The 10 Best Jazz Shows in NYC This Month
The veteran bassist, a linchpin of Tim Berne's Bloodcount and many other bands, has shown tremendous versatility over the years, favoring a fairly experimental sound in his own projects. In 2010 he gained new visibility as a leader with the ECM release The Rub and Small Change, followed in 2012 by Small Places. Formanek builds on that momentum in a three-night stint at Cornelia Street Café (June 12-14), covering a wide range: first the Elusion Trio with pianist Kris Davis and drummer Ches Smith, then a quartet featuring Berne (alto sax), Craig Taborn (piano) and Dan Weiss (drums), and finally the Resonator Sextet with altoist Loren Stillman, multi-reedist Andrew Bishop, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, pianist Angelica Sanchez and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. (Stillman's quartet plays the Café on June 21.)
Multitalented Croatian singer-songwriter Lana Cencic performs as Lana Is, bringing a theatrical sensibility and a jazz-influenced intricacy to the fore as she partners with musicians as heavy as bassist Eivind Opsvik, who produced her 2013 eye-opener In Your Head (Session Work). You can also hear Is with a vocal trio bringing otherworldly sounds to drummer Dan Weiss's epic large ensemble effort Fourteen (Pi). On June 11 at SEEDS, a home in Prospect Heights doubling as an improvised music salon, she'll sing and play keyboard alongside Nate Wood on guitar, Jesske Hume on bass and Peter Kronreif on drums. Also catch her at Rockwood Stage 1 on June 26.
Yosvany Terry & Afro-Cuban Roots: Ye-Dé-Gbé
Alto saxophonist Yosvany Terry has made it a mission to bring musical concepts from his native Cuba into contact with the most advanced and forward-thinking New York jazz (not unlike Miguel Zenón has done with the jíbaro and plena traditions of Puerto Rico). Terry has outdone himself with New Throned King for Gonzalo Rubalcaba's 5Passion label, shining a light on the Arará culture of Matanzas, Cuba. For four nights at the Jazz Standard (June 12-15) he'll conjure this rhythmically intense and hypnotic sound with pianist Osmany Paredes, bassist Yunior Terry, drummer Justin Brown and two incredible singing percussionists: Pedrito Martinez and Román Díaz.
Tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry has gained wisdom playing with the likes of Paul Motian and trumpeter John McNeil, though his newer partnership with drum sage Andrew Cyrille, documented on 2012's Le Peur du Vide (Sunnyside), seems every bit as fruitful. Cyrille is a sculptor of the beat, ideally suited for McHenry's wry, elliptical phrasemaking. They return to the Village Vanguard from June 24-29: first it's the Peur du Vide band with pianist Orrin Evans and bassist Eric Revis; then a McHenry-Cyrille duo night; then two nights with Cyrille, guitarist Ben Monder and bassist Reid Anderson (the lineup from Roses and Ghosts of the Sun, sans Motian); and finally a quartet with pianist David Bryant and bassist Jonathan Michel.
Sam Newsome & Ethan Iverson
Sam Newsome has brought a rare level of mastery and sonic imagination to the soprano saxophone. Few would dare to record the instrument wholly unaccompanied, as he's done since 2008 on Monk Abstractions, Blue Soliloquy and The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1 (all self-released). For sheer depth of knowledge and improvisational daring, it's hard to think of a better duo match than pianist Ethan Iverson -- co-leader of The Bad Plus, must-read blogger and critic, like Newsome one of Monk's most creative present-day disciples. They'll do their magic at Greenwich House's Sound It Out series on June 29. (Iverson also plays Birdland with the Billy Hart Quartet, June 3-8.)