New York Times review by Nate Chinen


Avram FeferWhen Festivals Collide and Freethinkers Meet
By default and by design, there is no firm center of avant-garde jazz culture. Its music can be freely improvised or densely plotted, ecstatic or brooding, concussive or tranquil. So on some level it was fitting that an accident of timing brought an overlap of the New Languages Festival, in its fifth year, and the Clean Feed Fest, in its fourth. Both present a cavalcade of independent-minded artists, but neither makes any comprehensive claims. Skip to next paragraph Enlarge This Image Rahav Segev for The New York Times Avram Fefer led a trio at the Connelly Theater on the Lower East Side on Friday as part of the Clean Feed Fest, which overlapped with the New Languages Festival at McCarren Hall in Brooklyn. Blog ArtsBeat The latest on the arts, coverage of live events, critical reviews, multimedia extravaganzas and much more. Join the discussion. More Arts News The Clean Feed Fest took place this year at the Connelly Theater, an acoustically favorable hundred-seat auditorium in the far East Village. Running from last Wednesday through Sunday, it had a lineup consisting entirely of groups (and in one case a solo improviser) from the roster of the prolific Portuguese record label Clean Feed. On Friday night the closing set belonged to the saxophonist Avram Fefer, who has a ruggedly appealing new album, “Ritual,” with Eric Revis on bass and Chad Taylor on drums. The same working trio had been scheduled to perform, but Mr. Fefer took the stage instead with the bassist Michael Bisio and the drummer Reggie Nicholson. Their opener was “Testament,” the same prayerful piece that begins the album, with a jangling motif evocative of Ornette Coleman. Mr. Fefer has a forceful, astringent sound on alto and a robustly husky voice on tenor, and here he enlisted both instruments to strong effect. Playing alto on “Testament” and “Club Foot,” a vamp-based tune, he strung his notes together in silvery arcs. His tenor work on “Ripple,” a free-jazz processional, and “Shepp in Wolves’ Clothing,” named after the firebrand saxophonist Archie Shepp, was weightier and more measured. His rapport with the other players — especially Mr. Bisio, whose roomy tone and percussive attack were invigorating — felt nakedly direct.
(Photo by Rahav Segev for The New York Times)

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