Tag Archives: Jazz at The Kitano Hotel

A New Level of Loving Jazz

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Last weekend I had the extreme pleasure of attending a jazz set at one of my favorite jazz venues,  The Kitano.

I wish that my pictures were large enough for you to get a better image of the incredibly gifted trio I heard. The pianist Don Friedman is pictured here and you can barely see the bassist George Mraz and the drummer, Matt Wilson.

But seeing them is hardly the point. Usually when I am engrossed in a jazz performance I respond by keeping the rhythm with my fingers, my foot- anything that resembles my dancing in my seat to the beat.

Good jazz to my liking really moves me.  This trio was so far beyond my usual experience that I am reluctant to even try to describe my response.

I  experienced an openness to the music that moved me inside.  I felt the organs and the space inside me was expanding and melting into the complexity, sophistication  and extreme beauty especially of Don Friedman’s original compositions.

I was too moved to move!!!

I understand that a recording is being made of one of the trio’s sets this past weekend.  I will be keeping tabs on this because I will run to get a piece of that enchantment into my life again.

Don Friedman returns to The Kitano with other musicians on June 14th and June 25th.  But alas, the poignant strains of the indescribable bassist George Mraz will not be with him then.

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More Joyful Music On New York City Summer Nights and A Day Filled With Beauty

It seems that summertime in New York presents with more options for great jazz and music that is to my liking than at other times during the year.  This summer it is really the case for me.

As my frequency changes and intensifies ( along with everyone else’s on this planet!)  I’m  finding  that the literal vibration and energy of music I love is increasingly  exciting and moving to me.

For example, last weekend I so loved the musical creations of  the Vincent Herring Quartet appearing at The Kitano that I felt I couldn’t miss the opportunity to experience them again the next night!

The quartet was comprised of Vincent Herring on alto saxophone, David Williams on bass, Lewis Nash on drums and Mike  Ledonne on piano.  What I perceived  as unusual and excellent about this combination of musicians was the balance of mastery each player possessed on their own and especially in combination with the others.

Three out of the four players had worked together for years as a regular grouping with the legendary pianist Cedar Walton. After the first measure of the first piece of music on the first night they were completely entrained with each other.

When Vincent introduced one of the pieces he told us that the quartet had not had time to rehearse together. I never would have guessed that to be true from the subtly and nuance of each song. They were simply one of the very best combinations I’ve seen yet.

It was indeed a rare treat for me.

Last night, instead of writing this piece I was listening to a totally different kind of thrilling music.  I have always wanted to go to a Klezmer concert and early in the summer I noticed that the Jewish Museum was having a Klezmer group perform.

I was so excited to go but the tickets were completely sold out by July 4th. I persisted and called the museum. Even though I was first on the waiting list for tickets, I really didn’t think I’d get to the concert so I made plans with a friend to enjoy a Restaurant Week lunch and a visit to MOMA ( The Museum of Modern Art).

To my surprise I got the call from the Jewish Museum as soon as they opened in the morning.

So, Thursday was filled with a lovely luncheon with my  dear friend at the French Restaurant Benoit. Then we saw a Walker Evans photographic exhibit and a huge exhibit about the Swiss artist and architect Le Corbusier.

Both exhibits were really interesting and so filled with beauty that I felt saturated with visual stimulation after awhile.

I walked through Central Park from the bottom on Central Park South ( East 60th Street) up to the Jewish Museum located on Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street. Being in my beloved Central Park always grounds me and adds to my happiness.

Then I sat in the  first row in the auditorium to hear my first Klezmer music. I thought that the music would take the minor and bittersweet cadences of Jewish prayer and music and add joy to it.

That is exactly what I experienced with the very fine musicians of The Isle of Klezbos.  They played for almost two hours. Here is a sample of their music from U Tube. In this video the musicians are the same with the exception of the bass player . There was wide variation in the rhythms , the mood and complexion of the songs that were played.

Finally, here is a slide show of my two musical events, lunch at Benoit, the two exhibits at MOMA and one little picture of the construction Gibralter, by Alexander Calder that made my heart laugh.  Enjoy!

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