AMN Reviews: Touch and Go Sextet – Live at the Novara Jazz Festival (2014; Nine Winds Records)

coverThe Touch and Go Sextet consists of luminaries of the San Francisco Bay Area creative music scene: Aaron Bennett on tenor and baritone saxophone, Sheldon Brown on alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone, Ben Goldberg on clarinet, Darren Johnston on trumpet, Lisa Mezzacappa on bass, and Vijay Anderson on drums. Recorded in 2012, this recently-released eight-track live set shows what these folks can do with both jazz compositions and improvisations.

The three 10-minute-plus tracks on Live at the Novara Jazz Festival tend to focus more on improv, giving each player room to show off. The group really shines, however, playing the more tightly-composed shorter pieces. For instance, Slippin’ and The Year of the Zinc Penny each demonstrate sharp contrapunctal interplay. All of the tunes were written by Anderson, and his Ornette Coleman / Roscoe Mitchell / Vinny Golia influences are showing.

Despite this being the sextet’s first actual release, they have been kicking around in one form or another since 2008. Thus, it is not surprising that their playing exhibits an intuitiveness to one another that borders on the telepathic. The brass and wood charts in particular are sometimes reminiscent of Ellington or a Braxton large ensemble, but come together with grace and playfulness. This is serious music that doesn’t get lost in its seriousness. Kudos to Anderson and team for an engaging and delightful release.

Touch and Go Sextet on Bandcamp.

Jazz Listings From The New York Times


Cover of "Diaspora Soul"
Cover of Diaspora Soul

Arc Trio Blue (Saturday) Mario Pavone, a bassist-composer of experience and vision, has led more than one edition of his Arc Trio; this one involves a pair of deep listeners: the pianist Matt Mitchell and the drummer Tyshawn Sorey. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, 212-989-9319,; $10 cover, with a $10 minimum. (Chinen)

Steven Bernstein’s Diaspora Soul (Sunday) Mr. Bernstein, a trumpeter and bandleader of staunch exuberance, formed his Diaspora Soul project some 15 years ago, bringing elements of Jewish music into contact with the sound of Gulf Coast R&B. He revives the premise here as part of the Newish Jewish Music Festival. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th Street and Broadway, 212-258-9595,; $35 cover, with a $10 minimum; $15 for students at select sets. (Chinen)

Jim Black at the Stone (Tuesday through March 30) As a drummer, Mr. Black’s spirit of polymorphous propulsion draws equally from noise rock, electronic music and free jazz. His residency at the Stone next week will feature collaborations old and new, beginning on Tuesday with two sets by Not Bloodcount, a reunion (but apparently not a resuscitation) of a 1990s band led by the saxophonist Tim Berne. On Wednesday at 8 p.m., Mr. Black will play in a trio with the guitarist Ben Monder and the bassist Ben Street, another unit from the ’90s; at 10 p.m. he’ll go head-to-head with another aggressively resourceful drummer, Ches Smith. Thursday’s early set will feature the trumpeter Peter Evans and the electronics artist Sam Pluta; in the late set he’ll work with CO3, which includes the guitarist Jonathan Goldberger and the bassist Simon Jermyn. At 8 and 10 p.m., Avenue C and Second Street, East Village, 212-473-0043,; $15 per set, $10 for students. (Chinen)

An Evening in Interstellar Space Remembering Coltrane (Monday) This installment of the Evolving Music series, presented by the same nonprofit behind the Vision Festival, will feature three duos convened in the spirit of “Interstellar Space,” the classic album made by John Coltrane and Rashied Ali. First up, at 7:30 p.m., are the saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and the drummer Haim Peskoff; at 8:45 p.m. the cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum teams up with the drummer Tomas Fujiwara; and at 10 p.m. the saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and the drummer Tom Rainey close out the evening. Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk Street, Lower East Side,; 212-260-4080, $11 per set; $16 for two; $22 for three, with reduced student rates. (Chinen)

Kneebody (Monday) Kneebody is a band conversant in a dizzying range of styles, with jazz improvisation at the core. To kick off a cross-country tour, its brain trust — the trumpeter Shane Endsley, the saxophonist Ben Wendel, the keyboardist Adam Benjamin, the bassist Kaveh Rastegar and the drummer Nate Wood — tackles a mix of new and slightly-less-new music. At 8 p.m., Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th Street, Chelsea, 212-414-5994,; $20 in advance, $25 day of show, with a $10 minimum at tables. (Chinen)

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble (Saturday) Led by Ken Field, an alto saxophonist and flutist, this Boston-area band puts a premium on Mardi Gras-style rhythm — the opening track of its new album, “Live Snakes,” is aptly titled “Parade” — but also pursues a sinuous, writhing counterpoint, in ways that justify the band’s name. At 8 p.m., Barbès, 376 Ninth Street, at Sixth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, 347-422-0248,; suggested donation, $10. (Chinen)

