Written by Patrick Jarenwattananon from WBGO-FM
The 92Y Tribeca in lower Manhattan is back up and running after Hurricane Sandy, and ready to welcome two musicians — both beloved in the proving ground of New York, and both of whom have expanded their visions elsewhere.
Saxophonist Gregory Tardy came of musical age in New Orleans, then moved to New York after being picked up by drummer Elvin Jones’ band. He found his way into a wide variety of groups — including a long tenure with Andrew Hill during the pianist’s prolific final years — and made several albums as a bandleader. Still an international-caliber musician, Tardy has been less visible in the big city since he moved to Knoxville, Tenn., for a teaching position, but he returns here with his own concept and own band.
Bassist Omer Avital came from Israel to New York in the early ’90s and found himself among the top tier of straight-ahead modern jazz performers. The time in the big city led him to re-investigate his roots — his parents are from the Arab-speaking world — and in 2002, he returned to Israel to study traditional music and oud. Since returning, he’s remained a monster bass player, but has also integrated his Middle Eastern musical interests into his composing. The results can be heard on his Suite of the East recording, made in 2006 but released this year; the Band of the East performs here.
From the 92Y Tribeca in downtown New York City, Greg Tardy and Omer Avital lead their bands in a double bill as part of the concert series The Checkout: Live. The concerts will be broadcast on air by WBGO and in an online video webcast at NPR Music starting at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 7. For the full concert archive of this series, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.