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The Gig: Jason Stein

Arena Avant-Garde

Jason Stein (photo by Johnathan Crawford)
Jason Stein (photo by Johnathan Crawford)

Jason Stein’s Locksmith Isidore walked onstage one night in October in semidarkness, to the bombast of a blockbuster rap hit. “Started from the bottom, now we’re here,” crowed Drake in his rat-a-tat singsong, through a massive, gut-rattling sound system.

No, it’s not the standard setup for an avant-garde jazz trio led by a bass clarinetist, but in one sense it’s become routine, at least for this trio in particular. Stein and his band had rolled into Madison Square Garden to open for the comedian, actor, writer and producer Amy Schumer, who happens to be his younger half-sister. They were embarked on the current leg of an arena standup tour that began late in 2015 and will run through New Year’s Eve, with more dates to come in 2017. And over the course of the tour, Locksmith Isidore has set what must be some kind of record for audience exposure to a rugged, purely acoustic free-jazz trio, notwithstanding the three years David Murray spent on the road with U2. (Don’t quote me on that.)

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