Date: October 18, 2013
Venue: Spectrum (NY)
Review and videos by Dawoud Kringle
Friday afternoons are an unusual time of the day to hold a concert. CMJ was holding a big shindig at Arlen’s Grocery and you get your occasional concert in the park. But it’s still not conventional: at least not for music venues. However, Spectrum (a music/art/science venue on Manhattan’s lower east side that combines a fearless urge to present the best of New York’s underground elite in a comfortable home-like setting) had other ideas. One Friday I ventured to attend the performance of Tom Chess‘ ensemble Bandit Hat (Tom Chess; oud/ney, Jimmy Mngwandi; bass, and Daniel Kurfirst; drums/percussion).
The music started with some free, atonal smokiness from the bass, which was shattered by a scintillating punch in the sternum from the oud, and directed the formless sounds toward its own tonality. The percussion eased in, and it all coalesced into a Moroccan sounding 6/8 groove. From there, the audience was swept up in a modern magic carpet ride.