Tuesday nights at the Bar Next Door 
Sunday, May 2, 2010, 01:04 AM - Jazz
If you are in New York City on a Tuesday night, and if you like jazz, go to the Bar Next Door at La Lanterna on 129 MacDougal street in Greenwich Village. The sets are from 8:30 to 9:45 and from 10:30 to 11:45, and the cover is $12, even if you stay for both sets. That's hard to beat.

But what's really hard to beat is the quality of the music. On most Tuesdays you will hear Joel Frahm's Trio, with Joe Martin at the bass and Bill Campbell at the drums. Whenever Joel is on tour, you might hear Chris Potter, Bill McHenry, Anat Cohen, or John Ellis. When Joe Martin is on tour, you might hear Omer Avital, or Allan Hampton at the bass.

The acoustic is great, the room is intimate, the people are friendly, and the music is fantastic.

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Ridiculously fast jazz solos on the recorder 
Sunday, May 2, 2010, 12:47 AM - Jazz
Benoît Sauvé Benoît Sauvé is a French virtuoso recorder player who manages to emulate the likes of John Coltrane and Michael Brecker on the alto recorder. In his YouTube videos, he plays Coltrane's solo on "Blue Train" and Mickael Brecker's solo on "Some Skunk Funk" without missing a note.

For all of you, non recorder players, these solos are supposed to be played on a tenor saxophone, which is in B flat, and has lots of keys to make the fingerings easy and the flats and sharps real simple. An alto recorder is in F and has no keys (only holes). This means that playing certain notes (including most flats and sharps) requires very strange and complicated combinations of fingers, sometimes covering half a hole. Playing a jazz tune designed for a tenor sax will invariably involve lots of sharps and flats. Typical transitions between notes will require switching 4 or 5 fingers at the same time. That's why Benoît's performance is so impressive.

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David Berkman at Smoke 
Sunday, November 1, 2009, 02:43 PM - Jazz
My favorite jazz composer/pianist on the New-York scene David Berkman was playing at the uptown club Smoke yesterday and Friday with Antonio Hart on the sax, Ted Poor on drums, and Ed Howard on bass. I went to the last set on Saturday and it was awesome. David has a new CD out entitled Live at Smoke (also on Amazon MP3 downloads), with live performances of some of his fantastic pieces from earlier records, like Weird Knack, which appeared on his amazing 2000 CD Communication Theory (though it was mispelled "Weird Knock" on that CD). Interestingly, David post the scores of many of his compositions on his website (though the links seem dead right now).

In fact, I first heard of David Berkman while listening to the WBGO radio station back in 2000. They played a piece from Communication Theory. I was hooked.

David played on Joel Frahm's first two CDs ("Sorry, No Decaf", and "The Navigator"), and composed some of the pieces on these CD (like "Interesting perhaps, but hardly a fascinating rythm"). It would be awesome if David and Joel could record together again. It would also be awesome if David played more often in NYC, particularly downtown.
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Omer Avital with Joel Frahm and Bill Campbell 
Saturday, October 17, 2009, 09:00 PM - Jazz
This week at the Bar Next Door, Joel Frahm and Bill Campbell were accompanied by bassist Omer Avital (instead of Joe Martin). The second set was particualry energetic, with one of Omer's composition called Flow, which is based on the changes of Giant Steps. I had never heard Joel play giant steps. Pianist/Composer David Berkman says in his book that Joel plays a mean Giant Steps. He is right, despite Joel claim that he hadn't played Giant Steps in while and was a bit rusty.

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Joe Martin's latest album 
Monday, October 12, 2009, 05:25 PM - Jazz
Joe Martin's latest album,'Not By Chance', has been out for about a month now. It features Joe at the Bass, Brad Mehldau on Piano, Chris Potter on Sax, and Marcus Gilmore on Drums. What a nice line-up! Go Joe, go.

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Gadi Lehavi: 13 year-old Jazz piano prodigy 
Monday, October 12, 2009, 12:29 AM - Jazz
Joel Frahm pointed us to a video of this 13 years old Israeli kid, Gadi Lehavi, who has been playing around several NYC Jazz clubs earlier.

His playing is amazing for a boy this age. Actually, it's amazing, Period. He is classically trained, and has been playing Jazz for about a year and a half.

There are more YouTube videos of Gadi here.

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Joel Frahm the Quotemaster 
Thursday, June 11, 2009, 05:32 PM - Jazz
Tenor sax virtuoso Joel Frahm was playing his regular Tuesday-night gig at La Lanterna in NYC this week, accompanied by Bill Campbell at the drums (as usual), and Johannes Weidenmuller at the bass (replacing Joe Martin). Joel is something of a "quotemaster": his solos are often peppered with snippets from all kinds of things from other jazz pieces, classical music, pop music, and just about anything under the sun.

This Tuesday, Joel was in a particularly playful mood, and his high-flying solos brought an unusally rich harvest of detectable/delectable quotes including such things as Peter and the Wolf, Michel Legrand's "Les moulins de mon cœur" (Windmills of my mind), and (that's got to be a first) a theme from Star Wars!

Over the last 3 months, photographer Jimmy Katz has come to 8 or 10 of Joel's trio sessions at La Lanterna, equipped with a compact digital multi-track recorder. Each session he recorded has about 3 hours of music. Hopefully, these will soom be distilled and made available.

By ze way, the complete collection of Joel's sessions at Small's are available for on-line listening here.
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Bill McHenry at La Lanterna 
Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 12:57 AM - Jazz
Tonight at La Lanterna in NYC tenor sax Bill McHenry was sitting in for Joel Frahm, with bassist Joe Martin and drummer Bill Campbell. They played two of Bill McHenry's new compositions "Violetta" and "Lines" which I thought were particularly interesting.

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Great Jazz Trio every Tuesday in the Village 
Thursday, September 11, 2008, 11:00 PM - Jazz
There is a delightful small jazz club called "The bar next door" at la Lanterna Caffe, on 129 MacDougal St, just south of Washington Square Village in New York City.

Every Tuesday, they host a fantastic trio, led by tenor sax player Joel Frahm, with bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Bill Campbell.

The trio is totally delightful, if you like post-bop/hard-bop straight-ahead jazz. Joel Frahm is an amazing improviser who can play just about everything with gusto.

I have become somewhat of a regular there over the last few months.

You can get Joel's recording at Amazons MP3 download store.

Joel and Joe have both played with one of my favorite composers/pianists on the NYC jazz scene: David Berkman.

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