This is the first of four posts on two upcoming concerts—Interlace I and II—taking place at the Outpost and featuring the Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet (pianist Jaxen, saxophonist Charley Krachy, bassist Don Messina, and drummer Bill Chattin), pianist Virg Dzurinko, pianist Carol Liebowitz, clarinetist Bill Payne, and poet Mark Weber.
All of the musicians come out of the Lennie Tristano school, having studied with Tristano and/or his students, as did Weber. He’s the driving force behind these concerts. He’s been working for years to get all these folks together in Albuquerque, and he and his wife, Janet Simon, are sponsoring the events.
Weber’s fascination with Tristano dates back to the 1970s. “When you study the history of jazz, he’s included in the major histories, so he’s somebody you investigate,” he says. His encounters with saxophonist Warne Marsh and pianist Connie Crothers deepened his connection to the Tristano school.
Weber first came across a Crothers album in 1980 in a bin at a California supermarket of all places. He was vaguely aware of her as a Tristano student, and the album was on a European label that he respected, so for 99¢, he took the plunge.
“When I was in there, I bought some wine, and I bought some smoked clams in a can,” he says. It was lunchtime, and he took his purchases home and opened the wine first—“a real nice burgundy . . . and I put that record on, and my head just came off the top of my— This is the music I’d had in my head all my life, and here it is!”
Weber, who was writing for Coda at the time, picked the album as the best jazz album of 1980. Meanwhile, back in New York, Crothers and associates had been getting creamed by the critics. Weber’s pick came out of left field— a validating balm. So began Weber’s long friendship with these musicians and his passionate advocacy of their music.
I have to say Thank you, Mark, for introducing me to these fine musicians. I also have to thank these fine musicians for giving so generously of their time to me. They did not hold my unfamiliarity with Tristano against me; indeed, they were more than happy to help me get my bearings in this strange and beautiful new world.
The musicians themselves asked me to send their gratitude to Weber, Simon, and Outpost Executive Director Tom Guralnick for making this happen.
Here are the lineups for the two concerts:
Interlace I, Thursday, May 5
Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet
Virg Dzurinko, solo piano
Bill Payne and Carol Liebowitz duo and Mark Weber (one poem)
Interlace II, Friday, May 6
Bill Payne and Carol Liebowitz duo
Virg Dzurinko and Mark Weber duo
Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet, with Mark Weber added for one poem
Carol Liebowitz, solo piano
Virg Dzurinko and Kazzrie Jaxen, two pianos
Weil Hall at the Outpost Performance Space
210 Yale SE, Albuquerque
Tickets $20, general admission/$15, members and students
$35, two-night pass/$25, two-night pass, members and students
For more info and tickets, go here or call 268-0044.
© 2016 Mel Minter. All rights reserved.