Mischief & Mayhem
The Village Vanguard
Through July 18, 9 p.m., 11 p.m.
The Village Vanguard is the only club in the world that can shift the meaning of "mainstream" in jazz. Befitting its history and reputation, the Vanguard books a lot of traditional acts; but every so often, a group of adventurous young musicians arrives unexpectedly, and the week of gigs makes seismic ripples. When the then little-known Bad Plus played the Vanguard for the first time in 2002, a Columbia Records rep scouted them and quickly signed them. No band of the last ten years has been as widely influential as the Bad Plus (jazz musician friends of mine in Buenos Aires know their records chapter and verse); and the Vanguard's endorsement played no small part in their early rise.
This week's appearance by Jenny Scheinman - Mischief & Mayhem has the whiff of that Bad Plus show—the Vanguard taking a risk and displaying its best instincts. The violinst/fiddler/composer Scheinman has played the club before, but this band—with Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, longtime Ani DiFranco bassist Todd Sickafoose, and mad-cap drummer Jim Black—sounds especially promising: four virtuosos equally comfortable in and out of the jazz idiom who can't help but drive the music in new directions. I gave the show at critic's pick in New York magazine and can't wait to check it out...