Concert Review: Yoni Kretzmer Double Bass Quartet at Ibeam 4 Jan 2014

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Yoni Kretzmer has put together a very interesting group with his Double Bass Quartet. Listening to him play is like a history lesson, at times, and at others, an expose of how “the tradition” continues to evolve and take on new shapes in our post-modern moment. Kretzmer can reference many of the great tenor players at will–Ayler, Coltrane, Coleman, just to name a few–but there is always more Kretzmer in his lines than the avant jazz immortals of the past. He manages a rare blend of abstraction and lyricism in his work, forging music that ranges from fierce ecstatic wails to gentler, edgy plunges. Kretzmer has plenty of his own ideas that he folds into his playing as he soars across the musical landscape.

Kretzmer’s band consists of Sean Conly and Reuben Radding on basses and Mike Pride on drums. On this date, tenor player Assif Tsahar who happened to be in New York for a few days, guested with the band. The two pieces his group played both contained loose compositional structures for the horns and basses, leaving Pride to freely improvise amidst the rest. The additional tenor added to the brassy fire of the band and the two horn players clearly have played together in other contexts–they have a good understanding of one another. The two tenors built off of each other, forming musical somersaults over each other, or making forays and feints at each other. The styles of the two players showed some contrast, but they managed to meld all of a sudden at quite a number of moments.

If there was any casualty with the extra horn, it was that at the fiercest moments, the basses got drowned out. But Kretzmer also opened things up a bit to showcase Conly and Radding. The second piece began with a highly innovative duet between the two players that pushed the music in a more subtle direction. Amidst all of the other players, Pride flourished, adding nonstop energy by building sonic connections with all four band mates. He even managed a particularly intense exchange with guest Tsahar, showing his initiative and flexibility in real time improvisation.

Kretzmer is billing monthly gigs, so if you missed this one, another will soon be on the horizon. The band’s debut record, Weight, was released in 2012 on Kretzmer’s own Out Now Recordings label.

Selected Discography

Cisco BradleyConcert Review: Yoni Kretzmer Double Bass Quartet at Ibeam 4 Jan 2014

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