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May 3, 2013

Improviser's Round Robin at Brooklyn Masonic Temple

by Dan Lehner

Round Robin, Brooklyn Masonic, Feast of Music

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.

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Quatuor Vendôme Dazzles Intimate Crowd at DiMenna Center

by Melanie Wong


If you were one of the 25 people in the basement of the DiMenna Center last Friday, you were among the lucky few who witnessed a truly remarkable performance by preeminent French clarinet quartet Quatuor Vendôme. Formed in 2002, QV’s members—Alexandre Chabod, Julien Chabod, Nicolas Baldeyrou, and Franck Amet—also hold full-time positions in some of France’s top orchestras and conservatories.

In addition to being exceptional clarinetists, the four are also gifted arrangers, orchestrating many of their pieces themselves. As far as clarinet quartets go, QV is unparalleled in all aspects of their artistry: their sound is consistently homogenous, their technique is exceptionally virtuosic, and their intonation is inhumanly close to perfect.

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