Live preview: TriBeCaStan

A melting pot of homegrown jazz exotica boils over in Manhattan.


TriBeCaStan Photograph: Paul Hoelen & Mandarine Montgomery

There's no easy way to describe the distinctive sound of TriBeCaStan. Downtown-loft improv with the odd trace of Appalachian blues? Yep. Cinematic fusion jazz filtered through a North African lens? Ditto. Multiculti urban folk music steeped in Balkan, Cajun, klezmer, Gypsy and classical Indian flavors? Absolutely.

Whatever you call it, the final package is the result of an exuberant, and sometimes irreverent, collaborative effort. Cofounded by veteran ethno-enthusiast Jeff Greene and multi-instrumentalist John Kruth, TriBeCaStan has built its own mythology around a deceptively simple construct: just play music that you haven't heard yet. The group finds the futuristic in the ancient, borrowing from far-flung traditions to create sleek new hybrids and, in the restless spirit of Yusef Lateef, Don Cherry and Rahsaan Roland Kirk (the subject of a definitive biography by Kruth), flip the tables on your expectations.

Now TriBeCaStan takes over the plush confines of Joe's Pub to celebrate its latest concoction: New Deli, a lively bazaar of artfully mashed-up styles that includes banjo tango ("Jovanka"), Malian soukous-funk ("Freaks for the Festival," with Steve Turre on trombone), Moroccan trance ("The Mystery of Licorice McKechnie," with Bachir Attar from Master Musicians of Jajouka) and a mandolin-fueled nod to Ornette Coleman's youthful Change of the Century sound ("Two for Ornette"). If past performances are any indication, there's only one thing you can expect: a crowded caravansary alive with music to feed the hungry soul.

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