Thursday, September 21, 2006

From Greenleaf Music, a review by Dave Douglas

Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts)
September 21, 2006, 02:04 PM
posted by Dave Douglas

Taylor Ho Bynum and Stephen Haynes gave us a unique take on the double trio format at the Standard last night. On one side Taylor (technically a cornetist, but we at FONT don't split hairs...) with Mary Halvorson on guitar and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. Stephen on the other with Allan Jaffe on guitar and Warren Smith on drums.

The sound and compositions were rich and filled the space. It was refreshing to see something so different at a club in New York, and during the particularly abstract moments I found myself beaming at the big sign over the bandstand that says JAZZ STANDARD. Yes, finally!

Both brass players have full sounds, Stephen ranging from airy and transparent to cutting and brassy, Taylor delving often into half-valved burry tones and squiggly lines. The construction of the pieces was ingenious, constantly shifting the relationship of trio to trio, instrument to instrument, melody to melody. Lots of memorable exchanges between Mary and Allan, Tomas and Warren.

When I walked in and saw the stage it seemed there was something wrong with the set-up: Warren Smith had a large kit with a wall of gongs and an orchestral bass drum behind it. Tomas played a small kit arrayed on the opposite side of the stage, almost hiding behind the piano. Once the music started it was clear there was no disparity at all, just two very creative percussionist with two very different sets of instruments. It made for a great evening with a wide variety of sound.

Taylor and Stephen were recording last night, so at some point soon this music will be available on a CD (or in some as yet undiscovered format...). Taylor also has some nice free music up at the link above, and a new CD with Spider Monkey Strings.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bugaboo at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival
Hillstead Museum, July 2006

We shared a delightful evening, punctuated by occasional bursts of rain, with poet Li-Young Lee, whose work was complex and inspiring.

Thanks to Alison Myers, Director of the festival, for inviting us. Alison moves to New York in August to assume position of Director of Cave Canem. See my links section for more on this essential organization.