all but 2 tracks) and Quinerly work well together, creating music that sounds fresh and alive.  On the beautiful ballad "Victoria" (an original), the pianist gently frames the heartfelt delivery of vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles while on "I'm Old Fashioned", he sounds anything but "old fashioned" as he dances atop the driving rhythms. Pennyslvania-native Warfield plays some serious "Texas tenor" on the rousing rendition of "Sentimental Journey" that closes the program.

Reggie Quinerly, who's been a resident of New York City since 1999, has worked with musicians such as Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis and Greg Osby.  He's a fine drummer but his debut recording is more about his soul, his heart and his creativity than his "chops." There's plenty of information in the liner notes that tell you a lot about his "roots";  yet his music takes you deeper and it's a journey worth taking.  For more information, go to www.reggiequinerly.com.

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