by Dan Lehner
The Improvisers Round Robin has the powerful ability to simultaneously be about individuality and community. Each approaching improviser has no rehearsal, no music in front of them, not even a concept of what kind of music they'll be playing until moments beforehand, and therefore must only rely on their acquired wits and talents, left naked for all to see. Yet even though the spotlight will be on them, their collaboration with the other improviser is the only thing that will keep the music flowing and maintain interest. This is the beautiful challenge Wednesday's concert at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple presented to an all-star lineup of artists from many genres.
Some of the duos worked hand-in-glove right off the bat. Hip-hop enthused jazz pianist Robert Glasper naturally fit with jazz enthused hip-hop artist DJ Spinna, trading scratch-work, Dilla-esque chords/samples and bebopish flute lines. Percussionist Martin Dosh and pianist/vocalist Julia Holter clicked with their expansive indie world views, leading the audience on a spacey and gorgeous Bjork-like excursion, and Kim Gordon's apocalyptic guitar slams and wails matched saxophonist James Chance's restless energy.