Writing about New York's Village Vanguard can be a trap for adjectives, and especially those modifiers that make a subject feel old and musty. Words like storied, hallowed, and legendary come to mind — the small club in the West Village has a storied past, its hallowed stage a place where legendary jazz musicians have shared their ancient tales. Truth be told, the place is old, and it's a little musty before club owner Lorraine Gordon and her staff spruce it up for another evening of music.
The Village Vanguard, however, is no reliquary. You will not find the Shroud of St. John Coltrane or a grilled-cheese sandwich toasted with the imprint of the Virgin Mary Lou Williams. What you will find is a sense that this place is the distillation of jazz essence. People play instruments, hang out, tell tales, and live with music. The vibe is more Beat than beatified — discovery is very much alive at the Village Vanguard.
This concert recording is from the first set of a Tuesday evening, the opening night of a six-day residency for Adam Rogers' quintet. The guitarist is making his debut as a leader at the Vanguard, presenting mostly original compositions, at the beginning of WBGO's newest live concert series.
Each member of Rogers' quintet — all among the most in-demand players in New York — understands that jazz is freshly minted in the moment. All five musicians are on the stage, discovering themselves and each other as we listen in.
- "Long Ago and Far Away"
- Adam Rogers, guitar
- Mark Turner, tenor saxophone
- Edward Simon, piano
- Scott Colley, bass
- Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums
- Josh Jackson, producer & host
- David Tallacksen, mix engineer
- Josh Webb, recording assistant