They've been here before -- some of them often. But seldom in such concentration as we'll see beginning at 8 this evening -- or, for that matter, at the same time as June in Buffalo. The result is a kind of new music paradise in Buffalo's Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center for the next few days.
In fact, in an earlier appearance by the New Jazz stalwart Kahil El'Zabar at Hallwalls, a drum was stolen from the master percussionist's car. It was later returned, but it never stopped El 'Zabar from showing up to perform in Buffalo semiregularly.
Pianist Craig Taborn participated in one of the most exciting evenings of Buffalo jazz in the last 15 years. He was the pianist in the James Carter Quartet that was such a draw to the Calumet Cafe on its first Buffalo appearance that owner Mark Goldman had to throw open all the windows to let the music pour out to the spillover crowd on Chippewa.
An El'Zabar duet concert with outward bound jazz violinist Billy Bang at 8 tonight in Hallwalls will begin a three-day weekend of uncommonly venturesome Hallwalls Jazz. It is Bang's first Buffalo appearance with El'Zabar since 1999. Admission is $15, $10 for members, students and seniors.
Even further out into jazz's far districts (on their Delmark duet disc "Spirits Entering" after all, El'Zabar and Bangs play "[Gimme That] Old Time Religion") is the trio of Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker, pianist Craig Taborn and drummer Gerald Cleaver. Among other musicians Cleaver has played with is Charles Gayle, the venerable avant-garde saxophonist who began his career here.
Taborn replaced pianist Marily Crispell in one of the trio's European tours, and the results were so congenial for all concerned that Anker, Taborn and Cleaver have been touring and recording since 2003. They will appear at Hallwalls, 341 Delaware., at 8 p.m. Monday. Admission is $12, $10 for members, students and seniors.
-- Jeff Simon