Must-See Three: Jazz This Week In NYC

Club d’Elf Cutting Room Wednesday, Feb 15 (Image by Mark Wilson)

Seems like you can really get out of your head for a stretch when Club d’Elf starts firing on all cylinders. The Boston-based group of improvisers have boasted a revolving door membership since its jam session beginnings at Cambridge’s Lizard Lounge, and boss man Mike Rivard sustained the band with the notion that invitees can deeply connect around a shared language simply relying on their wiles. In essence they’re a floating laboratory, a think tank that’s a do tank. This month they’re celebrating a quarter century of far-flung musical interests by sharing their creativity with a wider audience. For a good chunk of February, they play shows around New England, even dropping into Manhattan for a gig. The title of last April’s You Never Know summarized their esthetic nicely. Their ever-shifting groove music rolls through swinging progadelica with nods to Scratch Perry, DJ Premier, gnawa drones, On-U Sound, In A Silent Way, and Arizona sunsets. Thanks to his arranger’s savvy, Rivard connects the dots without having the abstractions wax endlessly. Time to surrender to the void, as long as you know the void contains some really intriguing twists and turns.

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