NYC was the place to be last weekend. Besides the obvious - art, architecture, food, shoe-shopping and long strolls - there were two concerts at Blue Note I had been looking forward to for a long time prior to this trip.
The first concert was with the project R+R=Now led by Robert Glasper, who plays keys for the band. Furthermore, the project features Terrace Martin on synthesizer and vocoder, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah on trumpet, Derrick Hodge on bass, Taylor McFerrin on synth and beatbox and Justin Tyson on drums. Glasper has noted in an earlier press release for this show that, “When you reflect what’s going on in your time and respond to that, you can’t not be relevant. So ‘R’ plus ‘R’ equals ‘NOW’.” Merging jazz, hip hop, soul, funk and more, they offer music for a broad audience. When six such strong musicians bring their raw talents to the stage and come together to create, while also conveying a nuanced and strong socio-political message, you can expect an enlightening and fun performance full of surprises.
A little more art, architecture, food, shoe-shopping and long strolls, before…
The next concert at Blue Note with the great Hammond B-3 organ player, singer and songwriter, Cory Henry, and friends. Starting off with a solo performance covering Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloupe Island, he set the right tone for the evening. Cory then invited the brilliant drummer, Taron Lockett, to join him on the stage, and then bassist Derrick Hodge who delivered some bad-ass solos this evening (..too). They truly engaged the audience with an energetic, humorous and warm atmosphere. The funky vibe kept on increasing proportionally with the number of friends invited up on the stage. The night ended on a high note.
I’m glad I had the chance to experience these two groups playing on one of the Village’s greatest stages. Now I’m back in Oslo and already counting down the days until the New York City Winter Jazz Fest in January.