Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The JCC at 20

I had a great time speaking with Ben Allison, Ted Nash and Frank Kimbrough for this TONY profile. The subject is the Jazz Composers Collective, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is in residency at Jazz Standard this week. (The mini fest, which actually started last night, runs through Sunday.)

I loved the most recent Ben Allison record, Action-Refraction, but beyond that, I didn't know much about these musicians or their JCC cohorts when I signed on to write about them. I arrived in NYC in ’98, and during the next decade or so, I was largely focused elsewhere; for various reasons, this scene just wasn't really on my radar. Now, this body of work, much of which came out on the Palmetto label, is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for in jazz: challenging, but listenable; eccentric, yet staunchly coherent. I'm talking about records like Allison's Riding the Nuclear Tiger and Buzz, Kimbrough's Lullabluebye, Nash's In the Loop and the Herbie Nichols Project's Strange City. (You can stream each of these LPs in full at its respective link.) Having an excuse to catch up on all this goodness in advance of the interview was a real privilege.

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