If I could spend the next six weeks of winter in one spot, it would be tucked in a cozy corner of FourFiveSix (199 Richardson Street) surrounded by the eclectic decor and art, absorbing the rhythmic musical stylings of the St. Amour Jazz Collective. On Sunday evening, the collective performed at the popular neighborhood jazz bar, offering a carefree alternative to Super Bowl festivities.
The St. Amour Jazz Collective features Jim St. Amour on the vibraphone, Luke Markham on drums, and Alex Heigl on bass guitar. It’s St. Amour’s passion project: a percussionist of 35 years, he made a natural transition to the vibraphone to start composing his own works.
“As a composer, I am inspired by the drum n’ bass and neo-soul genres of music. The vibraphone is a beautiful instrument, and its range and percussive tonal characteristics really fit nicely with the harmony and melody of both styles of music,” St. Amour said. He integrated the drums and bass guitar into his compositions, thus shaping the group’s unique sound.
Markham has been a drummer for 19 years. He is well-versed in various genres and plays with a number of groups. When he plays, the drumsticks seem like extensions of his own arms. Both he and St. Amour also teach. Heigl was 15 when he started on the bass guitar. His initial genre was punk before classically training with a jazz bassist soon after. This was the groundwork for his success as an independent bassist. As a group, this trio feeds off each other’s energy, talent, and love of music in an authentic way that makes for a spirited and contemporary live performance.
There was a time not long ago when you had to travel to Manhattan jazz clubs and pay a cover just to listen to great jazz, but that is no longer true and great jazz has arrived locally in Greenpoint. Thursday, August 16 from 7pm-9pm in McGolrick Park some of the best local jazz musicians will show their virtuosity and their love of this unique art form, presented by OSA (The Open Space Alliance of North Brooklyn) at the location of the new Earth-shaped Ziemia sculpture in the middle of the park.
The driving force behind the emergence of local jazz is Jesse Lynch, a classical pianist who fell in love with jazz. He has amazing dexterity and a great left hand, suiting him to playing even the most demanding jazz melodies.
Lynch arrived in Greenpoint looking for a place to practice and play intimate local gigs with other highly talented musicians. These underground sessions evolved into what Lynch has named The Vortex, a monthly series in his private loft featuring rotating combinations of musicians playing jazz standards and original compositions in an intimate, casual setting. Though the musicians might change from session to session, the quality of the music does not and there is a unique vibe and energy to Lynch’s sessions that listeners will also hear in McGolrick Park on Thursday. Continue reading →
Earth, air, fire and water: the vital components that make up our living world were the inspiration for a special night at National Sawdust (80 N 6th St) last Thursday, where musicians collaborated with acclaimed chef Patrick Connolly of neighboring restaurant Rider and mixologist Allen Katz (NY Distilling Company) to compose an immersive performance harmonized with food and drink. The inventive evening included avant-garde music spanning several genres (jazz, electronic, folk, world), eclectic performers, and an exceptional food and cocktail pairing set in an informal salon atmosphere.
National Sawdust is a beautifully designed black box theatre with acoustics that rival the Sydney Opera House. If you’ve been to NS more than once, you’ve likely experienced a variety of stage setups. The auditorium layout was designed to play a little Tetris, with the stage location and seating arrangement tailored to each performance and always sounding incredible no matter what the scenario. Last week’s show was no different; with tables and chairs arranged cabaret-style to face the stage and corn husks as our plates, the night had a casual vibe nestled in an intimate high-end venue. Continue reading →
The Park Church Co-Op was dimly lit, the stage awash with red and blue light. Meditative electronic new-age music played as the image of Jesus on the crucifix centered on the back wall looked over the scene. It may not seem like the most likely venue for a night of experimental jazz, but Pastor Amy Kienzle remarked that this event was part of the church’s larger event series that supports community art. And with Wawrzyniak being such an enthusiastic member of the church she felt it was important to support. She added that the church “believes in art and it being spiritually beneficial.” Continue reading →
Next Thursday evening (9/28) at 7:30pm, National Sawdust (80 N 6th St) is presenting a night of inspired food, mixology and music as they pair up small bites and cocktails with custom-composed music to simultaneously tickle your ears and your tastebuds.
