After the ball drops, the year’s odometer turns over and resets. Musically, it was a busy and sometimes challenging year. Herein is a review of various performing, recording, and educational highlights throughout 2010:
Brian Lynch Unsung Heroes Group (Brian Lynch, Donald Harrison, Alex Hoffman, Rob Schneiderman, David Wong, Pete Van Nostrand) at Jazz Jakarta March 5-6
We had an rewarding time in Jakarta with Unsung Heroes, playing this truly world class (one of the biggest!) jazz festival. Special guest Donald Harrison tore it up and made me feel good to be alive on stage with him, as always. The group played great and the experience solidified the chemistry of the band.
Eddie Palmieri/Brian Lynch Jazz Quartet (Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch, Boris Kozlov, Dafnis Prieto) NYC Iridium March 12-14
Reconvening this amazing gang of four after a two year hiatus was a revelation. With no opportunity to rehearse beforehand, we wondered if there would be any rough edges or even train wrecks. We weren’t surprised, however, when the music came out better and stronger than ever. This band will be a increasing priority for Eddie and myself in 2011, with engagements in DC (Blues Alley, Jan. 20-23 and Boston (Scullers, Apr. 1-2) already on the books. and a recording slated. Here’s the Quartet at Iridium playing Eddie’s classic Latin-jazz composition “Palmas”:
Bye-Ya The Latin Jazz Quintet (Brian Lynch, Mick Paauwe, Jens Kerkhoff, Randal Corsen, Enrique Firpi) Bimhuis Amsterdam March 24
My association with this excellent Dutch group (I’m on their latest CD, “Further Arrivals” on Challenge Records) deepened with the mini tour we did in the Netherlands to celebrate their new recording. Bye-ya has to me a unique and sensitive group sound that I really enjoyed playing with, and on the Bimhuis concert I really felt a space opening up for myself in the music that I’d like to pursue with them further.
Eddie Palmieri Afro Caribbean Jazz Sextet (Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch, Louis Fouché, Luques Curtis, Jose Clausell, Little Johnny Rivero) Copenhagen Jazz Festival July 5
Like I’ve said many times before, it’s always good times and great music when I’m out on the road with the Big Guy and the rest of the my musical family in the Palmieri organization. Our July European tour had many highlights; this gig in Copenhagen, a city I was to get to know much better later in the summer, was one of them.
Brian Lynch Quartet (Brian Lynch, Henrik Gunde, Jesper Bodilsen, Niclas Bardeleben) at Cafe Montmartre Copenhagen August 19-22
I returned to this sophisticated and gracious city to play at the historic Café Montmartre, newly reopened in its original location. Some wonderful Danish players were with me on this engagement and we were able to really dig in over the week. I had a ball!
Brian Lynch NYU Afro-Caribbean Jazz Ensemble Latvian Tour August 24-28
I went straight from Copenhagen to Riga, Latvia to meet my NYU student ensemble for a tour sponsored by the State Department, NYU, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. It was a great experience for the students, and some good music was put down too!
Eddie Palmieri Afro Caribbean Jazz Sextet (Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch, Louis Fouché, Luques Curtis, Jose Clausell, Little Johnny Rivero) Alverno College Milwaukee November 6
Phil Woods Quintet (Phil Woods, Brian Lynch, Bill Mays, Steve Gilmore, Bill Goodwin) at NYC Birdland November 16-20
Brian Lynch NYU Ensemble (Brian Lynch, Ray Mason, Jinhee Lee, Michael Eckroth, Ku Oh, Sangmin Lee) /Unsung Heroes (Brian Lynch, Vincent Herring, Alex Hoffman, Rick Germanson, Luques Curtis, Pete Van Nostrand) Double Bill Zinc Bar NYC December 8
Honorable Mentions: University Of Houston February 20; Bill Lee Big Band Zinc Bar Feb. 23; CTI All Stars Burghausen Germany March 10; Eddie Palmieri Houston April 18; Charles McPherson Quintet Featuring Brian Lynch Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music Milwaukee May 6; Brian Lynch Spheres Of Influence Zinc Bar June 3; Maraca Jazz All Stars North Sea Festival July 11; Eddie Palmieri NJ Sep. 24; Killer Ray Appleton Quartet NYC Creole October 14; Eastern Washington University Jazz Dialogue Festival November 13; Brian Lynch Quartet Dazzle Denver Dec. 17
My recording activities of course were dominated by the Unsung Heroes project. A considerable learning curve was encountered in mixing my own music for the first time, but with the help of Dave Darlington and later Tyler McDiarmid I was able to get a good result after much trial and error. Unsung Heroes is out (digitally), as most of you who are bothering to read this far know already. The CD of the Vol. 1 is at the manufacturer and should be trickling out in February, and play alongs should be ready very soon!
Buy Unsung Heroes: http://brianlynch.bandcamp.com
Other recording activities as a leader in 2010 featured a Criss Cross date with Yosvany Terry, Manuel Valera, Luques Curtis, Justin Brown, and Pedro Martinez; entitled ConClave Vol. 2, this followup to my well received 2005 release ConClave on the same label should be out by the early spring. My 2009 release Bolero Nights For Billie Holiday (Venus) continued to show legs on jazz radio and critics lists in its stealthy (this Japanese import is somewhat hard to locate) way.
Every year I realize more and more how important teaching is to my continued development as an artist, and how satisfying it is to share with others what I’ve gleaned from my life’s musical journey so far.
My NYU teaching practice, now in its sixth year, continues to enrich my musical consciousness through the challenge of working with and mentoring the talented young musicians who cross my path there. As noted above, my Artist Ensemble embarked on a well received tour to Latvia in August, and my trumpet students have been a source of inspiration to me as I strive to do them justice as an instructor and resource for their learning.
My activity as a mentor for two different groups of young jazz players started up in 2010 and will be a focus in the new year. The Ensamble Tonica, based in Guadalajara, Mexico and composed of young Mexican jazz musicians, just aced their first international performances as a group at the Panama Jazz Festival under my direction, and will be making a number of other jazz festival appearances in Latin America during the next year. I’ve been coaching the group since last summer, in person and by distance learning, and will continue to work with them in this fashion throughout the year. My alma mater The Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music has named me their Jazz Institute’s Artist In Residence for 2010-11, and I’ll be going up to Milwaukee in February for the second of three residencies coaching the ensembles of the Jazz Institute, oriented towards developing high school age players.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
2010 was the year where I really felt myself moving into a new phase life wise. I have more zest and drive to extend my reach in this music than ever. But I’m also perceiving that I’m not a young “cat” any more. I’m moving into a different stage of my life and career now, where time must be used wisely and productively – so much I still want to do! My New Years resolution is to privilege musical activities that give me the most satisfaction, whether they are practicing, performing, composing, or teaching. I also feel that I need to do some work on reevaluating musical values and goals, becoming wider and more open to different attitudes and idioms of the music, while still staying true to my history and core values. It’s inescapable to me now that the music has changed from the classic forms I grew up emulating and mastering. I feel it’s very important that the values of these forms remain strong in the music, but my feeling is that those of us coming from this older way of feeling need to be open to, and try to comprehend better, the contemporary sensibility. Only then can we effectively project our values and keep them a part of the music of today and tomorrow, and not just in a museum piece sort of way.
Hope the New Year is already a productive and satisfying one for you!