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2013: The Year in Gigs

JT columnist Nate Chinen reflects on the best shows of the past year

Cécile McLorin Salvant
Mark Turner, Jazzhouse, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, 7-13

Marc Ribot looked like something that had blown in off the street, a rumpled wraith slumped over a guitar, during an early set at the Village Vanguard this fall, with drummer Chad Taylor and bassist Henry Grimes. Tumbling from a bright-swinging standard into an Albert Ayler street march, the trio gave an impression of sober integrity, along with a stern indifference to the niceties of entertainment. Needless to say, I was hooked. And yet I managed to tear myself away before the hourglass near Ribot’s feet had emptied, scurrying down Seventh Avenue South toward Smalls, where I had an appointment to review another, younger trio, made up of the pianist Glenn Zaleski, the bassist Rick Rosato and the drummer Colin Stranahan-who all, for the record, sounded great too.

Neither of those engagements, on a blustery night in November, quite made the cut for this ninth annual edition of the Year in Gigs, my Top 10 roundup of standout shows. But something about their on-the-fly juxtaposition felt emblematic, in retrospect, of my experience on the ground over the last 12 months. One set stood for intergenerational wisdom-Grimes cuts a nearly Biblical figure at 78, alongside Ribot, who’s a distinguished 59, and Taylor, 40-while the other set conveyed the advantages of peer-group cohesion and the sleek energies of youth. Both sets proved respectful of jazz traditions but free of deference, with a sense of adventure as the binding constant. I left each energized and also challenged, in the most appealing sense of that word.

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