Monkeytown – 2009 Concert Listings

Venue Home / 2008 / 2009

2009.01.08 –    Brad Farberman/Ras Moshe

2009.01.12 –    Company of Heaven Jazz Festival: Judith Insell solo; Brad Shepik Trio with Matt Penman, Tom Rainey; Mark Helias’ Open Loose with Tony Malaby, Tom Rainey; Elliott Sharp solo; Ohad Talmor’s Newsreel with Shane Endsley, Matt Pavolka, Ted Poor; Paradox Trio: Matt Darriau, Greg Heffernan, Seido Salifoski, Brad Shepik

Review:

“Right in the middle of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference, a new management agency, Company of Heaven, put on its inaugural festival for three days at three venues. The timing couldn’t have been coincidental though any interested APAPers would need open minds and ears for the agency’s eclectic artist roster. The final night of the festival (Jan. 12th) took place at the truly bizarre Monkeytown venue in Williamsburg and demonstrated the pool from which Company of Heaven draws its refreshment. The first set of the evening featured agency head Judith Insell on a brief, almost unrecognizable, deconstruction of John Coltrane’s “India” for solo viola. For the second group, bassist Mark Helias’ Open Loose with saxist Tony Malaby and drummer Tom Rainey, the oddity of the room became apparent. Bands play in the center with low-lying sofas on all four sides and a very high ceiling. As a result, Helias’ braising funk was tempered a bit as the trio figured out the acoustical geometry, Malaby doing his best not to blow out the space. The feel was chamber-like and the audience seemed like well-stuffed nobles watching court musicians. Rainey stayed behind the kit for the last group of the first segment, guitarist Brad Shepik’s trio with bassist Matt Penman. They played previews from a new album and some older material, Shepik’s proto-swing guitar veering into fusion territory, bouncing around the room in every direction.”

— Andrey Henken, “New York @ Night,” New York City Jazz Record, February 2009

2009.01.23 –    William Hooker Solo

2009.02.11 –    Sean Moran Group with Mike McGinnis, Reuben Radding, Vinnie Sperrazza, Harris Eisenstadt

2009.04.10 –    Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Håkon Kornstad’s Elise

Review:

“It was fitting that the US debut of bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and saxophonist Håkon Kornstad’s exquisite Elise project – Flaten’s arrangements of traditional Norwegian hymns sung by his grandmother – took place on Good Friday (Apr. 10th). The setting, Williamsburg’s Monkeytown, at first might have seemed less than devout but became its own little cathedral under the influence of the visiting Scandinavians. Facing each other, Flaten and Kornstad (tenor sax and fluteonette), gave more of a recital than a performance, the dynamics and textures demanding absolute silence. Monkeytown’s layout has the performers in the center of the high-ceilinged room, playing inside four video screens. The visuals were provided by Norwegian artist Marius Watz and either bathed the duo in bright geometric light or consumed them in total darkness, only the glow from two candles illuminating them. This effect heightened the mysterious qualities of the music, beautiful melodies sparsely undertaken, Flaten avoiding the more boisterous adornment for which he is better known. Kornstad, who has previously engaged in elegant duo explorations with pianist Håvard Wiik, was an ideal partner, aesthetically as well as culturally. Elise was one of the most sublime albums of 2008 and lost little of its impact live. The only wish would be for a performance in an actual house of worship or perhaps the open air, allowing the spacious music room to expand further.”

–Andrey Henkin, “New York @ Night,” New York City Jazz Record, May 2009

2009.04.29 –    Tim Kuhl with Jon Irabagon, Nir Felder, Ryan Mackstaller, Malcolm Kirby; Adam Klipple Drive-By Leslie

2009.06.01 –    Phil Rodriguez’ Underbelly

2009.06.09 –    Daphna Naphtali Trio with Briggan Krauss, Mike Pride; Hans Tammen/Matthew Ostrowski

2009.06.11 –    Håkon Kornstad’s Wibutee

2009.06.23 –    Carl Maguire’s Floriculture

2009.08.29 –    William Hooker with Adam Lane, Mark Hennen

2009.12.02 –    Håkon Kornstad solo

Review:

“32-year-old Norwegian saxophonist Håkon Kornstad continues to skirt the competing modern Scandinavian jazz aesthetics of Jan Garbarek and Mats Gustafsson. Last year, he participated in the stunning Elise, a delicate acoustic duo exploration with bassist and countryman Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. Kornstad’s new album is in many ways a companion piece to that disc in its sheer beauty and deliberateness. But where that album existed in the ether of resonating wood and metal, Dwell Time is unaccompanied, using live electronics to create an equally verdant landscape. Jazz is usually straightforward enough that the live performance does not really do much to illuminate process. But Kornstad’s CD release concert last month at Brooklyn’s Monkeytown raised one’s appreciation of the recorded document. Playing his customary tenor and flutonette (a flute augmented with a clarinet mouthpiece) as well as straight flute, Kornstad would play melodic lines into a looping module and then layer further lines on top, playing with as many as four doppelgangers. This is not a unique approach but Kornstad’s results are certainly a welcome change from the often stultifying applications of electronics within an improvised music context. For that, listeners can thank Kornstad’s obvious regard for euphony. Though he has a command of extended techniques, he uses them sparingly or, at least,  conservatively, far more a Monet than a Pollack.

The album is, quite simply, mesmerizing. A shallow listen partakes of its dreamy quality. Deeper excavation uncovers complexity almost Gregorian chant-like in scope. That tradition of early polyphonic music, especially given that the music was recorded in the reverberating confines of an Oslo church, is just as important as that of the modern solo jazz saxophone exposition as spearheaded by Roscoe Mitchell and Evan Parker. Seeing Kornstad achieve almost the same level of rapture live reinforced the difficulty of an undertaking like Dwell Time. To concern oneself with the act of playing, manipulation of electronic elements, reaction to multiple ideas, all in real time is an accomplishment of staggering proportions.”

–Andrey Henkin, “New York @ Night,” New York City Jazz Record, January 2010