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Last weekend I heard two bands at Tonic as part of the Festival of New Trumpet Music. (Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I co-curate the festival with trumpeters Roy Campbell and Jon Nelson.)

Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band began the evening by burning through repertoire from Serbia. (Well, mostly Southern Serbia, the trumpeter Michael Ginsburg later explained. They did eventually wander 15 or 20 miles further afield and play music from parts of Bulgaria and Greece…) At first it was just a shock to see this happening at Tonic (I had done an electric triple-bill with Kneebody and Jonathan Finlayson the previous night). Then it just got infectious and we forgot where we were and started generally celebrating. All those horns up there, all that energy.

Then Avishai Cohen led a great quintet through a set of original music. This is Avishai Cohen the trumpet player, not to be confused with Avishai Cohen the bass player … Avishai has awesome chops, and he and the band (including Jason Linder on Keyboards and Omer Avital on bass) charmed the audience with their great groove. Another great night in New York.

The festival runs in New York throughout the rest of August 2005.