No Reduce in New York

Dave Gisler  travels through New York  with a big suitcase full of guitar pedals. The 29 year-old jazzman from Zurich is currently in the United States for a tour with his band, No Reduce. Swissvibes caught up with him on rainy Monday afternoon, 2 hours before his first show in Brooklyn.

Dave, tell us about Jaywalkin’, your band’s first record.

Dave Gisler We recorderd it in New York last year. I got a residency from Switzerland and I stayed here for 4 months. Nasheet Waits is one of my favorite drummers. I called him up and asked him if he would like to play with us (Nasheet Waits is based in New York and drums for Jason Moran & the Bandwagon among others). My friend Christoph Imiger, who plays saxophone, was in New York at the time as well. And Raffaele Bosshard (Bass) flew in from Switzerland to record the album. Christoph, Raffaele and I had written the songs in Switzerland. We rehearsed them for one and a half days here and recorded the record at Nasheet’s studio. It all worked out well. It is really impressive how Nasheet made the songs come alive.

Why did you call your band No reduce as it sounds grammatically incorrect?

Dave GislerIt is always hard to find a band’s name. The “n”, the “r”, the “d” and the “c” are the first letters of our first names. We put them together and then looked for a way to fill up the blanks. We came up with “No reduce” and liked that. We know it’s not grammatically correct as it should be “No reduction”, but we thought this would be a name people would not forget. And it also sums up the music we do. We really go for it. There is a lot of energy coming from our band.

What are your influences?

Dave Gisler I listen to old jazzmen like Coltrane. But I am mostly influenced by the people I play with and by places like New York. It’s always very inspiring to be here. In the last six years I have come to New York every year and I somehow always end up at the 4 a.m. live session at the Fat Cat. I also love going to the Stone, John Zorn’s club. I have alwas loved both classical jazz and free jazz.

You only have played a couple of gigs before doing this US tour. How important is it for you to play at several venues in New York and Pittsburgh?

Dave GislerIt is a very important experience for us. We try to see if our music works. This tour will make us grow as musicians.

No Reduce on stage at Douglass Street Music Collective in Brooklyn on Septembre 18, 2012.

No reduce’s US tour

18.9. Douglass Street Music Collective, Brooklyn/NY

19.9. Seeds, Brooklyn, Brooklyn/NY

20.9. The Shrine, New York City

21.9. Ibeam, Brooklyn/NY

22.9. Dance Alloy Theater, Pittsburgh/PA

Jaywalkin’ was released on NWOG Records.

For more information: www.noreduce.com

Grégoire Maret Quartet at Jazz Standard in New York

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Herbie Hancock once called Grégoire Maret “one of the most creative musicians  around”. The Geneva-born harmonica sensation lived up to his reputation last week at Jazz Standard, one of the best venues for jazz In New York. He took the stage with his band for a series of 8 shows between May 3rd and May 6th to present his long anticipated self-titled debut album, after spending the past 10 years playing virtually every musical style with many different artists such Pat Metheny, Youssou N’Dour or George Benson.

On May 4th, Grégoire Maret joked on stage about an album, which has been “extremely long to accomplish” . But this sleek musical journey, on which he is joined by harmonica legend Toots Thielemans for a beautiful cover of Ivan Lins’ “O Amor E o Meu Pais”, was definitely worth the wait. With the impeccable support of Frederico Gonzales Peña on piano, an artist he calls his “brother from another mom”, the sytlish Clarence Penn on drums percussions, and the extremely talented Ben Williams on bass, Grégoire Maret offers a modern mix of jazz, soul, blues, pop and Brazilian sounds.

He opened up the show with the percussion-driven Crepuscule Suite, in which his passionate and physical harmonica solos set the tone of the performance. His duet with Frederico Gonzales Peña on “My Loved Ones” was a moment of sheer magic. The Swiss artist was then joined on stage by Raul Midon, a blind guitarist known among other talents for his velvet voice and vocal mouth trumpet sounds. Midon, who worked with Sharika, Stevie Wonder and Little Louie Vega, makes a cameo appearance  alongside Cassandra Wilson on Maret’s album.

At Jazz Standard, Raul Midon provided the vocals for an inspired cover of “The Secret Life of Plants” by Stevie Wonder. On the atmospheric Manha du Sol, he echoed Maret’s harmonica with his vocal mouth trumpet sounds before a sublime finale that lit up the stage and galavanized the crowd. That night, Grégoire Maret powerfully proved once more that the underutilized harmonica can be one of the most beautiful instruments in jazz.

Tim and Puma Mimi at XPO 929 in Brooklyn

If you are looking for Brooklyn’s underground scene, go to Bushwick . You will find plenty of artists, photographers, rehearsal spaces in old industrial buildings and venues like Xpo 929, where Tim and Puma Mimi performed on Friday night. The electro duo from Zurich is in New York to shoot a video for its upcoming album – The Stone Collection of Tim and Puma Mimi – to be realeased on May 11 in Switzerland (on Mouthwatering records). The band took the opportunity to add a few shows to the trip, including one at Pianos, a well-known venue in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and one in Philadelphia.

Tim and Puma Mimi’s gig at Xpo 929 was a typical New York rock’n roll experience. They found in Bushwick a mostly empty and dark space filled with the lone members from other bands on the lineup and a few post-punk girls with heavy black eyeliner as well a passionate sound engineer pushing up the volume to make up for the pretty bad acoustics. But the duo – Tim (Christian Fischer) and Puma Mimi (Michiko Hanawa) – joined by Swiss drummer Georg Bleikolm from Lausanne stood out with its elaborate mix of electro and rock, English, Japanese and even French lyrics in “Belleville Rendez-vous”, one of the tracks on its new record.

Tim and Puma Mimi performed new material including Q-Cumber, a track on which Tim uses a cucumber to make weird electronic sounds. Tim’s flute solos and Mimi’s frantic dance moves made the 30-minute show all the more interesting. – Jean-Cosme Delaloye

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