For more than four decades keyboardist Anthony Coleman has been a binding presence on New York’s creative music scenes, perpetually serving as a connective tissue between jazz, improvised, experimental, and contemporary music circles. His first two recording dates were with John Zorn and Glenn Branca, positioning himself in the heart of the downtown scene early on. While his jazz roots are impeccable, studying as a teenager with no less than Jaki Byard, by the time he finished at the New England Conservatory he had his hands in disparate communities.
He’s been heavily invested in Jewish culture throughout his career, pursuing an eclectic mix of song and improvisation in a potent duo project with Roy Nathanson of the Jazz Passengers during the 1990s, while also leading a stunning piano trio called Sephardic Tinge, which melded jazz with the sort of modes John Zorn would later explore in Masada. He’s interpreted the music of Jelly Roll Morton, unleashed hypnotic montuno passages on organ in Marc Ribot’s Los Cubanos Postizos (with whom he also performs at this year’s Big Ears), written fully scored chamber music, and more.
In 2022 Coleman released Arcades, a quicksilver improvised duo project of drummer Brian Chase of Yeah Yeah Yeahs fame, reinforcing his agile spontaneity. The pair have forged a stunning rapport in which they nonchalantly intuit instantaneous decision making. For this special performance Coleman will give a solo piano performance, and if his 2019 solo album Catenary Oath is any indication, we can expect a seamless blend of improvised excursions that toggle between lyric, sometimes abstract introspection and finely etched interpretations of Ellington classics.