When: Sun., Feb. 12, 10 p.m. 2012
Consisting of three of New York's most skilled and adaptable improvisers, this trio upends audience expectations about the roles played by the instruments in a traditional jazz group. Leader and trombonist Jacob Garchik (he also squeezes a mean accordion in the Four Bags) writes music that blurs the boundary between what's composed and what's improvised and messes around with which instrument does what—sometimes the drums, which usually enjoy the most latitude in interpreting jazz scores, play the most tightly prescribed parts. That's not to say that Garchik insists his bandmates follow his scores to the letter: in a recent e-mail he told me, "We've been playing some new, unrecorded music which is even more highly notated, but I'm sure as time goes on, we will become more and more free with those too." Garchik, drummer Dan Weiss (a regular collaborator with Rudresh Mahanthappa), and pianist Jacob Sacks bring a lyrical fluidity to even the thorniest tunes, like the through-composed "7s," whose front-line melodies conceal loads of tricky twists and turns. That song appears on the trio's recent live release, At Play, which is downloadable for free at Garchik's website. The album also includes "Alls," a version of the standard "All the Things You Are" that's mostly free improvisation and delivers the theme only obliquely at the end, and "X," which employs the most ubiquitous nonblues chord changes in all of jazz—from Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm"—though you probably won't notice unless you listen for them. —Peter Margasak The Mike Reed Trio headlines.
Price: $7 suggested donation