September
19th 2011
Photos & Recap: Carmen Staaf Trio at 55 Bar – 18 Sept 2011

Posted under Live shows

From Carmen Staaf at 55 Bar – 9/18/11

I’ve written about Carmen Staff before and told you how impressed I am with her as a pianist. I’ve also interviewed her for The Jazz Session. And last night I had the chance to see her perform in a trio setting at one of my favorite New York music spots, The 55 Bar.

From Carmen Staaf at 55 Bar – 9/18/11

The 55 Bar doesn’t have a piano, so Staaf played a Fender Rhodes, which made for a very different listening experience to the acoustic performance I’d heard previously. The Rhodes is a tricky beast, and the skills necessary to playing the piano don’t necessarily make a successful Rhodes player. Staaf did just fine, though, using the Rhodes to its full capacity and showing the same fluid touch that struck me before.

From Carmen Staaf at 55 Bar – 9/18/11

Staaf was joined by bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Ronnie Burrage. This was the trio’s first time playing together, and they weren’t ashamed to work some things out on stage, particularly Burrage’s tunes. Burrage spent some time as McCoy’s Tyner’s drummer years ago, and he introduced one of his tunes as one which McCoy has “played the crap out of.” (Eliciting the comment, “No pressure, Carmen,” from one of Staaf’s friends in the audience.) Whether it was the McCoy comparison or just the adrenalin that comes from fighting your way through a brand new tune, Staaf rose to the challenge and delivered a smart and muscular solo that used the full range of the Rhodes.

From Carmen Staaf at 55 Bar – 9/18/11

Another highlight for me was Staaf’s breathtaking “Nymphs of the Milky Way,” which I wrote about when I saw her at Issue Project Room. The piece is gorgeous, and was made more so by Roeder’s sensitive bass work. I’ve seen him in a number of contexts here in New York, and he always knows just how to serve the music.

Here are a few other things I tweeted during the show:

From Carmen Staaf at 55 Bar – 9/18/11

@carmenstaaf trio playing a 3/4 or 6/8 or 150/200 version of “All The Things You Are.” Ronnie Burrage on cajon. (Also note the album cover on the wall with “Carmen” on it. A different Carmen, of course, but still a fun coincidence.)

From Carmen Staaf at 55 Bar – 9/18/11

Very nice 70s vibe by @carmenstaaf trio on “Solar” into Staaf’s “Dream of Four Paths.”

From Carmen Staaf at 55 Bar – 9/18/11

Henry Grimes just showed up at @carmenstaaf’s show. Very, very cool. #jazzlives #sodoeshenry

From Carmen Staaf at 55 Bar – 9/18/11

Nice deconstruction of “In Walked Bud” by @carmenstaaf.

Last night gave me the chance to see a new side of Carmen Staaf and once again I was very happy to be there. Staaf is playing at the 55 Bar at the end of September (watch her site for the exact date). You can also follow her on Twitter at @carmenstaaf. And if you’d like to get my updates and photos as they happen, you can follow me on Twitter at @jasondcrane.

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