Unpredictability is the active ingredient of New York's annual Winter Jazzfest. This year, fans will meander around six nearby clubs and take their pick of simultaneous shows. Choosing from among so many acts will be difficult.
Many of the bands are new, paced in rapid succession and often cryptically named. If you only have 45 minutes to spare, do you check out Breeding Ground? Hazmat Modine? Merger? 40Twenty? 10^32K?
Which band, led by an Israeli clarinet ace, will play Indonesian folk songs this year? Which tuba and harmonica ensemble will play its biggest Siberian hits? Which great bebop harpist, beloved to hip-hop fans, will be honored this year in a DJ-driven set?
I've been finding out the answers for the jazz bee, WBGO's new HD2 stream for emerging artists, which is currently hosting a preview mix of music by all of the groups at Winter Jazzfest. With more than 70 acts set to take the stage this Friday and Saturday, here's a sneak peek at five acts who will present new music this year.