by Steven Pisano
(All photos by Steven Pisano,)
If I had thought about it too much ahead of time, I probably would have stayed home. Five hours of nonstop jazz, on three stages, with overlapping start and finish times for each set. Instead, when I finally walked out of the first annual BRIC JazzFest Marathon - at nearly 12:30 in the morning - I was disappointed that the music wasn’t continuing on til dawn.
During a week when the 35th CMJ Music Marathon, the 26th New York Cabaret Convention, and the start of the 6th White Light Festival at Lincoln Center all were in town at the same time, the idea of introducing yet another music festival seemed to be sheer lunacy. But jazz fans should rejoice—BRIC has established a new festival that is sure to be here for many years to come, destined to become just as much a fixture of the borough's musical scene as Celebrate Brooklyn (also run by BRIC).
Sometimes, a musician’s instrument has a special personality. It’s more or less the same hunk of metal or wood that you or I can buy at any music store, but certain musicians can draw out a special character in their instrument (think Miles Davis' trumpet, or B.B. King's guitar) that only he or she can evoke.
Such is the case with Donny McCaslin and his saxophone. Nominated for a Grammy for his work as a sideman, as well with his own quartet, McCaslin’s sax has a big sound, infused with explosive rock energy. Fortunately, wherever McCaslin went with his playing, the other players followed, building pyramids of soaring sound. It was nothing short of exhilarating.