A Good Gig

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Something to check out now that we’re halfway out of the week: venerable ESP records is 55 years old now, and has one of a series of celebratory concerts coming up this Saturday, April 28, 7:30 p.m., at Michiko Studios (149 West 46th St. in Manhattan).

Tickets are $15, a bargain in today’s world, that gets you sets from pianist Thollem, playing solo, and Fay Victor’s SoundNoiseFunk. Tholem is one of those improvisers who are at the edge of jazz and new music, in his own way along the lines of Paul Bley and Cecil Taylor. His language tends towards a rich sonic density, full of details and motion. His new CD, Live in Our Time, with bassist André St. James and drummer Tim Duroche, builds a beautiful, complex world that draws you in, highly recommended.

I caught a partial set from Victor’s new band at the Winter Jazziest—she sings, Sam Newsome plays soprano sax, Joe Morris plays guitar, and Reggie Nicholson is at the drum kit. This is truly an all-star group, superb musicians who are also superbly creative. These are some of the strongest and most individual voices in jazz and improvised music, and Victor is one-of-a-kind as a singer; she can improvise, lyrics included, on the spot, and also get down. Call this band avant-garde funk, that’s a special style.

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