The Jazz Gallery's Composer Series: 2002
James Hurt plays two sets, his pieces ranging from titles such as its opener, "A.M. Whitecaps with Fog Lifting Slowly", and then "The Mirage of the Dueling Camels", darker themes later on with, "Devastation and Aftermath" and "Dark Hallway of a Condemned". He closes with "Hope's Despair". Such titles describe a range of imagery and emotion, two elements that emphasize Hurt as a musical cinematographer.
Prieto returns to the stage in a trio format, with bassist John Benitez and pianist Luis Perdomo. Prieto is to play three pieces of his compositions: "TW", a tribute to legend Tony Williams, an improv piece, and "Dafnis' Blues". The trio begins their set by way of Dafnis exploding on his kit, a flurry of sound and texture floods the room, followed shortly by the piano and bass which ground the piece in a segue that is reminiscent of shades of Charles Mingus's "Cumbia Jazz Fusion". Prieto and Perdomo conduct a dialogue between drums and piano each instrument commenting and interjecting upon each other.
The piece "TW" begins with an upfront beat and complex melody line that swings in sections as Prieto commands the ride and adds punctuating notes on the rims and blocks. Prieto is holding up to the dedication of this song and respects its namesake by establishing a challenging polyrhythmic sound that seems to pulse and glide. Benitez hangs quite easily as he lays a stolid thick bass line while Perdomo plays elegantly. The piece is all Prieto though, and for the second night in a row, I am blown away at how Prieto plays with such accuracy and rapidity, Tony Williams would be honored that this young man was playing for his memory.
Composers Dafnis Prieto, Jason Lindner, James Hurt, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran and Rudresh Manhanthappa are among those vibrant forces that are setting the new standard for expression on the horizon of jazz. Keeping jazz current and healthy is an important responsibility. The Composer's Series at The Jazz Gallery's is affirmation that the art form is in good hands.
For a calendar of New York area events, visit Ben Pomeroy's website at GothamJazz.Com.