Five Splendid Pairings For the Adventurous Winter Jazzfest 2013 Attendee
In her autobiography I Put a Spell on You, Nina Simone recalled the Greenwich Village of the '50s and '60s as a scene where beboppers, folkies, blues devotees and bohemians of all stripes would seek out their music in close proximity. Decades later, Winter Jazzfest takes stock of a new historical moment, presenting several dozen bands in six venues located in or near the very area Simone described. By now it's become an inspiring ritual to kick off the year: a marathon display of monster talent, with players spanning several generations and sounding absolutely nothing alike.
Is it all "jazz"? The term itself is enough to spark heated debate among the initiated, but this festival seems to say: never mind all that. Just listen. What you'll hear is new, experimental, global in scope. Catching every act over the two nights is a tall order, so here are five suggested pairings to get you started.
1) Yosvany Terry Quintet (Friday, The Bitter End)
Rudresh Mahanthappa's Gamak (Saturday, Le Poisson Rouge)
Terry is a native of Cuba, Mahanthappa a first-generation Indian-American from Boulder, Colorado. Both play alto saxophone, and their music shares a certain unrelenting rhythmic intensity, as well as a commitment to melding jazz with influences from their respective ethnic traditions. Terry had a standout year in 2012 with the superb Today's Opinion. Mahanthappa will perform electrifying quartet music from Gamak, due out later this month.