Yesterday afternoon my wife and I went up to EZ's Woodshed on 132d and 7th Ave. to hear Ila (pronounced EYE-la) Cantor—a wonderful up-and-coming 23-year-old electric guitarist whose most recent CD was released by Fresh Sound (you can hear her music here and catch her album here).
Ila was playing with a warm bassist (upright) and drummer (fabulous with both brushes and sticks). The compositions were all her own, and they have a hypnotic, introspective quality. It's hard to categorize her jazz style, except to say that her sound and use of chords and rhythm are new and ahead of their time.
EZ's Woodshed is the way all jazz clubs should be. (Go here to see EZ's website and videoclips.) The club is a throwback to the 1950s. The space is pure shoebox—with a store selling CDs and other terrific jazz items up front, and a 20-seat sliver of a club further back. Original jazz paintings and photography cover the wooden walls, transforming the playing space into something of a jazz chapel.
Robert Ball, a young trombonist, was manning the register and working the web to gain support for the fledging store-front club. Ball told me—get this!—that EZ's opens daily at 2 pm with live music and remains open through dozens of sets "until the musicians want to stop."
Man, this is how jazz was born and raised in New York. Yesterday it was gratifying to see that young jazz players like Cantor still have a place to hang out and woodshed. And that young players like Ball know their jazz history.