(early draft of a Brick’s Picks, not sure how much made it into the LA Weekly, c.2008)
Sometimes you see jazz at the Bowl, or in big echoey halls, or even on football fields. And sometimes you see it in your living room. Well, the Foundry on Melrose, of all places, felt like a living room, with couches and pillows and musicians an arm’s length away. It was wild stuff, too: Josh Nelson had that upright sounding beautiful and bassist Matt Cory and drummer Zach Harmon were laying down amazing rhythms. Harmon’s drumming in particular is Max Roach and beyond; sitting just feet away you can get lost in the math of his polyrhythms, wicked dense pattering patterns and jarring tom tom explosions. Damn man—this stuff is intense, even the ballads have a romantic intensity and Nelson at times seems lost in them, oblivious to all but their logic and flow. Cory picks up his bow and announces some classical suite, something, he says, that isn’t quite the usual cocktail lounge fare. It isn’t, his arco is beautiful, the band cooks, the crowd eats it up. Back of the bar owner/chef Eric Greenspan is glowing in all this energy…he likes the young cats, their intensity, their art. Never tells them to tone it down like so many other posh places. Indeed you can hear this acoustic jazz a block away. People are drawn in, jazz fans and neophytes. Most come for the food which is damn good and $25 plus for entrees, while the great eats from the bar run under $10. And more and more come for the incredibly inspired music. Melrose ain’t exactly 52nd Street, but on Thursdays and Fridays and Saturdays in this little room you would never know it. These cats, like so many of the young jazzers in this town, are deadly serious jazzmen.