June-25th-2012, 01:44 PM
swing high swing higher
Tony Malaby 6/23 NYC
@ Cornelia Street Cafe
TONY MALABY TRIO
Tony Malaby, tenor saxophone; Angelica Sanchez, piano; Tom Rainey, drums
TONY MALABY'S NOVELA
Tony Malaby, tenor saxophone; Ralph Alessi, trumpet; Michael Attias, alto saxophone; Ben Gerstein, trombone; Joachim Badenhorst, bass clarinet; Andrew Hadro, baritone sax; Dan Peck, tuba; Kris Davis, piano; Tom Rainey, drums
as usual I (or we as this time I with my wife - which is now/lately mostly the case as) are first or second in line as I love being in the second or 3rd seat just a few feat from the band in this very intimate space - it is long thin space - maybe 10 to 12 feet wide with small tables and benches on the side and chairs in the middle with barely enough room for someone to walk in between.
It is simply a GREAT place to hear this music as there is no needs for any amplification for any of the horns and in this case just microphones for the baby grand fro Angelica and then Kris.
Malaby intitially looks like he wants the old selmer tenor but then he picks up his shiny soprano and they start playing - all through the set seems like they are Sanchez's tunes/sketches but it was never discussed A few minutes in the soprano saxophone makes sounds I have rarely heard and I think they actually stopped and started something else - 50 minutes later we had heard it all - the guy next to me who has heard jazz live - but was on a trip from North Carolina and went to this show on a recommendation of a serious jazz fanatic friend - he *also* heard what the rest of us heard - first off he *knew* he heard the greatest drummer he had ever seen - but that is a given when one hears Rainey when he wants to get even a bit aggressive and excited - and he did that a few times during the set. Pretty damn great despite a few passages when the trio find it's space and balance between the tunes and the improvising. Malaby was strong on tenor but played a few solos/passages on soprano that were surprising, new and breathtaking - harsh, ascerbic and biting - but still with his melodic sensibility.
and I know I have done this a few times but...
Tony tells them he needs the space where the first 2 small tables and chairs are. This means that when the alto saxophone, bass clarinet and baritone saxophones are placed in the hands of the musicians playing them that I am staring into the bells of the baritone and bass clarinet - and the alto saxophone is right ot my left. This is after I move my seat BACK a couple of feet - now I am ready for a personal show - first tune is the grooviest one from the record and the ensemble passages are mindblowingly intense and spectacular. Great tuba groove with all the horns playing everything and by 20 minutes they are back to the initial theme and *that* would have been worth it.
The band isn't just good, some of you know some of the players - Ralph Alessi is a fine trumpeter - Tom Rainey is one of the great drummers of this world - and Michael Attias is a blistering hot alto saxophonist.
of the people not as well known - Dan Gerstein on trombone and Dan Peck on tuba are a monsterous team - and the young guys on bass clarinet and baritone are strong young voises on their respective instruments - and the bariton sound from 3 feet away - lordy lordy....
then they played another HOUR straight - yeas maybe it would have been more powerful if they played another 40 or 45 minutes as it was SO intense at times despite there oftn bing no pulse, and many collective improvisations by many different pairings and trios of the band - they played just about all the tunes on the record and I think 1 or 2 new charts...and the high points were many - BUT
when the *great* Kris Davis - who might have not hit a piano key or any part of the piano for 20 or 25 mintes straight - starts crashing the inside of the piano with the flat of her palm - I heard/experienced genius - well really despite the band going past what I was expecting which drained my insides a bit - as the music played was beyond intense and often extremley challenging - there was dirge for maybe 8 to 10 minutes that built SO slowly into something beyond where it started - that listening was challenging for the last 10 or 15 misnutes - 10 or 15 minutes longer than I in any way expected the music to last.
The greatest strength for me is that this band incorporates the best of the european influences regading the small intense improvisations - Attias and Gerstein especially have phenomenal control over their instruments and the duet passages that included those 2 were a mind fuck - like the best of SME with a modern vibe within the framework of the great tunes of Malaby facilitated by what I now convinced is the genius arranging by Kris Davis.
and they could do MUCH more to please the crowd by playing things as great as the opening tune - but they play what they play - they take things to the extrem at times but it is exceptionally gratifying to hear/see/experience a band that is doing what they do, PERIOD, end of story...liek Rainey - as much as I want him to play MORE of the sick explosive grooves that he is great as - and makes people crazy/delirous 0- well it does that to me, at least - they play what they play - PERIOD - and rainey did EXPLODE a few times as di Tony on both the tenor and soprano - so the band has it all....
all in all - simply a great ensemble - and packed into the tiny space with the incredible sound that this band generates - I will not miss this band the next time they play here..
I urge all to experience Tony Malaby's Novela.
June-26th-2012, 09:32 PM
Nice review SR. It just so happens I listened to Novela for the first time tonight. It seemed like the same group except John Hollenbeck was on drums instead of Rainey (I'd have preferred to see the group you saw because, unlike most others, I'm not a Hollenbeck fan). I need to listen to the disc more because the group doesn't sound loose enough for my liking but I'd be willing to bet they sounded a lot better at your concert. If subsequent listens make me warm up to the disc, which isn't impossible, I'll state that here or elsewhere. It *is* a good group but it might fall into some of that Steve Lehman medium sized group category which just doesn't do anything for me.
Life is so easy if you have no integrity
June-27th-2012, 08:07 AM
swing high swing higher
cappy - the recording is nice but you mentioned that the drummer (Hollenbeck) is *not* Tom Rainey plus it isn't LIVE with Tom Rainey which takes the band to new places. Really as much as I love the intricate and intense quieter passages, they could please a few more folks if they roared more as they have the ultimate weapon in the *great* Tom Rainey to do that - and when they did....I doubt Hollenbeck has any of that in him - who knows for sure, but I doubt it.
The first time I saw the band almost 2 years ago, I had never heard any of them - this time I pretty much knew the compositions - but I think they were better this time as well.
I think it is the first track or the last track on the CD that they opened with - LIVE it is so far beyond what is on the recording - then again, the Brotzmann Tentet records (save for some aspects of Stone/Water) never came CLOSE to what the Brotzmann Tentet sounded like live with Hamid in the band.
This band isn't *that* band live, but it wasn't that far off in terms of dynamics, excitement and pure power and sound during parts of the long 75 minute set.
Plus Kris Davis live is a whole 'nother thing than hearing here play sparingly on the disc save for a couple of impressive