Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Uptown Oasis Caught in the Madoff Debacle

December 26, 2008

The New York Psychoanalytic Institute is not where you’d expect to go to hear jazz licks or banjo riffs, but on two consecutive Saturday afternoons in December the third floor rocked. Or, at least, reverberated. The venue was The Philoctetes Center for The Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination—a long name that has sheltered a multitude of different events, from poetry readings to films to “round tables”, free-ranging discussions by experts on anything from New York dance in the 1960’s, to the art and craft of magic, to cell biology and cancer, to the history of violin-making.

And music. Before the bad news, the good: an appreciation of those two events. On the 14th, three “world-renowned jazz artists and long-time collaborators”, pianist Fred Hersch, bassist Drew Gress, and soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom, got together to explore “Jazz Improvisation: The Art of the Ballad”. This was about playing slow and moody, what Bloom described as “breath[ing] together slowly, with the bass at the bottom.” Hersch, doing his best with an upright piano, spoke of the “shape of the [ballad] beat, softer and wider, with the piano as percussion”. Gess said that with ballads he “became aware of wide open spaces….the tone is important, because you don’t have the overt rhythm”. Read on…