Ethan Iverson Trio
& Melissa Aldana
Monday, October 23, 2017 | 7:00 pm
Monday, October 23, 2017 | 9:00 pm
Though she’s not yet reached her thirtieth birthday, Melissa Aldana has already broken several jazz boundaries. In 2013, Aldana became the first female instrumentalist and first South American to win the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Born in Chile but based in New York after a stint at the Berklee College of Music, Aldana has become one of the most promising new voices in jazz, with her deliberate tone and laid-back approach earning her acclaim as the leader of Crash Trio. Praised by The New York Times for her “limpid sound, expressive command, and persuasive self-possession” and by Lucid Culture for her “fearsome chops,” Aldana is jazz’s most intriguing rising star.
Though Ethan Iverson is best known for his groundbreaking crossover work with the Bad Plus, that trio’s remarkable catalogue only marks the second phase of a sterling quarter-century career. Iverson emerged as a major new player in the early 1990s, when he became an essential piece of a rising underground New York jazz scene. Around the same time he became the music director of the Mark Morris Dance Group, foreshadowing the ambitious routine he has maintained to this day. Iverson is a tireless bandleader, composer, arranger, and collaborator, and one of the best-respected jazz critics in the world. When asked in interviews who his greatest influence was, Iverson always says, “Thelonious Monk.”
In Durham, Iverson leads what he calls “a classic swinging New York rhythm section” custom-made for MONK@100 and the sequence of esteemed saxophonists the group will welcome over four days. Drummer Victor Lewis was a key element of the top-shelf Woody Shaw group for many years, and bassist David Williams was the lynchpin for an awe-inspiring trio with Cedar Walton and Billy Higgins for three decades. (Shaw and Walton programmed Monk frequently in their sets, and Walton once subbed for Monk at the Five Spot.) This trio is perfectly suited for the tremendous task of revivifying Monk’s music. Between the two of them, Lewis and Williams have worked with almost every significant modern jazz player, from Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard to Elvin Jones and Kenny Barron, not to mention such brilliant musicians as Carla Bley, Anthony Braxton, and Roberta Flack.MONK@100 is made possible, in part, with support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation & the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. MONK@100 is an official event of the N.C. Arts Council’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.
“You can hear Aldana and her group tap into the jazz tradition, but they thrive in the hyperlinked global present.”