Radio Cornelia

March 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

This week we celebrate the inauguration of Cornelia Street Cafe’s new podcast series “Live From Cornelia Street”. Every week we broadcast another new and outstanding recording made from our very own downstairs. Visit this page to access our embedded player or simply click here to subscribe via iTunes. Artists already featured include Tim Berne’s Los Totopos, Tom Rainey Trio, Matthew Brewer Quintet, and Jeff Davis Band. In this way we continue to bring the best of 29 Cornelia Street to our friends everywhere beyond its walls.

Mark Dresser

November 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Tell us a little about how you came to play at the Cafe. Have you appeared here before? What’s your impression of the space from a performer’s standpoint?

I’ve played at the Cafe many times over the years. The space, like many renown basement venues, is a good listening room and has a good sound.

How did you end up with the folks you’ll be playing alongside this weekend? What sorts of characteristics do you look for in your collaborators and bandmates?

I’ve known all these fine musicians for many years in various capacities. Denman and I’ve been playing and recording together since the late 80’s. Rudresh and I have the cooperative group together, the trio Mauger. Tom Rainey and I have also played together for years, and Michael Dessen, who lives in Southern California–we’ve working together this past three years especially  telematic music.  I look  for musicians who have their own sound, inventive, and with whom I have musical and personal chemistry.  Rudresh, Denman, Michael, and Tom fit the bill.

The Times quote in your blurb on the website drops the ‘M’ word–Mainstream–and frames you squarely in opposition to it. Are you cognizant at all of where you music falls (or gets placed) in terms of genre or lineage? Do you think there’s a use to categorizing performers as “avant-garde” or “new jazz”, or is that just grist for the critics to hash out?

I didn’t interpret the Times quote as you did, nor see my career in opposition to anything.  It is true, I’ve made my career outside of the jazz mainstream, but I deeply connect to the broadest view of  the jazz tradition and have worked in this milieu since 1980. I feel connected to the world of musicians, genre aside.  I relate to Duke Ellington’s disdain for categorization. It does little to illucidate what is happening in the music and one’s level of involvement.

Whatever the critical appellation, you’ve made no small habit of of innovation (I’ve got to say, ‘SLM- Telematic Contrabass Ensemble’ has both a concept and a title I will not quickly forget). Where are you headed next, whether in terms of composition, performance, or locale?

Telematic Music is about playing with musicians in other geographical locations on high speed high bandwidth music, live. On December 3rd I’m participating in a concert at the United Nations with an ensemble based in NY performing live with ensembles in Bejing and Seoul. (To attend the free event go to: To hear a live webcast on Friday, Dec 3 at 9pm go to

I got into this area as a result of living in San Diego and not being close to my natural collaborators, who up to 2004 were all in New York.  It’s been fascinating to learn a whole new skill set which requires artistic, technical and administrative teamwork. What is rewarding is that now I am able to easily rehearse and develop new music at distance.  My hope is to see this field develop into viable professional venue for musicians.

Mark Dresser appears tonight at 830pm at the Cornelia Street Cafe. or 212/989-9319 for reservations.

A Weekend of Tony Malaby

December 11, 2009 § 1 Comment

Top-class soprano and tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby takes over Cornelia this weekend, appearing in three separate constellations on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. In May 2009’s All About Jazz, Andrey Henkin had this to say about Malaby’s last performance at the Cafe:

The heart and pulse are often used as musical symbols for beat and rhythm. Make then what you will of saxophonist Tony Malaby‘s Exploding Heart with William Parker and Nasheet Waits. His Double Heart Band, a conceptual variation of that group as well as his recent Cello Trio, performed a remarkable set at Cornelia Street Cafe Apr. 12th. That it was Easter Sunday may have subconsciously contributed to the solemnity of some of the music but more likely it was Malaby laying back, reveling in the double double basses of Norwegians Eivind Opsvik and Ingebrigt HÃ¥ker Flaten, two sides of the same kroner. When Malaby plays a set (solely on tenor in this case) with his eyes mostly shut, listeners should know they are seeing him at his most focused. That was the case during the first set as he either floated nebulously over the dense weave of the two uprights, communed with one or the other or just stood motionless, smiling at the thrum. Drummer Tom Rainey laid his rhythms adroitly between Flaten and Opsvik, punctuating Malaby’s lines. Visually, the quartet seemed like a plane: Malaby in the cockpit, Rainey the crucial tailfin, the two bassists coasting through the air currents. The material was taken from the albums featuring Exploding Heart (Flaten subbed for Parker on a tour) and Cello Trio as well as four new pieces. Apart from the opener, the rest of the 65-minute set was played as a delicious medley,Malaby more interesting in braising than flambeing.

Malaby appears Friday night at 9 and 10:30pm with Tony Malaby’s Double Heart, featuring the aforementioned Ingebrigt Hacker Flatten and Eivind Opsvik on bass, and Tom Rainey on the drums. Cover charge is a mere 10 beans.

Malaby then REappears on Saturday night at 9 and 10:30pm with Tony Malaby’s Apparitions, featuring bassist Drew Gress and two drummers, Tom Rainey and John Hollenbeck, the latter of whom was recently nominated for a Grammy. Malaby has described playing with two drummers as “just the most comfortable couch, or like taking a warm bath, just being surrounded by that sound and falling into it.” Cover is once again $10.

Sunday night at 8:30pm finds MALABY-SANCHEZ-RAINEY taking the stage, with Angelica Sanchez on piano and Tom Rainey on the drums. Of this combination Troy Collins has said “Even without settling into typical rhythmic patterns or harmonic frameworks, the trio manages to insinuate forward momentum with a linear logic that reveals abstract lyricism. Working collectively, Malaby’s horn stands on equal footing with Sanchez’s electric piano, and Rainey’s drums provide as much harmonic color and texture as they do fluctuating rhythm. Conversational in the extreme, this is one trio that listens as well as it plays.” $10 more  dollars and they’re yours for a night.

Here’s a short clip of the Apparition in action:

and a tune to whet your appetite:

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