Thumbscrew (Friday) On its self-titled debut album, this artfully rugged collective — with Mary Halvorson on guitar, Michael Formanek on bass, Tomas Fujiwara on drums — does an impressive mind-meld, muscling through compositions conceived specifically for the occasion. Something similar is likely to take place on this album-release gig. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village,, 212-989-9319; $10 cover, with a $10 minimum. (Chinen)


Classical Music Listings From The New York Times


Kronos Quartet
Cover of Kronos Quartet

Beyond the Machine 14.1 (Wednesday and Thursday) “In C,” Terry Riley’s groundbreaking minimalist masterpiece, turns 50 this year. Juilliard’s Center for Innovation in the Arts celebrates the occasion with a multimedia production featuring 53 short dance sequences that were filmed to correspond with the 53 musical units in Riley’s work. Rachel Straus, a Juilliard faculty member and dance historian, and the choreographer Rebecca Lazier will discuss the work and other adaptations in a pre-performance talk. At 8 p.m., Juilliard School’s Willson Theater, Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street, 212-769-7406,; sold out. (Vivien Schweitzer)

Emerson String Quartet (Sunday) With its new cellist, Paul Watkins, this esteemed ensemble will be using three concerts this spring to survey the last five of Shostakovich’s quartets. It will be juxtaposing them with late quartets by other composers said to be preoccupied with death; this first installment features Mendelssohn’s Opus 80, his last major work. At 5 p.m., Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, 212-721-6500,; $45 to $80. (Woolfe)

Kronos Quartet (Monday) Other ensembles have expanded the string quartet genre but not one has done as much to transform the genre as the Kronos Quartet, which kicks off celebrations of its 40th anniversary with an evening of music, conversation and film including Mary Kouyoumdjian’s “Bombs of Beirut.” At 7:30 p.m., the Greene Space, 44 Charlton Street, at Varick Street, SoHo, 866-811-4111,; $40. (da Fonseca-Wollheim)

Ostrava Days in New York (Wednesday) This evening aims to bring to the city some of the spirit of the capacious Ostrava Days new-music festival in the Czech Republic, as well as to celebrate the 80th birthday of the composer Christian Wolff. The program, featuring the S.E.M. Ensemble and the festival’s house ensemble, Ostravska Banda, includes works by Mr. Wolff, Xenakis, Ligeti and Petr Kotik. At 8 p.m., Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, near Third Avenue, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, 917-267-0363,; $20, $15 for students and 65+. (Woolfe)

Spring Shows at Snugs

From New York’s Snugs.

Ned Rothenberg
Ned Rothenberg

Snugs Spring 2014 Schedule

One-Year Anniversary Concert
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Peter Evans (tp) and Sam Pluta (live processing)
Bhob Rainey (ss) and Greg Kelley (tp)

Sunday, April 6th, 2014
Jim Hobbs (as)
Joe Morris (gtr)

Sunday, April 27th, 2014
Daro Behroozi (reeds)

Sunday, May 4, 2014
Robert Dick (flutes)

Sunday, June 1, 2014
Ned Rothenberg (reeds)

Upstairs at 61 Local
61 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY

Coming to the Vortex Jazz Club

From London’s Vortex:

The Necks
Cover of The Necks

FRI 21 MAR • 19.30 • £17/£20
The Vortex City Sessions at Bishopsgate Institute: THE NECKS

For this very special one-off show we are delighted to be back at one of London’s most magnificent venues and a prized cultural partner of ours: Bishopsgate Institute. Not entirely avant-garde, nor minimalist, nor ambient, nor jazz, The Necks’ music is regularly described internationally as, simply, unique. Every Necks performance is a singular event, entirely improvised and working with the acoustics of the room. Featuring lengthy pieces of long-form improvisation which build in a mesmerising, epic fashion frequently underpinned by an insistent deep groove, their performances are never less than phenomenal.

MON 24 MAR • 20.00 • £9 • MD

Stylistically, the Trio Riot relate their sense of energy to the 1980s British Punk scene with their approach to sound inspired by Jazz pioneers like Ornette Coleman and 20th century Contemporary music. Also, new band Wolf Suit play a riotous brand of free improv, with great empathy and intuition with Olie Brice (bass), James Allsopp (reeds) and Tim Giles (drums).

FRI 4 + SAT 5 APR • 20.00 • £15 / £25

We’re thrilled to host a rare UK performance from one of the leading lights of the NYC Downtown scene, guitarist Elliott Sharp. Currently in the UK to play the magnificent Frontears Festival in Birmingham, Elliott visits the Vortex for a very special two-night residency, each night playing a solo/duo set, plus an ensemble set showcasing Foliage with the cream of the UK scene.