When: Thu., Jan. 12, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., Jan. 13, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., Jan. 14, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., Jan. 15, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2017
The history of jazz is dotted with figures like Gigi Gryce, an excellent alto saxophonist whose legacy is too often reduced to the handful of classic jazz standards he wrote, pieces like “Nica’s Tempo” and “Minority.” He wasn’t groundbreaking, but he was a superb composer and soloist as well as a savvy bandleader who led several agile, soulful postbop combos throughout the 50s and 60s. In honor of the overlooked musician, saxophonists Juli Wood and Caroline Davis formed a new quintet that makes its local debut this week. The aptly named Modest Gryce dips into a potent songbook that not only reflects Gryce’s blues-driven elegance but affords soloists as talented as Wood and Davis plenty to work with. The uniformly strong combo includes pianist Rob Clearfield, bassist Dennis Carroll, and drummer Jay Sawyer (who like Davis is based in New York).