Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Undead Jazzfest 2010

Various Venues, New York, N.Y.; June 12-13, 2010

Matthew Shipp at Undead Jazzfest 2010
Dave Douglas & Keystone at Undead Jazzfest 2010
Bernie Worrell and guitarist André Lassalle at Undead Jazzfest 2010
Ben Perowsky's Moodswing Orchestra at Undead Jazzfest 2010
Mary Halvorson at Undead Jazzfest 2010
Happy Apple at Undead Jazzfest 2010

There was often a general swelter inside three West Village venues-Sullivan Hall, Kenny’s Castaways and Le Poisson Rouge-on Saturday and Sunday night. Part of that sticky, Amazonian air could be chalked up to the weather outside (it was hot in Manhattan last weekend), or air-conditioning systems still gearing up for summer. But a lot of it could be attributed to bodies: quite a few of them, mostly young, in the same place at the same time, filling in nooks as in a rush-hour subway car or a standing-room rock concert. They were vying for better sightlines at the Undead Jazzfest, a deftly programmed event that presented its acts showcase-style, one per hour; they paid 25 or 30 dollars for entry, and they got more than their money’s worth with 36 scheduled groups.

The music worked in the anything-goes paradigm of modern creative, or with a wide-open playing field that looked toward the loft era. Still, there were unifying principles: adventurousness, sure, but also accomplishment. Not just virtuosity, which easily can turn into a conceit, but studied musicianship at the mercy of an idea (or two or three). Even with how advanced everything seemed (technically, conceptually or both), many of these acts were easy to love. The most imposing music-trumpeter David Weiss’ expansive postbop; Steve Coleman’s algebraic cadences; the Carnatic labyrinths of the Miles Okazaki/Dan Weiss duo-was also some of the most enticing.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published