By David A. Brensilver
Nick Lloyd first presented live music at Firehouse 12 in spring 2005, and the following fall launched the venue’s first curated series. This March, Lloyd continues the semiannual series. Like past Firehouse 12 spring and fall concert calendars, this Spring Jazz Series promises what Lloyd recently described as “some kind of cross-section, stylistically, (of) what’s happening in improvised music now.”
Cellist Daniel Levin, former music director of the Amistad Academy, has appeared at Firehouse 12 several times, and, over the course of the past five years, Lloyd said, has had a lot of success.
Levin, who’ll lead the Daniel Levin Quartet at Firehouse 12 on April 15, represents Lloyd’s feeling that “it’s nice to have relationships with emerging artists … as well as more established artists,” referring to Levin’s growth from “emerging” to “established” artist.
Acclaimed saxophonist Anthony Braxton, a professor at Wesleyan University who’s never
performed at Firehouse 12, will appear at the venue on May 20, when he’ll lead the Anthony Braxton Septet in his Echo Echo Mirror House.
“In a way,” Lloyd said, Braxton’s appearance could be seen as “the marquee show of the series” given that Braxton “tends not even to play that much in the states,” and is “not usually out gigging in a club like this.”
Former New Haven resident Ben Wolfe is another artist with local ties who’ll be appearing during Firehouse 12’s Spring Jazz Series. Wolfe, who’s scheduled to appear with the Ben Wolfe Quartet on May 27, is described by Lloyd as a straight-ahead player whose music tends to be modeled on the hard-bop model of the 1960s.
Wolfe will present a “very traditional type of show,” Lloyd said, whereas Braxton’s Echo Echo Mirror House will offer an “avant-garde, experimental type of show.”
“The unspoken educational aspect of Firehouse 12,” Lloyd said, is to open people’s minds.
“Under the umbrella of whatever people understand jazz to be in terms of improvised music,” Lloyd said, there has been, in the last 10 to 15 years, “a real sort of breaking down of boundaries in terms of different stylistic approaches to jazz.”
Lloyd hopes “that people are coming in with a more open mind” as artists continue to expand the reaches of their imaginations with regard to improvisation. What he means is that he hopes his audiences continue to be as curious as the musicians they see and hear at Firehouse 12. Lloyd said he’s grateful to the audience in and around New Haven, an audience he described as being “willing to take a risk … willing to go there with you and with the performer.”
Visit firehouse12.com for detailed information about the venue’s Spring Jazz Series.
The Anthony Braxton Septet presents Echo Echo Mirror House at Firehouse 12 on Friday, May 20, at 8:30pm and 10pm. Photo of Anthony Braxton by Agostino Mela
Firehouse 12 2011 Spring Jazz Series
March 18: Adam Rogers
March 25: Donny McCaslin Group
April 1: Jeremy Pelt
April 8: Ullman/Swell 4
April 15: Daniel Levin Quartet
April 22: Shane Endsley
April 29: TBA
May 6: Tom Rainey Trio
May 13: Rob Brown Quartet
May 20: Anthony Braxton Septet
May 27: Ben Wolfe Quartet
June 3: George Colligan Trio
June 10: Scott Colley
Visit firehouse12.com for complete season details.