June 13, 2012

RHJF in the NY Times

Fantastic piece on the Red Hook Jazz Festival in the New York Times Arts section today - thank you reporter Nate Chinen, who we think got the atmosphere just right (see article below)!  We ARE warmly ragtag and neighborly.  Come on down this Sunday, June 17 and see for yourselves if you haven't been to a Red Hook Jazz Festival show yet.  This Sunday's line-up is amazing:

Rick Parker Collective
Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day Octet
Nate Wooley Quintet
Mike Baggetta Quartet

Admission is $10 for adults, children are welcome and admitted free.

See the left hand sidebar for Directions to the Urban Meadow Community Garden

A Festival of Reveling, Unhindered by Restraint

Brian Harkin for The New York Times

Red Hook Jazz Festival Dave Taylor, part of Hot Cup Chili Pepper 7, at the Red Hook Jazz Festival at the Urban Meadow community garden in Brooklyn on Sunday. More Photos »

Hot Cup Chili Pepper 7 had just barreled through a tune called “Turkey Foot Corner” at the Red Hook Jazz Festival on Sunday afternoon when some outside noise piped up, distracting but altogether fitting. It was the rickety jingle of an ice cream truck parked next to the Urban Meadow community garden in Brooklyn, which adjoins a playground and serves as the festival site.
Mister Softee, a familiar intruder, was easily silenced as the band played on. Still, the moment lingered in the mind awhile, an accidental reminder of what this festival means, and for whom.
Now in its fifth year, the Red Hook Jazz Festival exists contentedly on the margins, like its namesake neighborhood and much of the music on its bill. Though it takes place in June, which has been peak jazz festival season in New York for 40 years now, it’s too small a blip to show up on most radars. The festival’s sponsor is a local pizza place, and some of its slight production costs were crowd-sourced online. The mood in the audience was neighborly, with a higher ratio of small children to youngish adults than I’ve seen at any musical event not expressly pitched as a kids’ show.
All of which lent Sunday’s proceedings a warmly ragtag appeal. The lineup favored a strain of post-traditionalism, schooled but not stuffy, wily and joshing. Along with Hot Cup Chili Pepper 7, that description applied especially to Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra and the five-piece band known as the Flail.
Bjorkestra held Sunday’s headlining slot and played to its thinnest crowd. (Dinner and bedtime wait for no band.) The group, which plays the music of Bj√∂rk, the Icelandic art-pop star, appeared in pared-down form, with no trumpets, no trombones and no baritone saxophone.
So along with Mr. Sullivan, its front line featured only his fellow saxophonist Sean Nowell, the set’s strongest soloist, and the vocalist Shayna Steele, a stand-in for the band’s muse. The rhythm section worked smartly, reveling in breakbeats on “Hyperballad” and in electronics on “Unravel.” But without the larger canvas, and despite Ms. Steele’s laudable effort, the music sounded more than ever like the work of a cover band.
Hot Cup Chili Pepper 7 had no problems in that regard. Led by the bassist Moppa Elliott, the group was an expanded edition of his primary band, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, with the addition of Dave Taylor on trombone, Brandon Seabrook on banjo and Ron Stabinsky on piano.
Playing a batch of new pastiches, Mr. Elliott’s cohort often gave the impression of a Dixieland band on amphetamines. “The Shickshinny Shimmy” was a heaving stomp, with a fluttering, strange soprano saxophone solo by Jon Irabagon. “Gum Stump” was a slow-drag blues with extra measures spliced in. There was manic superfluency throughout the set, notably from the trumpeter Peter Evans and from Mr. Seabrook, who attacked his banjo with twitchy insistence, often using a violin bow.
The Flail held an earlier slot, wasting little of its allotted time. With the trumpeter Dan Blankinship and the tenor saxophonist Stephan Moutot up front, along with a fleet-footed rhythm section composed of the pianist Brian Marsella, the bassist Reid Taylor and the drummer Matt Zebroski, it’s a band of impressively sound rapport.
The group’s episodic opener, “Les Arc,” featured some swashbuckling work by Mr. Moutot; next was “We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet,” with a second-line groove and a trenchant essay by Mr. Blankinship. Later there came a version of Thelonious Monk’s “Trinkle Tinkle,” built on a series of clever rhythmic convolutions.
That song proved a good warm-up for Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, who briefly took the stage to issue a proclamation. “Lemme tell ya,” he began, eyeing the crowd. “This is what makes Brooklyn Brooklyn, it really is.”

