Tag Archives: creative improvisations


I won’t be able to attend this gig — for which I am sorry — so I expect a goodly number of eager JAZZ LIVES readers will make up for my absence.  I can assure you that the music will be rewarding.

Sunday, June 10th Underground Works at Sycamore is proud to present Lena Bloch, Billy Mintz, Dave Miller, in TRIO IMPROVISATIONS.   

Born in Moscow, Russia, Lena Bloch has traveled the world since 1990, performing as a bandleader in Germany, Holland, Italy, Slovenia, and the United States. She has been active on the New York jazz scene since 2008, performing with musicians like George Schuller, Cameron Brown, Scott Wendholt, Sumi Tonooka, Roberta Piket, Bertha Hope, Vishnu Wood, Michael Kanan, Putter Smith…  With her international cultural background and early classical training, Lena is working towards a truly unique style.  Her trio with two outstanding musicians, Dave Miller and Billy Mintz, presents freely-improvised, original and jazz standard-based material, Warne Marsh, Lee Konitz, and Ted Brown’s compositions. Sets are at 8:30 and 10, with a $10 suggested donation (all proceeds go to the performers).  Sycamore is located at 1118 Cortelyou Rd., Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.

This is what I had to say about the most recent performance by Lena, Dave, Putter Smith, Roberta Piket, and Billy I witnessed: “I felt as if I had witnessed art both translucent and powerful, with echoes of Lester Young and Brahms, of Eastern meditation and collective invention: strong but never harsh, sweetly fulfilling in its desire to ask questions without worrying about conclusions.”

Here’s proof — Lena’s reharmonization of STAR EYES, pensive, beautiful, mobile:

May your happiness increase.  

ORGANIC, CAGE-FREE, LOCALLY SOURCED: The EarRegulars at The Ear Inn (March 11, 2012)

You wouldn’t seek out food that was bad for you.  You wouldn’t buy a bed that gave you back pain, or a car whose brakes were unreliable.

So why settle for anything less than the most creative improvising?

I’ve heard from certain sources that other groups are trying to pass themselves off as “just as good” as The EarRegulars.

Accept no imitations.  Don’t be fooled by faux-Swing and counterfeit Hot.

Unfortunately, you can’t turn each member of the EarRegulars upside down to see the label (it’s not feasible nor is it polite) but be sure you are listening to the real thing.

What follows is the real thing — tasty, ebullient, fresh, pesticide-free and created lovingly on Sunday, March 11, 2012 — by Matt Munisteri, guitar; Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; John Allred, trombone; Pat O’Leary, string bass.  Four inspired conversationalists who never run out of good things to tell us and each other.

Here are four lively inventions by four stars, their lines looping and bouncing off each other, four individualists improvising at top speed, creating joy where there was only a Sunday night before.

They began with Gershwin-amused-exultation, ‘S’WONDERFUL:

Then astonished joy turned (at least in the title) to a kind of intellectual surprise with I NEVER KNEW:

And the lover’s plaint — HOW COME YOU DO ME LIKE YOU DO (DO DO)?  Later, I commented to Jon-Erik that these three songs could be taken to chart the decline of a once-happy relationship, and he laughed.


What are those THREE LITTLE WORDS?  The song lyrics say “Eight little letters that simply mean ‘I love you,'” and I am wholly in favor of declarations of love . . . but I also think the THREE LITTLE WORDS might be



ENJOY THE EarRegulars.

326 Spring Street, Soho, New York City — from about 8 to somewhere around 11 every Sunday night until you hear otherwise!