On Monday I headed to Sycamore, home of the Radio Zero series, where I caught a set by the Danny Fox Trio. As I've written before, I have tremendous appreciation for groups that perform without reading onstage. Danny's music is pretty complex, too. Adam Schneit accurately described their group concept as a kind of modern Ahmad Jamal Trio, with lots of different grooves and sections navigated by musical cues. They've developed a really unique approach and they always seem to have new music.
Nice to see a good crowd on a Monday night, too! The Radio Zero series is really doing great, next month is curated by Kenny Warren, I'll be playing on March 18th with Two of Anything.
Last night I went to (gasp!) Manhattan to see Ethan Iverson's piano recital at Weill hall. Ethan is a longtime student of Sophia Rosoff, who helps present these concerts with the Abby Whiteside Foundation (Whiteside was Sophia's mentor). The concert featured two classical works, jazz standards, and Ethan's original pieces. I've never seen a program like this, it was very inspiring. I really need to check out more music by composer Louise Talma. Ethan opened and closed the concert with Talma's Alleluia in Form of Toccata, a wonderful neo-classical perpetual motion piece, a style that I love. The other classical piece was Stravinsky's Serenade in A, a piece that I've studied for a while and was eager to hear Ethan's interpretation. He sounded great, especially his rhythmic feel.
I was a little stunned when Ethan announced that he would take requests for the jazz standards he would play. I thought to myself that if I was playing in a recital setting like that I would want to be as prepared as possible in the material I chose. Ethan took five or six requests and then played continuously, improvising segues through the different tunes. This is definitely in the spirit of Sophia's teaching. In my lessons with her she would talk about how there really shouldn't be any difference between approaching jazz and classical music. Being in the moment while you play, getting out of the way and letting the music happen is a philosophy that Fred Hersch follows in his playing. This takes a lot of courage! It's something I'll be thinking about a lot as I prepare for my solo piano show next month..