That was some show last night at Joe’s Pub! It was another one of those American Composers Orchestra club shows before the big show with the orchestra at Zankel Hall. I went to the Steve Coleman one a few months ago at The Brecht Forum. I remember I started getting kind of bored at the Coleman show with just 3 horns. It seems a little more on the classical side to me. It probably wasn’t, it was just more mellow than I would have liked. This Uri Caine Ensemble show was quite different. Very lively, and really felt more like a jazz show that was based in classical as a reference point. It was just amazing and wonderful from start to finish.
I didn’t have a program when I was listening, but now looking at the program I picked up after the show, I see there was quite a bit of classical influence. It was so lively and seemed so improvised. I see the lineup for the Zankel Hall show is a little different from last night. Last night was a lot of great improvisers, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Joyce Hammann on violin, Moran Katz on clarinet, Dres Gress on bass, and the great great Jim Black on drums. And, of course, Uri Caine in all his greatness.
It started with this great Uri solo before the rest of the band came out. There was a wide range of musical influences, including that gypsy stuff I love. I see from the program, a lot of it was Uri arrangements of Mozart and Mahler. I was very impressed with the violinist, Joyce Hammann, who I didn’t know existed before last night. I looked up a bio of her, and it seems she’s pretty diverse. I thought she probably only did avant-garde jazz, the way she was playing last night.
Here’s a Uri quote from the program: “I am interested in the relationship between structured music and improvisation. As a composer and also as an improvising performer, I enjoy music that combines fixed musical forms with the freedom to react between composed music (mostly for the orchestra) and improvisation (mostly for the piano soloist). There is a constant give-and-take between the piano and the orchestra.”
I’m going to be out of town when they are at Zankel on 2/8. Otherwise, I would consider it.