Jazz Feed

Pharoah Sanders at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!

Pharoah Sanders - Celebrate Brooklyn - Feast of Music Jun 23  2017  9-025The rain came down hard last night in Prospect Park, but that wasn't enough to deter a few thousand devoted fans from sticking around to see tenor legend Pharoah Sanders at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Taking the stage just a few minutes past his scheduled start time of 9pm, Sanders, a six-decade veteran of everyone from John Coltrane to Sun Ra, played with the energy and deep feeling of a man half his age, bouncing between hard-blowing free jazz and mainstream lyricism. Throughout his 90 minute set, there was an overwhelming reverence to his playing that was completely transfixing, presenting himself like some form of oracle. And, yet, he was also down-to-earth, dancing around the stage while his all-star band (trumpeter Nicholas Payton, pianist William Henderson, bassist Nathaniel Reese and drummer Savion Blake) took their solos. Sanders even engaged the crowd in a bit of playful call-and-response, ending with a reminder that "All is Love." Which felt like nothing short of a commandment.   

More pics on the photo page.

Support Karikatura's Kickstarter for "Ghost Light"

KarikaturaTrombonist Dan Lehner, who has written some of our best jazz coverage over the years, is a member of local roots pop band Karikatura, which describes itself as "cumbia meets hip-hop, reggae meets klezmer, and indie-rock meets merengue." Over the years, the band has graduated from gigs in subway stations, to shows in Haiti, to a European tour this summer sponsored by the U.S. State Department. They're currently in the process of producing their second album, "Ghost Light" and have started an all-or-nothing Kickstarter to help pay for it. With less than a week to go, they're now more than halfway to their goal, but could use some help. Check out their music on Bandcamp, then throw them support here if you can. 


Northside Festival Opens in McCarren Park with Kamasi Washington and Dirty Projectors

by Steven Pisano

20170608-SP1_4191(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

The 9th annual Northside Festival, running through this Sunday, June 11, offers an eclectic mix of symposiums on technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, advertising, government, video, and other topics. If you are looking to connect with other like-minded people in myriad creative disciplines, Northside definitely has something for you.

Of course, there is an equally wide range of music, which kicked off at McCarren Park on Thursday night with Jay Som, Kamasi Washington, and Dirty Projectors. The audience in the park was smaller than last year's opener when Brian Wilson brought his Pet Sounds tour through the borough. But that was a special one-off.

Kamasi Washington's continuously inventive and forceful music is already on a level that brings to mind John Coltrane or Wynton Marsalis. His tenor sax doesn't have the unique signature that many other jazz greats have had, whereby you can hear a short phrase and know right away who's playing. But then, the most notable aspect of Kamasi Washington's music is that he eschews the soloist limelight.

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Lake Street Dive Kicks Off the Summer at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

by Steven Pisano

Lake Street Dive at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

The summer season of mostly free concerts in Prospect Park as part of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival got off to a sometimes silky-smooth, sometimes rollicking start with the jazzy, poppy, retro-soul band, Lake Street Dive.

Originally formed as a band in Boston and now based in Brooklyn, Lake Street Dive spins out song after song so impeccably played and sung, it's like watching the flawless execution of a top-flight Major League Baseball team on a winning streak. They just do everything right. But sometimes that perfection can come off as a little tame. I am twice their age, and yet at times felt as if I was listening to performers from an earlier generation, the way I remember as a kid watching Perry Como on the Kraft Music Hall, or the King Family Show on the tiny black-and-white TV in my Italian grandmother's living room.

My college-aged daughter was with me, and she sort of agreed, having seen the group kill it previously at a smaller venue. But their friendly warmth just seemed to dissipate in the slightly chilly air of Prospect Park. It's funny how some performers revel in an open-air setting, and others just get swallowed up by the outdoors.

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