Sound It Out’s Fifth-Anniversary Finale
June 29-30 at
Greenwich House Music School
This Thursday, 7:30pm: Matt Mitchell, piano solo (plays the music of Tim Berne) + Tim Berne & Matt Mitchell, sax & piano duo
This Friday, 7:30pm: “Monk on Guitars!” featuring guitarists Rez Abbasi, Nels Cline, Julian Lage, David Gilmore, Liberty Ellman, Steve Cardenas, Mike Baggetta & Anders Nilsson
Ticket proceeds go to fund the historic Greenwich House Music School
|The Sound It Out concert series – resident at the historic hall of Greenwich House Music School (46 Barrow Street in New York City’s West Village) – has been celebrating its fifth anniversary this month. Its five-year span has seen Sound It Out present more than 200 concerts at Greenwich House featuring the leading lights in progressive jazz, from Wadada Leo Smith to Joe Morris, Craig Taborn to Tyshawn Sorey, Myra Melford to Matthew Shipp, Sylvia Courvoisier to Sara Serpa, and on and on. The New York Times has called Sound It Out “reliably rewarding… a beacon of adventurous programming in Greenwich Village,” while Time Out New York has described the concert series as “exemplary… one of the sharper jazz series in town.”
Following wonderful fifth-anniversary shows last week devoted to leading-edge spins on the music of Paul Motian and Herbie Nichols, the finale of Sound It Out’s celebration comes with a pair of concerts on Thursday June 29 and Friday June 30, both starting at 7:30pm. The Thursday concert will present pianist Matt Mitchell performing his kaleidoscopic solo arrangements of Tim Berne’s ensemble music in the first set, followed by the composer-saxophonist joining Mitchell for a full set of questing duo performances. Friday’s concert is “Monk on Guitars!” This very special event presents nine of the most exciting guitarists on the New York scene performing the ever-beloved music of Thelonious Monk, to help celebrate the great man’s centennial birthday. The ensemble features Rez Abbasi alongside Wilco’s Nels Cline and Julian Lage, David Gilmore, Miles Okazaki, Liberty Ellman, Steve Cardenas, Anders Nilsson and Mike Baggetta. The ace rhythm-section players are Stephan Crump and Jerome Harris on bass plus Colin Stranahan, Richie Barshay and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums.
Ticket proceeds from these shows go to help fund Greenwich House Music School, whose wonderful hospitality makes Sound It Out possible. Both the June 29 and 30 events will have post-show parties in the Greenwich House garden, with free wine. Advance tickets for both concerts are available via Eventbrite.
Thursday, June 29, 7:30pm: Matt Mitchell + Tim Berne
Matt Mitchell, piano; Tim Berne, alto saxophone
Tim Berne kicked off the Sound It Out series in June 2012 with his band Snakeoil. Now he helps celebrate the fifth anniversary of Sound It Out in league with Snakeoil bandmate Matt Mitchell. Matt’s new Screwgun album, førage, presents the compositions of Tim Berne like they’ve never been heard before, in deeply beautiful refractions for solo piano. David Torn, producer of førage, says: “Matt has created gorgeous tone poems with his arrangements. People who know Tim’s music will discover a whole new side of his art through this project, and people who have never heard his music now have an ideal entrée.” The night’s first set will see Matt play music from this solo album; the second half will bring Tim to the stage for a set of duo performances.
Tim was named one of New York City’s essential jazz icons by Time Out New York, while the UK’s Jazzwise underscored the stature of his recent music by declaring it “suffused with genuine humanity and more than a little wisdom.” Matt’s quartet album Vista Accumulation placed in the top 20 of NPR’s 2015 Critic’s Poll, with Point of Departure praising his pianism for the way it “synthesizes sounds and idioms with breathtaking ease.”
Interview with Tim Berne & Matt Mitchell:
Tickets: $25 – with free post-show wine get together
Friday June 30, 7:30pm: "Monk on Guitars!"
