• photography by © Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas

On Saturday, January 13th, it was much colder than the previous day, which hampered people from walking long distances. Yet, nothing to worry about because the stages of the New School were offering a lot of good options for this second jazz marathon. 


We initiated our journey with Jazzmeia Horn at the Tishman Auditorium. Backing her were Victor Gould on piano, Barry Stephenson on bass, and Henry Conway III on drums, with an on-and-off horn section comprising Marcus Miller on saxophone, Josh Evans on trumpet, and Corey Wallace on trombone. Focusing mainly on her debut album Social Call, the singer delivered the exciting “Tight”, featuring Miller on saxophone, “People Make The World Go Round”, appealing to justice through powerful words and boosted by all three horns, and the merger “Lift Every Voice/Moanin”, whose first part, referred as the Black American National Anthem, got everybody on their feet as asked by the bandleader. In the middle, there was time for “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” and a cool n’ groovy version of “Summertime” with some rapping passages and plenty of interaction with the audience.


The duo Sylvie Courvoisier / Mark Feldman, on piano and violin, respectively, plunged into abstraction and textural diversity by employing a well-balanced mix of effusive complexity and spontaneous restraint. Some of this music, which perpetually collides and scatters, is part of the pianist’s five-movement suite for piano and violin entitled Time Gone Out.


Trumpeter Marquis Hill had a full room waiting for his groove-oriented post-bop filled with exciting elements of hip-hop, soul, R&B, and funk. He brought his Blacktet with him, featuring saxophonist Joshua Johnson, vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Junius Paul, and the drummer extraordinaire Makaya McCraven, whose delightful syncopated grooves made the attendees cry for more. The repertoire included Gigi Gryce’s “Minority”, which contained tight hard-swinging sections, “To Be Free”, a beautiful rubato ballad taken from his 2012 album Sounds of the City, and the breezy “Stella”, designed with polyrhythmic vibes on the introductory section and boasting an engaging voice leading.


We stepped into Le Poisson Rouge to see the Mark Guiliana Quartet. With a soulful blend of jazz and pop music, the drummer essentially performed tunes from his latest album, Jersey, in the company of regular peers: Jason Rigby on saxophone, Fabian Almazan on piano, and Chris Morrissey on bass. With unflinching competence and cohesion, they dug memorable hits wrapped in melodic sentiment like David Bowie’s “Where Are We Now” or the tearful ballad “September”, as well as “From You”, a composition from the 2014 album Family First. Before the last tune, Guiliana disclosed that Almazan is going to get married soon, which was an extra motive to celebrate.


Showing off an interesting experimental side, saxophonist/guitarist Briggan Krauss presented CLAP, a suite of seven compositions written for his new string and reed quartet. Along with the pianist Wayne Horvitz, who also handled electronic effects, it featured clarinetist Doug Wieselman and the multifaceted drummer Jim Black. Constantly alternating between saxophone and guitar, Krauss explored several territories and atmospheres, switching between calm winds and frantic gusts, and plunging into horn counterpoint or massive sonic waves polluted by distorted guitar and electronic noise. On a certain segment, the challenging intervallic approach and rhythmic accentuations reminded me of Eric Dolphy, while on others I was punched by that sort of rhythmic impetuosity so much characteristic of prog-rock in which Black is a real master.