Winter Jazz Fest 2010 @ Multiple Locations in NYC, 1/9-1/10/10

For two frigid January nights, jazz music coursed through the veins Greenwich Village. Syncopation and improvisation overflowed at major pulse points the likes of Le Poisson Rouge, The Bitter End, Kenny’s Castaways, Zinc Bar, and Sullivan Hall. Designed as an aural buffet for the attendees of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), Winter Jazzfest 2010 drew crowds of 1,200 on Friday and 2,500 the next night. These impressive numbers reflect the potency of the otherwise latent enthusiasm for jazz; the $30 two-day ticket clearly too difficult to pass up when 55 notable jazz acts are rounded up in a two-block stretch.

Warming the Friday crowd was the Nicholas Payton SeXXXtet, Bobby Previte’s New Bump Quartet, Eric Lewis/ ELEW, and Mark Giuliana’s Beat Music. When LPR and Zinc Bar tucked in at around 10PM, the go-to jazz guys of Search & Restore kept the jams flowing to a full house at Kenny’s Castaways. Entry by exit only, the line outside Kenny’s had the usual bums of Bleecker Street wondering what party caused the front windows to fog up. Inside, a motley crew of old and young, hipster and straight-laced crammed the awkward layout and questionable balcony forming one appreciative amoeba.

Friday’s frenzy led to Saturday’s melee. With double the amount of revelers and new jazz heavy hitters sprinkled throughout the venues, foot traffic proved an issue. Like any good festival, conversations were replete with comments about this or that amazing performance as well as compromises about where to head next. As the flagship venue, the deep inhalation of people filled Le Poisson Rouge to capacity for acts like the Occidental Brother Dance Band International, the Vijay Iyer Trio, and Bitches Brew Revisited. Exhalation commenced for performances like Dr. Lonnie Smith (Sullivan Hall), Mike Reed’s People, Places, and Things (Kenny’s Castaways), and the Todd Sickafoose Tiny Resistors (Bitter End). Though jazz has a ways to go before you hear it on the subway blasting from some youngthing’s headphones, Winter Jazzfest 2010 proved that the genre is very much alive.

Nicole Velasco

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