Sunday, April 9, 2023

Performance review: “Jazz Gypsies”: MAC GOLLEHON & OMAR EDWARDS

 The NYC Jazz Record, JOHN PIETARO, NY@Night column, March 2023


2/7/23, The Hard Swallow, NYC

 The Hard Swallow, a classic East Village bar, swelled throbbingly on this oddly warm Tuesday night (February 7). The duet Jazz Gypsies--Mac Gollehon, trumpet/samples/voice; Omar Edwards, dance/voice--commandeered the atmosphere, their manipulated pre-recorded orchestral hits and rhythm tracks shredding the whisky-soaked night air. Gollehon blared a warning call and Edwards tossed himself into a flurry of tireless movement, part jazz and tap, part hip hop, his syncopated steps ricocheted off the platform with abandon. Edwards’ triplet attacks sprayed the club like tommy gun bullets as Gollehon, a multi-instrumentalist and mean jazz trumpeter whose session work is legendary, improvised bop heads, defying the dancer at each turn. The swing was killing, with Edwards popping quarter-note triplet figures on one foot against 16th-note and 32nd-note triplets in the other, like Gene Krupa or Papa Jo Jones tearing into accented rim shots. By the time the duo took on Paul Desmond’s “Take Five”, Hendrix’s “Third Stone from the Sun”, or something by Jaco, Omar was drenched in sweat, dancing in odd time like it was common (pun intended). Various Latin and funk pieces had Gollehon rapping and vocalizing over the thunder and then moving throughout the tightly crowded space, trumpet aloft, the crowd dancing and clapping wherever the backbeat may lay. At points, percussionist Jeanne Camo added to the thicket on snare drum, but otherwise the sizzling, soaring music and visuals were owned by this marvelously unlikely pairing. These Jazz Gypsies may be solely responsible for an entirely new genre.

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