The Red Hook Jazz Festival runs again on Sunday in Brooklyn; urbanmeadowbrooklyn.blogspot.com.

June 12, 2012

Our Proclamation!

"Whereas Brooklyn has long been renowned for the richness of its cultural and artistic communities, and it is most fitting that we recognize those extraordinary individuals whose creative and artistic expressions greatly enrich the lives of all the residents of this great borough; and

Whereas, all of Brooklyn joins as organizers Michael Golub and Paul DeLucia of Big Bang Productions gather together alongside supporters, enthusiasts, and patrons of the arts to host their momentus and auspicious 5th Annual Red Hook Jazz Festival featuring some of the most outstanding musicians hailing from Brooklyn and beyond, at the Urban Meadow Community Garden; and

Whereas, on behalf of all Brooklynites, I salute and commend Big Bang Productions and Urban Meadow for realizing this wonderful festival, I congratulate all the performers as they light up the stage with their unique talent, I thank all those present for helping to make Brooklyn and New York City one of the most important centers of culture and art anywhere on this planet, and I wish them all many more decades of success;

Now, therefore, I, Marty Markowitz, President of the Borough of Brooklyn do hereby proclaim Sunday, June 10, 2012

5th Annual Red Hook Jazz Festival Celebration Day in Brooklyn, USA

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Borough of Brooklyn to be affixed this 10th day of June, 2012."

Wee hoo - pretty cool huh?

June 11, 2012

Red Hook Jazz Festival - Day One 6/10

What a fantastic day!

We had our biggest crowd ever at the Red Hook Jazz Festival of happy people enjoying music, picnicking, and hanging out in our beautiful garden - and so many people who had never been to the Meadow or even the neighborhood before saying what a wonderful place it is.

Borough President Marty Markowitz came to present the Urban Meadow with a beautiful proclamation to commend us all on presenting this wonderful series of concerts -  we're so proud to receive that acknowledgement.  BP Markowitz remembered what was there before the Meadow became what it is - an empty lot with shoulder high weeds and garbage, and he was there on opening day in 2008 when the lot was cleared and provided a foundation for us to have a community garden and beautiful space for the neighborhood.  What a difference five years and a tremendous amount of work makes.

And the music!  Whew - amazing - Max Johnson Trio, The Flail, Nick Gianni's Evolution, Hot Cup Chili Pepper 7 and the Bjorkestra!  More pictures of the day to come.  The next show is Sunday, June 17 - 1 PM - 6 PM. 
BP Marty Markowitz presents a proclamation for the RHJF!

June 3, 2012

Red Hook Jazz Festival - June 10 & June 17

Coming to rock the Urban Meadow Sunday, June 10 and Sunday June 17, shows are 1PM-6PM both days.  Bring your picnic blankets and your kids and hang out to listen to some of the best music around!  Check out the fantastic line-up for this year's show.  There's something for everyone - Time Out NY's listing says the Red Hook Jazz Festival is the "rare music fest that's both family-friendly and cutting-edge" and NY Metroparents recommended the June 17 show as something "Jazzy Dads" will love - http://nymetroparents.com/article/Fun-Things-to-Do-for-Father-s-Day-in-Brooklyn-NYCThe Urban Meadow is at the corner of President Street and Van Brunt Streets.  Suggested admission for adults $10, kids are FREE.  Go here for directions to the Urban Meadow.