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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

All That Jazz

Jazz at Penn station
Photo by myself in Penn Station, of the Alex Lo Dico Ensemble in their element.


Today I encountered the most amazing musical group I've heard in the subway yet.

I stumbled out of work after a long day of checking and double checking drawings. I'm focused on what hinges we're using at which cabinet, whether the built-in speakers will fit, what kind of sound proofing we're using. When I reached Penn Station I was overwhelmed by a crowd of people and a huge, glorious noise.

Jazz. Its foundation of improv and spontaneity are the very opposite of perfectionism. There was live jazz blaring from the middle of the subway station, and I was transfixed for a good long time.

I'm not typically a 'jazz person'. I don't like the squirrelly type of jazz, or curly long blond hair type of jazz. But the music I heard tonight was singular - an ecstatic, ear-splitting, shouting from the rooftops kind of jazz.

These musicians galloped from riff to riff, as if tossing around a hot potato. One of the alto sax players started first, handing the solo off to a bass player. Then the drums, and finally the trombone, played by Lo Dico, who proceeded to bellow with as much frenzy as a trombone player can.

A huge number of people enveloped the group, everyone tapping their toes, snapping pictures and bobbing their heads. The mood was high.

Jazz at Penn station

The Alex Lo Dico ensemble and their music have been featured on NPR for their talent. Apparently I'd posted a photo of the group before, but I was in such a rush coming or going that the music didn't register in my brain.

I wish I could have stayed longer, but Mark was waiting for me at home for dinner. I snagged one of their cd's before leaving. What a welcome way to completely escape the workday.

Here's a video of the Alex Lo Dico Ensemble in action. The first 50 seconds are a little harrowing, but if you can hang on until after the drum solo, you won't be disappointed.

The NPR feature has links to their music as well in the sidebar

Related posts: Schmata, or the Annual Warehouse Sale and Recovering From Friday Night


sydney said...

what else can I say
'jazz not dead' ! :)
great street photo

Tammy said...

That is so neat that you see bands playing in random spots. We might get an occasional musician playing a guitar on a street corner, but never a band. That's very cool!

Kitty said...

Welcome Sydney
I know that's the fear these days, that jazz has a dwindling following. These guys will keep the spirit alive.

Hi Tammy
Yeah, there are performers in the subways all the time, most pretty good. I bet the kids would love it. You should come and visit!

Olivier said...

Superbe ce b&w tout en mouvement. NYC est la ville du Jazz.

Superb this b&w while in motion. NYC is the city of Jazz.

Abraham Lincoln said...

Nice photograph and I like it in black and white.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Fabulous photo Kitty, I'll have to check these guys out.

babooshka said...

I love street music and see so little of it here. Lovely b&w study, Reminds me of Montpellier France the summer months.

Kitty said...

Thanks Olivier
I wish these guys had a calendar to announce where and when they play. It'd be great if you could see them.

Thanks Mr Lincoln!

Hi Fish
I'm sure you'll run into them someday. They seem to play at the 34th Street subway station a lot, I guess since it's high traffic.

Thanks Babooshka
I guess we NYers take the musicians for granted? I wish I could export them for everyone to enjoy.

CassavaLeaf.com said...

I LOVE them!
I posted about them on my blog with video and music!