Margo Price Record Release Show at Rough Trade
Daniil Trifonov at Carnegie Hall

Third Annual JazzFest at BRIC

by Steven Pisano and FoM

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Last weekend, BRIC hosted its third annual three-night JazzFest marathon, which back in 2015 instantly became a mecca for adventurous jazz fans looking to hear a wide-ranging array of jazz styles. This year's festival kept that tradition going, revisiting old faithfuls and discovering new talent on the rise. There were also new bands put together by veterans of the scene, such as drummer Terri Lyne Carrington's Social Science, featuring a singer and MC delivering emotional lyrics inspired by police brutality and our polarizing political climate. Upstarts included Sharel Cassity's forward-leaning Elektra and the elegant, ethereal singer Kavita Shah. Guitarist Binky Griptite (formerly of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings) led a swinging band that inspired more than a few dancers, while Mexico's Troker straddled the line between jazz and funk. The venerable Sun Ra Arkestra, now in it's 65th year, closed out the night. 

BRIC JazzFestOn Friday night, the highlights were two up-and-coming performers, both of whom played in the more intimate club-like atmosphere of the Artist Studio, one of the venue's three performance spaces. Jazzmeia Horn is a knockout singer who this past summer released her first recording, A Social Call (Prestige). In 2015, she won the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition award; in 2013, she won the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. It is no exaggeration to say that she has a dash of Ella Fitzgerald swing and a big dose of Betty Carter, and her bold, scatting, improvisational style. Horn also has a strong social conscience, and while she mostly celebrated love, she also sang some pointedly political songs. If you sent her in a time machine back to the 1960s, she'd fit right in. With a name almost too good to be true for a jazz singer, you are definitely going to hear more from this 26-year-old singer from Dallas.
Riley Mulherkar from the Samora Pinderhughes band, BRIC JazzFestAlso bringing a strong political slant to their music was 25-year-old Samora Pinderhughes and his group. Videos projected behind the group of the writer James Baldwin talking about racial inequality and rappers detailing police abuses against minorities drew cries of support from the audience, almost as if at a political rally.  But there was no worry that this would just be politics set to a soundtrack. Pinderhughes and his various singers and instrumentalists were stunningly entertaining, thought-provoking, and emotionally moving.Regina Carter at BRIC JazzFestBut the night was not only for the up-and-comers. Capping the night near midnight was Regina Carter, one of the world's premier jazz violinists, playing music associated with Ella Fitzgerald.Dave Douglas Meets the Westerlies at BRIC JazzFestA set in the Ballroom brought together trumpeter Dave Douglas with a young brass quartet hailing from Seattle called the Westerlies. For everyone who loves their jazz heavy on the horns, this was the place to be.Papo Vasquez Mighty Pirate TroubadoursAlso rich with horns was the Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirate Troubadours, who have earned a Grammy nomination for one of their recordings.Vijay Iyer Sextet at BRIC JazzFestOne of the highlights of the evening was seeing pianist Vijay Iyer play with a sextet, instead of his usual trio. Again, the extra horns made a world of difference.LaFrae Sci + The Groove Diplomacy Youth OrchestraLafrae Sci + The Groove Diplomacy Youth Orchestra brought a vibrant, youthful vibe to the area of BRIC called the Stoop, where the audience sits on steps overlooking an art gallery, which was exhibiting photographs of Brooklyn. Lafrae Sci lists herself as an "activist, composer, and drummer" on her site, and she does a lot of work to get young people involved in music and also just plain involved--which seemed to be the theme of a lot of the musicians this night.Braxton Cook at BRIC JazzFestBraxton Cook closed out the night on the Stoop with his rollicking saxophone.

More photos can be found here and here.

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