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Brain Cave Festival - Thursday Pics

Mika Yoshida and Richard Stoltzman at Carnegie Hall

by Mike Engle

(L-R) Eddie Gomez, bassist; Steve Gadd, drummer; Richard Stoltzman, clarinetist; Mika Yoshida, marimbaist.  The group is performing Chick Corea's "Marika Groove" at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, NYC.  April 4, 2012.  Photo by Mike Engle

Although a "new genre" of music was not necessarily invented on Wednesday night, I had the pleasure of witnessing a uniquely memorable concert at the intimate Weill Recital Hall. While the headliners, marimbast Mika Yoshida and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, are best known as classical musicians, they played compositions by jazz luminaries such as Keith Jarrett, Mike Mainieri, and Chick Corea. Filling out the stage were jazz bassist Eddie Gomez, drummer Steve Gadd, and Mainieri playing vibraphone on his "Copland Revisited."

With the exception of the Keith Jarrett piece, which was written for Stoltzman in 1987, all of the songs were written and/or arranged for this occasion. Highlights included Chick's "Marika Groove," Oshima's "Chanson de l'amour," and Kazunori Maruyama's arrangement of "Rhapsody in Blue," which added vibraphonist Mihye Kim to the quartet. Stoltzman recounted that for the last 35 years, his manager was constantly encouraging him to perform "Rhapsody"; Stoltzman continuously resisted, claiming: "It's a piano concerto! What am I going to do, just play the gliss? It's a famous gliss, but it's just a gliss!" Here, Stoltzman's part felt far more substantial.

Even though there was a souvenir program, assigned seating, and a precisely scheduled intermission, Stoltzman and Yoshida managed to achieve something of a successful marriage between classical and jazz. Judging by the audience's roaring approval, it was simply great music that was completely worthy of the Carnegie Hall stage. (Set list after the jump.)

Set list (first half):

  1. "Terra Cotta (1987)" by Keith Jarrett: mba/cl/b/dr
  2. "Shout" by Tamar Muskal: mba/cl
  3. "Marcos Valle Suite" arr. Patrick Wilkins: mba/cl/b/dr
  4. "Beco" by Marcos Valle: mba/cl/b/dr + unidentified guitarist
  5. "Marika Groove" by Chick Corea: mba/cl/b/dr

Set list (second half):

  1. "Mostly Blues" by William Thomas McKinley: mba/cl
  2. "Chanson de l'amour" by Michiru Oshima: mba/cl/b
  3. "Rhapsody in Blue" arr. Kazunori Maruyama: mba/cl/b/dr + vibraphonist Mihye Kim
  4. "Copland Revisited" by Mike Mainieri: mba/cl/b/dr + vibraphonist Mike Mainieri
  5. Encore: "Marika Groove"