James Beard Award-winning chef Patrick Connolly of Rider (National Sawdust’s sister restaurant) and “cocktail world enigma” Allen Katz, mixologist and local distiller at New York Distilling Company (79 Richardson St), will create the tantalizing culinary experience, which will offer four canapés (three h’ors doeuvres + dessert) and five cocktails on tap.
Musicians include jazz singer Magos Herrera, multi-instrumentalist Yuka C. Honda (of Cibo Matto), and pianist Oded Lev-Ari, who will lead the ensemble in a program ranging from tango to electronic music to Mexican folk song, including the world premiere of Chopping Music and a piece inspired by the humble juniper berry.
And, audience members get 20% off their bill at Rider after the event. Advance tickets are $70 and available here. Continue reading →
If you’ve heard live music in Brooklyn, there’s a good chance you’ve come across the multi-hyphenate and chameleon performer Angela Morris. She often performs around North Brooklyn, frequenting venues such as Silent Barn, Trans Pecos, and Legion, along with now-closed experimental powerhouses Sunview Luncheonette and Manhattan Inn. Blurring musical genres and marrying avant jazz with pop, her music is at once whimsy but wise, stirring yet relaxing. But labeling Morris’s style may be futile; her timbre shifts depending on the night and her role. Morris plays multiple instruments with almost as many bands — including Rallidae, TMT Trio, and Pep Talk — all the while conducting, singing, or switching between strings and woodwinds. Here, she discusses her move from Toronto, Brooklyn’s evolving music scene, and — despite the strains of a performance-induced injury — what continually motivates her to share her craft. Continue reading →
Don’t worry, we also save room in the back for unsung heroes.
The Hold Steady have three sold-out Brooklyn Bowl shows beginning tonight. Additional tickets will be released at 6 PM each night.
Rockabilly’s Reverend Horton Heat is at Warsaw on Saturday and as usual he’s got a full coterie of highly disreputable opening acts, like Unknown Hinson and Nashville Pussy. Tickets are $22 and still available online.
If you joined the Standing Rock protest bandwagon there’s a benefit at Sunnyvale on Saturday at 8 PM and all the bands playing have suitably passive-aggressive names.
For Matt Siffert, a junior semester abroad provided the impetus for choosing the life of a songwriter. He studied music and psychology at the University of Havana in the spring of 2008. With less classwork in Havana than in the Iron City confines of Carnegie Mellon, he finally had the chance to explore his love of music, photography, and poetry, and to develop his confidence as an artist.
“It was one of the most important experiences of my life; I grew up a lot and came to embrace my artistic side,” he said. Back home, he had too often let creativity take a back burner to his academic interests.
Siffert has four works as a solo artist, Morningside (2012), Cold Songs (2012), Rise (2013) and Punch, and has performed nationally and internationally. Listen to Siffert perform his original songs infused with folk, jazz, and classical sensibilities tonight at 10pm at Pete’s Candy Store (709 Lorimer St.).
Richly layered with afro-beats, jazz rhythms, pop hooks, and Sachal Vasandani’s opalescent vocal timbre, the ten anfractuous and soulful tracks of sophisti-pop on Slow Motion Miracles flow like one body of water into another.
With her hair pulled back, dressed in a spaghetti-strap deep plunge little black dress, a double strand of pearls, and a shimmering vintage ring-to-wrist bracelet, Sweet Megg looks like she is visiting us from the Prohibition era that shapes her music. Her voice envelops the room and invokes that same decadent, idealistic atmosphere as she and her Wayfarers perform (Up) a Lazy River to a buzzing audience at the Top of the Standard on a Saturday night.