18 August 2014


There was not too much new here, but son Rich and I went out to visit West Village in NYC. It’s an area I’d stayed in three years before and written up on CJ. We are in Brooklyn this time around, so we cant just go out the door and walk to a mass of jazz clubs, but our Bkln is quieter and more refined. We are in Park Slope and I’m told it the current or recent home of several Australian ex-pat musos here in NYC,, but it’s getting dearer with gentrification. But the Subway is nearby (7th Av, F line) and this line goes to W4th Street, which is where we went for this night.

It’s a warm summer evening and the weather’s as good as ever and this is near Washington Park and NYU and the place is throbbing. First stop is around the corner from Blue Note at the little basement club Bar Next Door. I notice that Andrew Swift was playing here recently. Ben Monder is playing this evening with a trio. Excellent. We just catch 30 mins at end of the first set and it is vert good and Ben is quietly spoken, in speech and playing, but is spectacular. Offsiders were Gary Wang (bass) and Jochen Rueckert (drums). I’d heard Ben with Paul Motion; Gary has played with PM; Jochen had visited Canberra with Jacam Manricks. It’s a small and Smalls world. Some searing or quietly spoken guitar, loops, overdrive, gentle technique and tunes; unyielding drums and perfectly intoned, slowly spelt bass solos. Truly a treat.

Then off to Smalls (at the time, sold out), 55 Bar (more blues-funk this evening, next to the historic Stonewall Inn), Village Vanguard (sold out) and Jazz Garage (bluesy this night). Outside Smalls, we met Smalls’ resident artist and viewed some drawings. Sadly missed his name, but here’s a pic. Off to Fat Cat with its odd but intriguing mix of local social club and music with $3 entry. Lawrence Clark Quintet were playing a take-no-prisoners set of hard bop with lengthy solos. There were listeners, drinkers, socialisers, players of various table-top games. It’s a young scene, busy and harmless and inviting and unique in my experience. Lawrence Clark (tenor) led his band with Josh Evans (trumpet), Keoh Hill (piano), Kush Abadey (drums) and Dean Torrie (bass) was sitting in this evening.

West Village was still stomping, but I’m not over the flight yet, and so this was the night. Nice to get back to this locale. Just some pics.

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