Jazz and Then Some

Avant-sax alpha male David S. Ware
Hiroyuki Ito
Avant-sax alpha male David S. Ware

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Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival
June 3 Through 13
Down but Not Out

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The biggest rock buzz, though, came from the New York Art Quartet's 35-year reunion Sunday night at the Seaport Atrium. They had the makings of a great rock'n'roll band: a charismatic vocalist (poet Amiri Baraka, who introduced himself with an EEYAAARRRGH that swiveled heads throughout the Atrium's food court), energetic (free-form) beats (from the masterful Milford Graves, who also contributed some speaking-in-tongues and a bit of interpretive dance), and hoots of delight from a very young crowd (most of whom wouldn't have thought of coming if Sonic Youth hadn't been headlining). The Youths themselves, with Ikue Mori sitting in on extra percussion, make a better guitar band than a jazz unit: their songs were confident and idiosyncratic, their improv-based piece pretty dismal. Still, they're pointing their fans toward the fringes they love, which addresses the problem of the moment more directly. There's no shortage of excellence in the trickier reaches of jazz right now— just of people around to hear it.

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