Maybe this Tiny Desk Concert series can help modify people’s preconceptions about The Juilliard School and jazz. Jazz Night in America and Tiny Desk Concert Series present three Tiny Desk Concerts featuring current students and alumni of Juilliard Jazz in honor of the school’s 20th anniversary.
As the concluding concert of the Juilliard Jazz’s 20th-anniversary series, Isaiah J. Thompson’s Tiny Desk concert required extra preparations, including the arrival and tuning of a piano for the Steinway artist. I should have known we were in for a treat when the mild-mannered pianist and his impeccably dressed bandmates landed.
The group’s dedication to celebrating the fabric of African American culture runs through every song they play. The first song Thompson ever wrote, “Maestros of the Community,” is a fast-paced ode to the lasting effect of having unsung role models that reflected and enhanced his individuality.
Next up is a lovely and dreamy ballad called “Thank You, Betsy,” which features the talents of tenor saxophonist Julian Lee (previously featured on Jazz Night) and bassist Felix Moseholm.
The quartet’s connection is undeniable; the members’ familiarity with one another is apparent in how they read each other’s short glances and their ability to pivot and improvise without losing their cool in the face of adversity.
The final song, “The Highest Calling,” is a fast-paced toe-tapper that provides an opportunity for all of the musicians to stretch. As filtered via Thompson’s compositions, the quartet’s sound becomes a sophisticated declaration that blends jazz’s past and present to portray a stunning picture of the genre’s future.
- “Maestros of the Community“
- “Thank You Betsy”
- “The Highest Calling”
- Isaiah J. Thompson: piano
- Julian Lee: tenor saxophone
- Felix Moseholm: bass
- Kyle Poole: drums
TINY DESK TEAM
- Producer: Nikki Birch
- Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
- Director: Kara Frame
- Creative Director: Bob Boilen
- Series Producer: Bobby Carter
- Editor: Michael Zamora
- Animator: Alanté Serene
- Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Michael Zamora
- Production Assistant: Jill Britton
- Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer, Maia Stern
- VP, Visuals, and Music: Keith Jenkins
- Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
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