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Hard to believe it's been 7 years since Steve Lehman graduated from Wesleyan but not surprising when one sees how busy he's been. The alto saxophonist and and composer has studied with Jackie McLean, Anthony Braxton, Jay Hoggard, Ron Kuivila and George Lewis, has taught in Paris and is currently working on a Ph.D (as well as teaching) at Columbia University in New York City.
He leads his own ensembles and has recorded for CIMP, Clean Feed, and Pi Recordings. He is also a member of Fieldwork, a cooperative trio featuring pianist Vijay Iyer and percussionist Tyshawn Sorey.
Earlier this year, Lehman released Travail, Transformation, and Flow, a brilliant and challenging octet recording that has received much critical praise for its integration of various musical styles (including hip hop, spectral music, minimalism and mainstream jazz.) Click on the link below to listen to Alloy":
This Friday (October 9), Lehman will bring a trio to New Haven and Firehouse 12 for 2 sets, 8:30 and 10 p.m. Joining him will be Chris Tordini (bass) and Damion Reid (drums) The saxophonist rarely tours this country with a trio and it should be interesting to hear how he has rearranged the songs from Travail... for this lineup.
Ethan Iverson, pianist, interviewer, and historian, has done it again. His recent exhaustive article on the music and influence of pianist/composer James P. Johnson (1894-1955) was published on The Bad Plus blog, Do The Math, several days before the October 4 fundraiser at Small's Jazz Club in New York City to raise money for a headstone to be placed at Johnson's unmarked grave in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Queens. A slew of pianists performed Johnson's music, including Dick Hyman, John Bunch, Spike Wilner, Mike Lipskin and Iverson (audio from the event should be posted on the jazz club's website - smallsjazzclub.com - in the near future.)
Though you may have missed the event, you can still donate to the cause by going to http://jamespjohnson.org/JPJ.html. Make sure to read Iverson's posting (click here) to find out why Johnson, the father of stride piano", is such an important figure in 20th Century music. After you have ingested all that, click here to read his intense and informative conversation with Keith Jarrett.
Here's a video clip of Johnson's The Charleston" - audio by the great pianist and a pastiche of photographic images.