From the New York Times: “New Pilots at the Keyboard”
Four young pianists on the rise in the Jazz scene
By BEN RATLIFF
Published: October 6, 2011
“If drummers are the engines of jazz, then pianists are often its mapmakers.
Next week the pianist Fabian Almazan, who is 27 and still unknown to most jazz listeners, will play his first headlining week at the Village Vanguard, opening the same day as the release of his first album, Personalities. He’s bringing a string quartet to play four pieces he’s arranged, as well as his trio, with the bassist Linda Oh and the drummer Henry Cole. That’s risky; it’s a lot at once. It’s not unlike him.
Kris Davis’s style is dry and blunt and authoritative, and still changing. At 31 she’s worked in a circle of musicians including the saxophonists Tony Malaby and Ingrid Laubrock, the bassists John Hébert and Eivind Opsvik, and the drummer Jeff Davis, her former husband. Her playing uses space and tension and contrast; it always has an interior plan and doesn’t leap at you to show you how hip it is. It’s very open, but it comes with rules.
Matt Mitchell, 36, who has been playing a lot recently with Tim Berne, John Hollenbeck, Rudresh Mahanthappa and, increasingly, his own bands, grew up in Exton, Pa., outside Philadelphia. He took theory and jazz lessons from the age of 12 at a local university; like Ms. Davis, he inhaled [Keith] Jarrett and [Herbie] Hancock, spending his weekends transcribing solos.
David Virelles, 27, arrived in New York in 2008 and seemed to go straight to the top of the class: playing gigs with Steve Coleman, Chris Potter and Mark Turner and generally making himself noticeable, breaking through with strong and hard-to-define patterns and sounds.
See the full article for more information on each of these players and for appearance venues and dates.