Rez Abbasi, guitar/bandleader; Nels Cline, Julian Lage, David Gilmore, Miles Okazaki, Liberty Ellman, Steve Cardenas, Anders Nilsson and Mike Baggetta, guitars; Stephan Crump and Jerome Harris, bass; Colin Stranahan, Richie Barshay and Mark Whitfield Jr, drums
No classic jazz composer’s art so lives and breathes night after night on bandstands across the country and around the world like that of Thelonious Monk. Melodically, harmonically, rhythmically and texturally, Monk’s music is always itself – fresh and accessible, surprising and renewable – even as it is interpreted by generation after generation, yielding new possibilities no matter the instrumental and stylistic variables. “Round Midnight,” “Straight, No Chaser,” “Epistrophy,” “In Walked Bud,” “Well, You Needn’t,” the list of timeless tunes goes on and on. This season’s grand finale, and the capper of Sound It Out’s four special events marking the fifth-anniversary month of the series, will be an all-star centennial celebration of Monk’s music – but, uniquely, via guitars.
The band, led by Rez Abbasi, features nine of New York’s top jazz guitarists – including the duo of Nels Cline & Julian Lage – plus five exceptional rhythm-section players. The set list will include not only “Round Midnight,” “Epistrophy” and “Crepuscule for Nellie” but also “Four in One,” “Evidence,” “Locomotive,” “Ask Me Now,” “We See,” “Jackie-ing,” “Bemsha Swing,” “Monk’s Mood” and “Light Blue.”
“Those who want to know what sound goes into my music should come to New York and open their ears.” — Thelonious Monk
Interview with Rez Abbasi:
Tickets: $30 – with free post-show wine get together
Sound It Out
The sequence of Sound It Out fifth-anniversary concerts began last week with “Motian in Motion!” (June 22), featuring 19 of New York’s most simpatico players performing music by the iconic drummer-composer Paul Motian. This wonder of a show featured an incredible revolving ensemble of Michaël Attias (alto saxophone/bandleader), Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Loren Stillman (alto sax); Dan Blake (soprano/tenor sax), Adam Kolker (tenor sax), Frank Kimbrough, Russ Lossing & Jacob Sacks (piano), André Matos & Ricardo Grilli (guitar) and Sean Conly, Lim Yang & Chris Lightcap (bass), as well as drummers Satoshi Takeishi, Jeff Davis, Vinnie Sperrazza, Harris Eisenstadt, Billy Mintz & Francisco Mela. The other fifth-anniversary show last week presented the return of singer Fay Victor’s Herbie Nichols Sung band (June 23), featuring her vocal re-creations of music by the great, if unsung, bop-era pianist-composer Herbie Nichols, who penned Billie Holiday’s “Lady Sings the Blues.” Fay’s hard-swinging quintet – with Michaël Attias (alto/baritone saxes), Anthony Coleman (piano), Ratzo Harris (bass) & Devin Gray (drums) – rocked the house.
Founded and produced by Bradley Bambarger, the Sound It Out concert series aims to further a progressive tradition by presenting performances of venturesome musicians from jazz and related genres at the acoustically ideal concert hall of Greenwich House Music School in New York’s West Village. Tim Berne’s Snakeoil kicked off the series in June 2012, with more than 200 Sound It Out concerts since. Iconic artists from Nels Cline to William Parker, Evan Parker to Ted Nash, Anat Cohen to Frank Kimbrough are among those who have performed in the series. Want to experience the sound of Sound It Out? One way is Live in Greenwich Village, an album released by the telepathic trio Renku, featuring saxophonist Michaël Attias, bassist John Hébert and drummer Satoshi Takeishi. Recorded over a two-night stand in the Sound It Out series, the album was released via Clean Feed Records in 2016. The Observer has dubbed Sound It Out “consistently excellent,” while the New York City Jazz Record named Greenwich House via Sound It Out one of the five best jazz venues in New York.
Greenwich House Music, established in 1905, has long been a focal point of the downtown arts scene, with pivotal figures from Henry Cowell, Edgar Varèse and John Cage to Meredith Monk, Joan La Barbara and Morton Subotnick associated with the institution. Singer-songwriter Steve Earle and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen have performed at Greenwich House, and jazz has a history there, too: Varèse and composer Earle Brown, collaborating with saxophonist-producer Teo Macero, hosted an improvisation session in 1957 with a group of players that included Charles Mingus and Art Farmer. More recently, the Jazz Composers Collective led by Frank Kimbrough and Ben Allison held important concerts at Greenwich House Music School in the early ’90s. Sound It Out carries on this spirit.
Greenwich House Music School: 46 Barrow Street, just west of 7th Avenue South in New York City’s West Village — www.greenwichhouse.org, 212-242-4770