Saw two excellent gigs last night. At the Jazz Gallery, Cory Smythe offered selections from new release A U T O TROPHS, where a modernist compositional aesthetic meets piano virtuosity and playful electronics. Frankly I was floored, this was an amazing gig. A finely-wrought and controlled meeting of composition and improvisation has been en route for so long that I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to show up. Maybe Smythe is the next true advance.
At the Drawing Room, Jacob Sacks led a quintet with Ellery Eskelin, Tony Malaby, Mike Formanek, and Dan Weiss. All Jacob’s tunes for a recording to be done today (I think). In a way these are our masters now: Eskelin, Malaby, Formanek: there’s so much depth to their abstract improvising. Jacob has done really incredible work integrating the sound world of Conlon Nancarrow into jazz, and Dan Weiss can always learn it all, remember it all, and play the dynamics of the room perfectly.