Welcome to our weekly column, "Staff Picks," in which we ask the staffers at our favorite book, music, and movie stores around to town to share with us what they're reading, listening to, and watching this week. We figure they're good people to ask. Today we're checking in with Bruce Gallanter at Chinatown underground jazz specialist Downtown Music Gallery to find out what he's been spinning lately.
Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Quartet with Taylor Ho Bynum/ Mary Halvorson/Katherine Young, Quartet (Mestre): This music has that edge-of-your-seat sort of excitement as one section fades into the next in a most natural way. All four musicians get a chance to stretch out, solo and interact the consistently engaging results. Hence, fans of each of the four sonic wizards should be overwhelmed with this great gift of the gods.
Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens De Coulleur Libres(Constellation 079; Canada): Coin Coin is an impressive ongoing project that saxist and composer Matana Roberts has been working on for several years. It has been evolving from and is based on the research that Matana has been doing on the history of her family. Ms. Roberts draws from and arranges a handful of traditional folk songs which are well-woven into the overall work. You can tell that Matana put a great deal of time and preparation into this disc since all the music and transitions are so seamless and solid.
Kenny Wheeler/Evan Parker/ Paul Dunmall/ John Edwards/ Tony Levin - Live at The Vortex 2003 (Rare Music; UK): This sounds like a mostly free session, something that Mr. Wheeler doesn't do all that often. Although it is live, the sound is still great! All five members are in fine form - tight & focused with amazing solos from the trumpet and both saxes. The late British jazz drum legend Tony Levin's playing remained undiminished until the end. Just incredible!
Downtown Music Gallery // 13 Monroe St // (212) 473-0043 // online