Date: February 18, 2012 Venue: 92nd Street Y Tribeca (NY)
Review by Jeremy Siskind
Jessica Lurie‘s set at the 92nd Street Y Tribeca, which previewed her upcoming CD, Megaphone Heart, skillfully wove elements of jazz, soul, folk, rock, and world music into a constantly surprising musical tapestry. Lurie, a virtuosic saxophonist, flautist, and vocalist, boasted an equally rich and personal tone on all three instruments. Her band, whose members’ backgrounds include both jazz and non-jazz experience, was anchored by a dynamic rhythm section of rising-star drummer Allison Miller and broad-toned bassist Todd Sickafoose, who also co-produced her album.
Date: Thursday, January 5, 2012 Venue: Le Poisson Rouge (NY)
Review by Matt Cole
On Thursday, 5 January 2012, the Jessica Lurie Ensemble opened up a 4-band pre-2012 NY Winter Jazzfest concert at La Poisson Rouge with a very strong set, which was dominated by selections from her upcoming album, Megaphone Heart. Naturally, this band is led by multi-instrumentalist Jessica Lurie, who is known for her saxophone pyrotechnics in Living Daylights and The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet. In addition to Ms. Lurie on the saxophone, flute, and vocals, the band consisted of longtime JLE stalwarts Allison Miller on drums, Erik Deutsch on keyboards, along with frequent collaborator Will Bernard on guitar and a (so far) rare appearance by Chris Lightcap on double bass.
It is very hard to pin down the JLE with regards to genre or style. The band can go from Balkan sounds, to avant jazz, to rock, to gentle ballads and back again in the space of a set (and sometimes within the space of one song). All of the musicians are virtuoso players on their respective instruments, and have excellent listening and communication skills.
The Tiptons are named for Billy Tipton, a successful big band saxophone player, pianist, and band leader who was born a woman but dressed and then lived as a man, in order to play the music that he loved without being relegated to novelty acts; except for a few family members and friends, most of Tipton’s friends and musical collaborators did not learn of his anatomical gender until after his death.